Niall Horan: Flicker World Tour // Manchester 2018 | Emily Bashforth

Niall Horan: Flicker World Tour // Manchester 2018


I have often wondered what we are greeted with as we ascend to Heaven and the gates open, however, on Thursday 15th March, I came pretty close to experiencing that very thing as I attended Niall Horan's Flicker World Tour in Manchester and living proof that angels do exist stood right in front of me.
Hyperbolic? Maybe. But, regardless, it was an unforgettable experience.

I seemed to have acquired a worrying habit of sitting on the cold, damp streets outside the Manchester O2 Apollo for 1D members, after doing just that in November for Harry Styles. However, being the fool that I am, I decided to do it all over again for Niall. I spent many hours sitting outside the venue, waiting for doors to open at 7pm once again and I can tell you it was just as freezing as the first time... but also just as enjoyable.

Time flew by as I bonded with two fellow fans in the queue, chatting all things life and all things One Direction. One of them lied to their school, saying she was attending a funeral when she was really heading to queue for a Niall Horan concert - I felt that on a spiritual level.
It was lovely, honestly. Lovely to be able to connect with people whom I would've never normally met if it wasn't for a band and people who thought and felt exactly the same as me. I felt inspired to be surrounded by a group of strong, formidable young people, (mostly females) who refused to let society's jokes and misconceptions on teenage girls define them. They refused to give eye-rolling passersby any satisfaction as they remained seated for hours in order to catch a glimpse of one of the people who makes them the happiest in the world.
The ground was hard and it rained a little but that didn't stop me from feeling 100% comfortable. I was happy because I was with people who were just like me and people who radiating warmth when their air couldn't have been icier. I shall hold the memories made in those few hours in my heart forever.


As 7pm rolled around and doors opened, naturally, the Hunger Games ensued as the race to the front row was well and truly on. My Usain Bolt mode was activated and I ended up on the third row. Yes. Third. As in, three rows from the stage. I could never have expected to be this far forwards but it made all those teeth-chattering hours worth every second. I was practically within touching distance of one of the biggest lights in my life for the past eight years and, to be so close to someone who meant so much, was everything.

Before the main event, however, we as a crowd were treated to Julia Michaels, Niall's support act, at 8pm. It would be an understatement to say she was a complete gem. She put on a fantastic set. Looked great, sounded great and radiated positivity. I have decided that I want to be as cool as her, although, that it unlikely to ever happen.



After Julia, came Niall and, as he walked on the stage to deafening screams and a sea of cameras up in the air, my heart seemed to stop but, at the same time, it had never felt more full. Seeing one of your favourite artists walk out onto stage brings a feeling that can never be articulated, not properly. It's a real moment and it feels as if everything you've ever wanted is right there in front of you.

Niall's whole concert was out of this world and I could not count the amount of times I was hit with a an overwhelming sense of "Wow, I can't believe I'm alive..." I also lost count of how many times he switched guitars during his set as I'm pretty sure he owns more guitars than I have eaten hot dinners in 18 years of life.
His energy is infectious and his personality is large. He fills a room with his beautiful presence, despite only being tiny in stature. Standing on that stage, he truly was a beacon of love and hope and everyone in the room was undoubtedly touched by his light. He beamed from ear to ear throughout the whole show, providing each fan with purpose and a reminder that good does exist in today's horrible world. It would be impossible to see this happy-go-lucky chap live and not feel so intensely happy. Simply by being happy himself, Niall makes you happy. His shows aren't about politics, or world issues, they aren't preachy nor are they dull, they're simply an hour and a half of escapism to enjoy some really good music, performed by someone with so much talent in his bones, if you were to cut him open, the world would probably be written straight through him.


 
It must be noted that, as well as singing some beautiful songs, Niall spoke some beautiful words. From bringing a Manchester Bee stuffed toy on stage and praising the One Love Manchester concert he performed at, to thanking fans for their support and being in awe of the fact that he gets to live his dream each day... he touched the hearts of us all. He truly is a human being we must protect at all costs.

The show opened with On The Loose, the perfect introductory song. Following this, the night was bursting with incredible performances and feelings I'll cherish forever. Feelings of heartbreak and happiness, joy and shock.


Niall's performance of This Town, his debut solo single, was a big highlight. It's crazy to think it was released all the way back in 2016, especially when you assess how far he has come and how much he has achieved since. Fans sang this song extra loudly and filled the venue with flashlights as we looked on in pride as Niall sang his heart out to a sold out Apollo on his second world tour. It was a magical three minutes, to say the least.

During Flicker, Niall requested everyone that everyone put their phones in their pockets in a bid to "make some memories, some real ones." This performance shall haunt me, in the most beautiful way, forever as I stood, crying, for three minutes. A sudden tsunami of emotions washed over me and, before I knew where I was, I was deep in the song, the lyrics and utterly detached from the outside world. It was a special moment which had me feeling more connected to that room of people than I've felt to anyone in a long time. It was such a peaceful, blissful time and a little bit of safety in such a scary universe. Niall got lost in it, we got lost in it, and it was an honour to share that moment with him.

