Concert Reviews

Niall Horan with Maren Morris at Budweiser Stage

Photos by Katrina Lat

Wednesday evening proved to be one of the hottest nights of the year, with record-breaking temperatures and one of the hottest artists in the music scene right now. It has just been a little under a year since we last saw Niall Horan in Toronto, a city that has always been extremely dedicated to the Irish singer. For this leg of the tour he brought country singer-songwriter Maren Morris along for the ride.

The Morris and Horan dynamic was something quite unexpected but magical. By having Maren on tour it allows for the exploration of the country music genre that fans may not have wanted to explore before. Morris has a dynamic and raw voice with an extremely endearing personality that keeps you engaged and eager to hear more. As her set was coming to the end you could tell everyone was ready and excited to hear “The Middle” which took off at the beginning of this year and propelled it’s self to the top of the Billboard charts.

There’s nothing quite like the rush of the lights going down and the stage illuminating with your favourite singer’s name or introduction video. Over the last 8 years of my life I can say the piercing screams and rush for One Direction as a group and as individual members is one of the greatest experiences. Horan comes right out of the gates with his lead song and latest single “On The Loose” and every single person in that sold out amphitheater knows the words.

Niall encouraged people throughout the evening to put their phones away and to just live in the moment, which was something I thought, was very cool. In this day in age we are so obsessed with our phones and status that everyone is at a concert watching through a screen instead of their own two eyes. Horan has a lot of slower songs on the album like “Flicker” and “Paper Houses”, which are a whole other experience, live. The raw emotion that comes through the lyrics of these songs, alongside an acoustic guitar is absolutely mesmerizing.

I am not sure any artist (non-local) who loves Toronto more than Niall Horan loves Toronto. On more than one occasion he says that not only is this his favourite show of the entire tour but that it is one of his favourite cities to play in because of the incredible Canadian support and love. That love and support was on full display during “Since We’re Alone”, when the amphitheater took part in a popular fan project that encompasses four leaf clovers on white, orange and green construction paper, so when they are held up to a phone flashlight an Irish flag is created.

Horan has really established himself as a solo artist and is a constant surprise to those who perhaps overlooked him during his days in One Direction. Before closing the show out with “Slow Hands” and “Mirrors”, he let everyone know that when the tour was over he was getting back in the studio to write another album and would return soon. With such a stellar first album under his belt, I’m excited to see what comes next.