Published on February 11th, 2015 | by The Beige Baron


Live Review: One Direction

–Review by Barbara McFine

Man, I got old.

My first thoughts on entering the gigantic stadium were along the lines of, “Shit, it’s going to take AGES to get out of the car park,” and, “I mean ages, like hours, WTF.” Getting old means that everything in life is balanced as to whether it is more fun than sitting on the couch in track pants watching The Walking Dead and hoping they give Daryl his own spin-off series, where he just moodily emotes into the camera, occasionally breaking into a slow-mo run all dirt speckled muscles and glistening sweat…

But I digress. I am not One Direction’s target demographic, obviously. I pay taxes, do laundry, clean stuff before someone orders me to do so. There is no way that the five clean-cut boys who bounced on to the stage to thank their fans every five minutes or so simply for existing are aiming their breezy pop songs squarely at me and my cynical ilk. Good job too, I would only be snarky and not appreciate their efforts, except…

Oh damnit. I really didn’t have the worst time ever (see what I did there? Of course you didn’t, you are not 13, go ask someone who is, it’s terribly funny*). They say youth is wasted on the young, and maybe it is. Certainly back in my day you didn’t get massive stadiums rigged up for the younger teens, specifically gearing everything to their enjoyment. This might be the age of the most fervent fan cultures known to humanity, but the message was clear, you are not cool enough to join in until you are older. Hate on Cowell and his kind all you like, but at least there is now a space for these fans to worship at their chosen tombs.

And chips on a stick is now a “thing”, do you remember gig food? Crappy hotdogs of dubious provenance… these kids have CHIPS ON A STICK for god’s sake! They don’t know they are bloody living I tell you! Nearly made up for no vodka.

The last time I saw a show that good was at The Chemical Brothers, and I strongly suspect that I may have been, ahem, the only person viewing it.


From the pre-recorded safety message from the boys (incidentally fan favourites are strangely Liam and Niall, judging by the louder screams that accompany everything they do, incomprehensible; the best member of One Direction and the all-time winner of my scientifically conducted poll “which member of One Direction would you?’” survey is Harry) telling their fans rather earnestly to make sure they had pre-arranged a safe meeting place if they became separated from their companions, and to “drink lots of water”. (Rock and Roll fellas, slow down there, what’s next? Teenagers with perfect skin?) I was made really aware that everything was in place to ensure that their chosen demographic had a great time, one that they would feel was personally overseen by their heroes.

The show is a well-oiled machine. You want excitement, they deliver! A firework show throughout that gives NYE a run for its money. Gigantic screens superimposing all manner of great graphics all over the show. The last time I saw a show that good was at The Chemical Brothers, and I strongly suspect that I may have been, ahem, the only person viewing it.

Can’t see the boys from where you are sitting? Not an issue, when they are not being beamed to screens the size of small elephants we shall raise a stage thirty feet from the ground so you can see them. The boys will move around on this stage so that every single gal (or guy) gets a good view of their chosen member (seriously though, Liam? so much confusion.)

The songs themselves are not really the point of this caper are they? Although not being a terrible music snob I quite enjoy their brand of chirpy pop songs, their latest “more mature” album may be the hardest sell, as it’s not quite at its strongest over 40,000 screaming voices. But what would I know, my younger companions yelled themselves hoarse, relived every second on the long drive home (seriously I was so right about that bloody carpark, nightmare!) and declared it their best night ever (just admit you cannot resist my wit at this point and I’ll stop*).

Something that seemed to be the general consensus of the majority of those in attendance: if One Direction exist then at least they are doing what they do well. It might not be your cup of tea, but you, my friend are in the minority then, aren’t you? You know it and so do I.

The gig ended with more profusion of thanks, firework spectaculars, lasers, and housewives’ favourite Harry thanking every parent, aunt, sister or brother who had brought people to the gig. He then said “we love you”, I can only demur here, but I suspect that filthy little strumpet was talking directly to me – a feeling which for all their gigantic status the entire band made 40,000 people feel – no mean feat.

No problem Hazza, any time my friend any time.

*One Direction had one of their biggest hits with Best Song Ever, it is actually pretty good.

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Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.

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