Anyone who has been in a car with me knows that I don’t always have the calmest disposition when it comes to other drivers. With that in mind, you can imagine the looks I got when I told people that I would be driving the 305 miles over the course of approximately 5 hours from Glasgow to Birmingham to see Louis’ final show of the year. With the prospect of such an amazing show ahead of me, I wasn’t about to let a little minor road rage get in my way. So, at 7am on the 18th of November, I packed up the car and began the drive, stopping briefly to pick up my partner in crime, Kazz. Before long, we were chatting and singing along to my Spotify. We were on our way to what we knew would be an amazing show.
Thankfully, and I can appeal to Kazz as a witness, I was a perfectly behaved driver almost the entire way, with a little blip of frustration cropping up as I passed through Birmingham city centre. Having arrived safely, we quickly checked into our hotels and began getting ready for the night ahead.
When we arrived at the venue, we could only stand and stare in shock as the line for standing was the biggest I had ever seen. It wended its way up and down the walkways and looked so busy, I was glad that my tickets were seated!
We passed the line and walked down towards the water, where @aslouwas was waiting at a large picnic table decorated with a large lesbian pride flag with Louis’ face on it. They had personally designed special Faith In The Future bracelets and I had placed an order for us all to have one. As far as keepsakes go, it was beautiful and well made. It was clear a lot of work and passion went into the bracelets and we were overjoyed to have them.
I knew that many people I interacted with on X (formally known as Twitter) were travelling from all over to attend the show and I wanted to meet as many of them as possible. Therefore, I posted that I would be in the Worlds Bar next to the venue along with my partner in crime, Kazz, and Stacy, who had arrived in Birmingham from London’s show the night before.
I wasn’t sure if anyone would show up, but to my surprise, loads of people came by to meet us! I met so many people that I lost count, and all of them were absolutely lovely people, all eager to share the excitement of the day. Some had brought bracelets to trade or keepsakes, but mostly we hugged and talked as the bar played a mixture of Louis’ and 1D songs.
After one or two cocktails (or three or four!) it was time to go to the venue. We said goodbye to a couple of people who were still finishing their drinks and made our way into the arena. Inside, there were groups of fans all decked out in fun outfits and merch, giggling and singing as they prepared themselves for Louis coming on stage. After a quick look at the merch stand, we found our seats and settled in to wait (somewhat impatiently) for the show to begin.
When the lights came down and the band took their places on the stage, the entire venue went wild. Screaming, cheering, yelling, applause – if a human could make the sound it could be heard. When Louis finally came onto the stage looking absolutely stunning in a pair of black jeans and white Burberry EKD t-shirt with a blue knight graphic on the front, everyone went utterly wild.
Immediately, Louis began to sing ‘The Greatest’. His voice was amazing as he effortlessly made his way through the song. From there, he meticulously made his way through the set list, hitting every single song promised. The light show during ‘Kill My Mind’ was the best I had ever seen. It’s always a powerful moment to see but with the venue filled to the brim with fans, it was simply breathtaking.
I was unsure if Louis would sing ‘Holding Onto Heartache’ as he’d skipped it a few times during the tour and it’s one of my favourite songs. I can’t describe the scream I let out when I heard the opening notes of the song. As Louis sang, it felt like the whole arena was singing with him, especially when we got to the bridge. I had only been to one other live show, Glasgow, and the sheer volume of the crowd in Birmingham made the Glasgow show seem like small fry. It was an emotional moment for me, hearing the bridge sung back to Louis so clearly, and one of my favourite memories of the night.
When it was time for the megamix, I was a bit worried. The night before, the usual rainbow lights for the song had been changed and, although it was amazing to see on livestream, it just wasn’t the same. The megamix and the rainbow light show have come to mean so much to a lot of people, me included, and I was anxious that we wouldn’t get them. Luckily, I worried for nothing. The song began and Louis crouched and took in the crowd as he usually does, and then he began to sing and the lights were as they usually were. The cheering and screaming from the crowd was immense and so many pride flags made an appearance throughout the crowd. It was a beautiful and intense moment and I’m so glad I got to be part of it! https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cz9o407rEbE/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==
I have to take a small moment here to mention that every single show @TmImtD63 will post a gif of a dancing unicorn, which some in the fandom have affectionately nicknamed ‘Lounicorn,’ when it’s time for the megamix to start.
She never misses a show and I, along with so many others, now associate it with the song. As I was dancing and singing like crazy in Birmingham, I couldn’t help but picture Lounicorn. I’m not lying when I say I’ll miss those posts almost as much as I’ll miss Louis’ shows.
