Onew’s GQ preview photo for the publication’s October issue, caused an outbreak of Onew-ache worldwide. Officials immediately posted an advisory against staring at the image. But the fandom, specially the MVPs, are ignoring the PSA.
When asked about the situation; GQ’s representative stated that they had intentionally altered said image into black and white in an attempt to contain the potent charm of Onew’s smile. However, despite the precaution, there were claims of fans going blind, melting into puddles and screaming incoherently. Some increasing the torture, by re-coloring said photo.
SHINee’s comeback, which is the only known cure for Onew-ache, is being delayed for another 2 weeks as Onew recovers from an injury. Fans aren’t bothered by the schedule change. Occupying themselves with Jonghyun’s Blue Night, Key’s Drinking Solo, Minho’s upcoming movie, Taemin’s Sayonara Hitori and posting get well soon messages for Onew.
Arrive at JFK fully expecting a thorough, Trump era inspection and interrogation. However, I breeze through immigration and even have a nice conversation with Errol, my inspector. Although his authority muscle was flexed a little when questioned what music I was playing. “I play bass for James Blunt” I reply. “Who?” he says “That’s Showbiz” I quip……..!!!! An icy stare falls onto the once happy face of Errol. “I only like rap” are his final words as he stamps my passport and shouts “Next”
3 hours sleep. 4am lobby call. It’s Good Morning America live performance today of “OK”, Blunt’s new single here in the States. This track is quite personal for me as they are releasing a version of the track that I remixed along with James, as the main version to radio here in the States. You need to have many strings to the bow to make a living in music these days. We’re all in a daze as we check our hire gear. God knows what time our crew arrived but all the gear is set up and ready to go. Writing this a few days later and I can’t remember much about the performance but the label and management all seemed happy. I think. Or maybe I dreamt that…!!!
Jet lag and the general buzz of being in New York means an attempted snooze doesn’t happen. So Pembers (keys), Kristoff (drums) and I go for a power walk around Central Park. Gotta take the opportunities to stay in shape on the road. Something I’ve learned over the years. And failed at mostly..!!! Central Park is such a wonderful place. It never fails to impress. A perfect way to pass a few hours off. Days like this I feel very privileged to be doing what I do.
We then head off to another TV studio to perform on the Seth Myers Show. The studio is bloody freezing. It’s always the way with US TV shows. God knows why. There must be a reason. No idea what that is though. But it’s full jacket wearing performance for this show. Which is odd as it’s 27oC outside. A planned big night out in NYC is thwarted by jetlag that eventually kicks in too hard to ignore. Early night for us boring folk. How very un rock n roll…!!!
5am wake up. Not for any particular reason. Just jetlag. But that’s ok in NYC. I go out and wander the streets for 4 hours interspersed with coffee breaks. I still love this city. I lived here for 2 years back in 2006/7. It still feels like home. There’s an energy that emanates through the floor here. You can feel it coming out the walls of the buildings and skyscrapers. Everyone is here for a reason. There is a focus here that brings out the creative side in everyone who has one. I still love it and today I soak it up.
We are performing on Kelly and Ryan TV show today. Another freezing studio. A trailer filled with farmyard animals is parked right outside our dressing room. The odd ‘Moooo” and Baaahaaaa” interrupting James’ vocal warm up are highly amusing breaks to the tedious boredom of TV world. Still no idea why they were there as they never appeared on the show…!! Slightly gutted that the very cute Kelly is on holiday. It’s always a treat for the eyes playing on her show.
The boredom is abruptly shattered when we are told we have to lose 30 seconds of the track. We have already soundchecked so it’s a strategic edit arranged, board meeting style, around the table with no way of checking. Times like this we are thankful we are a fully live band with no backing track. We visually cue the changes live on air while being broadcast to millions. It’s times like this you know you are alive. It works. No time to stress or panic. We nail it. 3 mins dead. Everyone is happy. And we are done for the day. With nothing but a fight tomorrow, there is a palpable air of excitement amongst the band.
We head downtown to my favourite Italian restaurant in NYC called Emilio’s Ballato. It’s an old school mafia style Italian that I was introduced to when I lived here. Emilio is a terrifying, yet lovable character who sits at the door. Always does. Has done for decades. You only have to imagine a mafia style Italian restaurant owner with a gravelly voice who has to occasionally pop out to “take care of business” to know what he looks like. The mental picture you have now……. That’s Emilio. The first time I came here, Sting was sat at the first table with Jay Z and Rhianna. It’s that kinda place. Emilio Jnr takes us to a table and explains the menu in his “baddabing” way. It’s so cliché one or 2 of our party suspect it’s all a show. But I know for a fact it is not. The family back in Sicily send over the ingredients twice a week. All 3 of Emilio’s sons work at the place. It’s the real deal. And it’s awesome.
