By Saesha Bhat (‘24)
Harry Styles’ Love On Tour, one of the most highly anticipated tours of 2021, finally toured the United States after being postponed for a year due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Events such as concerts and festivals have finally made an appearance as the U.S. opens up after a two-year halt. Now that his latest album Fine Line has been out since December of 2019 and arenas have opened all over the country, it seems like the perfect time to start his long-awaited tour.
But who is Harry Styles? Many can recognize him from the popular British boy band, One Direction, which grew immensely in the U.K. and the United States. Songs like “What Makes You Beautiful” from the Up All Night album and “Best Song Ever” from the Midnight Memories album are a part of the tracks that have been streamed 8.8 billion times on Spotify as of July of 2020.
They celebrated their 10 year anniversary on July 23 in 2020 where many fans on TikTok and Twitter looked back on their memories of the five men in the early 2010s. Although it has been more than five years since the band split up, the band members have no hesitancy to bring up their days back in the band in interviews and interactions with fans.
In 2017, two years after the split of the band, Harry Styles released his first solo album, Harry Styles. His debut single “Sign of the Times” became a fan favorite, racking up over 900 million streams on Spotify and views on Youtube. Not only did the charts reflect his success through this single, but he also won a Brit for the “British Video of the Year” and an iHeartRadio award for “Best Music Video” in 2018. Harry Styles was on a different path to music than many anticipated since he had come from the pop genre of music. With the addition of Fine Line in 2019, all songs on both albums reached the 100 million stream mark, becoming the first solo male artist to reach this goal.
Now, solo artist, Harry Styles grew immensely popular after One Direction during the pandemic through social media, particularly Tiktok. His JW Anderson cardigan Tiktok trend and catchy Grammy-award-winning song “Watermelon Sugar'' spread nationally, widening his fan base.
Not only did his songs catch the attention of the public, but his controversial and gender-breaking style of clothing created a storm on social media. The November 2020 issue of Vogue Magazine featured Styles in a Gucci blue dress and blazer which didn’t settle right with many old-fashioned people on social media. This did not affect Styles in any way, encouraging him to go even more out for his concerts that were to start in September of 2021.
Aspects of Love On Tour make it a very unique experience whether it be the suspenseful entrance from the ground of Harry himself or the one-on-one conversations held midshow to interact with fans. You can see fans lining up outside arena doors in either colorful boas or fruit costumes like bananas and watermelons.
After a pre-show performance from singer Jenny Lewis, Harry sings a setlist of about 18 songs which include his title track song “Fine Line” and a cover of the classic One Direction hit, “What Makes You Beautiful.” With a brief intermission after “Sign of the Times,” he ends all shows with his rock-pop song “Kiwi” that pumps up the crowd one last time.
His clothing style choices, although unique and bold, created mixed reactions among fans. For almost all of his shows, Styles rocks out in a Gucci suspenders get-up that resembles his cover picture for Fine Line. Sometimes additions of sparkles and feathers were seen and fans noticed outfit repeats at some venues. Although disliked by some fans, his sustainable and environmentally friendly choices play back into his morals and brand. This can be seen through his band’s wardrobe for they also wore their custom Gucci suits and outfits.
Now, how did COVID-19 play into this?
Freshman Ava Kenyon attended “Love on Tour” on October 16 at Madison Square Garden. She explained, “Most people did follow the mask mandate, [but] they could have been better about enforcing the mandate on those who decided not to follow it.” MSG does require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, but these requirements are hard to keep track of with as many as 20,000 attendees.
However, due to these measures put in place by Madison Square Garden, Kenyon says she “didn’t feel unsafe” and could enjoy “the sense of normalcy” when attending the concert.
Overall, this is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Love On Tour environment accepts all, Styles encouraging the audience to be whoever they want to be during the performance. With full-on dancing from the crowd to performances that can leave you tearing up, Harry Styles definitely knows how to put on a show that can appeal to every age group!