Concert: One Direction in Phoenix
We were barely to the parking structure elevator near Phoenix's Comerica Theatre when the screaming began.
This was a good two hours before One Direction hit the stage on Sunday (6/10), along with Olly Murs and Camryn. The English-Irish vocal group (I refrain from calling them a boy band, but we'll get into that later) pulled up to the venue only to be met by a chorus of screaming girls, some of whom who assured us they would die if they met Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles or Louis Tomlinson.
The screaming and the vibe only intensified when we entered the 5,000-seat theater. Video screens pushed One Direction's August 2013 arena show in Las Vegas -- apparently the closest show to Phoenix -- and encouraged fans to buy tickets before they sold out. Advertisements for the latest single by Murs -- a U.K. television personality, choreographer and 2009 English X-Factor runner up -- were interspersed as well.
Colorado's Camryn arrived on stage at a prompt 7:30 p.m. for a paltry, pitchy eight-minute set. The screaming was pretty tolerable then, even when she thanked One Direction for inviting her. It was her last day on the bill.
A video screen emblazoned with a red "Olly Murs" and his Twitter user name announced the arrival of the U.K. star. I thought I was cool because I knew of Murs from his guest appearances on BBC Radio One back when it was available on Sirius/XM. And because my husband is English, I have a propensity for knowing all things English.
But these girls in the Comerica Theatre one-upped me, screaming at the top of their collective lungs and making me wince as he hit the stage to "Dance With Me Tonight." They sang along to the enormously talented yet campy singer's music, but were left a little quiet during the Stevie Wonder medley of "Superstitious" and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered."
When Murs' 30-minute set ended, it was like a tsunami of noise came over the venue, starting from the upper floors and landing just before the stage, where we were sitting.
Compared to Murs' innate professionalism, One Direction seemed a little lost when they took the stage after a 30-minute break in the action.
OK, I admit that, later in the life, I took a liking to 'NSync and the Backstreet Boys, as well as Motown when I was younger. Part of the appeal of boy bands like this was their ability to entertain. One Direction took the stage as a group to sing "Na Na Na" and kind of meandered around, shrugging their shoulders at each other like it was their first performance. Horan immediately ripped out his ear pieces, so perhaps there were sound issues. But even my 15-year-old niece was bewildered about the lack of dancing and entertaining.
One Direction's energy picked up -- and subsequently the screaming -- by about song three, the willowy, longing "I Wish."
The young men introduced themselves to the audience by singing acoustic samples of their favorite songs: "I Gotta Feeling," "Stereo Hearts," "Valerie" and "Torn," the first among the many covers throughout the night. The boys performed "Moments" by fellow countryman Ed Sheeran, which seemed to thrill the audience who sang along, as well as Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody." In between original material and covers, there were cutesy video clips of the group members in different situations -- school, parties, preparing for an afternoon of winter sports.
Whenever disheveled 18-year-Styles sang, it was clear he was the favorite. (Styles briefly dated English television presenter Caroline Flack, which caused a firestorm over their 15-year age gap.) He seemed a little turned off by the number of bras and panties thrown on the stage by tweeners.
Malik sang with a brace on his mike-holding hand after reportedly wrecking a Vespa. He was a close No. 2 among the fans. Horan was the most musical of the group, strapping on acoustic guitars for many of the songs. He was also the most entertaining, hamming it up on stage.
Even One Direction's music is loud. "You Don't Know You're Beautiful," the relentlessly catchy first single, and the follow-up "One Thing" are shouted at the top of the five lads' voices. It's no Slipknot, don't get me wrong, but it's shouted; at least there's no auto-tuning or lip-synching. And, the show nevertheless, satisfied my curiosity to see the biggest thing in Britain.
13 - San Jose, CA - Event Center at San Jose State University
14 - Oakland, CA - Paramount Theatre
17 - Anaheim, CA - Honda Center
23 - Dallas, TX - Gexa Energy Pavilion
24 - The Woodlands, TX - The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
26 - Duluth, GA - The Arena at Gwinnett Center
27- Charlotte, NC - Time Warner Cable Arena
29 - Tampa, FL - 1-800 Ask-Gary Amphitheatre
30 - Orlando, FL - Amway Center
1 - Sunrise, FL - Bank Atlantic Center
2 - Las Vegas, NV - Mandalay Bay Events Center
16 - Sydney, Australia - Allphones Arena
20 - London, England - Roundhouse (iTunes Festival)
3 - New York, NY - Madison Square Garden Arena
22, 23, 24 - London, England - The O2 - London
26, 27 - Glasgow, Scotland - SECC
1, 2, 3 - Cardiff, Wales - Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
5, 6, 12, 13 - Dublin, Ireland - The O2 Dublin
7, 8, 10, 11 - Belfast, Northern Ireland - Odyssey Arena
15, 16 - Manchester, England - Manchester Arena
17, 31 - Liverpool, England - Liverpool Echo Arena
19 - Sheffield, England - Motorpoint Arena
20 - Nottingham, England - The Capital FM Arena Nottingham
22, 23 - Birmingham, England - LG Arena
24 - Newcastle upon Tyne, England - Metro Radio Arena
1, 2, 4, 5 - London, England - The O2 - London
8, 9, 10 - Newcastle upon Tyne, England - Metro Radio Arena
13, 14 - Sheffield, England - Motorpoint Arena
17 - Birmingham, England - LG Arena
19 - Manchester, England - Manchester Arena
13 - Sunrise, FL - Bank Atlantic Center
14 - Miami, FL - American Airlines Arena
16 - Louisville, KY - KFC Yum! Center
18 - Columbus, OH - Nationwide Arena
19 - Nashville, TN - Bridgestone Arena
21 - Atlanta, GA - Phillips Arena
22 - Raleigh, NC - PNC Arena
23 - Washington, D.C. - Verizon Center
25 - Philadelphia, PA - Wells Fargo Center
26 - Mansfield, MA - Comcast Center
28, 29 - Wantagh, NY - Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
2 - East Rutherford, NJ - IZOD Center
4 - Montreal, Quebec - Bell Center
5, 6 - Hershey, PA - Hersheypark Stadium
8 - Pittsburgh, PA - Consol Energy Center
9, 10 - Toronto, Ontario - Air Canada Centre
12 - Auburn Hills, MI - The Palace of Auburn Hills
13, 14 - Tinley Park, IL - First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
18 - Minneapolis, MN - Target Center
19 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center
21 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center
22 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center
24 - Denver, CO - Pepsi Center
25 - Salt Lake City, UT - Maverik Center
27 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Roger Arena
28 - Seattle, WA - Key Arena at Seattle Center
30 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavilion at San Jose
31 - Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena
2, 3 - Las Vegas, NV - Mandalay Bay Events Center
6 - Chula Vista, CA - Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre
7, 8 - Los Angeles, CA - Staples Center
11, 12 - Boondall, Australia - Brisbane Entertainment Centre
14, 15, 16 - Sydney, Australia - Allphones Arena
19, 20, 21 - Melbourne, Australia - Rod Laver Arena
24 - Hindmarsh, Australia - Adelaide Entertainment Centre
28, 29 - Perth, Australia - TBA
2, 3 - Melbourne, Australia - Rod Laver Arena
5, 6 - Sydney, Australia - Allphones Arena
12, 13 - Auckland, New Zealand - Vector Arena