Niall Horan – Flicker World Tour
Spark Arena, Auckland NZ
June 1st 2018
4.5/5 stars
Reviewed by HAZEL REID

 

I can confirm my ears were ringing for at least an hour from all of the screaming and cheering following Niall Horan’s much anticipated return to Auckland.

Niall’s American pal Maren Morris opened up the evening with her catchy country tunes. Maren strutted the stage performing songs from her Hero album before ending in mega-hit The Middle, much to the crowd’s excitement!

As blue lights filled the stage and the chords of On the Loose began to play, it was undeniable that we were in for a big show. Poor Niall was a little jet lagged since he had only arrived in the country 24 hours before the show and had endured 30 hours of flying time to get here. He mentioned that he loved doing concerts in NZ previously and asked the crowd if “we’re ready for a fantastic night,” and boy did he deliver.

Niall and his bassist slamming out a tune. Image credit- Chris Traill. Full album available at the bottom of this page.

As Niall launched into his third song, This Town, the room suddenly lit up with the colours of the Irish flag (orange, green and white) as a group of fans on Twitter had handed out small pieces of coloured tape to put on audience member’s phone flashlights. It’s amazing to see the power of social media and a couple of fans, to which Niall said “this is madness.”

It’s obvious how comfortable Niall is on stage, especially with a guitar in hand which is a parallel from his boy-band days of One Direction. The Irish lad cheekily even said to the crowd (with a laugh) that if they know the words sing along but if they don’t, “don’t sing because it will sound horrendous.” A+ for honesty, Niall!

I loved seeing how much Niall interacted with the crowd, as I believe it’s an important part of seeing a great musician live (it really makes it an experience). He regularly took time in between songs to ask how the audience was doing (answer: fantastic). “You guys are incredible, tonight’s show will resonate with us for a while. This is the perfect way to get back into the tour.”

Taking off his guitar, Niall migrated towards the back of the stage to sit down at the keyboard to perform So Long. A song he said didn’t make it on the album, but he realised afterwards it should have, so he beautifully performed it live. Niall announced the “sad songs are now all over, I want to get a party started in here,” as Niall covered Camilla Cabello’s Crying in the Club with a country vibe.

Personally, I would have liked to see a One Direction medley but appreciate that he is on his own solo career journey, and he did include two 1D tunes in his set list. It was awesome to see his full band set-up that even included a violin player, which is a bit special and rare!

Niall and the crew. Image credit- Chris Traill

Everyone was having such a good time that time just flew by as the show was coming to a close. Upon exiting the stage after their fifteenth song, chants of “Niall! Niall! Niall!” soon filled the arena, and the screaming continued as the band re-appeared back on stage for Drag Me Down with Niall in an All Blacks shirt. I can confirm that I even got up with the crowd to dance for the encore with my water in hand (stay hydrated, kids).

Rounding out a fantastic 100 minute performance with On My Own, Niall thanked the audience again for coming out in the hopes that everyone had fun and would go home happy! I think it’s safe to say that everyone did judging by the crowd around me. As he paced the stage one last time, flicking out guitar picks, Niall’s final parting words were, “See you at the World Cup!”

 

Set List:

1. On the Loose
2. The Tide
3. This Town
4. Paper Houses
5. You and Me
6. Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springsteen cover)
7. Seeing Blind
8. Too Much to Ask
9. Flicker
10. Fool’s Gold (One Direction song)
11. So Long
12. Since We’re Alone
13. Fire Away
14. Crying in the Club (Camilla Cabello cover)
15. Mirrors

Encore
16. Drag Me Down (One Direction song)
17. Slow Hands
18. On My Own

 

From tour managing boybands to working massive events and interviewing international talent, HAZEL REID is in love with the craziness that is the entertainment industry.

 

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