The singer's fans had anything but “Slow Hands” as he performed on stage for TODAY’s Citi Concert Series.

Polaroids of Niall Horan preparing to perform for the citi concert series on the today show.

It’s 6:38 a.m., and everyone on the TODAY plaza is barking.

Even as New York City had some of the worst air quality in the world this week, thousands of Niall Horan fans from Miami to Argentina flocked to Rockefeller Plaza the morning of Friday, June 9, to celebrate the release of the former One Direction singer’s third solo album, “The Show.”

The barking, which also occurs at his fellow One Direction member Harry Styles’ concerts, breaks out in between applause, or replaces an applause altogether, during his set for TODAY's Citi Concert Series. It's a term of endearment for the 29-year-old Irish singer.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” Niall says on stage. “I haven’t released music in a few years and I worked so hard on this record over the last couple, so it’s just good to be back, making music, seeing the crowds – it’s a big day.”

Photo of Niall Horan performing in front of a huge and happy crowd for the citi concert series on the today show.

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

His fans, many stemming back to his One Direction days, are full of energy and ready for his plaza performance. But this isn’t the singer’s first rodeo: Niall visited the plaza for his first solo album, "Flicker," and he's also played at the TODAY show four times during his boy band days from 2010 until they announced a hiatus in 2015.

But the enthusiasm of One Direction fans hasn't gone away since the boys launched their solo careers. Their fans show up, and show up proud in their “vintage” One Direction shirts, Niall merch from years past and dog tag necklaces with the boys’ faces on them. Two fans even showed up with dolls of Niall, which were created many years ago (if you know, you know).

Polaroid of Olivia Glantz, 21, from Westchester, NY, holding Niall horan barbies during the citi concert series on the today show

Olivia Glantz, 21, from Westchester, NY

Olivia Glantz, 21, from Westchester, NY

Niall made his first appearance for soundcheck, sporting a light blue sweater and jeans, and smiling as his fans inevitably began woofing at him. Niall gracefully returns the same energy his fans give him, despite the early call time and a tweet he posted at 3:44 a.m. that he was up to get ready for his TODAY appearance.

“Have to perform on live tv in less than 4 hours,” he wrote.

Niall has been an active social media user since his big break on “The X Factor,” where the judges created a boy band with Niall, Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik. After his audition in 2010, Niall tweeted he hoped his music career would “all wrk out,” and now has an active TikTok presence with his 5.8 million followers.

He continued replying to fans in the early hours of the morning, sharing he was sad to have to drink Throat Coat tea but that he was willing to “have a listen” to what one fan called “the greatest album in the world dropping” today.

As he held hands with people at the plaza and took photos while rehearsing his songs from his new album, he also took fan Katie Woodward’s phone to take her BeReal, at her request.

“I took a picture on Snapchat and made a black screen and I wrote, ‘Can you take my BeReal?’” Woodward, 17, tells Woodward adds she looked at him and screamed, and he said yes.

“He knew exactly what to do,” she says.

Two screenshots of Bereal app of Nial Horan taking a selfie on the left and the crowd for the citi concert series on the today show

Courtesy Katie Woodward

Courtesy Katie Woodward

It’s 8:30 a.m. when the concert starts for real, and Niall starts off with two songs from his new record, “Heaven” and “The Show.” The fans know every word, plus all the lyrics to his biggest hit, “Slow Hands,” which he also performs on stage. Niall takes it all in, grabbing fans’ hands as he walks down the catwalk and basking in the morning light as hundreds sing along to his songs.

In between songs, the TODAY anchors share a video from Blake Shelton, Niall’s fellow judge on “The Voice,” who wished him luck with his concert and upcoming tour. “Good ol’ pops,” Niall responds, playing into their father-son relationship they developed on the singing competition show. 

Next, Niall is introduced to two girls, originally from Argentina, who traveled from California to make it to his plaza performance.

“When someone comes from Argentina it makes you feel bad about coming from Jersey,” he jokes.

The girls gush over Niall, continuously hugging him and taking selfies while on live TV. Niall closes out his set with “Meltdown,” before addressing the crowd amongst screams.

“We did four for TV, but I couldn’t let you queue up for three days and not play a couple more,” Niall said, before playing two additional songs.

Niall then rushes inside and up the stairs of Studio 1A to tape two interviews, in which he discusses his dream festival lineup: The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Oasis and Taylor Swift (he specifies he would open for her).

Niall gives Swift another shoutout when discussing his dream musical collaborator. He first says Bruce Springsteen, adding he can “categorically say that will probably never happen,” before naming the “Shake It Off” singer yet again.

“I love Taylor Swift,” he says. “She’s one of my favorite songwriters, she definitely is the best songwriter of our generation. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would say that.”

The singer then heads downstairs for his live hit on TODAY, where word about his obsession with cardigans has gotten around. TODAY’s weatherman Al Roker handed Niall a white cardi with the orange TODAY logo knitted on the front, and “Today” embroidered in black cursive on the back, to Niall’s delight.

Photo of Niall Horan smiling and holding up a cardigan with "TODAY" embroidered on the back during an interview on the today show.

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Nathan Congleton / TODAY

“I’d actually wear that, that’s very nice,” he says. “100%. Very nice.”

With cardigan in hand, Niall is then whisked away by his team to continue on with his album release day, but as Niall said earlier: “Let ‘The Show’ begin.”