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 a 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!
Responses from Bob’s readers – please note that these replies are unedited for content or grammar, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CelebrityAccess, or its staff.
I saw Harry in St. Paul Mn recently. I am a 59 year old male music head and I fell in love with Harry’s album last year. It was so 70s rock. He booked the show a year ago. I refused to bite. But this spring my wife and I had fomo so we bought some stub hub tickets for 50% of face. As we drove over we figured it would be half full. My wife asked me to guess the demo. We knew it would be female. I guessed 25 years old. I was over by 5 years. And it was a celebration of teenage lesbianism-who knew Harry was a lesbian icon? It was so cool. And then he played. He is a rock star. A real rock star. Enough said, the youth are the future and we are in good shape. Amen.
Love harry and always thought 1D were underrated. Making not bad 70’s rock.
(Niall’s album is more listenable).
But tell us, how was Kasey Musgraves?? Sad I couldn’t go to the forum to see her open.
Saw him in March in Austin on the theatre tour with my daughter and her GBF. (We flew down under the guise of a college visit). He and his band rock and they have great songs. The album is reeeeally good.
But then I’m probably the only 62-year old who saw 1D three times. (Not completely under protest!) I said from jump that Harry would be the break through – Mickey Dolenz-meets-Jagger.
Yes – Rod Stewart. I thought that, too.
He’s the bollocks, for damn sure.
His first solo turn on SNL
was like “so there still can be rock stars!”
I really like Harry Styles and his album was one of my favorites from last year. Did not know how popular he really was.
I worked with Harry, as an actor, on Dunkirk, in LA (I do sound). He could not have been more gracious and helpful. It’s not fun having a microphone taped to your body, but in this process he was very accommodating.
But there’s more than that, and there’s a story about him that I tell people when they ask about Dunkirk. After work one night, my wife and I had to take my son to the ER, and he was admitted to the hospital. So I had to miss the next day of work (everything worked out and he’s fine). When I returned to work the day after that, and Harry arrived on set and he saw me, he bee lined straight to me, by-passing several others, and wanted to know immediately how my son was doing. I was blown away.
It’s a testament to who he is: a human before a star. Even though when it comes to the latter, he IS gigantic.
(When we finished I asked him what was next (knowing he had just signed a massive recording contract). He was off to Jamaica immediately to write the album.)
My niece was a minor 1D fan. I liked them for their energy – that was about it. But I was curious when Harry’s album first came out. I heard it had an old school vibe – melodies, hooks, real instruments. I had to listen. I wanted to hear some music I could relate to and got tired of listening to crappy pop stuff and/or stuff that was popular 30 years ago. So I pulled up his album on Spotify and and must have listened to a few dozen times before I moved on to something else. I’m a fan. Watching him do a week with James Cordon and his cheeky humor and dashing good looks as well as amazing talent hooked me. “Two Ghosts” is an amazing song. I hope he keeps on this path and find something old that is now new.
Great one, Bob. You are tuned in, man. Thanks for the report from the field.
the kid can rock and i give him all the credit in the world.
not to mention taking kacey musgraves out as support. love his choices all around
My Daughter was at Harry’s show in Sacramento, and when I asked her how it was she said “no words.” But of course you found the perfect way to describe it.
Bob, first time I’ve been compelled to reply… you captured a lot here, somehow made me feel like I missed out on a Harry Styles concert – not a snide comment.
I look forward to reading your email about Young Thug, the Harry Styles of rap.
I love the big rock show, wish I’d been there to see the lad doing the deal. I kinda thought he might be the real deal, but who would know? My daughter maybe??
I just want to say. When Harry played the troubadour last year, he brought Stevie Nicks. She is a queen and she told stories and all the girls and their mothers lost their shit when she walked out. It was incredible.
Oscar J. Narro
He is such a superstar for all of the right reasons! He’s talented as hell, passionate, genuine and cool! I love him, my 30 year old daughter loves him, my 20 year old niece loves him, my 12 year old niece loves him…yes women LOVE Harry! And what a showman he is!
Reminds me of Jagger.
Does it not worry you that today the best way to achieve your dream is to enter a reality tv show/talent contest?
Should you be celebrating this?
Is it just about ticket sales?
You wanna be a rock star?
Enter a talent contest.
You wanna be president of America?
It’s taken a while but it looks like somebody have finally cracked it and come up with a way to fool all of the people all of the time.
I didn’t need to be there.
This is not a good thing.
Matters Of Vinyl Importance
I’ve seen a Harry concert and it is spectacular. He was the star of 1D and brilliant off the stage too in interviews and press. He’s the real deal. There are other concerts like his that generate the same relationship with the all female audience—Hanson. Oh, did Mercury blow that. These concerts have one very important common factor…the talent is drug free and so is the audience. There is no celebration of failure. The next day everyone goes to work. Do not minimize the not-cool-at all factor. No, I never thought Drake was the biggest star on the planet, only Rolling Stone and TMZ thinks that. But I have an important guidance system: 12 and 15 year old daughters who don’t care who Drake is but know every 1D, Macklemore and Justin Bieber lyric. They love Elvis Duran.
“Welcome to 2018, where we’re inundated with news but no one has their finger on the pulse.” great sentence. But I believe 15 year old girls have always known exactly where the pulse is and what makes it race. Glad you got out:)))) Walter Sabo
Just watched Some HARRY STYLES night 2 at The Forum, on Youtube.
It’s a ROCK CONCERT / Harry is a ROCK STAR.
He even used a Microphone Cable!!!!
