Juxtaposed with an LED altar of their own likenesses and the unblinking eyes of their young female fans, UK pop phenomenon One Direction proved themselves disarmingly down to earth. The choreography that characterized their boy-band predecessors was present only in imitation: The quintet sauntered to their stage marks, smiling and whispering when they passed one another. As they sang their sugary single “One Thing,” several members held their microphones to mimic the musical instruments that the backing band played. To give proper credit, the golden-locked Niall Horan did strum a guitar on the mid-set standout, “Summer Love,” during which the audience’s giddy screams subsided enough to let the group’s harmonies finally be heard. With playful grins, the boys then covered Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag,” a self-deprecating tune to further demonstrate how they don’t take themselves too seriously.
After an encore of their adolescent anthems “Live While We’re Young,” and “What Makes You Beautiful,” Harry Styles picked up a fan’s jettisoned phone and waved it around until it was reclaimed. Earlier in the same week, fellow teen star Justin Bieber had shoved a fan’s cellphone down his saggy-bottomed trousers. What was more charming than their good looks and voices was how One Direction displayed their normalcy. ★★★☆☆
Photos by Erik Kabik.