By Dani McKenzie | 9 August 2023
On July 13, 2023 Louis Tomlinson brought his Faith in the Future World Tour to Hollywood, Florida. If memory serves, the last time Louis had been to south Florida on his own tour was back in the One Direction days. So you can imagine just how anxiously this crowd had been awaiting Tomlinson's return.
I was, and forever will be, a massive One Direction girl. Those five men have had an impact on my life that I genuinely cannot put into words. And Louis Tomlinson was my "lane," as the kids say. He was my favorite from the start because he was funny and kind (oh and his eyes, but that's besides the point), and I guess even then I loved the distinctness of his voice. Now, almost 13 years later, it feels like I hit the jackpot all those years ago.
I truly believe that Louis was the lyrical backbone of One Direction. He advocated for the band being able to pursue the music and lyricism they wanted to pursue. Though he was sidelined in the portrayal of the band and even into his solo career, he has retained a relationship with his fanbase that is uniquely unparalleled in the industry. "I got you, and you got me. And I (redacted) like that!" as he famously said at the start of his first solo tour.
I never got to see One Direction live back in the good ole days, so any time I get to see one of them live it means that much more to me. This was my first time seeing Louis in my hometown, with two of my best friends in the world (the three of us had never been together in one place before this), and it was the first time I got to bring my little cousin to a concert (I was the one to introduce her to 1D and Louis back in the day). So this concert was already very special to me personally.
It was nothing short of spectacular. The supporting acts perfectly warmed up the crowd and from the second Louis walked on stage to long after he said his goodbyes, the energy remained at a maximum.
Tomlinson continues to choose immaculate supporting artists during his solo career. His main openers for his first tour last year were Sun Room, now one of my favorite bands. The Hollywood stop on the FITF tour got the chance to experience Andrew Cushin and The Snuts. They were nothing short of incredible. Cushin was an immediate burst of charisma, with an amazing voice, heart-wrenching lyricism, and the best energy from the moment he was in sight of the audience. The Snuts were just too cool for school. With a strong rock undertone, the most fun vibes, a banging setlist, and the Scottish charm to match, The Snuts's set had me losing my voice before Louis's set even began.
Tomlinson's setlist was stacked with his hits, mainly focused on his latest album, Faith in the Future, but also sporting a few fan-favorite throwbacks. I was absolutely shocked by the rock renditions of One Direction's classic, "Night Changes," and one of Louis's first singles featuring Bebe Rexha, "Back To You." I think everyone lost their minds a bit at Louis's "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" throwback, not to mention an Arctic Monkeys "505" cover that just proves that us Louies haven’t been screaming into the abyss after all.
Tomlinson's backing band is not only insanely talented and just so, so cool, they're also really wonderful to look at if you can't see Louis at any point in the gig: you can see how much they love the music and how much fun they have on stage throughout the whole show. From the group picture they all take with Louis in the middle of the set, to joking with each other between songs, they bring even more character to the live versions of Tomlinson's music and strengthen the rock core of his sound.
There were two moments that broke through the 'oh my god that's Louis Tomlinson you've loved him since you were 7 years old is any of this real' haze. One was a quiet moment when Louis comes up close to the crowd and squats down on one of the speakers, just looking out at the audience and taking it all in. I'm honestly not sure why it stuck out to me so much, but maybe it was because he seemed so real in that moment. Though the crowd was still screaming and trying to get closer to him, the moment felt quiet and fragile. We could see his eyes and small smiles at the fans so clearly as the instrumental intro to "All This Time" began.
Then there was the "Surrounded by lights" bridge in "She Is Beauty, We Are World Class," in which Louis is quite literally surrounded by rainbow lights that shine from behind him into the crowd. It was a mesmerizing moment and so beautiful to watch as he listened to the crowd respond with his lyrics back to him, an "I made it" look on his face.
From his reactions to the audience being especially loud, like the face he makes in the call and response of "For every question why you were my because," now an iconic line from Tomlinsons's title track off his first album Walls, to his many thank-you speeches throughout the set, Louis never leaves it up to the imagination just how grateful he is to his fans. After the release of his documentary, "All of Those Voices," earlier this year where he spoke in detail about the impact that the support from his fans had on him deciding to continue his path in music post-One Direction, these thank you's strike a stronger chord now more than ever.
Louis Tomlinson has an inexplicable aura when he's on stage. There are moments that you can still see glimpses of that 18-year-old back on the X-Factor, but his growth as a performer—from the evolution in his confidence to the joy and pride he carries himself with now—makes him seem like an entirely different person than he was even a few years ago. (The amount of heart is still the same though, maybe even more now.)
While experiencing the Faith in the Future tour was personally so incredible for me, it is also honestly just an incredible experience in itself. If you love Louis, or One Direction, or music, or if you're looking for a place filled with people coming together for something great, this is the place to be.