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Live Review: Harry Styles @ Genting Arena, Birmingham, 07/04/18

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Birmingham's Genting Arena was blessed with an hour and a half of Harry Styles last Saturday evening.

Despite the solo rocker coming straight from of the world's biggest boybands, the crowd inside the show wasn't quite as expected - sure, mostly girls, but an older group than what you'd expect at 1D's performances. These seemed to be fans who had grown along with Harry.

Hélène Marie Pambrun

Opening up the night was London based R&B artist Mabel, who performed a half hour set which included chart hits 'Finders Keepers' and 'Fine Line'. Wearing a shiny tracksuit and trainers, she had a confident swagger about her as she danced around the stage, hyping up the crowd for the night's main event. She thanked Harry for asking her to join him on the tour, which earned an ear piercing scream from the crowd.

With an interval of half an hour, every superfan is on edge; every curtain movement receives a scream, and every Tom, Dick and Harry (pun not intended) that walk around the restricted areas receive a scream.

A curved screen lowers to hide the stage soon to be illuminated with a looping animation of a figure in a pink suit, that can only be identified as Harry with the rings and tattoos, solving a Rubik’s cube. Fans watch intently, wondering whether "the Rubik’s gets solved just before he comes on stage...” Correct.

The lights dimmed, and all focus was on the animation. Everyone stood up immediately - anyone with seats hoping for a chilled night with a drink in hand had no chance. Rubik’s cube solved. Enter Harry Styles.

Harry stands there, in a blue suit with a black stripe down the trousers and some black and white brogues. It's not his most elaborate suit of the tour, but still funky nevertheless. The crowd are uncontrollable and my intial "it won't be like the One Direction concert I went to in 2014" thoughts are taken back. Girls are screaming, someone somewhere was definitely crying.

Going straight into ‘Only Angel’, Harry takes this opportunity to address the whole audience running from left to right and pointing out to members in the crowd.

Harry and his band continue straight into ‘Woman’ where he picks up a guitar half way through. Impressed by his collection of guitars and ability, he just kept pulling it out the bag, finishing the introduction with ‘Ever Since New York’.

Finally, he addresses the crowd.

“I have one album, ten songs” he says. 

“Some of you parents are thinking, 'What? I drove here for TEN songs?’ Don’t worry, we’re going to play some old and new”.

Naturally, this led to mayhem in the audience, as this implied that One Direction songs were on the playlist. ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ echoes around the venue, a track from their album Four. Putting a spin on it and making it his own, the track is less pop-like and much more rock; he’s shakes off that One Direction edge to the music.

The whole night was amazing. Harry had bags full of energy and was constantly interacting with the crowd. He ran down the aisle to a pop-up stage so he could see all the “beautiful people” and play for those who don’t have the best view.

Even when there’s a technical issue with his guitar, he styles (again, pun not intended) it out and takes it as an opportunity to ask for the house lights once again to chat to the 15,000 strong crowd.

Playing everything from his album to unreleased tracks (that only hardcore fans seemed to know) and the best ever cover of ‘The Chain’ by Fleetwood Mac, Harry Styles proves that he’s an artist in his own right.

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