By Emma Weidmann | Guest Contributor
Imagine a full sports arena masked up and vaccinated in the name of Harry Styles. Finally, the time has come for the much anticipated “Harry Styles: Love on Tour.” Styles kicked off the tour on Sept. 4 in Las Vegas and brought his glittery blouses and jumpsuits to San Antonio Thursday. Several thousand teenage girls, and not a small number of boys, came decked out in feather boas, flared pants and colorful sunglasses to see the king of “treating people with kindness,” as the slogan goes.
Originally, I bought these tickets for my birthday after I turned 16 years old. Then, the tour was postponed for a little more than a year. I turned 18 last week and this concert was quite honestly my tether to reality during the quarantine months and my virtual senior year.
I think this sense of lost time was present in the minds of everyone in the arena, Styles included. He opened the concert with a prerecorded message telling fans to do our part by getting vaccinated and wearing masks, and that it’s taken a lot to get to this moment where we could all gather and enjoy live music.
“You can tell more about a person by their eyes, anyway,” Styles said.
The show opened with “Golden,” a high-energy summer single designed to hype up a crowd. It worked. As an opener, this song choice is genius in setting the tone for the rest of the show. As shown perfectly in the music video, “Golden” is a drive with the windows down on a hot summer night; it’s dizzy and energetic and everything I missed about live music.
But I won’t lie. Being in a sold out arena packed elbow to elbow with sweaty, screaming strangers was an odd way to spend a night after the year we’ve had. It was uncomfortable despite the requirement of masks and proof of vaccination or a negative test. There is nothing that can make crowds of this size entirely safe until the pandemic is over, but it’s important to the industry, and to me, that the show goes on.
While the show did go on, it was fantastic. There was a mix of more mellow songs like “Cherry” and “Sweet Creature” along with his upbeat tracks and fan favorites like “Only Angel” and “Watermelon Sugar.” Note changes, conversations with the audience and a new band made for a fantastic night. My and my friends’ voices were completely lost afterwards. Styles ended the encore with perhaps his most high-powered and dearly beloved concert song, “Kiwi,” a certified head-banger.
I also saw Styles perform during “Harry Styles: Live on Tour” in Houston in 2018 and can attest to the fact that he has simply become a better performer in that span of time. On his first tour, he was somewhat strained vocally, especially when singing his first single, “Sign of the Times,” and hesitated to dance like the corny British man he is. Styles is now able to hit each note in each song and do it all whilst prancing and frolicking about the stage in his high-heeled boots. I only wonder if his feet hurt as much as mine did at the end of the night.