Liam Payne Pays Tribute to One Direction, Debuts New Song at First-Ever Headlining Show: Recap

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
Liam Payne performs onstage at 106.1 KISS FM's Jingle Ball 2017 Presented by Capital One at American Airlines Center on Nov. 28, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. 

Liam Payne made his return to New York City’s Beacon Theatre Wednesday night (June 20), six years after the 24-year-old took the stage with his One Direction bandmates. He wasn’t just solo this time, he was the headliner – and proved he can hold his own without four other lads on stage with him.

The night marked Liam’s first-ever headlining show, which was a special free concert for Chase cardmembers titled Chase Summer Soundtrack. The electrified sold-out crowd certainly didn’t make the show feel like it was Payne’s first time as the main act, but he was charmingly blown away.

“I’m so overwhelmed,” the “Strip That Down” singer said, admitting he wasn’t expecting such a loud response. Further firing up the crowd, he gushed, “I’ve missed that sound since I played with my boys.”

After kicking things off with his Charlie Puth-penned hit “Bedroom Floor” and his Zedd collaboration “Get Low,” Payne decided to further shout out his buddies with renditions of Puth’s “Attention” and Zedd’s “The Middle.” While the massive sing-alongs got the energy high, Payne’s heartfelt vocals on a cover of Pink’s “What About Us” reminded fans how talented he is and made for a shining moment of the night.

That is, until the One Direction tributes began.

As soon as “What About Us” finished, the screen behind Payne began playing black-and-white footage of the 1D guys, and suddenly the volume in the room was at its highest. Diving into the guys’ reminiscent hit “History,” Payne’s radiant smile made it evident that he was as excited to share that moment with fans as much as they were.


“I’m getting rather emotional about this right now,” Payne said with a laugh. “Honestly you guys are blowing this through the roof, I did not expect this at all.”

He continued the One Direction love with “Little Things,” even sitting on the stage platform in the way that he and his 1D boys did when they performed the ballad together. Payne was clearly aware of his Directioner-heavy fan base, and he had no problem catering to them -- especially when it came to the story behind “Drag Me Down.”

“This was about the time that the band was most turbulent, and one of our members decided he had to go,” Payne teased, referring to Zayn Malik’s departure. “We wrote this song because we felt like we needed something to get a comeback, like 'We're gonna carry on, we'll be fine.' And this is a little song that always makes me think of that time.”

With the energy at its peak, Payne declared that his debut solo album is coming out “soon,” as he’s recently promised. Though he didn’t give any further details, he did unleash a new track titled “Tell Your Friends,” a bass-heavy R&B-influenced tune that had both Payne and the crowd grooving.


Though it seemed fans were ready to hear more new Liam Payne material, he opted for another cover (Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You”) followed by his J Balvin team-up “Familiar,” during which he flexed a little Spanish. Before closing out the show with his Billboard Hot 100 top 10 breakout hit “Strip That Down,” he couldn’t help raving over the crowd one last time.

“This is beautiful,” Payne said. “I would have never ever imagined this at my first show, thank you so much.”

Whenever Payne’s next trip to the Beacon Theatre may be, his first headlining set made it clear that it doesn’t matter whether he’s alone or with his One Direction boys – the fans will be ready for it, and he’ll put on one hell of a show.