By Emma Weidmann | Staff Writer
Stadium lights go down, thousands of flashlights go on as Austin’s Moody Center is lit up with scores of Harry Styles fans standing at the ready for the popstar to take the stage. When he does come out, Styles is just one among a sea of feather boas and flare pants. With light-up cowboy hats and sequin jumpsuits, the show isn’t just a concert; it’s a competition for the brightest clothes and the loudest singing.
Styles spread glitter and pride flags in Austin Sunday night with “Love on Tour 2022,” the second installment of last year’s best-selling world tour. The show, which took place on the University of Texas campus, kicked off with a performance by Los Angeles-based group Gabriels. Styles paid homage to the university’s colors in a burnt-orange suit with fringe reminiscent of the school’s marching band.
Styles greeted fans with “Daydreaming,” a brass-heavy, funk-inspired song that brought the stadium to a fever pitch.
After playing a few songs, Styles paused the music to speak to the crowd. Fans joined Styles in a true Texan “yeehaw” and asked the singer for relationship advice. Styles marveled at the term “situationship” and encouraged one fan to move on from her noncommittal relationship of five years. The vastly female crowd cheered in agreement.
“I don’t know what the situation was, but I don’t like it,” Styles told the fan. “Too long. Move on, next. You should have said that five years ago.”
A rendition of “Music for a Sushi Restaurant” mixed with “YMCA” and fan favorite songs like “Matilda,” “Golden” and One Direction’s iconic “What Makes You Beautiful” made for a concert that was both emotional and energetic.
“Kiwi” was a hard-hitting end to the night, a legitimate rock song that shook the floors with the stomping of fans’ high-heeled boots. It was the finale of a three song encore including Style’s first solo single “Sign of the Times” and the chart-topping “As It Was.”
Before leaving the stage, Styles sent fans home with a message of empowerment and personal freedom following Texas’ recent ban on abortion.
“Do not let a single person tell you what to do with your body,” Styles told the crowd. “You are more powerful than anyone else.”
Filtering slowly from the stadium after the show, Styles’ fans bore the signs of a good concert — sore feet, scratchy voices and ears muffled by the music. Styles is set to play five more nights in Austin before traveling to Chicago and other cities. But, long after he leaves the Lone Star State, a wandering feather on the sidewalk will serve as a reminder of the show that will be the subject of the city’s “Late Night Talking” for years to come.