One Direction drew a decidedly young-female crowd to Miller Park on August 26. One of many stops on their stadium world tour in support of 2014’s “Four.” The show followed a recent announcement by the foursome–Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson–that the band would be taking a one-year hiatus beginning in March, 2016, to work on solo projects. The time frame is roughly one year from Zayn Malik’s departure from the band.
Swedish duo Icona Pop opened the show and struggled to get a reaction from the crowd that continued to grow in size during their 40-minute performance. A dusk setting and basic choreography didn’t project well in such a massive setting. However, a cover of Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” seemed to get draw a spark and their multi-platinum smash, “I Love It,” had the entire stadium singing and dancing to close their set.
The mood changed quickly at 9:00 p.m., when the lights dimmed and One Direction took the stage to a burst of fireworks as they opened with “Clouds.” The foursome worked the massive main stage that stretched the width of the Miller Park outfield. A large thrust lead out from the center that projected to the middle of the stadium to a secondary b-stage. Each was used effectively to bring the guys much closer to their fans as they meandered back and forth throughout the show.
There were two constants on the evening. Shrill cries filled there air whenever any of the four heartthrobs made a gesture, appeared on one of the two massive video displays or made a general comment to the crowd. And that included video monologues before the live show even began. The other was an outspoken display of gratitude that each personally delivered to the crowd during various moments of the show.
While most of the show was a high energy affair, the guys game together at mid-thrust and sat together for ballad “Little Things.” They also frequently joked with the crowd, bringing a certain level of intimacy to the show despite its setting. Fans wielded a fair number of signs, suggesting their general affection for the band. One read, “Lambeau needs you,” playing on Style’s long-standing love for the Green Bay Packers. One of the others noticed the sign and wittingly questioned, “What is Lamboo?” Harry later brandished a Packers’ flag and noted, “I can’t tell you how great it is to be around people that love a great football team,” then quickly donned a cheesehead. He even went as far as diddling the Packers’ fight song, eliciting the crowd to chant “Go Pack Go.” He then did his best to offer a moment of silence for Jordy Nelson who is out this year due to a season-ending injury that he suffered last week.
Niall took a moment to mention their origin, “We come from small towns in Ireland and the U.K.” Adding, “It’s special to travel the world and see great places like this.” It was a perfect segue into “Don’t Forget.” Fans held up their cellphones, offering the effect of fireflies as they danced in their seats.
It didn’t matter what they played. From the upbeat “No Control,” with Niall on electric guitar, to the acoustic “Ready to Run.” Whether it was a multitude of platinum hits,”What Makes You Beautiful” and “Night Changes,” or lesser played “Better Than Words.” Nearly every fan sang every word during the 25-song set. If past history is any indication–think NSYNC–fans should take any opportunity to catch this tour before Harry, Liam, Niall and Louis drift off into solo projects next year.