Photo Credit: Alexa Fiorello
Thursday night, dreams came true for the admins here at Music Creates Us. It’s not always the easiest feat to obtain sold out tickets to a major stadium tour, let alone floor seats for One Direction. But as luck would have it, we secured (though months ago) some pretty amazing seats to see the UK heartthrobs at Gillette Stadium near Boston on their current, Where We Are Tour. The demand was so great, in fact, that One Direction added two more days at Gillette, home of the New England Patriots football team. Other big acts have recently included Taylor Swift and Jay Z and Beyonce, but it seems no one has topped the British Invasion that is One Direction.
The concert started at 7:00, with Australian boy band, 5 Seconds of Summer, opening. Traffic surrounding Boston was rush-hour crazy, and creeping closer to Foxborough and Gillette, the One Direction fan base simply took over. Fans of all ages packed into cars, and there were many a limo inching along towards the venue. Parking was just as swamped, and soon enough fans were filtering out onto the sidewalks to make the walk to the night of our lives.
Given the traffic, we arrived late and were only able to see about three songs from 5SOS. We walked in in the midst of their cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” always a good choice for an opener or lesser-known band to get the crowd pumped up. Quickly followed “Amnesia,” one of 5SOS’s summer hits, and the crowd had no problem in the energy department. Girls, and a surprising amount of young men, surrounded us with signs promoting a local radio station, and the logo, “I want to meet 5SOS!” as they sang and danced to the guys onstage. 5SOS was a lively band, with an exceptional stage presence from Luke Hemmings, lead vocals and guitar, and Ashton Irwin on drums.
The highlight, of course, was the band’s major hit, “She Looks So Perfect.” The packed crowd went mad, and it’s safe to say everyone was singing along to the “hey heys” and the chorus. It was about 7:50 when 5SOS left the stage with a new energy, filled with excitement from their performance and uncontainable anticipation for who was to come next.
Next commenced the typical lengthy setup, where we were shown music videos from Little Mix (a crowd favorite, no doubt due partially to Zayn’s fiancé, Perrie) and even more 5SOS, as well as the new commercial for One Direction’s fragrance (which elicited countless screams). As the sun rapidly set, DJ-style music began to play to pump us up. Every so often a section of screams would erupt from the left side of the stage as we waited to see where One Direction would come from. Then, out of nowhere, midsong, there they were—emerging from an opening in the center screen of the stage!
The first distinct notes of “Midnight Memories” began, and we were enraptured. One Direction took the stage with such presence and energy; it was incredible to hear the screams and see the hands gripped tightly to all the fluttering hearts as our night truly began.
Once they had begun, the boys of One Direction were on a roll. Their first few songs flowed right into one another, a testament to the talent of their backup band (who Louis happily introduced later in the evening). This flow also kept the energy level up and the audience’s interest piqued. Each ending turned into a beginning that tested the crowd, seeing just how fast we could recognize the next track and chime in with the beat and lyrics. In retrospect it may have caused the concert to feel shorter than it actually was (in total they played for about an hour and a half), but with the initial rush of experiencing One Direction it was easy to be swept away song after song.
After three or four songs, Liam took time for a proper “welcome,” and of course the screams were deafening. Throughout the night, each member thus turned to the crowd to thank and welcome us, and express their utmost pleasure at being back in Boston. Harry was indeed affectionate, blowing kisses our way throughout the night. Niall had some of the most heart wrenching moments when he turned to the crowd. The first was his introduction to “Don’t Forget Where You Belong,” a song we could tell he is very proud to have written. Niall was a bit upstaged at this point, however, when Harry was caught surreptitiously reading onstage!
“Don’t Forget Where You Belong” was one of the many songs where we saw the true depth of One Direction. Far beyond any of the lyrics, we could see the heart and soul of the boys on stage. Certain songs like “Don’t Forget Where You Belong,” “Little Things,” “Right Now,” “Through the Dark,” “You and I,” “Story of My Life,” and even the more upbeat, “Happily,” evoked a seriousness and devotion from the five young men. Especially with “Happily,” one of the most energetic songs of the night—exploding streamers and all—we could see on their faces that they honestly felt the music. It was very striking, and made us not only listen more closely to the words, but also see the genuineness of One Direction as artists and people.
This same notion also came across throughout the concert in the actions and habits of Niall, in particular. His talent on guitar was notably defined and highly broadcast, but not in a way to just showcase One Direction as more than a boy band. Niall was just one example of the validity of the band’s musical talents. Watching Niall, we could tell that he is most comfortable with a guitar in his hand. Even when he wasn’t playing a physical guitar, he was acting out the motions on his own “air” guitar. He also had several moments where he had to be dancing around; at one pause between songs he did his own rendition of James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” with “na nas” and all.
Some other highlights of the show were “Little Things,”—always the tearjerker. They slowed it down a little at this point, breaking up the excitement of “Happily” and “Strong.” They also included “Moments,” a nice throwback that Liam seemed very pleased to play. “Little Things” created a beautiful scene among the stadium, the blue lighting and the glow from thousands of phones forming a sort of starlit heaven in a world of One Direction. The song is another addition to the band’s musical credibility, especially when played live. The harmonies between singers really come out in this song, most obviously when you can see exactly who is singing. Niall and Harry are the key harmonizers in this song, something many people may not be aware of from just hearing the track on the radio.
“Through the Dark” had a similar vibe to “Little Things,” and was also quite emotional. “Through the Dark” is also another great song for displaying harmony, this time between Zayn and Liam. It was also unique because all the boys lined up with microphone stands, creating the solemn unity that seems to flow from the song.
As mentioned before, “Happily” was a song of surprises, beginning with the change of pace from the previous song, “Through the Dark.” Then from “Strong” until the closing, “What Makes You Beautiful,” we got nothing but high-energy hype. “Better Than Words” lived up to all of the videos and sensuality of the lyrics (ahem, Liam and Niall). Each member was dancing crazily at at least one point during the song, sending the crowd into a further frenzy. “Alive,” “One Thing,” and “Diana” all took place on the runway, enlisting an effect that caused the end of the stage to rise up. Not only did the stage elevate the boys, its walls were also made up of TV screens, where a video game-like animated One Direction appeared. This was especially cool for “One Thing,” because the graphics nearly mirrored the events of the real-life music video where the boys travel through London.
The concert “ended” with “What Makes You Beautiful,” and the boys left the stage by escaping down into the floor. We knew that wouldn’t be it, however. Sure enough, they emerged out of yet another entrance in the center of the stage.
Their first encore was “You and I,” and for some it was simply breathtaking. Again they lined up as they had for “Through the Dark,” and their solemnity was awe-inspiring. Next came “Story of My Life,” and yet another pleasant surprise in the form of “Little White Lies.” The energy of “Little White Lies” rivaled that of “Happily,” and quickly crept up to one of my favorite performances of the night. We had not expected them to play it, and for an encore no less was truly a treat. When it was finally time to say goodnight, One Direction left us with “Best Song Ever” and an array of fireworks. It was a great exit, perfectly upbeat and incredibly danceable. It being their first single from Midnight Memories, it was fitting, as well.
All in all, it was an incredible night. They played Midnight Memories almost in its entirety, but also had some oldies like “Moments,” too. The talent and presence of One Direction, along with the devotion from their fans led to an unforgettable experience. If given the chance, definitely do not pass up seeing this band!
“You and I”