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Review: One Direction Live In Johannesburg

Fans have waited over a year since tickets went on sale. South Africa has waited five years for the world’s biggest boy band to make their way to South Africa and in March 2015, we finally got the chance to see One Direction live! It’s a big thing to sell out FNB Stadium but, proving just how big they are, One Direction sold it out two days in a row! I was there on the 29th of March and this is what I thought about the show.

Starting things off was SA’s Got Talent winner Johnny Apple, who just released his debut album of the same name. I’m a huge fan of Johnny and his voice is one of the best in South Africa but things didn’t work with his performance for me. He had the opportunity of a lifetime and he didn’t make the most of it. Firstly, and I’m not sure why this bothered me, but he didn’t say his name until the second last song. Johnny is still unknown in the local music scene – despite his large social media presence.

Johnny performed the first three or so songs and sort of got the crowd going. The lad, talented as he is, struggled in front of so many people and the stage swallowed him whole. He introduced each song before he sang and did it so awkwardly that you could tell he was nervous AF. Sure, everyone gets nervous but I feel a performer should never reveal that. Then, halfway through his 40-minute set, he introduced the winners of the very first The X Factor South Africa, Four, who performed a few songs as well. Why? Who knows.

They performed some covers as well as their new single ‘I Do’ and the crowd freaking loved it – and so did I! Sure, their dancing was so incredibly cheesy but they captured the audience. Johnny, however, has more mid-tempo to slow songs and Four’s energy translated way better than his. Also, he has 40 minutes. WHY is he wasting his time on stage giving Four the chance to shine? Sure, I understand if they sang a song or two together but that was a silly mistake on his part. That being said, Johnny’s album skyrocketed to the number two spot on iTunes which is something incredibly phenomanal for the kid – and he deserves every bit of success.

Onto the main event. Clearly South Africa was disappointed that Zayn Malik would not be performing at the show, however, we quickly understood that nothing can be done about this and we might as well enjoy the show. Before going into the show it was interesting for me to see that Liam Payne was given a lot of Zayn’s vocals and it was quite nice seeing him in the spotlight a bit more.

The boys kicked off the show with ‘Clouds’ and instantly got the crowd revved up. It was interesting to note that Zayn’s face was removed from all of the photos and videos used in the introduction. The lads were about five songs into their set before addressing the crowd, revealing how excited they are to be in Johannesburg and how thankful they are for having the fans stick by them. Also, they understood that selling out FNB Stadium TWICE was a pretty huge deal.

Their performance was good. There was a lot of energy from the boys and they interacted with the crowd quite a lot. Harry Styles, in fact, teased the audience by throwing water at them a number of times. Speaking of Harry, his vocals are absolutely amazing and seeing him live made me understand this even more.

The crowd went nuts when songs such as ‘Little Things’, ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, ‘Steal My Girl’, ‘One Thing’ and ‘Story of my Life’ played. I was quite surprised, however, that not a single song blew me away. Sure, they performed huge hit singles and it was really nice but that’s about it. I also found that, since there are four of them on stage, the boys were shouting a lot during the choruses.

That being said, their performance was an absolute blast. Their energy is electrifying and their stage presence is undeniable. I enjoyed every second of the show and would watch One Direction do their thing on stage again in a heartbeat. Despite Zayn not being there, the boys pulled it off – and that is a huge achievement. Cape Town, be ready!


“Steal My Girl”
“Little Black Dress”
“Where Do Broken Hearts Go”
“Midnight Memories”
“Kiss You”
“Stockholm Syndrome”
“Ready to Run”
“Better Than Words”
“Don’t Forget Where You Belong”
“Little Things”
“Night Changes”
“One Thing”
“What Makes You Beautiful”
“Through the Dark”
“Girl Almighty”
“Story of My Life”


“You & I”
“Little White Lies”
“Best Song Ever”

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