Getting a VIP Fan Pass to see Niall Horan perform on the Today Show is a huge deal, especially if you have been a huge of a fan of his for as long as I have (since late 2011-early 2012). Fan passes, let alone VIP fan bases, are not easy to come by. Sure, there are radio contests...but those contests can seem nearly impossible. Luckily for me, my friend Jessica won a pair of VIP passes a few days before the Today show concert (which took place on Monday, May 29, 2017).
As a Today show concert virgin, let alone a VIP Fan Pass virgin, I had no clue what to expect. The night before the concert, I could not sleep. Not even for a minute. Granted, Jess and I planned to leave her house at 2 am. And so we did! Before Jess and I knew it, it was 3:45 AM on May 29th and we were standing in a VIP fan pass line to ensure that we would get a good view. From 3:45 AM to about 5:15 AM, Jess and I stood in a line in a cold, rainy, New York City street. We befriended two girls in front of us, but primarily stood in silence hoping for the rain to stop. It was totally worth it.
Eventually, VIP fans were given our lanyards and were allowed to enter the space where the concert would be held. It's about 5:20 AM, and in that moment all I can remember feeling is a huge sense of relief and excitement. Our view is going to be incredible!! Even though there were annoying people surrounding us--who felt the need to spread their bodies to prevent people behind them (like Jess and I) from inching ourselves any closer to the stage, there was no time for thinking negatively. Because in a short hour, Niall and his band would be taking the stage for the first time for their soundcheck. Sure, the rain and our lack of umbrellas/ponchos made us easily prone to sporting soaked clothes for the concert, but we were at the concert and we were going to enjoy it no matter what.
Flash forward to around 6:35 AM (I can't remember if it was 6:30 or 6:40 ish...the timing was a blur), Niall's band takes the stage: Gerry Morgan on drums, Jake Curran on guitar, John Bird on bass, and Louis Querelle on keyboard. The band warms themselves up on their instruments, allowing fans like myself to take in this new and exciting environment. I've loved Niall for over 5 years at this point, so having him work with a new band is a very exciting time. Although I've seen pictures and videos of the band online and on television, seeing the men in person offers a whole new perspective. They seem friendly, confident, and talented right off the bat. No one would ever question Niall's choice in band, nor his choice in music, but I have to admit- his band is the perfect fit. Each artist that Niall now works with adds a puzzle piece to his new genre of music, something that can be categorized as a mix of rock-pop from his first three solo songs. And I LOVE it (I grew up listening to the 70s and 80s, and Niall has revealed that he did the same. #ThanksDad).
I wrote a brief blog post about my concert experience for my blog, but in that post, I talk more about the importance of feeling happy and important, and how music and artists can bring out feelings of happiness and importance in fans. I don't really talk about how Niall--or his band--brings happiness upon fans like myself though, so I'd like to address that here.
When you look up to an artist for many of your teen years, you tend to grow up with the artist. When I first started listening to Niall, I was a freshman in high school. Now I'm an incoming junior in my undergraduate academic career. Time flew by, and as time went on, I matured. As did my favorite artists, including Niall. Don't get me wrong, I still jam to One Direction music all the time. There's no way anyone can discredit or forget about beautiful 1D songs from the early albums. But now as we're in our 20s (we being Niall and fans like myself), it's refreshing to have more-mature music to add to the jam sessions.
As a singer and a performer, you have to be mature and serious. Niall and his band are definitely mature and serious, but they add a lot of fun into the mix. And that makes the concert even more enjoyable.
Niall currently has two singles out This Town and Slow Hands (I'm OBSESSED Slow Hands). He sang both of those songs, along with his song On The Loose (which has been played live before but has not yet been released on iTunes) for both soundcheck and the concert. After not seeing or hearing Niall live for over a year, I cannot describe how amazing it felt to hear his voice from a few feet away, rather than through a phone or a computer. Because this is his solo music, I knew that this was the music that Niall was proud of. These are the songs Niall wrote and wanted to share with the world. And they're absolutely incredible.
Because I didn't know when my next opportunity would arise to see Niall, I took it upon myself to try to get at least one decent selfie with him...from a distance. Mission accomplished, as I not only got three-four selfies with him (and a mix of band members) in the background, but I also tweeted one of the earlier selfies (where I was soaking wet from the never ending rain). That selfie made it to the big screen on the side of the stage where Niall was performing, and at numerous points throughout the show, my "selfie with Niall" (aka my selfie with Niall in the background) aired on the big screen next to Jake and Louis--Niall's guitarist and keyboardist).
Not only did my face pop up numerous times throughout the morning and the concert, but the Today Show captured a moment of Slow Hands where Niall was singing and my face was right next to him on the screen. I managed to save that video thankfully, so I can cherish it forever. Don't judge me!! This could be the closest I ever get to being next to Niall (hopefully not!).
Because my view was pretty darn good, I was able to get a really good look at all of the band members. Although there's only five of them including Niall, and there were thousands of people in the crowd, I could've sworn that during the concert I made eye contact with Niall and a few of the band members. I'm a tall young woman (six-foot-one to be exact), so you can't miss me. However there is definitely a good chance that I mistook the mutual eye contact for me trying to make eye contact with Niall, Gerry, Jake, John, and Louis while they were all taking in the crowd behind me. I'd like to think that we made mutual eye contact though, thank you very much.
Although Jess and I--along with many other fans-- were on our feet from approximately 3:30 AM to 9:30 AM, and our feet and backs were killing us, I didn't want the concert to end. I didn't want to have to leave the concert environment where all I was feeling was happiness, nostalgia, and confidence. Instead of being in my head, worrying about little things like insecurities, I was able to pay all of my attention to Niall, Gerry, Jake, John, and Louis and enjoy their music and energy.
Walking out of the concert space (who are we kidding, I mean limping, after standing in one spot for so many hours), I was in shock of how incredible Niall's new music was. I cannot wait for Niall to release his album, and cannot wait to see Niall, Gerry, Jake, John, and Louis on tour. Sure, fans like me may go overboard sometimes (like sending links to our blog posts to personal band accounts--oops!), but we do it out of love. I have had a whole lot of love for Niall for about five and a half years, and I have a newfound respect and love for his band. My experience at the Today show concert could not have been better...okay, maybe it could have if I were able to befriend Niall, but that would be a long shot anyhow.
Seeing Niall, Gerry, Jake, John, and Louis on stage made me all the more excited for Niall's solo career to rise. On the slim chance you read this, I love you, Niall, and I'm so thankful that I was lucky enough to see you and get to see your new band at the Today show concert! Hope to see you soon!