Hello my good friends.
Once again, I’d like to apologise for the how absent I’ve been, although this time I don’t exactly have a huge reason as to why. University has finished for the semester, which means that while I am working a little more, I have a bit more free time as well. However, I’ve also been going into the studio to make music a lot more, as I discussed in my last
post apology, and I’ve been taking a bit of a break. However, I have no shifts scheduled this week, and next week is pretty busy for me, so I’ve kicked myself in to gear and decided to write up a couple of posts for you today.
That said, this post is offensively late. I finally saw Niall Horan, my fave, live last week at Margaret Court Arena. Now you know, usually I’m the one to sit down mere hours after the concert is finished, either the night of or the day right after and make a post all about the gig, but I really procrastinated this one. Not that I had a whole lot to do exactly. Aside from going into the studio the next day, having a couple of family dinners and lunches, working and having a much needed night out for drinks and a sleepover with two of my cousins, I haven’t actually done a whole lot, and I’ve had a few moments here and there where I definitely could have written this post. That said, those moments were actually utilised by falling down the YouTube rabbit hole of short documentary’s, of which I’ve watched a total of 16 so far. Not a single regret.
We’re here to talk about Niall Horan, and Niall Horan, live. So let’s get into it.
My best friend Kate spent the Wednesday night at my house, and we filled it with pizza and movies, and continuously exciting ourselves at the prospect of the following night.
Following an amazing brunch the next day, and a moment of pure spontaneity resulting in me cutting Kate’s fringe, we got ready and made our way into the city on the train.
It was a pretty cold evening, so thankfully the line at Margaret Court Arena wasn’t too long, and we were inside quite quickly. The first thing we did was buy our shirts. Now, I used to loathe the idea of forking out that much money for a shirt. I used to be the person who’d walk past the merchandise stand shaking my head at how expensive some of them are, promising myself I’d just buy it online later, which evidently never happened. But them I became nostalgic. I started collecting all my ticket stubs, starting really getting into concerts and gigs and now I’ve made the conscious decision, following seeing Harry Styles live and all his amazing merchandise, to set aside money for a shirt at most of the concerts I go to. Besides, I’ve waited nearly three years to see this guy again, so I was definitely buying a shirt.
Since we had a bit more time we decided grab something to eat, go to the toilets and find our seats, and it wasn’t long before the support act, Maren Morris came onstage. If you’ve never heard of her, you’ve definitely heard her voice. She’s a country singer from the USA, but she’s featured on the absolute smash, The Middle by Zedd, as well as appearing on one of my favourite songs on Niall’s album, Seeing Blind. I was pretty pumped to see her, considering how good her voice was, and she didn’t disappoint. I loved her selection of songs, especially some of the slower ones she did that really showed off her amazing her voice is. I definitely came home and added some of her songs to my playlists. Check out Rich, and Once. 100% recommend.
In the break between Maren and Niall, a bunch of small slips of paper were handed down every single row of seats, and looking around the arena, it clicked that it was one of the popular fan projects that have become so well known at One Direction concerts. I’ve never been at one where it happened, so Kate and I were pretty excited to see it in action. Our side of the arena were given little orange rectangles of paper, while the other side of the arena were given green. The instructions on the paper were to hold the coloured slips in front of our flashlights during Too Much To Ask, with the idea being our side would be orange, the middle would be white and the opposite side would be green, to create an Irish flag. There was definitely a huge buzz of anticipation as we watched the slips of paper go around, and people testing out the lights.
Finally, finally, the lights went down, and he was on stage with his band, opening the show with On The Loose. It’s one of my favourites from the album, and it got everyone up and out of their seats dancing. It was great to see him working a stage with such a great band supporting him, playing the guitar and interacting with the others on stage.
His next song was another of my favourites, The Tide, which started my slow descent into having absolutely no voice at all. His album was definitely better live. There’s so much musical intricacy and arrangement going on that you don’t notice while listen to the studio version, but watching it live you actually see how hard the violin player works, the amount of guitar in the songs, how much the drummer really drives a lot of the songs, especially in this song.
This Town, his first single was next, which obviously hyped everyone up, followed by Paper Houses and You And Me. The last two songs definitely showed off how much he’s grown as a singer as well. The variety in his music isn’t hugely broad, but they take a good effort to sing, and having mentioned that he woke up that morning without a voice, it was an incredible vocal performance.
The next song nearly had Kate peeing herself, and that was a cover of Dancing In The Dark by Bruce Springsteen. If you read my last Courtesy Of, Kate shared her favourite songs, and Bruce definitely featured on there, which is why she had a fit when he started singing, and was one of the only people in the entire arena who knew the song word for word.
After his Bruce Springsteen moment, he brought out Maren, and they sang Seeing Blind which again, was so much better live. If you haven’t heard the song, definitely give it a listen. You wouldn’t think it, but their voices blend perfectly, and they sang it beautifully.
The next song was the title track, Flicker. To be quite honest, I never listened to this song as much as I may have listened to others, but I’ve explained the pre-concert and post-concert favourites, and it may be one of my post-concert favourites. I don’t know if it was how quiet the arena was while he was singing, how nearly everyone put away their phones to just watch and create a moment, or how clicked on I was to listen to the lyrics and what he was actually saying, but this song rose to the top of my list of favourites as soon as he finished.
He followed that song with another tune that made everyone lose their heads, and it was one of the songs he wrote for One Direction, Fool’s Gold. Incredible. Again, it was like muscle memory and the lyrics flew out of everyone’s mouth on command.
Then Niall surprised us all and walked over and sat down behind the piano, openly admitting he too had no idea what he was doing, but then continued to play this beautiful riff as an intro to an unreleased song, So Long. There isn’t a studio version for the song, but you can listen to it HERE.
The next song he performed was another cover, this time of Camilla Cabello’s Crying In The Club. It took a little while for people to clue into what the song was, but as soon as we did, everyone was screaming the chorus back to him and dancing.
As soon as he began Too Much To Ask next, there was a collective shriek that went around the stadium as people hurried to switch on their phone flashes and within a couple of seconds, there was a huge Irish flag glowing throughout the arena. While he didn’t mention it afterwards, it was cute to see his face as he looked around the arena, singing the song.
Fire Away, Since We’re Alone and On My Own followed, and On My Own well and truly stole my voice. Have a listen to it, and you’ll understand why. It’s like an Irish pub song mixed with the ultimate single, zero-relationship anthem and I’m all about it. It was a great song to finish up with before the encore.
The encore began unexpectedly and nearly everyone lost their heads when they realised it was Drag Me Down, another One Direction single, that had everyone shrieking the lyrics like the fifteen and sixteen year olds most of us were when it was released. The next song was Slow Hands, his second single, and he stepped away from the guitar and the mic stand to move around the stage, waving to his friends in the audience and interact with his band a bit more, before he returned to the guitar to thank us all, and finish with Mirrors. Again, a favourite.
It was a magical song to end on, and really captured the atmospheric nature of the album, the arena, especially the song and the allowance for an audience to just scream the lyrics of the chorus.
Niall Horan’s concert was well worth the wait, and I had an insane amount of fun. It didn’t matter that we weren’t right down in the first few rows or even on the ground seats. The intimate nature of the gig made it incredible for everyone around the stadium and I enjoyed every second.