Let there be no doubt about it: Harry Styles is the real deal. The 24-year-old singer proved there is life after One Direction with the release of his debut solo album last year, and tonight he brought his new soft-rock sound, not to mention his easy charm and power vocals, to his fans in Hong Kong. And trust us when we say that Styles isn’t simply trying out being a rock star in a bid to shake off his boyband past: Styles is a rock star.
Arriving on stage full of energy, Styles started as he meant to go on, breezing through the 14-song setlist that included nods to other artists and several throwbacks to his 1D days.But before he really got going, he had an important message for the crowd: “Please feel free to be whoever it is you want to be in this room tonight.”
Harry Styles, the album, is a reflection of the singer himself: cool, unexpected, and a mix of everything that is most awesome in life
Styles stopped to chat like this throughout the show, telling fans that “each and every one of you looks absolutely fabulous”, and “if it’s your birthday, happy birthday”.
Cool and confident on big numbers like Sign of the Times and Only Angel, Styles was also unafraid to show his vulnerable side on slower, acoustic ballads such as Sweet Creature and From the Dining Table, looking very much at home on stage throughout.
There were more than a few Directioners in the crowd keeping their fingers crossed for at least one of the boyband’s hits, and Styles did not disappoint, performing Stockholm Sydrome and If I Could Fly - for both of which Styles was the main co-writer. He then made everyone’s night complete by launching into a rock version of the song that started it all, What Makes You Beautiful, proving that he’s still as big a Directioner as we are.
The singer also treated the audience to a new song, Anna, and a cover of 70s blues rock band Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain - a fitting tribute given Styles’ own 70s folk-rock sound.
Styles saved Kiwi, one of his most energetic songs and a fan favourite, until last, encouraging anyone who wasn’t yet up and dancing to do so, with the appeal to “dance like there’s nobody next to you. You’re not gonna see these people tomorrow.”
From his sparkly star and lightning bolt-covered suit to his equally dazzling singing, Styles proved he has the talent and stage presence of a true showman. It was a very happy crowd that filed out of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre tonight.