Live Review: Niall Horan at Rod Laver Arena
3 April, 2024

‘Welcome To The Show!’ flashes up on the screens at the front of the arena to mark the beginning of the first sold out show at Rod Laver Arena tonight.

“I’m so glad to be back in Melbourne – my favourite city on the planet! Are you ready?” Asks Niall Horan. Nice To Meet Ya is a fitting track to start off, followed by Small Talk mashed-up with a chorus of Fleetwood Mac’s Edge Of Seventeen. His charming personality shines through. We’re instantly impressed by his stage presence and musical talent.

Horan puts on a surprisingly good Aussie impersonation for us as he greets the audience, before slipping right back into his thick Irish accent. “I was so nervous about coming on stage tonight. It feels like I’m doing a homecoming show or something. As you know, I’ve spent a lot of time here over the years and this city is definitely 110% my favourite city in the world,” he says.

It’s been 6 years since his last tour and he reminisces about the memories he’s had touring with One Direction and visiting family and friends who live in Melbourne. “It really does hold a special place in my heart,” he declares. “Even my guitar-tech is from Glen Iris,” he adds.

We’re encouraged to sing as long as loud as we can for the next three-and-a-half minutes without stopping and jump as high as we can for Black And White. He breaks out his dorky dance moves up and down the middle stage run that dives the mosh pit and his loyal fans let out excited screams as he gets up close to them.

“I still have to pinch myself that I get to do this for a job – the fact that I get to travel the planet and be on the other side of the world–I couldn’t be any further from home if I tried,” admits Horan. He’s humbled and shows genuine heartfelt gratitude towards his devoted fans.

He chills out and takes a seat at the front of the stage with his band mates who play violin, piano and guitar for a few acoustic songs including Put a Little Love On Me and This Town. He finishes off solo as he attaches a harmonica and plays the acoustic guitar for You Could Start A Cult. The crowd sings along in harmony to every word.

Of course, it’s almost mandatory that he plays a One Direction song and for tonight he decides to play Stockholm Syndrome from their fourth album. He puts his own spin on it for a fresh arrangement that’s well-suited to him performing as a solo artist, along with a talented band by his side.

Whilst you can never take the ‘boy’ out of the ‘boyband,’ Horan proves that he’s an exceptional solo performer that’s been able to break the stigma and deliver an unforgettable show with his own unique style and flair. He’s continuing to build momentum and as he embarks on a new era in his career with his latest album The Show, and he’s harnessed his unique blend of soft rock/pop to really make a success of it on his own.

His popular tracks Heaven and Meltdown see Horan showing off all his greatest boy band moves and encourage the crowd to dance along to the upbeat hits. He then takes a moment to interact with fans and reads the many hand-made signs they’ve worked hard to make for tonight. One fan hands him a pair of golf socks that he gladly accepts to add to his collection and he even gives one lucky bachelorette and her party a group a selfie.

The crowd shouts the official “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi,” chant, followed by the unofficial chant Hey Baby by DJ Otzi to demand an encore. Horan returns for two final tracks including Save My Life and Slow Hands to round out ‘The Show’ Live on tour in Melbourne as the background stage curtains drop with a screen projection that reads ‘The End’.

Words by Michael Prebeg

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