Tomlinson Holds His Own Outside of One Direction Superstardom


Louis Tomlinson, formerly a member of the band One Direction, performs onstage in February at the Hammerstein Ballroom at Manhattan Center. (Photo courtesy of @alexajaephoto on Instagram)

Bailey Van Orman, Staff Reporter

In early February, Louis Tomlinson played a show while on his first solo tour at the Hammerstein Ballroom at Manhattan Center in New York City. His tour had been rescheduled several times due to coronavirus restrictions, but Tomlinson was adamant about not wanting to cancel his first tour as a solo artist after the band One Direction went on an extended hiatus in 2016.
His debut album, Walls, was released in January 2020, and his tour was planned to commence soon after. He was able to play a select few shows before case numbers of coronavirus began to surge and the world went into a lockdown.
As many artists did, he made the most of it by holding a virtual show in December 2020, entitled “Live From London.” This show holds the Guinness World Record for the most tickets sold for a live-streamed concert by a solo male artist.
Anyone who attended this virtual concert, or anyone who watched a livestream of a festival he did in August of 2021, would obviously be eager to see Tomlinson in the flesh in February while he was on tour.
Through all of this anticipation, Tomlinson did not disappoint. The North American leg of the tour began at the beginning of February in Dallas, and two weeks later he was in New York City for two nights at the Hammerstein Ballroom.
“We deserve tonight,” Tomlinson said to the crowd before performing his song “Don’t Let it Break Your Heart,” and to this statement the eager crowd couldn’t agree more.
Audience members recognized that going from listening to an album for the first time alone, perhaps in one’s own bedroom, during a global pandemic to screaming all the songs alongside like-minded fans was an unparalleled feeling.
There was a strong sense of community within the venue on this night. Fans of singer/songwriter Tomlinson since his days in One Direction, an English-Irish pop boy band that formed in 2010, and newer fans sang along to every song on the set list together.
Tomlinson has often talked about how his relationship with his fans is different from other artists; this claim was evidenced by the free water available in the back of every level of the venue to keep people hydrated during the show. This is not common practice at concerts and is an idea he has specifically implemented to make sure fans stay healthy and hydrated.
Overall, it was a perfect night. Fans admitted that they could not wait to see what Tomlinson does differently with the show as the tour progresses, and they look forward to his next album, whenever that may be released.
The energy during his performance was fantastic, the set list was perfect, and Tomlinson connected with his fans in a way no other artist is able to. Anyone with the opportunity needs to attend a Louis Tomlinson concert!