Music + Concerts

Video harry styles kia forum

Halfway through his encore, Harry Styles spied a few traffic-beaters slipping toward the exits of the Kia Forum on Sunday – and Harry was not pleased.

“Where are you going down the tunnel?” he called out from the stage. “We’ve got two songs left. We can see you sneaking out.

“I’m not done!”

Styles’ charming, cheeky, chastising shamed them into turning around, as well they should have. For, if Harry’s not done, the fans, with a handful of exceptions, certainly weren’t either.

Sunday was the first of 15 shows in Styles’ Love On Tour residency at the Forum over the next three weeks. And with 19 songs in a fast-paced, scream-filled 90 minutes it was a wonderful welcome for the first guests to come through the doors.

Styles headlined a pair of nights at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in April, but this was an almost entirely different show. At the time, he debuted three songs off “Harry’s House,” his third album released in May.

Here, “Harry’s House” provided 11 of the 19 songs in the set, which is easy to do when, judging by the volume at which most fans sang along, your new album has already been absorbed into the Harry canon. It also felt more intimate and intense in the connections that flowed between Styles and the fans here.

The show kicked off with “Daydreaming,” one of the new songs, though technically it started five minutes earlier when several members of the crew rolled out a box containing Styles to a hiding place beneath the stage at the center of the floor.

Styles rose through a trap door in the stage as his band played and the place went wild. He’s a 28-year-old critically and commercially acclaimed solo artist these days, but clearly many of these fans have been Harry stans since his boy band breakout in One Direction a dozen years ago.

A pair of older songs, “Golden” and “Adore You,” from his 2019 sophomore album “Fine Line” followed, and by the time they were done Styles had done multiple laps around the stage and its two ramps out into the crowd, giving everyone a chance to see their idol as up-close and personal as an arena show allows.

Styles toned down his stage look from Coachella, swapping the rainbow-sequined body suit for a scoop-neck tank top beneath a cream jacket with an orange yoke and collar, cream high-waisted pants, and Adidas trainers. The three women and three men in his sharp band dressed like factory workers in blue coverall-type outfits.

The middle of the set served up seven consecutive songs off the new “Harry’s House” album. Not something many artists would do, but again, these fans were probably dying to hear live performances of the tunes they’ve been singing in their cars and bedrooms since May.

Much of the new material has a lighter feel to it than “Fine Line” or the self-titled 2017 debut. Where Styles explored ’70s California folk-rock and singer-songwriter stylings on those albums, here he’s embraced a more urban style of pop-rock.

Highlights here included the wistful “Keep Driving” with its synth-fueled grooves, the hopeful, helping message in “Matilda,” backed mostly by acoustic guitars, and the sparkling, floating rush of “Satellite.”

After the latter number, Styles paused for his usual chit-chat with fans, singling out a handful holding signs in the crowd to talk to for a few minutes.

There was Terry from Houston, whose sign declared she was “Doing my 20s in my 60s – it’s never too late,” a message Harry heartily endorsed. And then there was Emily whose message, “I skipped therapy for this,” Harry most definitely did not approve.

“This is a sign that the people of L.A. do not approve, Emily,” he mock-scolded her, before leading the crowd in a chant of “We never skip therapy!”

The sweetest moment came with Serena, whose sign read, “Help me come out,” which, after making sure she was sure she wanted to do it Sunday night, Styles did.

“OK, Serena, when this boa is raised above my head you’re out,” he said, teasing the crowd by starting and stopping the feather boa’s flight. “Don’t ask me why; it’s just how it works.”

The back half of the show kicked the tempo into a higher, more dance-y realm with new songs such as the horn-drenched “Cinema” and “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” slipping into the older hit “Treat People With Kindness.”

“What Makes You Beautiful,” the lone One Direction song in the set, was, of course, a massive favorite with the fans. The slower “Late Night Talking,” one of the three songs Styles debuted live at Coachella, opened with a lovely muted trumpet solo before embracing a smooth pop groove.

The main set then wrapped with “Watermelon Sugar,” an older hit that’s one of his best, and “Love Of My Life.” And at that point, at just 67 minutes for the main set, the show felt like it might end up a little on the thin side.

The encore, though, made up for that with four songs, including the only two off his debut album, “Sign Of The Times,” which opened the encore, and “Kiwi,” which closed it.

In between Styles played the unreleased fan favorite “Medicine,” one of the hardest rocking songs in the show, and “As It Was,” a shimmering city pop song that like nearly every other song in the show had the fans dancing and singing throughout.

Singer-songwriter Ben Harper is opening these 15 shows, performing mostly solo on stage, and while he might seem an unusual choice – older, serious, not all that pop – the fans gave him their attention and appreciation during his early set.

He won them over at one point with a story about how Styles had invited him to play on the recording of “Boyfriends” on the new album, also when he brought out his daughter Harris and son C.J. to play a song with him.

“This is on loan with permission from the author,” he told the audience before his final song, which fans recognized from the first notes as the aforementioned “Boyfriends.” The screams Harper heard while playing one of Styles’ song probably made him feel the most he’s ever felt like a teen idol.

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