By Gig Hope @giglet_media
It’s around 8.15pm, I’m seated in the 33rd row of 600 section of the Accor Stadium, approximately 190,000 feet from the ground. I’m surrounded by 70 thousand humming fans, all damp from being caught in the rain excitedly picking what they were going to buy from the exorbitantly priced merch tent.
We are amped up from seeing the cheeky girl rock stylings of Wet Leg and taking part in crowd singalongs of The Horses and Bohemian Rhapsody.
The crowd is predominantly female, averaging 25, but there are plenty of boyfriends, dads with their daughters, groups of older girlfriends and even tweenagers who weren’t even alive for Styles’s One Direction ascendency. All are wearing fabulous outfits, recreating Harry’s more iconic looks; sequins and moulting feather boas as far as the eye can see.
The house lights lower, the crowd shrieks, a minute passes; the crowd has chanted “Har-ry, Har-ry, Har-ry”, ending in a cacophonous roar, twice already.
The band, dressed in matching futuristic jumpsuits, takes to the stage. The crowd roars again. Then the man himself swaggers on to the stage while somehow goofily waving to the adoring audience.
He is wearing a sequined trim lemon and baby blue Vegas era Elvis-meets-Nudie suit, noise like I have never heard before erupts from 70,000 shrieking fans.
The effect is one of immediate joy and excitement as the band launches into opening number Music for a Sushi Restaurant.
The music during the first three numbers was unfortunately blown out and fuzzy sounding, likely a countermeasure against the sound of the crowd, making the numbers barely perceptible. A real shame as Music for a Sushi Restaurant, Golden and Adore You are perfect tone setters before settling into some of the more mellow numbers of the setlist.
This is a minor complaint, though, as Styles is a born showman. Smiling, daggy dancing and frequently bantering with the crowd. At one point showing the audience a photo of a fan’s cat and helping another fan come out to her family.
While he is a strong and confident performer, more surprisingly Styles is a very generous one. Often highlighting his band and stopping the show so we could sing Happy Birthday to two band members who had recent birthdays. He also gave the lighting and camera crew a silly, sweet moment in the sun.
But Styles’s generosity and shrewdness as a performer were best highlighted in a show highlight of Woman. The three female musicians in the band were given loving close-ups and moments to show off their musicianship while Styles himself planted his feet, staring down an audience of mostly women as he exalted the power of womanhood. Potent stuff.
All culminating in the dress up party of the year at Harry’s House.
Featured image: The view of Harry Styles from 190,000 feet. Picture Gig Hope