I felt incredibly spoiled as all of my favourite songs were performed – ‘Copy Of A Copy Of A Copy’ and ‘Walls’ in particular were amazing and at one point, the crowd were actually singing so loud it was hard to hear Louis! Especially when it got to ‘for every question why, you were my because.’ https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cz9ooIOrAWJ/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==
When he sang ‘Written All Over Your Face,’ we all waited with baited breath to see if he would manage to sing the full second verse and HE DID! He managed it and the grin on his face immediately afterwards was infectious. He smashed it and he knew it! When it was time for 505, I was absolutely buzzing. It’s my favourite out of all of Louis’ covers songs – Arctic Monkeys meets Louis is a joy to behold! – and I was so busy enjoying the song and singing like a crazy woman that I completely forgot to take any pictures or videos. Back To You was amazing, just as I knew it would be. I confess I made an utterly inhuman screech when I saw him sing ‘I love him’ right in front of me. He had also sung this at the Glasgow show, but being the last show of the year, it felt like this one was that little bit more special.
Saturdays, another of my favourites, really hit hard. The song is an emotional one as it is, but with it being the last time we would hear it live this year, everyone was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Everyone swayed and put their arms around each other as a gorgeous fan light project played across the crowd. Several people nearby me were crying and I even shed a tear or two.
Even though we knew it was coming, the last song of the night really knocked the breath out of everyone. Louis himself sounded emotional as he spoke to the crowd, reminding fans that this was the final song of the night. During the break before the bridge, Louis thanked everyone for coming:
“The most fucking incredible year of my life. I could not have done it without you all, thank you, thank you, thank you. We’ve got about 90 seconds left, let’s bring this fucking rood down. Here we go.”
As he ran down to the barricade, the crowd was showered not in the streamers we were used to, but in red confetti. It was a powerful and magical moment and, as Louis picked up his pint and thanked the crowd once more before walking off stage, every single person was cheering and crying. There wasn’t a calm person in the entire arena and I had never felt grateful to be part of anything before. https://www.instagram.com/reel/Cz_Ckv_sam-/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&igshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==
As I left the arena to the very telling outro song of ‘We Belong Together’ by Boyz II Men – we see what you did there, Louis! – I began to check my social media and saw so many people who had been watching on livestream feel utterly touched by something Louis had said in one of his speeches:
“Anyone who’s been to any of these shows on this year. Anyone who’s supported any of the shows online and maybe couldn’t make it to the show. I feel your fucking support every single day and I know I’m grateful. I know how lucky I am and I’m incredibly grateful to have you all so thank you, thank you, thank you. This year has been incredibly special.”
Generally, artists don’t look too kindly on people streaming their concerts as this means that those who didn’t purchase tickets are still getting access to the show. However, Louis is just thrilled for the support his fans show him. He knows that thousands of people joining someone’s Instalive to see him perform is just another of the many ways his fans show their love and support of him. One fan managed to capture this feeling in one perfect X post:
There are many fans who, for whatever reason, can’t make shows, e.g. financial reasons, health issues, etc. Instead, they show their support by streaming his music and tuning into lives. They often fly under the radar and can feel less visible than those who manage to attend several shows or buy up piles of merchandise. However, Louis’ words made them all feel valued and seen. This moment was just another reason out of the many why we are so devoted to Louis.
The next morning, I laid in bed in a bit of a post-concert daze for at least an hour before I felt able to get up and face the day. I scrolled through X and all the posts there and realised I wasn’t alone. Everyone was feeling a strange mixture of excitement, privilege, and uncertainty. In the spur of the moment, I posted my own status to add to the many already on my timeline.
Once I was dressed and having breakfast with Kazz and Stacy, both of whom were equally exhausted, I began to prepare myself for the long drive home. In order to draw out the weekend a bit longer, we drove via Holmes Chapel and stopped off at Costa for a quick coffee. The caffeine was necessary and the people we bumped into were lovely. It was the perfect stop on an otherwise tedious drive home in the dark and rain.
It wasn’t until the next day as I was sitting with a coffee in my favourite mug that I fully started to process the weekend. Louis had performed his final show of the UK leg of his tour. He had also performed the final show for the rest of the year, and I had been there for it. I got to hear the speeches and sing along with Louis to my favourite FITF songs. I saw Louis sing ‘I love him’ and manage to sing the full second verse of Written All Over Your Face and squat in front of the crowd at the beginning of the megamix taking in the crowd that were there only to see him. It was a huge moment and a lot to take in and digest. I’m sure the post concert blues will hit me soon, but at the moment, I’m still riding the high of the weekend. Louis was absolutely astounding and I’m so grateful to have been there for it. I can’t wait until next year and what Louis might have in store for us.