Waiting for this concert to come has been like waiting for Christmas to come as a child- so much anticipation and expectation.
My family joins me to Nashville. We step out onto the Nashville real estate between 4th and 5th Avenue, the revered and historic Ryman auditorium. I have been to several shows at the Ryman, none of which have had a line that wraps all the way into the parking garage. This is unusual considering it is not general admission. The demographic consists of giddy females over the age of 15 and under the age of 45. It draws many looks and comments from passer-bys. To the amusement of those waiting in line, one man walks by a male worker in the parking garage and states: “I bet you wish you were Harry Styles.”
Due to the demand, the merchandise stand is outside and the line is bustling there also. Girls ahead of me are spending upwards $200 on Harry sweatshirts, posters, tees, hats and vinyl. The man selling merchandise tells me that he has been selling since 1pm. Also an unusual occurrence due to demand.
Exclusive Tour Merchandise I purchased:
After waiting in the line, I make it inside to find my seat.
Prior to the show, the Ryman sent an email to inform the crowd that Harry would be on at 9:45pm. The time approaches and I am nervous from head-to-toe. The pink water from the cover art colors the stage.
No fan-girling is quite like what surrounds the members of One Direction. Without any signal of him about the take the stage, everyone stands promptly at 9:45pm.
The lights go off. All attention is on the silhouette of Harry that shines through the pink drape. The crowd collectively loses their minds. In fact, a stranger and I end up holding onto one another while screaming and shaking all over. The drape hits the floor and there stands Harry Styles in the flesh. “Oh tell me something I don’t already know” comes from his lovely mouth. I hear statements of excited disbelief all around me, like “I’m not alive right now” and “this can’t be real!”
Forgetting all restraint, I squeeze my way down the isle in order to be closer to Harry. He is sporting a one-of-a-kind brown, floral Gucci suit and holding what is becoming his signature style guitar of choice. He finishes “Ever Since New York” and transitions into “Two Ghosts.”
Harry stands at the mic in his casual, present way and says “Hello. I’m Harry. I’m from England.” Until this point we haven’t heard his adorable British accent. His accent sounds thicker in person.
He says that the Ryman is the ideal reason why he booked the debut tour in the way that he did.
Harry does his entire 10-song debut album during the show. All of which sound beautiful and similar to their recordings. “Carolina” and “Sweet Creature” warm up the stage before he cuts loose.
“Only Angel” begins the portion of the show that is flavored with Harry’s dance moves, sass, and the crowd going along in unison.
During “Woman” it begins to sink in that the man who crafted the album I consider the best, as a whole, of all time, is dancing and singing his songs in the same room as I am. The Ryman holds around 2,300 people. That basically means I am at a crowded party with Harry Styles, or that’s what it feels like at least.
Former 1Directioners always glorified any tendencies the boys had of being sexy. Fans everywhere, Harry’s “Woman” live is so groovy and Harry gets down.
In honor of being in Nashville, country music territory, Harry does a cover of Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush”.
The opening chords of “What Makes You Beautiful” fill the room and melt the hearts of all Directioners. In the moment it is hard to believe that the Harry on his debut solo tour is the same 1/5 of One Direction that took the world by storm via the X Factor and their wildly successful debut single “What Makes You Beautiful.”
Harry aggressively dances around the stage, in a Mick Jagger-esque fashion, during “Kiwi.” What can I say, I’m kinda into it. Lyric pun intended. The energy is incomparable. As a part of Directioner-lore, Harry takes a drink of water and spits it out all over the stage.
“From the Dining Table” and a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” signal that there is likely only one song left.
In all of the charm that the Ryman can possibly hold, Harry tells us, the crowd, to find someone that we do not know. Easy enough, I know no-one in the room. I briefly exchange excitement with a college-aged girl in the seat in front of me. Harry singles out a pair in the crowd for pairing up although they came together and jokingly tells them they are only ruining it for themselves. Then Harry, grinning from ear-to-ear starts yelling the word embrace. So we all do just that, the crowd begins hugging people they do not know. Known for being kind to people, it is such a Harry thing.
Everyone knows what is coming at conclusion: “Sign of the Times.” Harry closes his show in Nashville with high emotion and gratitude.
P. S. I think I will declare May 12th and September 25th personal holidays.