Would’ve loved to been a part of the team for this one…
What is really impressive is the approach “they” took with Harry to differentiate yet maintain his established fan base. I’m overthinking this I’m sure but the moment 1D was no longer, the $64K question is; “where do we begin?”
How to not recreate the wheel here…
Just watched Some HARRY STYLES night 2 at The Forum, on Youtube.
It’s a ROCK CONCERT / Harry is a ROCK STAR.
He even used a Microphone Cable!!!!
such a good read, happy to see your perspective matches what I have seen online over the course of this tour. These girls!!
Not only do they know how to have fun, they know how to utilize the internet – to share with their peers all over the world. Last night alone, there where tens of thousands watching via livestreams provided by the girls inside. They managed to stream and film every show of this tour – so much content, pictures, gifs with subtitles, memes. This is not only fun to follow if you, like me, missed out on going to an actual show. It also makes everything super accessible for everyone who wants to join the party. You are part of the inner circle no matter where you are.
Also, they educate each other and Harry. The rainbow flags, the “I‘m gay” signs, the Black Lives Matter Flags where there for every show. Did you know there is a bi flag, a lesbian flag? I didn‘t, but I do now.
They have each others back. They cheer when fellow fans come out. They make sure Harry sees important signs in the crowd. They gift downloads to fans who can‘t afford it. They organise for fan projects.
Me, I am way too old to fangirl over a boybander. But hell, this is way too much fun to miss out on because of some misguided sense of musical superiority. And this is as much about the music as it is about the community.
All the best,
Really, you defined what the secret to Harry Styes is with one word in your piece: JOY. I’m glad you get that and I’m more than a little bit relieved that you said it. I think it’s fantastic that you went to see his show, felt the joy and wrote about it. Thank you for that. See, I’m a fan of his, but I’m a woman in her 50s and I have no kids. I gotta tell you though, it’s not just “the little girls” or even just “the girls” – my husband is a fan as well. Hell, even my parents who are in their 70s love Harry! It might seem obvious why his younger fans adore him, but why would fans my age (and older) think he’s so great? I mean sure, he has a unique and terrific voice, a great band, the look (those suits!)…these things alone could be enough, absolutely.
It’s more than that, though. A lot more.
As you witnessed, Harry Styles is about being inclusive, not exclusive, telling everyone to feel free to be whatever they want to be while they are at his shows, with no judgment. He spreads a message by his actions, being an example of a decent and kind human. It brings hope to me for this up and coming generation, that someone with his reach is spreading such a positive message to their fans. It’s inspiring to us older ones that are paying attention, too, but these young people at his shows are going to run the world soon. I’m excited about that now, not afraid of it, because of Harry. His message is one needed desperately right now – a kind, inclusive reality we can all create for each other, when there is so much hatred and negativity seemingly everywhere we look. He has “Treat People With Kindness” all over his merch, for a reason – he actually does it and wants everyone else to do it, too. You’ve seen. Sadly, as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t make any of his shows, due to travel distance from the venues he played. Maybe next time. But, I’ve seen, in footage (of which there is an abundance on YouTube) of his shows, fan stories of how kind he was when they met him, interviews he does… He connects with his fans in a way that matters, makes people feel like they matter to him, because it’s obvious that they do. He always looks people in the eye, actually remembers numerous individual fans from previous shows and tells them so, has conversations with the audience, knows that he wouldn’t be able to do what he does without them and says so to them. I’m writing all of this because I find what he’s doing to be truly important as well as being very entertaining. I haven’t seen any artist do what he does with that level of connectivity, ever. A movement of kindness in these times? From a rockstar? Wow! And he most certainly is that. I grew up on Fleetwood Mac and many of the classic rock greats … Went to many, many shows, bought hundreds upon hundreds of records and, frankly, I didn’t expect to be inspired this much by a musician anymore. Then came Harry Styles. I hope he keeps touring, making records, and spreading joy for years to come.
This is so completely bang on Bob, thank you, you nailed it.
My husband and I took our 14 year old to the concert in Vancouver and we were overwhelmed by the entire event. First, before the show the arena was blasting songs from bands like Queen and the Beatles and we were impressed by this, also that all the kids knew the words, the arena was buzzing with sing alongs. We had to laugh as the lights dimmed and before Harry even took the stage the entire arena stood up in a flash and screamed, loud, and they did not sit down throughout the entire show. It was fascinating, all Harry had to do was smile and twinkle his eye a little and it would send them all into fits of squeals all over again. These girls were indeed, deeply connected.
I already knew that my daughter was obsessed, her Instagram feed has been filled with Harry videos and pictures after every concert throughout his tour and she pours over each post endlessly. Through social media platforms and by piecing random videos together she has even learned all the words to his newest song; “Medicine” which hasn’t even been released yet. I was gobsmacked as I watched her and thousands of other girls all singing along word for word. Did I mention the song hasn’t even been released yet? It’s a cracking good song, as were so many of them. I’m a fan of the 60’s and 70’s music mostly, and my hubs and I kept finding flashbacks and nods to this music from earlier days. So we enjoyed it, alot.
We would have preferred to sit down mind you, but you couldn’t if you wanted to see anything……. We did walk away in absolute awe and full of respect for his music, talent and mastery of the stage and audience.
Anyhow, our daughter came home last night from a sleepover because she was too depressed that Harry’s tour is over.
I barely even know what to make of it.
Dreams- Canada’s Ultimate Tribute to Fleetwood Mac.
So… rock isn’t dead after all, Bob?