It's amazing how a brand new plastic bottle laden battleground can completely change the vibe of a music festival. Whilst Western Springs has been no stranger to the accompaniments of a fair few musical acts over the years, it had yet to be stamped by the Big Day Out - and God knows why.
With the constant flood of music enthusiasts already thrilled for the BDO's return even before any act had yet to grace one of the five stages, there was no mistaking the [bigger square-footed] breath of fresh air that Western Springs was already promising.
The bright greens, blues, yellows and pinks of bustling festival life, however, were quickly juxtaposed by the stylistic black and white that The 1975 are famous for. Standing in their unassuming two toned dress-code in front of a single black screen with white writing projecting their numerical representation, the band's tendency to find solace in the monochrome could also be said to reflect the enigmatic yet charismatic essence of the British four-piece.
Jumpstarting their set with 'City' and 'Milk', a sly wave to the audience from frontman Matt Healy followed by a casual "Hey Auckland..." lead the introduction for 'M.O.N.E.Y'.
Definitely don't let the polite and seemingly calm ad-libs of the group fool you. The passionate cry of lyrics throughout 'Talk!' illustrated the true heartfelt nature of their songs.
Even with it being their first time to the country - "It's like England, but more magical. I like the hills!" - it was evident the band were completely in their element, as exemplified by the intense jumping and hair-flipping conducted mainly by Matty. Ten points alone for his gravity defying hair dynamics. And another ten for brilliantly battling technical difficulties.
After exclaiming to the audience "Let's 'ave a dance...", the more popularised song 'Girls' saw the hands of many a female fly into the air in a state of musical euphoria at the first bar of electric guitar.
Moving on to serenade the ever-growing crowd with the single 'Chocolate', it was obvious that the band were feeling the love - appearing amped to be playing off of the enthusiasm of the sun laden festival go-ers who were clearly thankful the group had made what Healy described as the "fat mission" to NZ.
Whilst a final wish to "enjoy the rest of your lives" was preceeded by the band's promise to see us again soon, a few began uttering the fact that a later time slot amongst some of the larger headliners as night fell would have allowed the band to showcase the full potential of their impressive onstage lighting set-up [consisting of various lit up white boxes] which has been demonstrated at previous shows. High praise, indeed.
The lads closed the set with an energetic rendition of 'Sex' and 'You' - clearly favourites to perform as they came complete with first class head-banging and all.
One final toss of drumsticks into the crowd - courtesy of George Daniel - and the audience was set for the antics that Big Day Out never fails to bring. There was no doubt about it, the festival was well and truly "back".
So Far (It's Alright)
Next: BIG DAY OUT 2014 - Part II - TAME IMPALA - click HERE.