Tonight we are all on the guest list of the Imelda May gig at Webster Hall. Pembers, our keyboard player, is Imelda’s player too. He depped out the last 2 Imelda gigs as they clashed with the Blunt tour. But coincidence means we are all here in NYC. The band are amazing and Imelda’s voice soars in this place. A great old school sweaty gig. We hang out with the band at an Irish bar around the corner after the show. God knows what time we finished but it was a long hazy walk back to the hotel.
Flight to Kansas today. We arrive to find they have not sent the mini bus that we asked for, but a car….!!! For 12 of us. So we squeeze in 3 cars with gear and bags on our laps. It’s not all glamour…!!
June 29 It’s the first day of our Ed Sheeran support today. Kansas City the first show. Still jetlagged. I’m up and wide awake at 5am. I decide to check out Kansas. I set off on a head clearing 90 minute walk. In the space of a few minutes, the sky turns apocalyptic black and I’m suddenly in the middle of an almighty downpour and a violent thunder storm. Flash floods come hurtling down the street. It’s actually pretty scary. But awesome too. Mother nature flexing her muscle and reminding us how insignificant we all are. Trash cans hurtling down the street. I run back to the hotel and watch the storm from the safety of my hotel window.
The tour bus pulls up outside our hotel. Always a hugely
exciting moment. There’s something about American tour buses. It’s probably
subconsciously linked to the childhood dream of touring the States that most
musicians had at some point. But also just how cool the busses look. This is
home for the next 2 months.
We get to the venue.
The Sprint Arena. Sold Out 16,000. We meet Ed and all the crew. They are
all super nice and friendly which is a welcome relief. It’s not always the
case. The support act can occasionally be treated as a lesser entity. But not
here. I think the fact James is such a big name in his own right helps. And the
fact James and Ed are friends. Ed co-wrote some of the tracks on James’ new
album and we even recorded one of them at Ed’s house earlier in the year.
We soundcheck the whole set. It feels a bit weird. Ed does
his thing with just an acoustic guitar and a loop pedal. And rarely sound
checks. So seeing all our full band gear on his stage feels a little intrusive
on his minimal set. But again, Ed’s crew are all super helpful and asking if we
need anything. We iron out a few
issues from the rehearsals and drop a song as we creep over our allocated 40
My Bass Set up.
James and I then play a quick 3 song set unamplified on
acoustic guitars for 25 competition winners. We haven’t worked out the songs
before on acoustics so it’s very much on the fly. But they all seem thrilled.
Ed pops in to wish us luck as we all do our vocal warm ups.
We go on.
It’s a younger crowd than we are used to. It’s quite clear
pretty early on that a few of them have no idea who James is. I guess it is 12
years since his debut album was no.1 here in the States. But rather sweetly,
you can see a lot of the crowd are holding their phones with the lyrics on and
are attempting to sing along. So cute.
James announces “most of you were probably conceived to this
song” as he strikes up the opening chords to the world wide smash that is “You’re
Beautiful”. You can see the penny drop in the audience. And in a scene
reminiscent of an 80’s style cheesy high school movie, the crowd slowly all get
to their feet and whoop, with fists in the air as they all realise ‘it’s that
guy’. It’s an amazing moment. And from that point on it’s an amazing show.
James gets all the 16,000 to their feet as he piano surfs during the outro of
We all come off and have a post gig huddle. It’s a success.
There’s always a slight element of doubt before a support gig. But those doubts
are put to bed tonight. Ed pops in before his set and pours us all a mandatory Tequila.
Ed hits the stage to an ear splitting shrill of 16,000 very excited people. It’s an amazing spectacle. Just a man and a guitar
with a loop pedal. He is a master of his craft. Everyone is on their feet. From
the hardcore fans at the front to the reluctant parents on the very back row,
Ed has them all in the palm of his hand. With just the occasional look down at
his loop pedal multi track set up, the accompaniments he makes on the fly with
his voice and beating the guitar body for percussion, it’s seamless. And mighty
Author note: so! I wrote this after a thunderstorm wake me up very early, and casually is raining now 😭 hope you’ll enjoy this! Dedicated to the lovely @flniallgirl 😊💚 🍒
It was 4:30am when a lighting enters in the room, a few seconds later thunders appear and the windows vibrate. I crawl into Niall’s back unconsciously but I find nothing.
