Harry Styles Love on Tour Review / 04.03.23

by Lana Marshall

After his anticipated return to Australia, Harry Styles graced Sydney with two nights of Love on Tour at Qudos Bank Arena. Nearing the end of his 22-month world tour, Styles has been working hard performing hits from his three album discography and reacting to various signs from fans in the crowd in his signature glittery two-piece sets. His most recent album ‘Harry’s House’ comprised much of the setlist, as well as a few songs from 2019’s ‘Fine Line’ which he was unable to tour in Australia. He also included One Direction banger “What Makes You Beautiful” and a surprise Australian guest appearance to spice things up.

On the first Saturday of March, I jumped onto the train as the sun was setting, and was packed as tightly as sardines with all the other feather boa, cowgirl boots and bejewelled minidress-wearing people in Sydney. The anticipation of Harry’s concert was in the air as we joined what felt like millions gathered outside the Qudos Bank Arena for one of the several events happening that night. 

After getting into the stadium, we enjoyed the fun vibes created by masterfully coordinated Mexican waves from the seating stands. One Direction and David Bowie played for the arena to sing along and dance to, and we all tried to speculate what Styles was doing backstage. As anticipation grew, we enjoyed the sunset from the outdoor arena and cheered at planes flying overhead. British indie-rock group Wet Leg opened and played a great, upbeat set with lots of energy and confidence. The Grammy-winning band played hits from their debut album including ‘Chaise Lounge’ and ‘Wet Dream’. Finally, opening with Music for a Sushi Restaurant, Haz entered the stage continuing the high vibe set by Wet Leg. He jumped and danced around while singing and showed off his pink and yellow cowboy vest set. 

A positive of the performance was that even if you were far away and only caught glimpses of the man himself, the visuals projected on the big screens on stage were highly engaging, with visual effects and high-quality close-ups of Mr Styles. Additionally, the joyful energy in the stadium magnified and reflected his, with the positivity radiating off his songs and the audience screaming like crazy at every lyric and interaction. 

Something I admired about Styles was his apparent closeness and love for each of his touring bandmates. Because of his cult-like following, his band members have also gained fanbases, proven by the response and cheers as they were introduced. This strong bond supports their stage presence with the genuine chemistry they have developed over working so closely as musicians. 

The virality of Love On Tour on TikTok means that going into it, you set an expectation of what's to come. One way that Harry shakes up each show is by taking time to read funny fan signs, with the sea of banners projected on the large screens. During the night, he revealed the gender of a barricade fan’s baby to the soundtrack of ‘gender music’ played by the band, and received a psychic reading, which revealed ‘something significant would happen to him in the next 12-18 months’. You heard it here first!

As a surprise guest, Harry sang a duet with retro Australian singer Daryl Braithwaite. The popular 90’s song is a fan favourite amongst Harries. Under the glow of the full moon, he kept the energy up until the end, probably because he sleeps a whole 10 hours on his days off on tour. His charisma was magnetic and he seemed genuinely happy, and thankfully not sick of the songs he's sung millions of times. With memorable crowd interactions, high energy, and impressive vocal performances, his imminent long career as a performer showed through his enormous stage presence.

Getting home was a nightmare, but it didn't matter as the piled-up cars in traffic and packed trains allowed for a good debrief that was needed to end the night.

Lana is in her final year of studying Media (PR & Advertising) and Design. She enjoys listening to sad indie female musicians and collecting stickers that she will never use.

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