Rain dampens Music Midtown’s second day, but Niall Horan lifts spirits


The second day of Music Midtown was greeted with some rain earlier in the day, but organizer Peter Conlon said everything stayed on schedule.

Mandy Arias, a 48-year-old Alpharetta teacher, relaxed at a lounge area at 7:30 p.m. before Billie Eilish’s headlining appearance.

She said the crowds didn’t appear as big as they were at the last Music Midtown in 2021. This is her sixth time at the festival.

“It’s been good, but not the best lineup,” she said. Still, she is psyched to see Incubus and Tove Lo Sunday as well as Eilish Saturday night.

Given she has multiple sclerosis, the mud hasn’t been fun to navigate, she noted.

But Pink on Friday was “next level,” Arias said. “It felt like Vegas.” And she was happy the organizers provided more places to sit between acts.

She also noticed no Music Midtown app this year, but the Internet access was often spotty anyway given the volume of usage.

Ray Lloyd, a 40 year old banker from Reynoldstown, walked over to the festival and has enjoyed the vibe. It’s his first time to Music Midtown.

“Atlanta feels like a united city today,” he said after Niall Horan performed. “And the people watching is great.”


Niall Horan has managed to carve out a comfortable post-One Direction solo career and displayed his workmanlike skills Saturday before a large, happy crowd.

Resembling a better-looking hybrid of Jonah Hill and Josh Gad, the 30-year-old Irish singer played a tight 14-song, 55-minute set without any sense of stress or nerves.

“I love this place,” he told the crowd “I know Atlanta very well. I come here to play golf.”

Before playing the biggest One Direction hit, “Story of My Life,” he jokingly opened, “You’re not going to know this song.” But he then gave the audience plenty of room to sing the chorus.

And after he finished his emotive 2017 ballad “This Town,” he noticed a crowd of rambunctious girls and said, “First time I ever saw a mosh pit for ‘This Town!’

THE 1975

In concert, the British rock band the 1975 revolves heavily around its charismatic lead singer Matt Healy, who was born in 1989.

Healy, 34, who dated Taylor Swift for a brief time earlier this year, dragged on a cigarette in between lyrics during “Happiness” while occasionally slugging from a flask containing some indeterminate liquid. Is it liquor? Is he getting drunk? These are topics often debated by fans on Reddit.

He was relatively restrained during his Music Midtown appearance Saturday. In the past, he’s been known to eat raw meat, do push-ups or berate a security guard. In this case, he did get mildly annoyed when someone pointed out a woman who had fallen in the crowd and he awaited until she got up. “It’s your generation,” he mused. “If someone falls over, we just pull them up. Now they tell the lead singer.”

And before “Girls,” he noted all the mass shootings that happen in the United States and pointed at the left part of the stage, saying, “That’s all of you dead.”

The band’s 17-song set list featured songs from all five of its studio releases over the past decade. While the band hasn’t generated much in the way of hits on the music charts, its fans love them on Spotify, where several of their songs have been streamed 100 million times or more. And the hardcore 1975ers who crowded the front of the stage sang along heartily to songs like “Somebody Else,” “I’m In Love With You” and “Oh Caroline.”


Six months before “Bad Guy” had come out, a 16-year-old Billie Eilish showed up at Music Midtown on Sept. 15, 2018 as a late afternoon act on a secondary stage at Piedmont Park.

The same day a year later, with “Bad Guy” a massive breakthrough hit and instant classic, she moved up to the lead-in act for Travis Scott on one of the main stages.

Four years later on almost the same day (Sept. 16), Eilish found herself the Saturday night headliner on that very same stage before 20,000-plus fans who came to fete the now 21-year-old musical prodigy. It also marked the end of a 100-concert tour that began in early 2022.

“There’s some magic in the [expletive]] air,” Eilish told the crowd partway through her 90-minute set. “Music Midtown dude! After I played the first time, when I was asked what my favorite show was, I’d always say Music Midtown. I played the next year and said the same thing. I’ve been looking forward to this for real!”

Eilish this third time around was an explosion of intense energy, hypnotic stage presence, vocal dexterity and impressive songcraft. She wore an athletic jersey, gloves with skeletons on them and a thick gold necklace that may or may not have been real while confidently showcasing her youthful exuberance.

Her stage was a massive, angled platform, with just two other musicians to help her out: long-time drummer Andrew Marshall and her 26-year-old brother and co-creator Finneas on everything else.

She gave Finneas, who was happy to play second fiddle on stage, full credit for helping make her the success that she is on multiple levels, including co-creating her undeniably distinctive electro-pop music. “He’s my best friend,” she said. “We’ve done every show together. I’m really grateful for him. I love you!”

At one point, she told everyone to put down their phones for a moment, take deep breaths and be present. Before crooning her gorgeous “Everything I Wanted,” she made a plea for everyone to “better protect our beloved earth. We’ve got to protect each other and stand for each other. Give the person next to you a big hug!”

After her final song, “Happier Than Ever,” the title track from her second studio release, she lingered on stage for several minutes and high-fived, shook hands and hugged hundreds of VIP fans at the front of the stage, seemingly not quite wanting to end the tour just yet.



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