Concert Review with PHOTOS: Harry Styles

Photos by Chris Zwaagdyk

Photos by Chris Zwaagdyk

By Alex Kim

Artist: Harry Styles

Date / Venue: Saturday December 2nd, 2017 - Spark Arena, Auckland 

Standard conversations between individuals with no clue to who Harry Styles is, might go something like this:

Yeah, y’know the guy from One Direction?”“Who?”“Harry Styles! He dated Taylor Swift for a while.”“Yeah but who hasn’t these days right? Haha.”

Considering Styles released his first album less than a year ago at time of writing, it’s not an uneducated guess.

Having separated from his bandmates and striking out as an up-and-coming solo artist, Styles has made it remarkably far in an incredibly short amount of time. With an average of 10 million monthly listens on Spotify, he’s storming the music industry in a big way.

But gone are the days of happy, sappy, love-lorn pop singles – chasing rock legends such as Bowie, The Beatles, and even a bit of Johnny Cash – his show on Saturday night depicts his willingness  to climb the musical ladder with grit and talent rather than relying on his pop stardom.

It’s a dangerous gamble and a potential sloppy mess to mix such unique genres so far removed from his One Direction days, but somehow Styles has managed to skillfully weave his way through. For this listener, it’s as if we’re sitting in a time machine viewing the very soul of rock’n’roll through the ages.

Oh, but the time machine is actually an incredibly good looking 23 year old and the windows all have a sexy electric pink Bowie-esque tint to them. Not that I’m complaining.

The show has expert pacing, and is sexily contrasted from start to finish. Opening with Ever since New York and Two Ghosts, the somber blues and folk strikes out against the punchier tracks of Only Angel and Women.

While everything moved at a brisk pace, the show never felt rushed. Unafraid to include a few of the slower tunes, Sweet Creature being much appreciated by this reviewer, it gave his crowd some much-required breathing space.

And at the same time, Styles took a page straight out of Mr Freddie Mercury’s playbook and went on stage to display a newfound fab and glam to the world. The showmanship was possibly good enough to rival that of Freddie, but it was his charming persona which really shined through.

During a break between sets, Styles stopped the show for a few minutes so everyone could wish one particular girl happy birthday after he was informed it was her 23rd (Lauren, if you’re reading this, we’re all incredibly jealous #notjealoustotallyjealous).

Styles’ career is still budding as a solo artist, and the range of his artistry is starting to make waves within Rock itself. Might he be successful in climbing the peaks to join the Rock pantheon of old? Maybe. Will we be hearing more of his feats in the future? Most likely.

One thing for certain – he’s got a new adoring fan in his pocket and I can’t wait to see where he chooses to go next.