It’s the girls who know how to have a good time.
Boys think they control the show. That they are the inheritors of the scene. That they’re what makes it all go forward. But women are the grease, without them the engine doesn’t turn, and the engine was humming last night!
So it’s a secret.
Welcome to 2018, where we’re inundated with news but no one has their finger on the pulse. You’d think Drake is the biggest act in the world, but his shows are not selling out. Sure, there are multiples, sure, prices are high, but if you want a ticket you can get one.
But not for Harry Styles.
His original band, er, act, 1D, had few hits. So how did they sell out stadiums?
Via the internet, the word was spread. And there’s no internet chart, nothing that will tell you what is bubbling up, what is hot, where it’s all going. Oh, there are a lot of prognosticators, usually men, who tell you they have all the answers, but the truth is in today’s world no one does, it’s a veritable Tower of Babel, and if you weren’t in attendance last night, you’d have no idea how big Harry Styles is…
AND HE’S GIGANTIC!
Niall Horan may have more radio hits, but Harry is selling something more than music – sexiness, attraction, connection. To be at a Styles show is to fantasize he’s in love with you, and the amazing thing is it’s plausible, because he may be peacocking, but he’s somehow human, approachable, he’s the man of your dreams.
And he’s a rock star.
This is a rock show.
Forget all the words you hear about dancing and production. Except for the flashy lights, this could be the seventies. There’s a four piece band backing Harry up. It’s all about the music. And the music hearkens back to the past, do you remember MELODY?
It’s like the evolution into hip-hop nation never happened.
And the little girls understand.
But they’re not so little anymore. They’ve grown up. These are the same girls I saw at the Rose Bowl four years ago, but now they’re women, they’ve stuck with Harry, they not only know the old One Direction numbers, but the new ones too, they were there for a celebration.
And Harry delivered it.
First and foremost, he acted the part. Just like Rod Stewart in the early days of the Faces. They were not begging for your attention, but turning on their magnetism and drawing you to them. And Harry had some of Rod’s moves, with his hands up by his head, prancing, it was thrilling to watch.
And unlike Taylor Swift, he’d grown up.
The world is riddled with teen phenom has-beens. Who could never outgrow their puppy love days and replicate them through lines in their face and heart failure. But Harry decided he would evolve, in both music and performance, and that’s a revelation. He didn’t just remake 1D, he went off on his own journey, based on his own taste, AND HIS AUDIENCE FOLLOWED HIM!
It was 95% women. Sure, there were some men in attendance, but whole rows were filled with females. Standing through the entire show. Singing along at the top of their lungs. Sometimes screaming. Short ones, tall ones, big ones, small ones. Not a single one self-conscious, all letting their freak flags fly. With their heads in the sky, when they weren’t pointing their phone cameras at Harry.
Who ran down the middle of the arena to a second stage in the middle of the show. And the fascinating thing was he played to those in the far-back seats, he faced them, not us up front. Playing acoustically. The modern world is all about faking it, about the trappings, but Harry could play and sing and the audience swooned.
There was an Ariana Grande cover.
But there was also a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain,” a forty-year old nugget. These girls wouldn’t know that, WOULD THEY?
OF COURSE THEY DID!
They’re aware of their rock history, they know who Stevie Nicks is.
And as the show wore on, Harry shed his distance, talked more, engaged as a regular person without becoming schmaltzy. He made a phone call to patron’s mother. He had the assembled multitude sing “Happy Birthday” to three in attendance, one of whom, the guitar player, is dating the drummer…
That was the revelation. I didn’t notice the ponytail at first. But she was pounding like Mick Fleetwood, with flair. She was better than the boys with tattoos, she’d been recruited from Hot Chip.
And the keyboard player was also a woman.
And unlike the rock stars of yore, Harry Styles did not come off as sexist whatsoever, he seemed positively up with the times, while channeling the past.
But if you weren’t there, you wouldn’t know it.
Boys are smug, think they know better, sit in judgment.
It’s the girls who can let loose. Especially when there are no boys around.
But boys wouldn’t know how to act around these girls/women. Boys are afraid. They can’t be free. They huddle amongst their peers and make snide comments, try to get up their gumption to speak, when all the girls want is a partner, not in crime, but in joy.
And you would have observed all this last night, if you’d been in the sold-out arena, where they even sold the seats behind the stage.
But you missed the memo.
As for those in attendance?
THEY NEEDED TO BE THERE!