I am a concert junkie, there is nothing like that feeling you get when your favorite artist comes on stage whether it is your first time seeing them or the tenth. It never gets old and from the first song to that last roar from the crowd, I feel at home. This summer, my best friend and I were two of the lucky millions who snagged Niall Horan tickets via Ticketmaster’s Verified Fan. My best friend gave the tickets to me as a birthday gift, she is awesome that way.
On Friday, November 10th, at 6:15 in the morning my best friend and I arrived at the Tabernacle in downtown Atlanta, GA. There were already 171 fans as dedicated as we are in line. 171 people, 173 including my best friend and I, willing to wait in the cold for a guy with a guitar. To each person in line, that guy means something different and special. Horan’s music as a solo artist and his tunes with One Direction are apart of our hearts.
We sat in between two barrier gates on the sidewalks of downtown Atlanta for 14 hours in the cold. The Tabernacle staff and security were incredibly organized and welcoming. They succeeded in doing their best to keep everyone safe and have the day go smoothly. A few hours before the show, Tabernacle staff took groups of 30 at a time to buy merchandise so people would not lose their place in line. Fans did not go hungry either, there was a tent at the entrance selling food at the reasonable price of $2.00 per item. There was also surrounding food establishments that were very accommodating at breakfast and lunch, they were also kind enough to let us use their restrooms.
My best friend and I always make friends at these types of events. This one was no different, we instantly connected with the girls around us. Two sisters that were sat in front of us got us waffles from Waffle House after only two hours of friendship. We all shared blankets, took turns holding each other’s spots, shared candy, chatted, and even played a couple rounds of Cards Against Humanity. There were a few rotten eggs in the crowd that attempted to spoil the day by trying to cut in line and the lovely young souls who screamed song lyrics unnecessarily loud outside the venue. But overall, I was impressed with the majority of the people we encountered over the course of the day.
Those who waited from dawn till dusk were rewarded halfway through the day when Horan arrived at the venue and gave us a smile and a thumbs up as he exited his car. But the true reward would come later that night when he performed. About two hours before the show we were let in and all our waiting paid off when we stood in the middle of the sixth row from the stage.
The opening act was as much of a class act as Horan himself is. Corey Harper blew the crowd away with his set. My personal favorite part of his set was when Harper sang his song “No Good Alone”. Which was a favorite of mine before even hearing him live.
Then came Niall Horan, opening with his song “The Tide” which is most certainly a favorite of mine from the album and was the perfect song to kick off his show. Niall has always had a strong stage presence and is in his element when he is up on stage behind his guitar. Horan’s show is very intimate, it is so clear that each song comes from his heart. One special moment in the show is when Niall asked everyone to be quiet, and waited till nobody was making a peep, when he played his album’s title track, “Flicker”. Niall has said multiple times that it is his favorite song on the album, he worked hard and long to write this song.
Niall says in his documentary On The Record: Niall Horan- Flicker, “I had been playing around with the concept of it for awhile now. Just the song wasn’t good enough, what was coming out of it. One I was just sitting at home, had my phone on me and I was just sitting there and had the guitar in me hand like I always do. I pressed voice record and just started playing that riff at the start of the song. And it just happened, I don’t know where.”
I’m glad he made it happen, it was a very special and personal moment in the show. Niall has a way of somehow connecting with everyone in the room, his show is almost magical. Another magic moment in the show, is when Horan plays tribute to his 1D days. Niall takes the stage alone and sings “Fools Gold” from One Direction’s album, FOUR. The night continued to be filled with sweet moments but one particularly beautiful one was the fan project for the night. For those who are not familiar with the tradition, it is common at One Direction shows for fans to get together and make a project to be held up during a certain song. At the Atlanta Flicker Session, fans held up a paper during “Mirrors” that said “You’re beautiful, have you ever been told?” which is a line from the song. Niall smiled all through the song and gave the crowd a thumbs up after singing their chosen line. As sweet, intimate, and personal as his show may be, it is also fun. My best friend and I had a blast grooving to his tunes such as “On The Loose”, “Since We’re Alone”, and of course his funky blast that everyone knows,”Slow Hands”. Niall is obviously comfortable behind his guitar, but it is fun to watch him get down and groove to “Slow Hands”. Horan closed the show with a tune that is not only favorite of his and the fans but his stellar band, who were absolutely amazing the whole night. “On My Own” is pure Irish, it is fun, charming, and is an absolute jam. Niall could not of ended the night in a more fun and perfect way.
The experience as a whole was a success. So many people told us we were crazy for sitting out for 14 hours just for a guy with a guitar. We would do it again and probably will one day. There is not many things on this earth that make my heart as happy as it does when I’m seeing one of my favorite artists perform. I had suffered a personal loss the month before and it did my heart so much good to see our favorite Irishman do his thing. Thank you, Niall, for a beautiful night. We could not have been any prouder. We will see you this summer for round two in Nashville, TN!
Niall’s #1 debut album, Flicker, is now available for order, streaming, and can be found in stores.