Who is Louis Tomlinson?
Louis Tomlinson’s rise to fame started in the mid-summer of 2010 when he (amongst his future bandmates: Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne & Zayn Malik) auditioned for the 7th season of the British America’s Got Talent, The X-Factor. At some point during the series, all 5 boys were supposed to be cut from the competition amongst others, however, before the end of the episode, all 5 boys were called up by judge Simon Cowell and put into a group that would soon become the world-famous boy band, One Direction. Although they only placed third in the competition, they’d vow that this wasn’t the end of One Direction and surely enough they’d find success larger than any of the winners of the show could’ve imagined. From their formation on July 23, 2010, to Zayn leaving the band on March 25, 2015, and their official hiatus (although haters will call it a break up) in January of 2016 they’ve always been in the spotlight, and some of the most popular and well-loved young guys of the music industry. This band is what truly made them all someone and when the idea of an indefinite (although much-needed) break came about it begged the question if each of the boys would release solo music as Zayn had been doing so since he left. Harry has had the most notable success on his own, Liam has been focusing less on his music and more on the social aspect of keeping up with their fans and Niall has also been doing wonderful with numerous collaborations with well-known artists, but I’d like to shine a light on Louis’ solo career.
On January 31, 2019, a member of one of the arguably biggest boy bands in history (One Direction), Louis Tomlinson released his debut album as a solo artist, Walls. The album consists of 12 tracks and on October 23, 2019, Louis announced his first solo world tour with dates starting March 9, 2020. Unfortunately, two shows into the tour, the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and most of the tour was postponed or canceled till 2021, although most shows would not take place until 2022. The band, Only the Poets, would open for the majority of his first European leg of the tour and The Sunroom would open for the American leg. Tour is set to end with its 79th show on September 3rd of this year.
I attended LA Night 1 at the Youtube Theater in Inglewood, California. Parking opened at 5:00 PM, entrance to the plaza and food trucks (which were decent) began at 6:30 PM, doors opened at 7:00 PM, and The Sunroom would start their opening act around 8:00 PM. I arrived a little after 5:00 and was at least one of the first 25 parties in my line to get let into the plaza; however, the line moved rather quickly and security came around checking vaccine cards a few minutes before we were let into the plaza. There were plenty of water stands and a variety of food trucks, the food was decent (or at least the vegan poutine and pink lemonade were), and the food truck lines were reasonable - the merch lines, however, were another story. Wrapping around nearly the entire plaza, I was lucky enough to get into line when it was only on its first loop. Considering the line’s size it was actually moving rather quickly and by the time I got there nothing had been sold out yet. The theater itself was very easy to navigate, and if you couldn’t there were plenty of security guards and ushers to help. The openers, The Sunroom, played an almost hour long setlist followed by a brief intermission until Louis took the stage at exactly 9:05.
Louis’ setlist was less than 2 minutes short of an hour long it started with We Made It (Walls), Drag Me Down (One Direction), Don’t Let It Break Your Heart (Walls), Two Of Us (Walls), Always You (Walls), Just Hold On (Steve Aoki & Louis Tomlinson), Too Young (Walls), 7 (Catfish and the Bottlemen Cover), Fearless (Walls), Habit (Walls), Copy Of A Copy Of A Copy (Unreleased Louis Tomlinson Song), Defenceless (Walls), Beautiful War (Kings Of Leon Cover), Little Black Dress (One Direction), Walls (Walls), then the encore, Only The Brave (Walls), Through The Dark (One Direction), and ended with Kill My Mind (Walls). The excitement in the build up to him coming on stage is the type of adrenaline I LIVE for. Not to brag, but Louis did proclaim to the crowd “Unbelievable gig LA! My head’s all over the f****** place!” and despite all of the shows he’s done in his career we were one of his all time favorites. Hearing the One Direction songs live is my 5 year old’s self dream come true and Two Of Us had me sobbing. Screaming “For every question why, you were my because”, the chorus of We Made It and the entirety of Fearless at Louis is arguably better than therapy. Everyone turned on their flashlights and swayed for Two Of Us and Beautiful War, and for a second I thought I died and somehow made it to heaven. The fan project for Only The Brave that lit the theater up like a rainbow was the single most utopic harmonious moment in my entire life. At each show Louis takes a panoramic photo with his band and the whole venue behind him, so I can now proudly say I am in a photo with ⅕ of One Direction. A very special moment that was exclusive to my show was when Freddie Tomlinson (Louis’ 6 years old son) was in the audience; it was very clear that it was an extremely full circle moment for Louis that created a vulnerable bond amongst the crowd that night. Finishing with Kill My Mind, a huge sparkler fire send off for Louis whilst you can feel the building shaking from all the jumping was the absolute cherry on top.
While Louis is often perceived as one of the least important members of One Direction or the one with an insignificant solo career, the fanbase at his shows definitely prove otherwise. Louis himself is such a kind and charitable person that has been through so much and has created such a loving, accepting and passionate community that his concert is simply unforgettable.