It may not have been the perfect situation: two teenage girls and their dads at the Aug. 5 show of One Direction’s “Where We Are” tour at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.
But after three years of fangirling over one of my favorite bands — owning all their music, following them on Twitter and connecting with Directioners all over the world — I knew I’d have to see them one way or another (yes, that’s a reference to one of their songs).
On my 15th birthday back in April, when my friend Sarah hid my ticket to the concert in a box of Starburst Fruit Chews, I started counting the days until Aug. 5. It came faster than I thought. And now I can honestly say it was the best night of my life.
While tailgating before the show, Sarah and I (and our dads) couldn’t help but notice the fans more obsessed with One Direction than either of us. Car windows were painted with messages to the group. Faces were painted with the names of group members: Niall on one cheek, Liam on the other. Moms and daughters wore matching “I (heart symbol) 1D” shirts. Fans in One Direction shirts stood in line to buy more One Direction shirts.
The best we could do was our package of Oreos in the car with One Direction’s picture on it (Dad mentioned Nabisco is presenting the tour).
It was showtime. 5 Seconds Of Summer’s superb opening set included not only the hits “She Looks So Perfect” and “Amnesia” but also a rocked-up version of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” I think my dad liked them because one of their guitar players, Michael Clifford, was wearing a Metallica shirt.
After a short break to calm down (before our hormones went insane) came the moment everyone at MetLife had been waiting for.
You feel like you know an artist, but the second they come on stage, you still experience that moment of “I can’t believe it’s really them.” Now, while I thought all five members of One Direction looked perfect, Dad said he couldn’t get past Harry Styles wearing a bandanna — or whatever it was on his head — for the entire show.
Each member took turns interacting with the crowd and leading sing-alongs to hits such as “The Story Of My Life” and “One Thing.” The night was really all about the music. From the show’s opening song “Midnight Memories” (the title track of their latest album) to its perhaps fitting closer “Best Song Ever,” every song was met with shrieks of instant recognition (including mine).
Performances of the more upbeat songs such as “Rock Me” and the one that started everything for One Direction, “What Makes You Beautiful,” featured fireworks and animation. Meanwhile, during ballads like “You And I” and “Little Things,” the crowd looked like a sea of waving phone lights. When phones weren’t lit up, there were still all the fan-made signs adorned with blinking lights (mine was more simple).
By the way, Sarah and I and the other fans in our section weren’t the only ones having a good time. My dad might not admit it, but I caught him tapping his feet and doing something that kind of looked like dancing during “Kiss You” and “Live While We’re Young,” while trying to maintain that “What am I doing here?” look.
Trust me, Dad, you weren’t fooling anyone.