Antoin’e Ogilvie reviews former One Direction star Niall Horan’s show at Auckland’s Spark Arena

It seems like only yesterday that One Direction were making headlines, topping charts, centrefold
in any relevant magazine and carving a return for the boyband niche. Almost a decade later, the
heart-throbs have since split, each on a different musical tangent; but Niall Horan has ditched the
peroxide and is in a league of his own.

The Irish singer/songwriter’s career has been humming this year, with a chart-topping album
‘Flicker’ and a World Tour which saw him arrive on New Zealand shores last week for a packed
show at Spark Arena on Auckland’s waterfront. But before the man himself showed face, the night
was kicked off by none other than industry pal Maren Morris who electrified the crowd with a
performance of her hit single ‘Middle’ amid a fun track list, before setting the stage for our Irish

There’s an unexpected nice-guy charm to Niall Horan that isn’t portrayed in the media. It’s the kind
of demeanour that makes you think “what a hon!” and we see this as he humbly thanks us for
coming, shortly before he gets the ball running with an unfaultable choice of song – ‘On The Loose’.
Wielding a guitar and a cool dad vibe, (after all, it has been 9 years since 1D!) he twists and turns,
jamming away with his band as we all bop heads and roll shoulders.


While Niall didn’t make much use of the large stage, Spark Arena’s impressive visuals and sound
compensated, entrancing the audience as they fell under the spell of our butter-voiced beau.
Maren Morris then rejoined the stage, and the pair preformed “Seeing Blind”, accompanied by a
dazzling light performance which I imagine probably left the crowd seeing a bit blind.

Niall drops the guitar in favour of the piano, going off-book to preform a piano ballad that never
made it to the album. It’s moving, thought-provoking and it becomes apparent he has a great
command over the room. He introduces his talented band to the crowd, effortlessly confident in
doing so, its clear that this is not his first rodeo.

After declaring that the sad songs were over, Horen preformed Camilla Cabello’s ‘Crying in The
Club’ with a twist which at first fell on confused ears, until the distinctive chorus caught on. What
next ensued felt like a party. A really fun house party. He finishes the set and disappears
backstage. Suddenly everybody is screaming, its deafening. “NIALL! NIALL! NIALL!” they all

The charismatic Irishman returns to the stage, this time wearing an All Blacks shirt to preform “Drag
Me Down”, “Slow Hands” and “On My Own”. He once again graciously thanks the crowd, bidding
us adieu with the parting words, “See you at the world cup!”