On July 28th, 2015, British-Irish band One Direction came to Kansas City, Missouri on their USA leg of their worldwide “On the Road Again Tour,” and I was lucky enough to have a ticket.
It’s no surprise that this boy band has been touring for years, and I mean years, but it’s also their first USA headlining tour since Zayn Malik left the band back in March. At first, I was unsure whether or not the remaining members would be able to hold their own, because while the four of them have solid vocals and enough energy and charisma to capture a stage, there’s a certain quality to Malik’s voice that gave the harmonies that extra push.
I saw the then five-some in August 2014 in St. Louis, MO, and while I wasn’t disappointed, I wasn’t all the way satisfied. I didn’t know what it was, or why I left the concert feeling a little put out from all the build-up and money. I wasn’t looking forward to a repeat in Kansas City, and the thought that I would leave what could potentially be their last concert unsettled was eating me up.
So when the time came, the gates opened, and the heat settled, I sat in my stadium chair and waited. One thing that I’ve noticed about this band is that they do love a good tease. At about seven PM, their opening act, Icona Pop, who had the smash hit “I Love it,” featuring Charli XCX, came on.
I was really surprised with how much the duo captured the audience and involved them in their set. They even had a dedication to the tour and incorporated it into their song “On a Roll,” substituting the title with the tour name. While they were a fun opening act, I’m sure some moms in the crowd were a bit turned off with some choice words.
While Icona Pop got the crowd going with their hour-long set, it wasn’t until around nine that the lights turned out and the opening chords began to play. Although I understand a gap between opening acts and the headlining act, the hour long wait wore off the excitement and energy Icona Pop brought to the stage.
55,000 impatient girls and boys in 108 degree weather isn’t the best mix.
I’m a bit shaky on the details because I got whacked in the face with my niece’s glow stick during the smoke and guitar riffs, and then blinded by the fireworks, but the opening song set the concert off with a literal bang and hiss.
The set list was about twenty-five songs long, with added talking and interacting in between. I’d like to point out how well the four of them can work a crowd, together and apart. In between songs they’d switch off band members so others could change sweaty shirts, drink water, and most likely use the restroom. Niall was diplomatic and cheeky, Harry charming and funny, and Liam and Louis were a pair of mischievous schoolboys out for blood, AKA pouring red sports drinks all over each other.
It’s no surprise that all the boys are charming and put on the best show they could, and halfway through the set list, I understood just why I left my St. Louis concert feeling unsatisfied.
Last year, it was evident that Zayn was unhappy. The energy was tension-filled, and Zayn was just kind of there to hit the notes, which dragged the concert out and left the usual brotherhood bond you’d feel at a 1D concert in flames.
Kansas City was full to the brim of good spirits and happy interaction. Not to mention, the vocals were air-tight and good. One thing anyone can count on when headed to a One Direction concert is for the guys to sing the songs with ease. That’s not to say that there weren’t pitchy parts: in particular, Louis seemed to have a rough go of it on Tuesday night, but I’ll blame it on the heat and potentially him losing his voice as the night wore on.
Overall, “On the Road Again” was a solid set list, and an entertaining show. It was a good mix of their most successful hits, like “What Makes You Beautiful,” and “Story of My Life,” with the fun and upbeat blending in with the slow and acoustic. A highlight of the night was “No Control,” which was turned into a fan project earlier this summer by attempting to release it as a fan single without help of 1D’s management or label. It’s a flirty, charming, and upbeat concert that leaves no room for sitting down before you’re struck by another pop hit that cuts through a 79,000 capacity stadium and echoes in the mouths of all ages.
Even if you’re not a fan of One Direction, the show has its redeeming qualities, and the energy is electric. Left and right, girls, boys, moms, dads, siblings, and more smile with their entire faces and bond with the strangers on all sides of them. It’s very obvious that the four of them are thankful for each fan in the stadium, which they make sure to point out several times–this could be redundant and it could lose its sincerity, but the way they interact with the people in floor seating and even in the nosebleed sections, the genuine tone and gratitude is evident with each “thank you” they delivered.
Although it may not be your favorite type of music, or the concert of your lifetime if you go, but while the fans leave thinking it’s the best night of their life, there will not be a doubt in your mind that the four of them gave everything they had to make sure everyone left satisfied.