My 1D Concert Experience: A Review of the Take Me Home Tour’s Stop in Kansas City

July 21, 2013
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That's me in the center!

That’s me in the center!

My name is Shelley, I am a 19-year-old college student, and I am not ashamed to admit that I am a die-hard, self-proclaimed addict of One Direction. Yep, I’m what they call a Directioner – and I don’t care who knows it.

On Friday, July 19th, the 5-part dream team that comprises One Direction – Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik – rolled into Kansas City, Missouri to perform a gig at the Sprint Center as part of the US leg of their Take Me Home Tour.

20,000 fans packed the sold-out arena to watch the boys own the stage, and my two best friends and I were among them. Not a single ounce of regret comes from my statement that it was probably the highlight of my summer.

Sure, the tickets cost practically as much as the bridesmaid dress I’m wearing to my sister’s wedding in a few weeks, and we may have bought them over a year ago (April 2012, to be exact). And yes, we may have had to travel 4 hours to get to the actual venue (long story short, I go to school in California but live in St. Louis during the summer, a spot that was missed on the TMH tour – meaning I’m never quite in the same place as One Direction at the same time).

But alas, fifteen months of waiting later and the oh-so-worth-it big day finally arrived. My friends and I pulled into town the night before and spent the day of the concert hanging around downtown, trying our luck at radio station contests for front-row seats (needless to say, we didn’t win, but it was fun trying!) and checking out the creative posters and costumes that other fans were sporting. We spotted some super nifty shoes adorned with the British and Irish flags, as well as signs cut in the shape of “1D” and decorated with glowing string lights. GLOWING STRING LIGHTS. Impressive stuff, people.

Never mind that it was a sweltering 98 degrees and we burst into really unattractive sweats within minutes of being outside. There was an Irish pub across the street (how fitting) handing out giant waters and our excitement for the show that night was enough to drown out any complaints about the weather.

There was a table outside the venue selling concert merch that was, needless to say, pretty awesome. We couldn’t help eyeing the colorful t-shirts sporting sayings like “Live While We’re Young”, or (my personal favorite) the sweatshirts with the list of tour dates in the shape of the United States. I would’ve taken that one home with me if it hadn’t have been a whopping SIXTY-FIVE DOLLARS (broke college student probz). *sigh* Maybe some really nice soul out there will send it to me as a gift. In the meantime, I’ll content myself with the poster I got (which is going up in my apartment the second I get back to California, no shame about it. The boys just look so cute and it’s a perfect commemoration of the night).

6 o’clock rolled around and the doors to the venue were finally opened, meaning the hordes of people that by now were swarming the arena began to stream inside. My friends and I found our way to our seats, section 104, row 15 – not bad in the slightest! In fact, they were much better than I was expecting. There we were, finally, surrounded by crowds of fellow Directioners (most of them younger than us, yes, but sharing a love of the band all the same) facing a stage where 5 of our favorite artists would soon be appearing.

I’m a huge fan of music in general and have been an avid concert-goer for as long as I can remember, and the pre-show feeling of excited anticipation never changes, nor does it ever get old. Concerts, quite simply, rock – particularly in large arenas like the Sprint Center. Nothing beats the sounds of the crowd or the infectious vibes of electric energy emanating from the heart of the venue. One Direction’s Take Me Hour Tour was no exception.

The show officially kicked off at 7:30, when Australian cuties 5 Seconds of Summer took to the stage to perform a 7-track set. Sure, most of the audience didn’t seem to know any of the songs (myself and my friends included), but the 4-part group was a charming, energetic bunch with a heap of stage presence, and every one of their songs was catchy. A bit edgier than One Direction, they reminded me simultaneously of Rooney and McFly, and undeniably made a splash on the audience. Their cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” was a hit, and they were the perfect group to get the heart of the audience racing with anticipation for 1D to finally arrive.

And finally arrive they did. We were first treated to an introduction video that announced we’d been invited to the “Party of the Year” (the theme of the show), in which we got a glimpse of Liam (the host), Zayn (the DJ), Harry (the cigar-smoking old soul lounging in a chair…yeah, weird, but hysterical), Louis (the life of the party), and Niall (the ball of energy with an attraction to the pool) all living it up at a house party.

And just like that…there they were on stage, performing a rendition of their infectious upbeat party song, “Up All Night”. The perfect start to what would be a whirlwind of a show.

One Direction is one of my favorite music groups for a very simple reason. Sure, they have adorable accents and are attractive guys, and yes, their songs are super catchy. But what I love most about One Direction is that they’re not afraid to be themselves. No, they can’t dance. No, they don’t play their own instruments (unless you count Niall strumming a guitar near the end of the show or Harry playing what was essentially the cymbal during one song). No, they don’t even really seem to have a carefully organized plan for each second of their show. Instead, they were their own goofy, funny selves, running around stage belting out their hits and having what appeared to be a blast. One Direction never take themselves too seriously, which is why they are such a unique, refreshing addition to the mainstream music scene. They don’t put out music videos drowning in special effects and over-sexualized choreography. They don’t pretend to be highly-specialized musicians with a million talents that they don’t actually have. They never act arrogant or let fame get to their heads. On the contrary, they’re a bunch of unprofessional, energetic and fun-loving boys with incredible voices and deliriously catchy songs. And Directioners as a fan base love them dearly for it.

Some highlights of the show included their performances of Ed Sheeran-penned “Moments” as well as two of my personal favorites, “Rock Me” and “Loved You First”. The perfect amount of tenderness was thrown into the show when the five took seats on the stage to sing “Little Things”, as well as the infectious encore which consisted of not one, but two songs – the smash hits “Live While We’re Young” and “What Makes You Beautiful”. And we can’t forget the two videos that were shown in addition to the opening intro, as part of the “Party of the Year” theme that the show was adhering to: one was a hilarious depiction of “The Morning After”, and the third showed the boys donning cheeky disguises to run about London in (props to Louis for sporting a fat suit and carrying around a “Free Hugs” sign).

But perhaps one of the coolest parts of the show was when the group was carried over the crowd to a satellite stage, which gave those towards the back of the arena an up-close-and-personal view of their idols (and gave my friends and I instant seat upgrades!). It was on this stage that they performed “One Way or Another” and took time to answer questions that members of the audience had sent in via Twitter – before seeking out the asker of the question in the crowd.

At times, it became hard to decide who to watch, as they’d each be doing something different at every moment. Sometimes, it was Louis and Niall performing some ridiculous dance or set of hip thrusts, others it was Harry and Zayn taking a selfie on a fan’s phone. Niall’s earpiece malfunctioned at one point, during which Louis wisely stalled by demanding that Harry tell jokes to the crowd (they were both adorably bad).

The show went well past 11 o’clock but it never once felt as if it dragged. In fact, the quintet performed an impressive 22-song setlist that still left the crowd wanting more and made every penny spent on tickets absolutely worth it. What left perhaps the biggest impact on me was the stage presence of all 5 members. Each one could not stop thanking the crowd for all they’d done to bring them there – Harry even made the statement that the crowd could be doing anything else on a Friday night but “you chose to spend it with us”. And it was undoubtedly a night well-spent.

Being a Directioner, perhaps I’m biased. But as an avid music lover and concert-goer in general, I can say with honesty that Harry, Liam, Louis, Niall and Zayn gave one of the most fun shows I’ve ever been to. The show exceeded every single one of my expectations, making that 15-month wait so worth it. I can’t wait for my next 1D concert experience!

 

-Shelley DeHekker

@shelleydehekker

onedirectionKC2

Our view of the boys!

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