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Concert Reviews:
Review: Harry Styles takes more than one direction at Little Caesars Arena
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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DETROIT -- Just one of One Direction is apparently enough to please the screaming throngs of fans while the British group is on hiatus.

That was certainly the case on Tuesday, June 26, when Harry Styles played to a packed Little Caesars Arena. Then again, Styles is arguably a first among equals from 1D, thanks to a once-iconic haircut and a successful move into acting in last year’s Academy Award-nominated “Dunkirk.” It may have been a smaller venue than Ford Field, where 1D played its last three times through Detroit, but sea of love-professing signs and T-shirts and concussive screams proved how large Styles still looms in the (overwhelmingly female) fans’ hearts.

The 24-year-old has adapted well to shouldering the load himself after six years of having mates alongside. His hour-and-40-minute show was smooth -- save for an equipment malfunction at the beginning that forced the singer and his four-piece band to start over -- confident with just a hint of nervousness, evidenced by some rambling, chatty interludes during the night.

But he’s been at this since September, so Styles -- looking like a designer hippie in a glittery, bowed Gucci shirt and Calvin Klein bellbottoms -- seemed mostly assured as he ran around the open, circular stage (with matching video screen) that catered to those seated behind him. And having thousands of adoring fans screaming for every gesture certainly didn’t hurt.

Following a brisk 45-minute opening set by Kacey Musgraves -- who watched the early part of Styles’ show with her husband in the general admission pit in front of the stage -- Styles and company shrugged off the technical snafu, launching into “Only Angel” from his 2017 debut solo album. He played the entire album over the course of the night, showcasing its blend of 60s Laurel Canyon Americana and Merseybeat pop on songs such as “Carolina,” “Two Ghosts” and “Ever Since New York,” dipping into heavy rock (“Kiwi”), blues (“Woman”) and glam (“Sign of the Times”).

Styles delivered “Sweet Creature” from a second stage at the back of the Little Caesars floor, along with a solo version of 1D’s “If I Could Fly.” He gave fans a further taste of his dormant band with “Stockholm Syndrome” and a retooled “What Makes You Beautiful,” also covering Ariana Grande’s “Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart” and, during the encore, Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.”

And then there was the talking. Styles was affable and grateful all night, joking with fans asking for birthday wishes and a cluster of women from Ohio, pointing out that guitarist Mitchell Rowland was a fellow Buckeye. Back on the B stage he chided a fan in the stands who recently had neck surgery, urging her to “take it easy.”

And before “What Makes You Beautiful” he shouted out to friends named Taylor and Lauren, who were expecting their first child (“Baby’s first concert!” he exulted). Styles waited for Taylor to return from the bathroom before leading the crowd in singing congratulations, to the tune of “Happy Birthday,” to the couple. He ended the long interlude by declaring, “I’m gonna sing a song now, ‘cause that’s the point of coming to a concert.”

Unless, of course, it’s a Harry Styles concert -- in which case screaming was an equal purpose for the night.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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