Spark Arena became a night of nostalgia for one night on Tuesday, as So Pop! had landed. It was set to be a big night with the show starting at 4:45pm in the afternoon. I don’t know if it was because people had work or just wanted to pre-load beforehand but it seemed as though people, like me, missed a few acts and arrived a bit later. Not to say there wasn’t a lot of people there since the start, because there were and they were dressed to impress.
The first act I caught was 2 Unlimited. I didn’t know I knew their music but I surprisingly knew a couple of songs. The duo seemed very happy to be in New Zealand with their constant smiles. But they and their back-up dancers also had flair. Considering it was a really short set they managed to really give it all and they were definitely the surprising act of the night for me.
Eiffel 65 was up next. Now, these guys I definitely did not know. I recognised a couple of tracks but considering each act was busting out covers, I wasn’t sure if it was their song or someone else’s. They definitely had a lot of energy and honestly, this show had such a positive and fun vibe to it so far that you didn’t really care what else was going on. Maurizio was even rocking an All Blacks jersey! The highlight of their set for me was definitely the dedication to Avicii, where they had the crowd turn their phone lights on and played his music while images of him lit up the screen behind them. Considering they also had a short set I thought it was nice that they chose to use a bit of it in that way.
Now I know a few people who were excited about this next act. I knew I wanted to see them but I didn’t feel too excited, particularly considering it was only ½ the original members. An intro played out on the screens and B*Witched took the stage. Their set had C02 cannons and you knew this was going to be a part of the night from here on out. It was definitely cool to hear tracks such as C’est la vie and Rollercoaster live but the performance was let down with sound problems and their choreography. You would think after doing a few shows you would have the choreography locked down by now.
Okay so this next act I’m honestly probably quite bias on and I’ll admit that. Blue I would say is one of the OG boybands and I am definitely a big fan. So when they took the stage, it’s no surprise to say I was excited. Also, they looked exactly the same as they did 15 years ago, definitely a bit older but still the same. Unlike B*Witched their choreography was simple and they did it well. I think what helped was that it was broken up with them moving about the stage and interacting with the crowd. They also had C02 cannons. Blue also definitely had very similar vocals as they did back in the days, though I felt as though a couple of them definitely pushed it a bit more or tried to be a bit more fancy with it, which didn’t always pay off. But I can tick hearing songs such as All Rise, One Love and U Make Me Wanna live, off the bucket list. Now can Five come visit and NSYNC? I’m all about this.
As it got a bit later it was definitely time to party and who best to do that but the Vengaboys. I think what blew my mind about that night was, never did I think I would hear a lot of the songs I did live. Their set was definitely the most colourful that’s for sure. The outfits were very kitsch but amazing. “Make some noise for the Vengaboys!” The colour was amplified with the bright-coloured visuals on the screen, the colourful beach balls chucked out during one song and colourful confetti streamers that shot out multiple times and drowned the crowd. The last shot of confetti was actually fake money, custom Vengaboys dollars to be exact! What I liked also is that even though they also had sound issues, rather than try to mask it, they let the crowd know about it while people tried to fix it. Transparency helps I think rather than looking messy. I could mention the songs they played but they literally played every hit, it was a fun time.
What freaked me out about this next act was their voices. When you hear Aqua you probably assume it’s them altering their voices, a lot of autotune etc but it wasn’t. Both their voices literally sound like that. I mean there probably is a bit of autotune but yeah it was crazy. Like most of the previous acts, they still looked the same but definitely older. In kiwi spirit, like Maurizio, Rene was also rocking an All Blacks Jersey and occasionally busting out a pukana. I was surprised they did Barbie Girl so early in their set as it’s definitely more an encore song. The crowd clearly knew that, as some people left when the song was finished. They may not have had C02 or confetti but Lene took a ride on a security guards shoulders to say hi to those near the front and towards the end of their set, they even pulled people on stage to dance with them.
Hosted by the awesome Suzanne Paul, I have to say that regardless of the technical difficulties or other somewhat cringy moments, it was a great time! Sure the acts are not what they once were but the nostalgia and classic 90’s vibes were there. And boy did they put on a show!