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Image: Vasili Papathanasopoulos.
Louis Tomlinson took to the stage at the Hordern Pavillion in Sydney, to a crowd of adoring fans. Buzzing with energy, fans were chanting the former One Direction members name prior to the singer walking on stage, eager to see the artist walk on stage.
But first, Scottish rockers The Snuts put on a great show. The venue was already packed before the band stepped on stage, with audience members erupting in cheers and the band stepped on stage. Singing along to many of their tracks, reacting by using their phones to light up the room during End Of The Road and clapping along Somebody Loves You. I was reminded of acts like U2 during their opener The Rodeo, and Aussie band STUMPS in Maybe California. The bands onstage production, particularly their lighting design, was a standout, with the set as a whole providing a cool edge to the night.
Image: Vasili Papathanasopoulos.
As the chanting for Tomlinson continued, house lights finally went down and the screams reached new decibels. You could hear nothing but the shrieks and cheers from fans in the audience. Interestingly, the first vocals we hear are that of Tomlinson’s band members, as the musician made his way to centre stage during We Made It. Throughout the night, Tomlinson embraced his fans by repeatedly interacting with the crowd, pointing out to audience members and meeting their gaze with an excitable smile.
Then came the all too familiar One Direction track, Drag Me Down. The energy lifted and every crowd member was singing along. The love continued in the track Always You, with members of the audience displaying signs saying “Sydney loves you”. Their continued involvement was beautiful to see, creating beautiful moments such as holding up multicoloured lights sprinkled throughout the audience during Only The Brave. Tomlinson also asked the crowd to sing along during Don’t Let It Break Your Heart and Two Of Us. The former had a few flat moments vocally from the singer, whilst the latter brought unbridled moments of passion.
Change and Fearless both started acoustically and with some lovely emotive moments, whilst Changes had great power in the performance and vocals. Tomlinson again connected greatly with the crowd by reaching out, pointing to people in the crowd and smiling with such genuine ease. It was one of the most sincere expressions I’ve seen a performer express during a live show. He asked the crowd to sing along during Fearless, an anthemic quality running throughout the song. Shouting out the band and pumping up the audience with his arms, reminding me of Freddie Mercury and mentioning the hardworking crew who put together the show in Sydney. Then Tomlinson covered the 7 by Catfish and the Bottlemen, emitting genuine joy in his performance.
There were aspects of the stage production that could have been improved upon, particularly the on-stage lighting design. The front of stage and side of stage was dimly lit, causing us to lose sight of Tomlinson as he approached these spots. Considering how many times the musician made his way to those points the darkness messed with the momentum of the show. There were moments of worry throughout the set, Tomlinson stopped the show and left the stage before the stage manager alerted audience members a punter needed treatment. A fan was tended to and escorted out of the crowd by medical services, the musician then returned to the stage and continued with the show.
The night brought a mix of sweet and interesting moments. Overall strong, clean vocals with only hints of wavering moments. As experienced in Habit where the singers performance lacked strength, he eased into powerful moments, feeding off the crowds enthusiasm. It was Tomlinson’s energy throughout the show that resonated with the audience, creating unforgettable moments for the fans who have followed his career for over a decade. The rock edge throughout the show created a contrast to what we had once come to know from his time in One Direction, and made me reflect on just how perfectly Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger brought five lads together to create something quite unique. Each of their stories are threaded within their sound, both during and after the 1D era. Much like Tomlinson’s outfit, the show was a little ray of sunshine on a dreary, rainy Sydney night.
Images: Vasili Papathanasopoulos.