What It Was Like Seeing Niall Horan without One Direction for the First Time

Last Friday, November 3, I went to Niall Horan’s concert on his Flicker Sessions tour at the Orpheum Theatre in Downtown Crossing. I have been an avid and proud fan of One Direction since middle school and throughout high school. My love for the band runs deep. So naturally, when they decided to take a break, I continued to support each of their solo efforts. I even got my English teacher to play Niall’s first solo song, “This Town,” in class when it came out in the middle of a school day.

My sister and I jumped to get tickets to Niall’s concert at the Orpheum. I was thrilled when we scored seats in the small venue, but part of me felt quite odd. I had only seen him on stage as a part of a band.  How would he perform without the One Direction boys?

Once my sister and I joined the mob of fans trying to get into the theater, I felt the old but familiar sense of being surrounded by Directioners. I felt at home. But everything was slightly different. As it has been two years since One Direction split, all of their fans have aged. This meant that there were fewer moms and more alcohol-drinkers in the audience. Although the people in the crowd were mostly the same people from two years ago, they were all more mature.

Photo by Ben Esakof

To no surprise, my Niall has not really changed. He told lengthy stories in between songs and rocked out with his bandmates just like he would do when there were four other singers up on stage with him. Sidenote: he shared that he played soccer at Boston University on Thursday, November 2 (#WHAT).

With the way Niall sang and played all the songs from his new album, Flicker, his happiness was undeniable. It warmed my One Direction-loving heart to know that he is genuinely enjoying his life right now and is extremely proud of his solo music. I actually teared up a little at one point.

Flicker is the first album that is completely his own. It represents his individually preferred music style: a mix of his Irish roots, the folk music he grew up listening to, and the pop of One Direction. The lyrics in his songs also tell the story of his life during these past two years, giving fans a peek into his life. The album has received exceptional feedback, debuting at No. 1 on Billboard.

Photo by Ben Esakof

I’m not gonna lie. It was still slightly strange being at a concert where Niall was the only One Direction member on stage. At his New York City show just a couple days before, he reminded the crowd that it had officially been two years since One Direction last performed in concert together. I miss them as a band. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that each of the boys are figuring out their own sounds and pursuing their dreams, but I still miss them singing together. The fooling around on stage… The harmonies… The brotherhood… It’s gone.

Not to sound naïve, but I do believe One Direction will reunite one day. Probably not soon, but at some point in the future. This is not because I selfishly want my favorite band back, but because I truly believe that they love singing together and will want to do it again. Until then, I will continue to support all of their solo efforts. You can find me at their concerts, relishing in their accelerating talent and escalating happiness.

 

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