Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013 | 2:23 a.m.
“He looked right at me! I almost started crying,” a young female fan said while exiting British and Irish boyband One Direction’s concert Friday evening, the first of two back-to-back nights of sold-out shows, at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
It didn’t matter if he was Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik or Louis Tomlinson (from youngest to oldest, natch). On Friday night, it was all about jubilation and exhilaration and living while you’re young, and 1D delivered to their fans, aka Directioners.
Which is to say that One Direction is critic proof. It didn’t matter that the music and band overpowered the vocals of the third-place finishers of Season 7 of Britain’s “The X Factor” during most of the two-hour set; 1D could’ve read from the phone book, and their fans would have still ear-piercingly screamed and squealed and shrieked with delight.
And they did. For two hours.
To be fair, 1D — all five of ’em bedecked in T-shirts and skinny jeans — can sing (dancing is another matter), and they sang their way through a setlist of more than 20 songs, including hits “What Makes You Beautiful,” “Live While You’re Young,” “Little Things,” “Kiss You,” “One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)” and “Best Song Ever,” which debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 last week at No. 2 and is on their forthcoming third studio album “Where We Are.”
Malik has a fantastic falsetto, and Styles and Tomlinson have terrific pop voices. Incidentally, 1D holds a Guinness World Record for the first British group to debut an album at No. 1 — 2011’s “Up All Night” — on Billboard’s Top 200.
The ringing in my ears post-concert kept me (nearly) up all night, but 1D’s concert was undeniably “crazy, crazy, crazy” fun.
A new experience: Exiting the Events Center after the concert toward restaurant row and the casino, concertgoers were like parade participants flanked by crowds of people cordoned off. Those people? Parents waiting for their pre-teen and teenage daughters/concertgoers, some of them up past curfew.
Another new experience: I sat in my seat during the entire concert. I wasn’t bored; I didn’t want to block the view of the father (who passionately yelled “Haaarry!” throughout the evening) and his little girl seated behind me. She looked maybe 3 or 4. Who knew journalists had hearts and manners?!
During breaks in the concert in the form of videos and a lot of chattering from the blokes, 1D fans learned that their crushes aren’t good at ice skating, handstands and dancing (this is not surprising).
The line for merch outside the Events Center was the second-longest I’ve seen at Mandalay Bay in five years, the longest being for “Glee Live! In Concert!” in May 2011 (RIP, Cory Monteith).
Thanks to Las Vegas Sun photographer Sam Morris for his gallery; Morris hilariously tweeted to me that he could have used a second set of earplugs.
Now I understand why Taylor Swift knew 19-year-old Styles was trouble when he walked in — he’s dreamy, accent and hair and all, ahem, according to fans at Mandalay Bay.
One Direction gave fans exactly what they wanted Friday night, and that’s what makes them beautiful.
Don Chareunsy is senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun — and perhaps a new One Direction fan.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
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