I opened my eyes and I realise that I was in the living room…after our fight last night I went to the living room to sleep. I came to NYC three days ago, finding to a Stressed and tired Niall. Not the typical carefree guy. This Niall argues even about the little things. Socks sprawled? He went mad. A dirty plate? He was in crisis. The shampoo staying open by accident? WWIII .
I let him be because I saw him tired because his album debut and he was always nervous trying to know what do the people think about it.
Last night he touchs my limits.
I entered in the hotel room sneezing, we’ve been in Los Angeles in the morning and it was warm, when we landed in NYC at noon it was cold, so my allergy took presence.
I knew he was signing some cds, or at least that was he doing in his livestream on instagram. I was coming watching him since I jump in the car on the 5th Avenue.
I saw how Camila Cabello send things and he answered. Yes, I was jealous but I didn’t want to tell a word because it will be such a mess.
I entered finding Basil in the living room drinking water and watching a game.
“Hey Basil, Niall still signing Cd’s?” I said after place the bags in the floor.
“Yup. Still on it. I think you should talk to him, he is signing like 2000 records non-stop. Don’t want the kid get sick” he said looking me.
“I know, I’m worried too. I’ll see what can I do” I said going in silent to where he was. Watching him still on the phone.
I look at him and just nod. I went to the room taking my phone out and going to his livestream typing a short “you should be sleeping you silly x” then I log out and went for a bath.
By the time I was out I find him changing his clothes carefully, a sign of how tired he was. Normally he was all messy and louder.
“You can’t keep doing this babe” I started.
“Oh. Hey petal, why time did ya came back?” He said ignoring my words
“I’m serious Niall. You had been non-stop since the album came out. Did you even had lunch or dinner? Since I came I have to make you remind or you forget” I say walking through the closet searching for my pj’s.
“I know. I’m just worried for the album. What if is not good enough?” He said jumping onto some comfy pants looking me, with barely open eyes.
I put my lingerie on, knowing he was watching me, but too tired to even notice.
In silent I put my pathetics pink pj’s with mouses on it and I look at him.
“That’s what you’re afraid of? Not being good enough?” I say sceptic.
“Isn’t a enough reason?” He said with furrowed brows. “Ya wouldn’ understan’. Ya just look at it from outside, ya don’t have the pression I had with this album. There’s a lot on makin’” he said going to the bed automatically taking his phone, taking a selfie and writing something on it.
He looks at me after locking his phone.
“Shot” he said knowing that I was frustrated at the moment.
I looked at him one more time and left the room .
How he could tell me that? His album was like the calm after a thunderstorm, like listen to the birds in the early morning, it was beautiful.. everyone says that, not only me! And he stills worry. I can understand his worries but he can’t just get sick because of this!
I heard his footsteps behind me
“Babe..” he started.
“No, Niall. I don’t want to hear what you wanna say. How you can tell me this? Are you even listening yourself? We were looking into every damn social media since your album came out , and there’s nothing more than just excellents comments about it! You were number #1 in I don’t know how many countries, countries that we don’t even know about their existence! Countries that we had to googled! As well I wasn’t with you the day it come out, I supported you, I’ll tell to unknown people to buy your album! I stand there proudly watching your achievements. I flew to USA to join you and I just got told you were about to get such a sickness because you’re not.taking.care.of.yourself. I don’t think we deserve this Niall, your fans that are with you every damn moment supporting you , giving you love, they don’t deserve this. Me, that I’m in every step you take taking over me all the shits they say, did you know how hard it is to handle those peoples? That are telling me how badly was my decision to start dating you? That for example one day you will get tired of me, you will leave me for someone 1000 prettier than me, and I don’t blame them. I’m here standing in the middle of the kitchen in such a ridiculous pijama talking you, but that again, is not the point. I need you to take care of yourself. I don’t want to you get a flu that could get into something worse. Now, I’m going to make some soup in case you wanted to eat I will leave in the microwave” I finished turning to the oven.
“I-I didn’t know that they told ya those things” he said after a few minutes of silent. Typical. You tell them such a whole bible but they will answer just the last line of it, men’s.
“If they did in London, in Amsterdam, in Asuncion, why would not here? People is a shit and You know that” I said cutting the vegetables.
“I love ya, ya know that?” He said in the counter.
“No you don’t! If you love me , you will take care!” I said leaving the knife.
“Again with that? ’M FINE FOR FUCKS SAKE. Ya don’t see me? ’m fine, you’re just bein’ dramatic” he said looking me and going to the room .
