Matt Heath: Time to sing up for concerts at Eden Park

Section
Blogs,
Publish Date
Monday, 3 September 2018, 9:05AM
NZ Herald
NZ Herald

I still can't believe we aren't allowed concerts at Eden Park. It's depressing. There's a bit of dirty tactics, filibustering vibe about how things are being shut down.

Why anyone would spend their time trying to stop these things I don't know. But in the end, it's us Aucklanders who miss out. It's making me mad. So here are my top three reasons we should have concerts at Eden Park.

Number One - Everyone wants them

We've spent a lot of money on the place and the infrastructure around it. It's easy to get to and into.

Polling by UMR Research in July showed that 91 per cent of Aucklanders wanted the last concert that was being proposed, including 87 per cent of local residents.

The cancelling of that event is estimated to have cost the Auckland region $25 million. Not to mention the $350,000 spent on trying to get resource consent that didn't happen.

The hospitality sector and the hotel association should be outraged. It's a waste of money and opportunity. So why are we listening to a few handbrakes and nay sayers and not the people of Auckland?

Number Two - Eden Park will not survive without concerts

The stadium has hosted some of our greatest sporting moments. Remember the Cricket World Cup semi-final in 2015 when The Hairy Javelin pulled Dale Steyn over long on for six to put us into the final? The place exploded in joy.

Surely an all-time record for man hugs. I'm welling up just thinking about it now.

How about the All Blacks V Australia last weekend. What a game. What a showcase of our great country. I sat on my porch watching people flood into the park. The happiness on their faces. Children dancing and singing in the street.

It was truly joyous. But these occasions are too rare. Unreasonable restrictions are making it very hard to play international cricket there at all. The truth is Eden Park needs concerts to pay its way.

How tragic would it be if we lost Eden Park? For what? For who? The place is 125 years old, it's been there before anyone else. Let's keep it healthy. The place works so why let it die? Why burden ourselves with the back-breaking debt of a new stadium? Eden Park should have concerts because we want it to survive and thrive.

Number Three - Everyone else is allowed concerts

Every major stadium in the country can. Yet New Zealand's biggest and most accessible stadium can not.

Concerts go elsewhere. Most recently Phil Collins. He was going to play Eden Park on Waitangi Day but now due to a tiny number of complainers, he's playing at the Mission Estate in Napier. Which will be a great day for the Hawkes Bay. Total poozer for Auckland.

You may be thinking, 'Phil Collins is a dated cheese ball'. Well, you might be right. But are you seriously telling me you wouldn't love to see those drums kick in, in, In the Air Tonightlive?. 'TA-DOM TA-DOM TA-DOM TA-DOM TOM TOM ... Can you feel it, coming in the air tonight?

Imagine wandering up to Eden Park on a hot summer's afternoon as Easy Lover played. Singing Against All Odds (Take a look at me Now) with your arms around the one you love. I'd probably nip off for a super dog during Groovy Kind of Love but I'd be back for Sussudio, I Wish It Would Rain Down, Don't Lose My Number and Invisible Touch (he plays the odd Genesis song).

We would have had a great time Auckland. We would have come together as a city on that February afternoon in the sun. The lovely Lily Collins might have come down with her dad. It would have been so good.

Sadly that's been taken away from us. From you. Along with many other even better and more relevant shows.

It's time to bring some logic to proceedings.

Let's stop indulging people on this. The needs of the vast majority outweigh the slight inconvenience of the very, very few.

The biggest bands and artists in the world should be playing in our biggest and best stadium.

We shouldn't need the Trojan horse Helen Clark is so worried about. The music should be welcomed. The red carpet rolled out for these events.

A mere six big fun shows a year in the middle of our great city. A financial, cultural and spiritual win.

Let's just cut the BS and have the bloody concerts at Eden Park for the good of Auckland and Aucklanders! Thanks.

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.

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