Niall Horan Dedicates 'Flicker' Performance to New York Terror Attack Victims at NYC Show
“This is the most beautiful room I’ve ever seen,” Niall Horan told the crowd at New York’s Beacon Theatre on Tuesday night (Oct. 31) as he began his 14-song set. “Thank you for selling it out.”
Horan was clearly excited to be in the city that never sleeps, as he followed his show opener “The Tide” with an excited rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” (and even a few high kicks). While a sold-out New York show is certainly something to celebrate, Horan was likely still riding the high of a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200, which the One Direction singer officially achieved with his solo album, Flicker, two days earlier.
“This is a very personal album to me, it means a lot to me,” he told the audience after mentioning Flicker’s No. 1 debut. “I really appreciate you guys really latching onto that. I’ve noticed a lot of people are starting to interpret songs, from what I’ve seen online anyway, a lot of people have started to interpret the songs in their own way and it really brings out memories of their own, which is exactly why we write music."
After peppering the first half of his set with upbeat and mellow tunes, from his Maren Morris collaboration “Seeing Blind” to the poignant “You and Me” — and taking a moment to acknowledge the fans who attended the Halloween show in costume — Horan declared that the title track from his album is his favorite.
“It’s my favorite song lyrically I've written, probably the most emotional to write and the most emotional to record as well,” he said. “This song, for me, changed the way I wrote the album, changed the direction of the album completely. At the start, I was writing songs like ‘On the Loose.’ After I wrote ‘Flicker,’ I feel like I started writing a lot more songs along this line, like ‘Paper Houses,' ‘Fire Away’… this is a song that I’m really proud of and I never get bored of playing.”
While this part of the set was clearly an important one for him, Horan made sure to pay tribute to the victims of the downtown Manhattan terror attack that left eight dead just hours before. “I would also like to dedicate this song to the people who lost their lives not too far away from here today in that terrible incident … so I dedicate this song to them, and the beautiful city of New York."
Making the moment even more meaningful for Horan, the 24-year-old coincidentally had a tribute in store for him as well during “Flicker.” Fans had coordinated a project to light up the room like the flag of Ireland using colored sheets of paper illuminated by phone lights — something he completely did not see coming (and frankly, almost missed).
“I usually don’t open my eyes during that song, so you’re lucky I opened my eyes or I wouldn’t have seen it,” he laughed. “But that was very nice, I really appreciate that.”
After continuing the set with his heartbreaking new single “Too Much To Ask,” Horan picked things up for most of the remainder of the show, even occasionally ditching his guitar to dance along with fans. Perhaps the most tender moment came when he took fans “back a few years” for the One Direction croon “Fools Gold,” which he took on solo with just an acoustic guitar and a single spotlight.
Once the band returned, the show came to a close in lively fashion, with his Pop Songs chart-topper “Slow Hands” which found Horan getting his groove on before picking up a guitar one last time for the finale, “On My Own.” Saying farewell likely in the same way he does every night, the relevance of place and time for this particular show really made Horan's final comments hit home.
“Thank you for coming into my world,” he said. “Get home safe."