“Alright. Then fuck off I don’t care!” I shout going behind him, oh yes. “WHEN YOU’LL ABOUT TO GET A DAMN STRESS DISEASE JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T SLOW DOWN YOU’LL FIND WHO WAS RIGHT ALL THE TIME”
“I DON’T GIVE A FUCK. I’M TIRED OF YA, OF ALL THIS, OF ALL THE PEOPLE WHO SURROUND ME, TIRED OF THIS ALBUM OR THOSE SHITTIES TV SHOWS. I’M TIRED” he said slamming the door. And all went calm. At least he admitted he was tired.
I called to room service and ordered some pizza, salad and a soup if he wants to eat some.
I sit down in the living room to watch a program extremely boring but I wasn’t really watching it cuz my mind wandered through the things he said before, my mind keep running by the last thing he said. I knew that I practically forced him to said what he said .. but I can’t let my ray of sunshine extinguish.
Hours later I went to the room carefully, thinking I’ll find him like the last days, with his notebook and phone simultaneously. But no, I find him in a deep sleep, sprawled all over the bed. His hair all messy and the blankets falling in the floor.
I took the blankets pulling over his body knowing how cold is he at nights.
I took a pillow and a blanket from the placard and I came back to the living room carefully as I entered.
I re-adjusted in the couch , now being a maniac looking through the notebook and my phone seeing what people thinks about his incredible album.
I remember that I tweeted “Niall deserves so much love (not saying this as his gf😝) but he’s so perfect that he doesn’t even notice sometimes and said stupid things… anyways everyone buy #Flicker in iTunes! 💚” and I fall asleep.
And here I am, a few hours later, with a scaring thunderstorm outside and my boyfriend sleeping so comfy that I don’t even wanted to disturb him.
Almost 5am , still awake, I decided to make some coffee, I know that Niall will have a performance at the Today Show, so basically I know he will be up soon. And I left a mug for him too.
I heard his alarm rings but didn’t heard him. Usually he’s all louder when the alarm rings because he ran to the bathroom still with closed eyes. This time I didn’t heard nothing.
Basil come in, look at me and said “kid isn’t ready yet right? Driver will be here soon” he laughed at my pj’s .
I ran directly to the room finding him still snoring, I rub my hand through his back for waking him up.
“Hey Niall, get up. You have a tv show to attend and is late already. C'mon love” I said rubbing his back, neck and face to get him a movement at least.
He turned up and hardly opened his eyes “ I don’t wanna go. ’m tired” he groans and look at me, I was about to leave him sleep more but this show is really important.
“I would really love if you keep resting but is the Today Show honey, you’d need to get up now”
The rain at least has stopped.
He sighs, and after meditate a few seconds he stood up, look at me and hug me.
“Don’t ya sleep here?” He said looking at the empty space in bed without being touched.
“No. I came and you were all sprawled sleeping and really comfy so I slept in the couch..well I tried to” I said leaving his arms and went to the bathroom to brush my teeths.
“But ya still lyin’ down even if imma all sprawled ” he said frowning his brows with foam in his mouth.
“I know, but after what you told me last night it was better give you your space” I said cleaning myself, he look at me confused then he remembered.
He tried to hug me but I went out of the bathroom.
“Love..” he said looking at me.
“It’s getting late, please get ready. I’ll wait in the lobby with Basil” I said going out and taking a sweater, putting some jeans and boats in.
I take my purse and my phone and went outside waiting for him with Basil drinking coffee.
“All good?” He said pointing at the dark bags under my eyes.
“We had an argument last night. Told him he should slow down and we discuss. Being honest I was the one who talked the most. He ended up with a scream and closing the door later” I said starting to put some make-up on trying to cover the zombie face I have. I gave it a bit of colour but still looking like I haven’t had any sleep at all.
Finally , Niall come down looking fresh as a lettuce.
He looked at me noticing my tired face and just sighed.
“Lets go” he said trying to take my hand.
I take it and we made our way to the car in silent.
In the ride to the studio I was almost sleeping on his shoulders when he saw my face, and whisper in my ear “ ’m really sorry that ya haven’t sleep at all, ’m sorry for bein’ an asshole last night too. Didn’t want that ya have the necessity of sleep in da couch ‘cuz I needed time. I love ya, and I’d appreciate all the worries and constantly support you’re giving me, I know I had been a bad boyfriend lately but I really love ya and I promise to take care of maself since now” he said kissing for a long time my forehead staying there for a while.
I didn’t have the strength enough just to mutter a slow “I love you too”