Niall Horan and Maren Morris Close Out Summer
An Evening To Remember
No stranger to time on the road, Niall Horan was brought into the public eye years ago as he auditioned for Britain’s The X Factor, which led to him joining forces to become part of a mega group sensation known as One Direction. Since announcing the group’s hiatus back in 2016, Niall set out on his own musical endeavors. In the fall of 2017 he released his debut solo album titled Flicker, which was packed full of hit songs. Songs such as “Slow Hands” brought this album to a number one position in multiple countries upon release. It’s an album that has found a way to merge multiple genres and cultural influences into one location. You’ll hear, through the instruments used the connection to his home of Ireland, a pop feeling throughout and even hints of Rock and Roll and some country.
In fact the album has only one song that features another artist, and that song became the album’s fifth single earlier this summer. We are of course speaking of “Seeing Blind“. A song that features a duet with country/pop sensation Maren Morris, one who has been know to create some hit songs of her own. With all this in just one album, it made sense to set out on a tour named after the body of music and he brought Maren along with him on his tour across the world. We joined the two as they made their stop at Charlotte’s PNC Music Pavilion on a beautiful and cool September evening in the middle of the week.
Upon arriving it was pretty much impossible to miss the line that had formed running the entrance and extending far into the parking lot. It was roughly around 6:30 when the sun was began to set, but the evening was just getting started for these fans. The line began to flow quickly into the venue and shortly after it was time for the show to begin. The stage was dressed with a large white cloth background and in front of it were instruments and multiple LED sticks. Atop some of those were very large, old style light bulbs. Soon after, the crowd had made their way to their seats as music began to play. The LED lights on the stage then began to strobe to the rhythm of the music. As Maren Morris walked on stage she was met by excited screams from the crowd, including a “yaassss queen” from some fans.
As her set began, she brought a vibe that blended country music with a little rock as she moved around the stage playing to the crowd. A few songs in, she kicked off one of her recent hit songs “Rich“, which immediately got the audience singing along with her.
It was a moment that proved that the evening was about to be filled with dedicated fans that absolutely adored singing. She then took a brief moment to thank everyone in attendance for coming out and mentioned how glad she was to be in Charlotte after all of the recent weather due to hurricane Florence.
Shortly after, she showed off the true power of her voice and songwriting skills with songs like “Second Wind” that maintained an upbeat rhythm before being blended into a melody featuring Beyoncé’s “Halo“. In fact it was that cover song that found a way to bring the entire audience together and combine voices that echoed throughout the pavilion.
Before closing out her set she gave the crowd two of her biggest hit songs, the first of which was her most personal as she mentioned she “put everything” into writing ‘”My Church“.
Closing out her time was the incredibly popular song that kicked off 2018 as she collaborated with Zedd and Grey to created “The Middle”. A song which brought the true party to the pavilion, but it was only just the beginning.
As the stage prepared for Niall the white cloth that served as a backdrop for Maren dropped and revealed large scaffolding that held many lights, some of which were huge can lights that where placed in a way to create the initials N.H. for Niall Horan. As we took our places we noticed some die hard fans in the audience of both Niall and One Direction as a whole. These super fans had actually brought their own 1D dolls along with them to watch the show, proving just how excited they were to be there and their love for the artists. One of their moms even mentioned that “back in September of 2014 she had brought her daughter Lauren and her friends to their very first concert, featuring One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer at the same venue”. The dolls tagged along then as well.
As the lights went out we saw fans scurrying to get to their seat quickly as Niall was about to take to the stage. Then some of the loudest and high pitched screams of excitement we’ve ever heard filled the air. Screams of which grew louder and louder as band mates walked on stage and hit the highest octaves as Niall joined Charlotte. To kick things off he began with the tune heard recently on the airwaves… “On The Loose”. Proving that he came to feed off the energy of the crowd, you could find him dancing around the stage at certain points with his guitar in hand. Later he played his first single as a solo artist, ‘The Town” which prompted the fans to pull out their phones and shine their flashlights for all to see.
As the evening progressed, the energy level never felt as though it dropped as it occurred to us that more than likely a lot of fans were not going to have their voices the following day after putting everything they had into singing along with Niall.
Songs such as One Direction’s “Fools Gold” and Niall’s “Too Much To Ask” pretty much solidified that thought. There was a point though that not all fans knew every word and that was only because he chose to play the crowd a song that never actually made it onto the album, even though it was the very first song he wrote for it. However, as you would expect there were still plenty of people in the crowd that knew the song that had never been released titled “So Long”. Over the course of the show it was hard not to notice how the music was met with such a beautiful and comfortable summer’s evening. As the end of summer and the end of this tour were just days away, we took note of the incredible atmosphere that surrounded us with the clearest of night skies and a moon shining bright enough to show off the smiling faces within the crowd.
Nothing summed up the wonderful summer night quite as well as Niall’s performance of “Fire Away“. A song that had a slower tempo but came paired with lighting that emitted soft golden hues across the crowd. What really made this moment special, for us at least, was the crowd waving their flashlights in the air again. However, this time it was different. They weren’t harsh lights like you would expect from a phones flash, instead they were warm lights that were red and yellowish which pair perfectly with the stage lighting. We took notice to this as everyone had placed a finger over the flash to soften it’s intensity and create a truly magical moment. Before closing his set he left us with a few final songs including a song titled “Finally Free“ which is featured in the upcoming animated film Small Foot. Then bringing his Irish roots to the queen city, him and his predominantly English and Irish band began to play “On Way Way”, a song that just fills you with joy and makes your body want to dance an Irish jig.
As for the finale, after a brief absence from the stage he returned to cover “Life In The Fast Lane“ a song made famous by The Eagles and then went on to perform “Drag Me Down” a tune by One Direction. The crowd’s energy did not go unnoticed as Niall made sure to let the audience know that they had been “absolutely f*#king incredible” as he bid them a farewell with his final two songs “Slow Hands” and “Mirrors“.
With a tour that has been running around the world since March, we’ll soon find it coming to an end on September 23rd in Florida. If you didn’t have the chance to catch him this time, stay tuned to his website and social media for future news. As for Maren Morris, she’s shared little hints on social media over the last few months informing fans that her sophomore album is in the works and you may be hearing something from it sooner rather than later. Stay tuned and keep an eye out as both of these artist surely have plenty more to share with the world in the coming months.