Music review: Harry Styles, Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow

While Harry Styles may have the stage presence to pull off a stadium show, he doesn’t have the material, writes Fiona Shepherd
Harry Styles at Ibrox, Glasgow, 12 June 2022Harry Styles at Ibrox, Glasgow, 12 June 2022
Harry Styles at Ibrox, Glasgow, 12 June 2022

Harry Styles, Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow ***

If fan power alone could propel a show to the stratosphere, Harry Styles’ first ever solo stadium concert was a high-flying affair, soundtracked by an Ibrox roar that was more of an Ibrox scream. Styles brought a reasonable degree of star power to the stadium, emitting the easy charisma which made him the nominal focus of One Direction and the likely contender for a successful solo career. He surveyed the excitement before him and modestly declared, "I like it".

The visuals were simple but impactful – primary-coloured blocks as instruments risers, obligatory huge screens (all the better to study Styles’ tickled expressions), cool, gender-balanced band all in white and Styles rocking Ukrainian colours in the sort of see-me stage outfit which has earned him the nickname Harry Stylish.

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The set kicked off with the great energy of Music for a Sushi Restaurant. Styles genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself, working the stage and his rectangular walkway with a hip wiggle. But as he settled in with the light swagger of Daylight, summer funk number Cinema and gentle amble of Keep Driving, it was apparent that this was an arena show playing stadium dress-up. While Styles potentially has the presence to fit the bill, he does not have the material. The lower energy whimsical boy band fare of Boyfriends and the semi-acoustic sensitivities of Matilda sounded too lightweightfor the environment, and were blown away by the reaction to middling One Direction tune What Makes You Beautiful.

Still, the cheesy carnival shimmy of Canyon Moon and cheery pop soul of Late Night Talking were thoroughly likeable and pop show conventions were observed with alacrity – Saltires and rainbow flags brandished, Chloe in the front row treated to a massed rendition of Happy Birthday, phone lights on for the relative epic Sign of the Times and a belated encore rock-out to bolster that Watermelon Sugar high.