Harry Styles is a hologram.
There. I said it, wake up everyone,
I finally came to this conclusion, last night on the 24th of April, watching him live, when I realised that no-one who sounded like that, acted like that, performed like that or looked like that, could in fact possibly be real. The moment of realisation allowed everything I had ever known for the past seven-eight years, to click into place.
But for the sake of content fluidity, I guess I can start from the beginning.
The night started earlier that evening with some train delays that set us off a couple minutes later than we intended. However, considering we were meeting on the train two hours before the opening act got on stage, it wasn’t a huge issue, and Kate, Jess and I met up on the crowded train a little after 5:30.
It wasn’t a long ride into the city, but soon we were getting off at Richmond station for a drink and something to eat at Precinct. A cocktail and bowl of chips later, we decided to head off towards Hisense Arena, following the clumps of girls all making their way over there.
It was a short walk, and an even shorter line to get inside, followed by the usual bag search and metal detector thing, but soon we were in, enveloped by this hugely nostalgic feeling, seeing hundreds of girls, some young, but mostly our age and older, a couple of boys, either fans or best friends and boyfriends being dragged along and a couple of older groups, all walking through the arena. At this point Jess and I had to split up from Kate who had bought her ticket later and was on the other side of the stage.
Finally we found our seats. Hisense Arena isn’t a massive arena, compared to Rod Laver and Etihad Stadium where One Direction have performed previously, so to be quite honest, you could see perfectly from any seat. Still, my blind self made sure to bring my glasses with me. I hadn’t waited a year and half to not be able to see the man.
A couple of flash light signals later, we spotted Kate across the arena and began enjoying the opening act, The Preatures.
I can’t say I’m a massive fan of the band, but I definitely enjoy their music whenever it comes on Triple J during work, so I really enjoyed their set. Jess and I continued to marvel at the complete 70’s/80’s vibe they had, that surrounded their whole performance. It was a really fun set to watch, as well as listen to. I particularly enjoyed their song Your Fan, a song about being a fan of a huge band who splits up and wanting to continue being a fan….fitting as hell?? Definitely recommend listening to that song, I’ve linked it for you, especially if you’ve gone through the experience of being a massive fan of a group or a band only to have them split up or end their journeys. It was a tear jerker no doubt.
Harry Styles, in a black and gold embroidered suit, walked out.
We love an on trend king.
It was insane. As I recalled in the car drive home, I definitely broke some skin on Jess’ hand from how tightly we were clutching each other as he and his band walked out. You have to understand, the whole experience was so special because we’d literally been on this ride for nearly eight years. It was insane seeing him again, especially considering the last time we had seen him live, it was the three of us again, watching One Direction at Etihad Stadium in 2015.
However this time, rather than having Niall, Liam, Louis and Zayn standing beside him, he had Mitchell on lead guitar, Sarah on drums and vocals, Clare on keyboard and vocals and Adam on bass guitar and vocals, with Harry’s voice front and centre.
My first major melt-down was when he opened with Only Angel. The angelic build-up for his entrance set the entire tone for this song, and when the song got to that 0:52 mark I was never more ready for the song to kick off into the groovy rock sound I have learnt to align Styles with.
There was only a few seconds between Only Angel and his second song, Woman, which set the crowd off again. The amount of screaming was incredibly reminiscent of an entire period of my life, and anyone who knows, knows. There is something so distinct about the scream from a fangirl that you know instantly. It was insane.
Ever Since New York had tears welling up in my eyes within the first few chords being strummed, and it was the first of many songs where I was thrown back to my first time ever seeing One Direction in 2013, where I was standing right at the back of Rod Laver Arena, completely frozen, my hand over my mouth, on the verge of tears but just in awe. The final few accapella moments of the song, with nothing but the band’s backing vocals and his voice filling the stadium was magical, and I’m so I was quick enough to whip out my phone and capture part of it.
Two Ghosts had me shooketh. Shooketh. That’s all for that one.
Carolina nearly started a riot. I can’t describe the feel of this song adequately without you just listening to it.
One thing I will say before I continue. His entire album was made for a live experience. All the songs were 10 times better in the arena than they are in the studio versions.
Harry then blessed us all with Stockholme Syndrome, a One Direction song released in 2014, that had everyone going mad. Every single word came flooding back like muscle memory, it was insane. Harry also wrote Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart, which is performed by Ariana Grande, and I definitely love his version of it a little bit more, but I’m obviously biased.
