One Direction at NRG Stadium, 8/22/2014
It is worth a mention that were it not for the fact that he's in the same group as Styles Liam Payne would probably be the most charismatic dude in pop music. Dude is also endlessly entertaining, even when his joke segments go a bit flat.
If you're wondering why this review isn't focusing more on the music, that's because the music was exactly what you expect. They have a solid band that plays as required and 1D proper are good singers. If you like their songs as they're recorded, odds are better than good that you'll enjoy them live.
Which leads to the question: can you quantify performance? The reality is that although their songs are still marshmallow soft, they have actually developed a damn good stage show. It's super simple - it's hard to go wrong with giant video screens and fireworks - but it works because the most important part of the show isn't the stage or the music: it's the fans.
When you can sell out NRG Stadium, you're not putting on a concert any more, you're putting on an event. Walking in to the stadium proper and seeing the crowd was much more impressive than anything happened onstage, no matter how enjoyable that part is. The entire situation becomes pure spectacle, and while it may not be the music that snobs and critics would like the youth of today to be passionate about, it's still pretty cool to see that many people in love with music, even if it's because they're in love with personalities.
Here's something to consider, teens and tweens, when you're sitting in class Monday morning: 15 years from now, you will probably look back at how excited you were for this night with a hint of embarrassment. It's cool; by then you'll have discovered new bands to listen and new songs to love. You'll have reinvented your musical personalities multiple times.
But don't forget about how cool this night was when you're too cool to admit that you were ever a Directioner. Because Friday night was awesome, and it was because of you.
Personal Bias: Having never gotten around to listening to Midnight Memories, there were a few songs I was hearing for the first time at this show. That said, I'll probably be giving "Little Things" and "You & I" some spins in the near future.
The Coolest Person in the Crowd: The guy in the purple body paint who knew the entire "Single Ladies" dance. I'm not normally one to support people trying to make the show about themselves, but this guy had so much spirit that I couldn't hate it.
Overheard In the Crowd:
Girl 1: If the sun was a person I'd punch it.
Girl 2: That's a good idea.
Girl 1: Thanks. I try real hard coming up with my jokes.
The conversation went on for another 30 seconds and it continued to be amazing.
Random Notebook Dump: In between 5SOS and 1D, there was your typical between-the-bands music. At one point 30,000 people were doing the Macarena. I'm still not sure how I feel about that.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS