Six60 will make New Zealand history by becoming the first local band to play a concert at Auckland's iconic Eden Park stadium.
Today the band announced that they had emerged victorious in the battle to play shows at the famous sporting venue. The award-winning group will headline the 50,000-capacity stadium on Saturday, April 24, a date which is just six weeks away.
Laughing off any suggestion that this quick turnaround timeline is further subtle "six" branding, Six60 frontman Matiu Walters said: "I wish it was part of the grand plan, but that was the date that worked. We wanted to make this happen and it's great that we got it finally done."
The announcement will be music to the ears of Six60's massive Auckland fanbase, who have endured seeing the band tour stadiums around the country, playing to 130,000 people across six shows over summer, while not announcing a gig in their own hometown.
Had Eden Park not got the green light, there was a very real chance Auckland may have missed out completely.
"We don't really do Plan Bs," Walters admitted. "We were waiting to get an answer on this. Now we don't need to do a Plan B. There were no other plans."
It's all happening so fast that Walters only found out on Friday and support acts are yet to be confirmed. Tickets to the event start at $79.90 and go on sale next Monday. Promoters say they expect the milestone gig to sell out.
Fittingly for a venue which has hosted many tough and iconic sporting moments, it wasn't an easy victory.
The band and Eden Park bosses faced significant resistance to gigs being held at the suburban venue by the Eden Park Neighbours' Association (EPNA), a small but committed collective of neighbouring homeowners.
Last October, the two sides faced off in a week-long, resource consent hearing at Auckland's Town Hall. Venue management argued that they be allowed to host their six allowed music events each year without needing to jump through the prohibitively expensive hoops of gaining resource consent for each individual show.
"It was touch and go on different levels," Walters said. "It was touch and go with the hearings and touch and go with Covid coming back in. But we gave ourselves a good chance and we got it."
In a statement, Eden Park chief executive officer Nick Sautner added: "The first concert at Eden Park is a significant milestone for both our staff and our community. Six60's support throughout the resource consent process has been felt across our business, so it is entirely fitting they headline our concert debut at this iconic 118-year-old venue."
Walters is quick to acknowledge the rich history of Eden Park and he's thrilled that people will now be able to stand on the field where legends have been made and the nation's sporting dreams have come true.
"How cool is it that people are going to be able to party and celebrate on the hallowed turf where Rugby World Cups have been won and historical moments have been made? We're going to be able to share in that together," he said.
"For this to happen, everyone has sacrificed. In Auckland and around the country," he continued, referring to the various lockdowns New Zealanders have faced. "I feel like this is an opportunity to celebrate our sacrifices and our freedom."
However, it won't be Walters' first time hitting the field. He performed the national anthem at the All Blacks/Wallabies clash last October and won a First XV rugby championship there when he was at school. His grandfather also captained the Māori All Blacks in a game against Australia in 1957.
Growing up just around the corner from the Mt Eden venue, Walters says he's always wanted to play a show there.
"My family has blood, sweat and tears on the turf. I've sweat and bled on the turf. I've seen moments that are etched in the history of my life through sport and, in a way, I've always felt it was my birthright to be able to play here. And now we're here. And everyone gets a chance to partake in that and feel included. Which is what Six60 basically stand for."
Despite the tight timeframe to make a dormant venue show-worthy, Walters is confident the band will be ready come game day.
"We're set because we've been on tour. The chops are up and we're tight," he said before getting into the spirit of the occasion and adding: "We're match fit. And it's a home game so that's always gonna make you rise up."
- Six60 play Eden Park on Saturday, April 24, 2021. Tickets on sale midday, Monday, March 22, from Ticketmaster