Mirrors is a song Niall wrote as a message to young girls of the world. Acknowledging that many struggle with mental health issues and face battles with body image, he penned the track as reassurance to anyone who listens to it that they are beautiful. As he performed this song live, it felt very special indeed. With the audience being predominantly female and with most of them, no doubt, having struggled with their appearance at some stage in their lives, to have someone as influential and as important to us all as Niall say "Hey, you're doing a great job, it's okay" really hit home. The room was filled with such inspiring energy as he, yet again, showed how pure and kind his soul is.

Would it really be a 1D member's concert without some 1D songs? Of course it wouldn't. Niall blessed the room with Fools Gold, a masterpiece taken from the boys' fourth album which is now having all the spotlight shone upon it as Niall gives it the platform it deserves. It's a stunning song and was made even more stunning by the sound of 3,5000 One Direction fans singing the lyrics out as if no one could hear them. Niall sang this song without his band, just his acoustic guitar and his fans, creating such a strong sense of unity in the room and causing all the fond memories I've made as a 1D fan over the past few years to come flooding back to me. I have come to realise that, no matter how famous One Direction become as soloists or how well known their individual songs become, the loudest cheers and the happiest singing shall always come during a One Direction song and, honestly, it's one of the most beautiful experiences in the world.
Another 1D cover came in the form of Drag Me Down, the iconic lead single from Made in the A.M. made more rocky as Niall well and truly made it his own, almost as if the song was written solely for him. I'm struggling to recall a time when I have ever sung as loudly as I did during that song and I think there's a strong chance I may have burst a lung... oh well.

So Long is a song that didn't make Niall's first album, despite him wishing it had, therefore, what better thing to do with it than to perform it for thousands of fans around the world on tour, right? He played piano as his golden vocals graced over this track, once again proving how much of a blessing he is to the music industry and leaving me wondering, is there anything he can't do? The song itself was flawless and covered my skin with goosebumps.


Despite spending the majority of the night holding a guitar behind his microphone stand, there was one song which warranted some movement around the stage, which was, of course Slow Hands, probably Niall's most famous track and the one everyone can't help but move to. Seriously, those people who tell you it doesn't get their hips moving as soon as the first beat plays? They're lying. Niall took this song as a chance to interact with the crowd and do a little bit of boogieing himself. This song was certainly one of the stand out moments of the show, plus, it proved just how incredible Niall is as a performer.

The Flicker World Tour, Manchester, closed with the most fitting song for the job, On My Own, probably the most relatable track on the album as it speaks of just, basically, hating being around people and wanting to be left alone. It's ironic, though, how, when screaming out the words to this track, I could not have felt less alone. I was surrounded by thousands of sweaty bodies who were absolutely loving life, just as I was, and we were all connected by the beautiful music being played before us.
This track ended the show on a poignant note, leaving me feeling inspired, uplifted and as if I could then go out into the world and fully conquer it.


Concerts are my favourite places in the universe so to be at this one on Thursday night meant the world to me. I felt loved and I felt safe. I felt at peace and I felt happy. I was surrounded by positivity and got to spend the evening gazing up at someone who has been a massive part of my life for, pretty much, as long as I've been able to think for myself. I was bursting with pride as someone I've watched evolve from a teenager boy into a man sung his heart out and told his stories on a stage that he was born to be on. That whole experience is one I feel so blessed to have had, as I know millions would've given everything to have been where I was.

15th March 2018 will now hold a dear place in my heart as one of the best days of my life. 

Oh, and I can confirm that Dads love Niall too.


Love, Emily :) xx

4 comments:

  1. Dang it . I tried to read this without getting teary ....but I failed miserably. I love Niall so incredibly much. This was so beautifuly written ����

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    1. AW Leanne! That's so sweet of you, thank you for reading my blog post - I'm happy you liked it! I love Niall so much too! SNAP! :) xx

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  2. I love how your dad goes to concerts with you! My mum goes to concerts with me and it's so wonderful to share the experience with somebody you love. Back in the day when One Direction were, well, One Direction, my mum and I attended all of their tours, which was amazing! The Up All Night tour in Bournemouth (we camped out for and got third row), the Take Me Home tour in Cardiff (we travelled many miles) and the Where We Are Tour in Manchester (we travelled far for this one too). I really miss being a One Direction fangirl and attending their concerts, camping out for tickets and hiding around the back of the arenas. Niall's concert sounded amazing and I wish I could have gone, Niall was always my favourite and it sounded like you had a marvellous time with your dad! xxxx

    Lots of love from Mollie xxx | http://wwwtheperksofmolliequirk.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mollie,
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I've been a One Direction fan for almost eight years now and saw them live four times as a group so try and stop me gallivanting to their solo concerts too haha! I'm still very much a fangirl for them all and don't plan on stopping any time soon - even if they have taken all of my money AND my social life, oops! That's so amazing how you got to see them live too! I always saw them with my Mum as well! Now my Dad seems to have taken over as my concert buddy! I truly did have the BEST time at Niall's show, thank you so much! :) xx

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