×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Concert Review: Harry Styles’ Troubadour Show Delivers a Triumph with Tears and Stevie Nicks

Who would have thought that in this age of auto-tune and EDM bleeps that sound like functions on a microwave oven, a member of a made-for television boy band would carry the torch for rock music. Yet here he is: Harry Styles, the 23-year-old “X Factor U.K.” grad and One Direction fave, who has delivered what is arguably 2017’s most stunning musical statement with his self-titled debut album.

On the one-week anniversary of that album’s May 12 release, Styles joked about his limited repertoire onstage at the Troubadour, a surprise gig for diehards announced just that afternoon (proceeds from ticket sales went to the charity Safe Place for Youth). It was the latest in a series of so-called “underplays,” starting with a show at the 600-capacity The Garage in London. And being the Los Angeles performance, the Friday bow came with extra star wattage: a guest appearance by Stevie Nicks, who joined Styles for three songs midway through the set, Fleetwood Mac’s classic “Landslide,” Nicks’ own “Leather and Lace,” and Styles’ sweet “Two Ghosts.”

Styles began the night with an entirely unneeded introduction – “I’m Harry, nice to meet you,” he said to no one in particular and everyone at the same time – and a justified reverence for the room where Elton John, The Eagles, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Carole King were onstage regulars. Indeed, his opening numbers, “Ever Since New York” and “Carolina,” both felt like nods to that bygone era of real instruments – thanks to multiple guitars, a Mellotron, and the impressive chops of Styles drummer Sarah Jones (already deemed a “badass” by the internet) — and irresistible melodies.

Harry Styles performs at the Troubadour on May 19, 2017

Styles doesn’t posture much during his performances – a policy also held by One Direction who famously objected to dance routines and the pop tropes for which Simon Cowell-discovered acts are known – opting instead to concentrate on the vocals, which hit the top of his range and require as much power as his diaphragm can muster. Credit the latter to 1D, which no doubt sharpened his ability to belt a money note (witness: the crescendo at the end of “Sign of the Times”).

At times during the Troubadour show, Styles adopted an Oasis-like stance at the microphone — “Sweet Creature,” for instance, articulating the acoustic subtleties of the folksy number, which he explained was the first he wrote for the album. During punchier numbers like “Woman,” “Only Angel,” and “Kiwi,” however, Styles embodied the swagger of Jagger. He marveled more than once that it was the best night of his life, no doubt due to Nicks’ imminent appearance.

Duetting with the woman who traded verses with Tom Petty meant both triumph and tears for Styles, who was visibly emotional for “Two Ghosts,” a standout track on the album. While it took a minute for the volume of Nicks’ vocals to match Styles’, her mere presence added a heft to the song and reaffirmed that it is, in fact, a beauty (Nicks said it herself: “It’s a great song, huh?”). Here’s hoping it will be Columbia Records’ choice for the album’s next single.The Fleetwood Mac classic “Landslide” followed, which Nicks explained was the one song that the band plays without fail at every single show. “This song travels through the generations,” she said. Styles had no trouble hitting the sweet spots in the harmonies, continuing on with Nicks’ solo hit “Leather and Lace” then bowing down to the “queen of everything” as she left the stage.

“I am losing my s— in a cool way,” a misty-eyed Styles added, and proceeded to slap his face in disbelief.

Earlier in the night, an audience member yelled out for Styles to “Show us your tits!” Without missing a beat, Styles responded, “It’s still early and I haven’t had one drink so that’s a maybe.” By the time set-closer “Kiwi” and show-ender “Sign of the Times” came around, Styles was truly — perhaps finally — able to let his hair down. You could even say he’s just getting going.

Harry Styles

More Music

  • Elizabeth Warren Taylor Swift

    Elizabeth Warren Backs Taylor Swift in Big Machine Battle, Slams Private Equity Firms

    Taylor Swift’s battle with Big Machine has spilled into the political arena. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren retweeted Swift’s Thursday message about her former record label preventing her from performing her old hits at the American Music Awards, adding that Swift is “one of many whose work as been threatened by a private equity firm.” [...]

  • Cynthia Erivo

    Cynthia Erivo Almost Gave Up Singing to Become a Spinal Surgeon

    Before Cynthia Erivo went on to become a Tony and Grammy winner, she nearly gave up singing to be a spinal surgeon. In her “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors” conversation with Alfre Woodard, the “Harriet” star said she had been singing since she was toddler. Her mother noticed she’d hum while eating her food when [...]

  • 'Roxanne' Singer Arizona Zervas Signs With

    'Roxanne' Singer Arizona Zervas Signs With Columbia

    Hotly tipped singer-songwriter Arizona Zervas, whose viral hit “Roxanne” is in the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100,  has signed with Columbia, Variety has confirmed. Since the release of the track on Oct. 10, “Roxanne” has reached nearly 50 million streams on Spotify. The single topped Spotify U.S. top tracks chart for an uninterrupted [...]

  • taylor swift, scott borchetta and scooter

    Rage Against the Big Machine: What's Driving the Taylor Swift Showdown

    The latest Taylor Swift-Scooter Braun-Scott Borchetta kerfuffle involves the sort of music business minutiae that doesn’t commonly interest the general public — in fact, it’s probably safe to say that untold thousands if not millions of people are suddenly familiar with the concept of re-recording old masters. But in blasting Braun on social media and [...]

  • Lil Peep Everybody's Everything

    Album Review: Lil Peep's 'Everybody's Everything'

    When Lil Peep died after an accidental overdose in 2017 at age 21, we had still only just touched on the life and aesthetic of the neophyte emo-trap-punk-rap king. We were just beginning to find out how he went from an Allentown, PA working class youth with an absentee father, and a child of mental [...]

  • Lauryn Hill Drops First New Solo

    Lauryn Hill Drops First New Solo Song in Five Years, ‘Guarding the Gates’ (Listen)

    Lauryn Hill dropped her first new solo song in five years on Friday morning, “Guarding the Gates,” from the forthcoming film “Queen & Slim.” While the song was announced several weeks ago, Hill songs have been few and far between in the 20 years since her Grammy-cleanup blockbuster debut solo album, “The Miseducation of Lauryn [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content