1/5 of One Direction was 10/10

What’s not to love about a tribute to Aretha Franklin, the memory of One Direction, screaming girls and an Irish accent on Nial Horan’s Flikr tour?

Those blue eyes blessed the album cover and everyone at the Kansas City starlight Theatre.

Those blue eyes blessed the album cover and everyone at the Kansas City starlight Theatre.

Ava Rawson , Print Co-Editor-In-Cheif

As a typical, bitter, One Directioner, supporting any of the solo careers of the former band members was not a top priority. But on Wednesday night the famed cheeky Irishman made an appearance at the open aired Starlight Theatre in Kansas City.

Slamming into the encore, Nial took his rendition of “Mirrors” a step above what was on the album.

The nearly 8,000 seats were filled by former pre-pubescent teenage One direction poster owning girls. But the seats were also scattered with more than a fair share of millennials and even genuine adults in attendance.

The evening started with the opening act, Maren Morris’ earthy ex-country vibes with a cover of Beyoncé’s “Halo” and her signature hit “Why don’t you just meet me in the middle.” At the tail end of her set she sang “My Church” as a tribute to Aretha Franklin, and a testament to her life and career.

Once she felt the crowd was amply primed to experience Niall, she proclaimed that she herself was a fellow woman in arms, aka a One Direction fan, igniting a fire in the crowd. The mere mention of Horan’s name led to more than a few giddy screams echoing throughout the night.

Next came the tedious and extensive revamping of the stage that did nothing to quench the obvious, impatient need for the artist that had three top 20 songs on his last album, with “Slow Hands” topping the charts at number one. Maybe the hour wait was supposed to amplify the anticipation.

Waving Hello, and goodbye, who needs lighters when phones are a significantly lower fire hazard?

Morris performed at half past seven, but Niall didn’t make an entrance until just after nine. As far as first impressions go, he didn’t disappoint. The indie twang atmosphere of Morris was transformed to the organic melodies served up with a bangin’ boho band, trendily dressed, and oh so casual attitude. As for the 24 year old himself, he was a little less blond, with no Irish flag on his microphone nor sharing it with four other boys.  Yet he was the same Niall. Just with some cuffed shirt sleeves and a little scruff.

Without skipping a beat, his entrance on stage was marked by a brilliant flash of pyrotechnic display and the first notes of “On the Loose” barely audible over the squeals turned roar of the crowd. The song was one of the more upbeat of the whole night, with the atmosphere dipping with the changing color of the sky from dusk to night from his more mainstream radio songs to the deeper tunes throughout.

Going out with a bang, Nial sings his finale tune “Mirrors”.

When his fingers graced the strings of his guitar, and out came the first marvelous chords of “Fool’s Gold” the swell of appreciation for Horan did nothing but grow. Later still in the night the celtic god brought out “Drag me Down,” with his own style that wiped the memory that the song had been sang any other way, by any other group. It solidified the fact that his performance that night left the remains of One Direction turning in its grave, deeply underground, and deeply in the past.