Harry Styles in 3Arena, Dublin, on Monday 16th 2018
First appearing on the 3Arena stage as a dark silhouette, Harry Styles causes the ear-splitting screams of a new decible to fill the air before the spotlight finally hits him. Decked out in a dark grey suit featuring his trademark flared trousers, he is light years away from his early days in One Direction.
Styles chooses a quality opener for the show in the form of the classic-rock inspired Only Angel, and his energy is infectious as he parades, struts and swaggers across the length of the stage. This upbeat number, combined with the charismatic dancing, would certainly win over audiences, but it’s clear this is something he doesn’t have to worry about. It’s quite evident he could open with any song in the entire history of music and the crowd would scream themselves hoarse.
This doesn’t defer him from giving it his all, though, and not for a single moment does he use this power and influence to sit back and have a more understated set. Instead he gives it everything, telling the audience that his “only job tonight is to entertain”, thanking them all for coming out and sincerely telling them that if “it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t get to be here at all.”
Leading into Woman, Styles introduces some vintage electric guitar playing before changing guitars and pace to the delicate, acoustic number Ever Since New York, followed by the tender Two Ghosts. Basking in the glow of thousands of phone lights, he delivers both tracks with passion and depth, seeming to truly feel the lyrics.
The 24-year-old put his own spin on some already famous numbers during the night, such as Ariana Grande’s Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart, which he tells the crowd is a track he himself penned for the popstar. A more electric guitar and drum-fuelled version of his former band’s That’s What Makes You Beautiful causes absolute chaos to erupt, and there’s no doubt nearly everyone here has been a fan of the star since his 1D days.
This makes it hard not to wonder if Styles will ever win over a more varied fanbase; his music has notable qualities that could certainly be appreciated by a bigger market than that of solely young girls. Comparisons such as Mick Jagger and David Bowie have been repeatedly and generously thrown out there since his solo-endeavour, and although they may be bit of a stretch, watching him on stage tonight it’s clear they’re not completely ludicrous.
Sign of the Times highlights just this; it’s absolutely the best track Styles has in his catalogue to date and he delivers a terrific performance, proving himself to be every bit the professional and showcasing just how much his vocals have improved since the early days of his career. There’s no question he belongs up there.
After this track, Styles departs the stage, but not before telling the crowd that he is “going to disappear for about 90 seconds and pretend I’m gone, but you’re going to know I’ve not gone and then I’m going to come back on and sing three more songs.”
After giving the four members of his band a shout out, he begins his encore with a remarkable cover of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain. Between his appearance and song choice, Styles both looks and sounds like he’s been plucked from a different era in music. He then takes things down in tempo with the most soft and sensitive track on his album, From the Dining Table, and it’s an intimate moment and pleasant build-up to Kiwi, an energy-filled rock number that closes out the show on an immense high.
Overall, Styles effortlessly reached his goal of entertaining the crowd and it’s hard to believe that he only has one 10-track album to his name, which he covers in full during the night. It’s exciting to think what his set-list is going to be like further down the line when he has a few albums under his belt. Could it be an entire night featuring tracks of the same calibre as Sign of the Times. Only time will tell, but it would be truly something special and a spectacular event to witness