Rock and roll has a new god, in all of the Gibson-slinging, Gucci suit-wearing glory that is Harry Styles.
Styles performed for fans stuffed between the hallowed pews (literally, it used to be a church) of Nashville’s Ryman auditorium, adding his songs to the echoes of performances from industry greats like Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.
The reverence of the location wasn’t lost on Styles, as he addressed the crowd with a heartfelt nod to the stage, “I have to say, when we booked this tour, this was kind of the reason. This room. And it is beautiful, and you look fabulous, so thank you.”
While the 23-year-old star of megawatt status entered the solo stage with all of the swagger of his four former bandmates combined, he still tapped that indescribable ability to connect with his fans, greeting them with a muted: “Hello, my name is Harry. I’m from England,” as if the screaming admirers didn’t know.
While Styles’ paid respect to his 1D days with a rendition of the band’s first smash single, “What Makes You Beautiful,” the rockstar truly came into his own when he played songs that showcased his new edge. Performing the entire track list off of his self-titled debut album, the crowd’s screams reached a fever pitch when he covered Little Big Town’s pop country hit “Girl Crush.”
In a place so inherently spiritual to the genesis of both rock and roll and country music, Styles’ pivot from the saccharine bubble gum pop of 1D to instrument-heavy rock, to a soft country ballad was a powerful choice.
The reverence of the venue was never lost on the “Sign of the Times” singer, as he make a half-cocked apology for the sexual lyrics of “Kiwi.”
“This used to be a church, yes? I’m very aware I just screamed ‘I’m having your baby’ in a church,” Harry exclaimed. “Sorry!”
We’re guessing his screaming fans weren’t bothered in the slightest.