As One Direction stepped onto the stage of Gillette Stadium on Saturday night, the crowd was electric and anything but silent. The now foursome were set to deliver what could very well be their last U.S. show of their career, and I know that may be just speculation, but it felt as if the boys were giving us a farewell performance for the two hours they shared with the crowd of roughly 60,000 people.
Granted they will be releasing a fifth studio album fairly soon, but touring the U.S. may not be on their minds for a long while. All I can say is how lucky I was to have been able to attend the last gig in North America and Gillette couldn’t have been a better place for the final date of their On The Road Again tour.
Augustana and Icona Pop primed us for a spectacular performance from the band of 5 years who were created on the famous X Factor, the group has been through quite a bit over the past year, with a member leaving and a hiatus on the horizon, they made it about the fans rather than themselves throughout the lengthy 25 song set. Starting out with a bang, ‘Clouds’ from the newest album was performed with enough oomph to make you get out of your seats. Liam introduced the band and then on to the next song ‘Steal My Girl‘. As the songs were dwindling the admiration and love wasn’t. The four young men projected their unwavering words of love across the stadium as Liam, Harry, Louis and Niall repeatedly thanked the fans for all the years of support. Some old (Kiss You, Better Than Words, Little Things) and new songs were played, but what really made the crowd go wild was fan made single ‘No Control’, which fan’s call this “Louis’ song”, as he wrote on it and takes over the leads in the chorus.
If you haven’t heard the story behind ‘No Control’, it became a single through fan request, many of the band’s supporters spent days relentlessly calling radio stations across the world to play ‘No Control’ and of course the hosts obliged. If ‘No Control’ didn’t pump up the crowd enough the next song raised the bar… ‘Drag Me Down‘ was announced and delivered with extreme passion, and yes, if you were wondering, Harry Styles can hit those notes at the end. At this point were a little over halfway through the set, we’ve seen silly string fights, hilarious signs and we’ve sung happy birthday to the only irish lad of the group Niall, who turns 22 on Sunday. The boys kick-off the next song ‘What Makes You Beautiful’, and strut across the stage with enough spunk you’d think they’ve done this their entire lifetime and when they all convene for the final chorus you can see the magic they bring to live performance. In every sense of the word these four guys are entertainers, they’ve have incredible voices and huge stage presence.
We’re at the part we all love and hate and that would be the encore, where the band really gives it their all but always bids us adieu. Four songs are listed in the encore and it goes like this, the slow ballad ‘You & I’ – which didn’t seem possible to sing again since the high note hitter Zayn Malik left but dare I say this… it’s almost better without him. I would have never know Liam Payne could hit those unbelievable high notes if he had never been given the chance. Following was ‘Act My Age’, a seemingly irish jig with a wee bit of a Beach Boys vibe, got the crowd dancing again and showed off some of Niall’s dancing skills. There wasn’t a single person who couldn’t be seen singing or dancing (including all the mums & dads who attended) I think even the light techs could be seen moving in their towers. ‘Little White Lies’ was next and the song showcases Niall’s brilliant guitar skills, and then of course the final song was of course ‘Best Song Ever’. With fireworks and a whole lot of energy the show ended with as much intensity as it started with, the boys walked the stage bowing, blowing kisses, signing fan made signs. As the lighting and sound was dying down you could see the four boys standing together at the head of stage looking around in awe and with what seemed finite they embraced in a group hug.
A production like that can’t be explained in one paragraph, and I don’t even think it can be explained in the amount I’ve written for you. 5 years of hard work have landed these 20 something guys from small towns into peak careers. They produce, write, sing and play instruments and yes it’s mostly bubblegum pop but to have seen them grow immensely in this seemingly short time has been incredible. If you’ve ever gotten the chance to see them live or even just listened to their discography you know what I’m talking about. Now don’t go crying on me yet… fans can still look forward to the fifth album and as mentioned by Liam earlier in the show, we will get to see another video soon, the single will come from the new album and will have a “pretty chill” vibe so he says. Hooray!
Even though they may be leaving the spotlight soon they seem to be going on their own terms and want to keep the fans inthralled by still releasing a few things before the hiatus. If you are in the UK area the boys still have some shows out there you can catch and you can find the dates here.
Review by Heather Hook