WHO: One Direction
WHEN: Saturday, August 29, 2015
WHERE: Ford Field
The iconic and overly-adored British pop sensations One Direction played Ford Field Saturday night at a stop on their On The Road Again 2015 tour. Considering the band played the venue just last year, it was interesting to note the changes that had occurred in just that short time. Viral videos and commercials kept the crowd entertained, producing a multimedia sensory overload for the masses. But when the band did appear in a marvelous display of lights, lasers, and sprays of fire, all hearing was lost as close to 60,000 girls (and the odd over-protective father or unfortunate boyfriend) shrieked at the highest of frequencies.
If you were there to see a great, over-the-top show with good vocals and well-executed theatrics, then the show perfectly fulfilled your musical appetite. Personally, as a longtime fan of the band, watching them interact on stage was, well, slightly disappointing. It seems as though five years in the music business noticeably took its toll on the individual members of One Direction. The on-stage banter, while witty, also came off as forced and slightly repetitive. Freshly-22-year old Liam Payne celebrated his birthday last night in Detroit, and as he attempted to connect to the audience by reading home made signs and continuously thanking everyone for coming, it came off a little dry and almost like an excuse to have a topic of conversation with the adoring attendees. A platform extending from the stage allowed for yet another way for the band to create a literal connection to their fans, and while every member individually thanked the crowd for how great their fans were and how the band wouldn’t be where they were without all of the support, the gratitude again came off as slightly lacking.
Loss of former member Zayn Malik and recent drama surrounding soon-to-be father Louis Tomlinson added an apparent stress to the band. Announcement of the band’s year-long hiatus gave way to suspicion that tensions between bandmates were likely on the rise. However, it actually didn’t come off that exact way. It was surprising to see the ease with which they interacted with one another, which while normal wasn’t what a Directioner like myself had expected to see. The most upsetting thing – although ultimately not surprising – about the whole experience was the lack of humility. Harry Styles blew kisses to adoring girls, flipped his long locks, and frankly could have announced his support for Donald Trump and every young impressionable heart would have screamed their lungs out. Tomlinson and Payne pranced the stage and simply by saying “Hello Detroit” caused an ear-shattering response. Niall Horan did make one moving speech, and maybe it’s the youngster in me, but listening to a sweet Irish boy sing a song about how we always have a home to come back to was a spell-binding experience.
So, the big question, I suppose, is if I would go back to another One Direction concert? When/if they get back together at the end of their break next year, I would have to say it’s absolutely a no-brainer.