In the wake of the release of his eponymous debut solo album, former One Direction star Harry Styles made a touchdown performance at one of the first shows on this promotional circuit, shutting down Los Angeles' The Troubadour on Friday night (May 19) with a secret show featuring a surprise guest appearance from Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks.
Clad in a black button-down shirt and gold pants, the British singer ran through the hour-long set by sticking almost entirely to the songs from his LP, keeping banter to a somewhat minimum. He kicked off the show by emerging from the wings with his robust band, complete with percussionists and numerous guitar players, strapping on one himself to begin with “Ever Since New York,” the cut he’d played on Saturday Night Live in April.
“Good evening,” he began after running through “Carolina.” “I’m Harry, nice to meet you, thanks very much for coming. How are you? Good! Thank you very much for coming tonight. I’ve always wanted to play the Troubadour and I’m here, so that’s cool. My album came out last week. Thanks! I liked it as well. I’m going to play the songs from that and a few other things. Tonight is already really the best night of my life, so thanks so much for being here.”
It proved to be a test of sorts. Styles, no stranger to commanding arena-sized crowds, seemed relatively reserved throughout the show, giving off an air of affected remove while bringing the classic rock confections of his album to the stage. Songs like “Meet Me in the Hallway” conveyed how strong his voice is -- something that got lost in the mix in his One Direction days -- while “Woman” recalled the bounce of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” with tangential panache.