Continue reading the main story
Continue reading the main story
The first two nights of a 15-show show at Madison Square Garden were filled with charisma, banter and nods to the past.
Send each friend a story(Video) Harry Styles - As It Was – Live from One Night Only in New York
As a subscriber, you have10 gift itemsgive every month. Everyone can read what you share.
For theJon CaramanicaeLindsay Zoladz
Over the weekend, Harry Styles kicked off a 15-night affair at Madison Square Garden, an impressive feat worthy of one of the world's most beloved musicians. (He will embark on a similar leg in October at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif. — his tour in support of his latest album,"Casa do Harry",It consistsa number of residences.) But Styles, who rose to fame as part of British boy band One Direction, is still relatively early on in his solo career and is still in the process of establishing his sonic ideas. Two New York Times critics visited New York on the first two nights of its "Love on Tour" run to see how it was exerting its appeal.
Jon CaramanicaI always likedOne direction, so-so. Or maybe I liked what the group represented: a rejection of the hyper-processed boy band and with it an acknowledgment that you can still do the most with the least. They didn't try to deceive the public about their art - their nonchalance was key to their appeal. But that approach disappears with a solo act, and I continued to get upset during Harry Styles' Saturday night concert at the Garden. Extraordinary charisma, collective exuberance, a decently competent band, and yet at the center of it all, Styles was unfathomable. At least musically. Rarely, if ever, have I seen someone so confident of dominating the stage, yet everything underneath felt light. All noise, no glare. what I'm missing (I'm fine.)
LINDSAY ZOLADZHmm Jon, maybe a good one? Despite all the construction going on around Madison Square Garden, I had no trouble finding the venue's entrance: I simply followed the trail of rainbow feathers flung from Styles' tie, which at least half the audience appeared to be wearing. My thoughts today (and for the next few weeks of Style's 15-day residency) are with the garden cleaning crew.
I've long considered One Direction the quintessential boy band of the fan service era - deftly prepared to respond to the demands of their dedicated social media experts.Stan Armee— and after watching Styles' Sunday night show, I'm ready to declare him the defining solo artist of the era, too. Not sure if I've ever seen a pop starWelleso much from the stage in my whole life? About a third of her performance seemed to consist of waving, pointing and blowing kisses to various sections of the audience at a volume comparable to that of a jet taking off. Most of the time I couldn't hear Styles' voice well enough to tell if he was hitting all the notes, although the audience reaction was energetic enough that they didn't seem to care. This show, like much of Styles' music, was felt first and foremost by the fans, which - I agree - can sometimes make the man at the center of it all seem like an enigma.
CARAMANICALet's try to understand Harry Styles' musical proposal. He doesn't have the determined hustle of, say, Shawn Mendes; nowhere near the vocal smoothness of Justin Bieber. (Also: #FreeZayn) And it goes without saying that despite the rampant Eltonisms featured in Styles' solo catalog and the (unnoticed?) deliberate echoes of John's sartorial glamor in Styles' Gucci clothes, nowhere near the panache or John's panache. It's all a pretty thin foundation to build this famous skyscraper on.
But yes, the nod. Also the absolutely relaxed vibe. And this thing he did in the middle of the show where he grabbed a fan's cell phone and tried calling her ex. (Josh, if you're reading this, you washed up, bro — everyone in Madison Square Garden hates you.) See also: he sings "Happy Birthday" to his girlfriend Florence. Florence Welch,the machine🇧🇷 not Florence Pugh, his co-star in the upcoming movie Don't Worry Darling? Neither. Florence, daughter of Rob Stringer, chairman of Sony Music Group? Yup.
That's the essence of its appeal - its fame isn't top-down. He is the approachable but protective friend, the one who leads with common sense and progressive health. (He's helped people come out or declare their love on past shows.) That's one reason why public discussion of Styles often focuses on his love life or the way he flirts with gender fluctuation , focused, his current gig is conventional and chaste. The biggest boldness was when he explained how the performance in the round would work. Sometimes, "we clash," he said. “I'll be sure to keep my face and butt evenly distributed throughout the show – there's so much to do.” It was cheeky. Even "Watermelon Sugar," her mildly erotic hit, was dry.
ZOLADZStyles didn't call any exes on our show, but he did do a funny thing by trying to count all the "golf dads" in the audience - apparently 34. He also delivered some celebratory "bad news" about something to come shortly before the show. had happened: "I screwed up my tongue over the soup." So yeah, effortless charismatic banter, and he works every corner of the stage. The setting and wardrobe were a little more minimalist than I expected; I expected at least a costume change. But I would describe the look he chose in a red and white striped jumpsuit as "sexy candy cane". The fashion, the fans, the power of personality - it seems we're talking about everything here, but not the music, which can be illuminating. How did the songs impress you, Jon, and did you get something out of them that you don't find on his records?
CARAMANICABasically, we disagree about Styles' albums - I like the most recent album, Harry's House, best, and I know you're leaning more towards the former,"Thin line."When the songs were... funkier - and I use that termextremelyloose - her performance felt more complete. I'm thinking of “Satellite” and also “Cinema”, both from the new album – the rhythm section leads but doesn't dominate. I also liked what he did with "Adore You", turning the chorus into a more understated banter. But when he was unadorned, as in "Matilda," the air in the room felt heavier. and"Signal of the Time",Styles' first solo hit was Heavy, a karaoke version of a mid-1970s power mope.
ZOLADZSometimes I find a gulf between the music Styles wants to make — the big, bold, if somewhat generic, '70s-style rock of his first album — and the poppier fare that best suits his persona. Not surprisingly, the songs that worked best for me live were the ones that managed to satisfy both of these urges, like the groovy Tame Impala-esque "Daylight" or the still-ubiquitous hit"How it was."I wish he'd ended the set on that note, but alas, he had one more song to play after that, the Led Zeppelin cosplay rocker "Kiwi", an unfortunate live staple that I rank as one of his most memorable songs. weak. But, as usual, he seemed to enjoy playing the bombastic rock star, even if the material itself wasn't always electrifying.
However, I found it refreshing that Styles isn't straying from his former group on this tour: the first song on his pre-performance playlist is One Direction's "Best Song Ever" - much to the delight of thousands of fans who sang along with every word - and during his set he actually played a louder, rockier version of One Direction's 2011 hit "What Makes You Beautiful", which happens to be off an album his former bandmate Louis Tomlinson recently releasedcalleda pejorative word that we cannot print here. What did you think of Styles' 1D cover, Jon?
CARAMANICAThat was one of the musical highlights, if not the highlight. It was like a boisterous bar band momentarily inhabiting Styles' deliberately understated crew. On Saturday, too, people absolutely lost their composure when the opening bars of "Best Song Ever" arrived shortly after the end of Blood Orange's measured and tasteful opening set. It was the purest release of pent-up demand I've experienced in a while. And so it went for the rest of the night – demand leads supply. Passion without feeling (and certainly not without friction). A canvas the size of an arena scribbled only in pencil.
And just for the record, a friend lent me her pink and white boa for a few songs - it didn't help.
Continue reading the main story