Harry Styles: One Night Only Review – A Lively Long Island Lovefest | Harry Styles


The distant screams you heard in New York on Friday night? That was nearly 20,000 fans freaking out at the chance to see Harry Styles perform his new album Harry’s House for just one night at the UBS Arena on Long Island.

Whether you’re a fan of Styles or not (I am), you can’t deny that he does his job very well. The 28-year-old pop star has been through the stadium show wrestlers with One Direction — the mega-profit boy band that played over 100 arena shows a year in the mid-2010s — and his comfort level on a big stage is evident. Dressed in leather trousers, a heart-embellished T-shirt and a yellow beaded necklace, Styles was easy-going without being impulsive, improvising without losing his rhythm, typically charming and genuine without getting too cliche. He’s a professional celebrity and veteran entertainer who is at home in the ring, playing to the rafters, the full floor and the onstage camera (the show was streamed live on Apple Music).

“Our job tonight is to entertain you. I promise we’ll do our best,” he said after the second song, “Late Night Talking,” as part of his now-standard opening concert. “Please feel free to do what you want to do, please feel free to be who you have always wanted to be.”

The 19-song set reflected the ethos of Styles’ five-year solo career: a carefree love fest, a welcoming space to loosen up a little, with songs mostly for and about women. As such, the audience was 85% female, middle school to middle-aged (It’s worth noting that Harry Styles has been targeting teenage girls for over a decade, speaking as a former teenage 1D fan.) Many already knew all the words for the new songs, even the scattered lyrics from Keep Driving—”How?!” Styles once said—and the evening in the building was an endless barrage of screams.

Harry Styles performs at the UBS Arena
Photo: Apple Music

Having a good time at a Harry Styles show is an easy question, because he seems to be having a blast too – hopping up and down the catwalk on stage, waving his arms to the latest single As It Was and pumping your whole body with your fist are the sonic highlights of his more stadium-sized songs, such as the new track Satellite or the crowd favorite Kiwi from the first album. The set followed the structure of his first one-night-only concert for the second album, Fine Line, in December 2019 in Los Angeles: the new album top down – “the way it was meant to be played” – followed by a Addition of favorites. In this case: Adore You, Watermelon Sugar, Sign of the Times (the hit that benefits the most from live performances), his standard rock solo version of 1D’s What Makes You Beautiful, Kiwi, and a reissue of As It What.

The new album, as Lindsay Zoladz wrote in The New York Times, casts vibrant soundscapes while styles remain a dreamy cipher — a contrast that’s less noticeable in live performance. Styles has been an almost comical charismatic stage presence since the early days of 1D, and his confident live performance of Harry’s House exuded a passion the lyrics sometimes lack. Then there’s the sex factor, of course: this is, as some have written, Styles’ hottest album to date, with the singer indulging in plenty of hip dancing and playing on his image as an attentive nurturer of female lust. (Interrupting the beginning of Boyfriends because “I have more to say,” he added, “Sorry—edging” to a collective screech.) Is it pandering? Perhaps. Is it fun? Absolutely.

That’s partly due to his light command of the stage and healthy appreciation for the power and pitfalls of a crowd. Twice during the show, fans alerted him to a disturbance on the floor — presumably someone was passing out or feeling unwell — and he responded promptly, asking for the house lights to be turned on several times and for water another time.

Between songs, he thanked his album’s co-producers, Kid Harpoon and Tyler Johnson, both of whom were in the audience (along with Styles’ girlfriend Olivia Wilde), and Mitch Rowland, frequent collaborator and on-stage guitarist. But the greatest and most repeated gratitude goes to the fans – “every single one of you” – for changing his life. “I don’t think I could have done it [album] If you hadn’t created an environment for me where I felt like I could do it, I know I can,” he said during the second half of the show. “And I know it’s me standing on that stage, but I’ve learned so much from you and I want to thank you so much.”

“It was the best night of my life,” he said before exiting the stage. It doesn’t matter if that’s true or not. The mission was to have an outstanding good time and he delivered.

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