His next song can’t be linked like all the others, because there’s no studio version of it since it’s not been released, which frankly, offends me. Medicine is up with there with Kiwi as one of my favourite Harry Styles’ songs and I’m in desperate need of a recorded version. My Spotify is dry without it. If you’re keen to listen to it, here’s a link to a YouTube video with the song recorded at the concert, in surprisingly decent quality.
His next song was Meet Me In The Hallway. Another topic we discussed in the car back, was how bloody sad all his slow songs are. For a man of his age, he writes about incredibly deep topics and his lyrics always seem to just, punch you in the gut, take your breath away. There’s so much weight behind them all and this song is no different. It also definitely links back to this constant stigma that he and the rest of the boys faced in One Direction when they were writing songs, that led to most people shrugging them off as cringe-y and fake. Their current careers, especially Harry’s and Niall’s have honestly proven just how talented they all really are when it comes to song writing and it’s a shame people are missing out on it because they refuse to give it a chance.
Meet Me In The Hallway is incredibly cinematic and atmospheric. It’s soon become one of my favourite songs on the album. It created the perfect segue to allow him to climb off stage and walk down the partition in the middle of the mosh-pit, stopping to clutch hand’s and give hugs on his way down to the back of the reserved seating, where he and his guitar played Mitchell climbed up onto a tiny stage right in front of the back seating to sing Sweet Creature. One of my favourite slower songs, Sweet Creature is this perfect acoustic song, that seemed to shrink the size of the arena down and put everyone in the palm of his hand.
A lot of the atmosphere he created, I believe came down to the person he is. It’s rare you find someone who’s so talented, yet has remained so kind and humble as Harry Styles has. He obviously isn’t ashamed of his beginnings, or the fact that his main demographic is a group of incredibly loyal and supportive females (…) and everyone felt incredibly safe in the space he created. There was this really obvious underlying understanding that majority of us started from the same place, around the same age, with the same group of people, and he just embraces it. Whether it’s pulling up a country’s flag or proudly wearing the array of LGBTQIA+ and varying sexual orientation’s flags thrown on stage around his shoulders as he sings, he manages to shrink whatever stadium stage he’s on, into this tiny space where everyone is having the time of their lives, and it’s something he’s managed to do since he started in One Direction.
Though, nothing compared to when Mitchell left him on the stage alone, and Harry started another One Direction song, one he had written, If I Could Fly, undoubtedly, my favourite song from their last album. Again, it was another song where I’m pretty sure had Jess and I frozen just watching him. He let the audience sing the final chorus and it was ridiculous how loud we all sang it back.
He moved back to the main stage, and continued with another song that isn’t yet released, Anna. This song again, is a tune. It’s a bop and I’m in dire need of a studio version. You can listen to it here.
Intent of making everyone lose their minds once again, he did his own rendition of What Makes You Beautiful, the song that started it all, and I have to say. His version shits all over the original. It was amazing and his style of singing it, the style the band played it with, made it so much more edgier and rough and jaw-dropping to listen to, let alone watch live.
Harry’s banter with the crowd was nothing knew. He regularly paused to hold entire conversations with people in the crowd, tell us about how much he was enjoying the tour and Australia, singing Horses by Darryl Braithwaite and egging us on to finish the chorus. It was one of the best parts of the concert.
He made sure to thank everyone tremendously before he started Sign Of The Times, the song that kicked his solo career off, as his ‘last’ song.
Three minutes and the entire song of Horses later, he was back on stage for the encore.
From The Dining Table was the perfect warm-up for the encore and it was just another opportunity for everyone to really get an opportunity to hear how incredible his voice actually is.
After the song, he took the opportunity to introduce his band, before kicking off into his iconic cover of The Chain by Fleetwood Mac. If you’re a regular around here, you know how much I lose my mind over that song and the intense love I have for it, which made it all the more special.
But, again, if you’re a regular, you know there’s one Harry Styles song that gets me going like no other, and the absolutely tease that he is, he left it as the final song of the show.
Any bit of my voice I had left was completely obliterated as soon as he sang the first line of Kiwi, and that whole song was unforgettable. His stage presence was off the charts, and he practically did laps, stalking up and down the front. Having honestly spent the last year going mental over this song, singing it in my room too many times to count, singing the guitar solo and screeching “I’m having your baby” from the top of my lungs, it all culminated into the most insane 2:56 minutes I have ever experienced at a gig.
/a whole man/
Harry Styles was everything I wanted and ten times more than I ever could have imagined.
Only 42 days until Niall Horan. Twelve year old ‘Niall girl’ Priya is quaking.