Article By: Jessica Zamurut
Harry Styles’ spirited performance at the Pepsi Center on his Live On Tour expedition was an excited affirmation of of the star’s raw talent and showmanship. Whether you were an avid “One-Directioner” or not, Styles is an undisputed entertainer. This was made clear with the touring debut of his self titled single album. I could feel the electric buzz in the air as I rode the tall skinny escalator up to the main level of the arena. I noted the swarms adoring fans eagerly giggling and gossiping about what was about to ensue. People seemed to fly into their seats, transcending stairs and other people alike, as soon as the ushers opened the curtains revealing the massive performance space. I was standing three rows from the stage, and as I shuffled into my place, I couldn't help but listen in on what the mob of teenage girls all around me was saying. I could practically see the hearts form in the fan’s eyes as they said things like: “...his performance is going to be life-changing”, “...my British husband is so talented!”, and my personal favorite: “I’m so excited...I’m gonna puke!”.
The stage was set for the opener, Kacey Musgraves, a young country-pop singer with a bright future, and even brighter outfit. A notable feature of Musgraves’ performance was the discoballesque riding saddle suspended above the stage during her set. Similarly, her lighting design was dynamic, with bright white lights that pulsed along to the beat of her songs. During the brief break in between Musgraves and the main event, an enormous cube made of light panels and screens lowered down from the ceiling, concealing the entire stage. The Beatles blared as the anticipation in the crowd grew to immense levels. On the screens, gigantic projections of cartoon hands, likely Styles’, solving a Rubix Cube captivated the audience enough to keep them from screaming. This distraction could do nothing more however, once the lights went out.
The crowd’s screams escalated to glass-shattering levels as they knew they were mere moments away from seeing their “British husband” come onstage. As the lights faded back up, Styles’ clear voice came ringing through the darkness. As he sang the first note, bright white and golden lights came beaming through the space as the large cube transcended the stage. The motion of the lights combined with the high, sweet sound of Styles’ voice combined to an admittedly angelic scene. Styles glided around the stage, strutting a metallic gold shirt, silver jewelry, and black dress pants which perfectly complimented his ivory skin and chocolate-brown hair. Getting into the full swing of his song, “Only Angel”, Styles began boasting his personable performing skills as he encouraged the audience to clap, dance, and sing along. He paused briefly to speak to us before he blew the roof off of the arena. He gave a positive speech about living life in the moment, and going wild. “...do and be whatever you want in this room tonight…” he remarked, “...everyone is loved and accepted here for who and what they are. Have the time of your life tonight!”. Styles continued his set with more tracks from his new album including: “Woman” and “Ever Since You” (which boasted an acoustic guitar and the hearts of tens of thousands of fans melting).
The mood completely shifted as Styles politely asked for the stage lights to be turned off, and for us to shine our flashlights. The twinkling flashlights combined with the scenic, Avatar-esque projections on the Möbius strip screen overhead revamped the space into a dreamy haven. After singing a few more songs from his new album, as well as “taking back” his song “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart”, Styles took a 10-minute break to talk to, and really connect with us. He bantered with the dazzled fans, acknowledging birthdays, funny post-signs, the people who helped him get to where he is today, and admitting he’s feeling the altitude in the Mile High city. After the break, he hushed the crowd, hoping to calm them, but really just stirring their desires more. Styles took this opportunity to shock everyone as he ran straight into the crowd and appeared on a pop-up stage with a little gold disco ball in the back of the arena. From this newfound, mini, performance space, he went on to sing the hit “Sweet Creature” from the new album.
As he dashed back to the main stage, Styles decided to treat the audience to some oldies from back when he was a part of the acclaimed British boy band. The crowd went ballistic as One Direction’s chart-topping song, “What Makes You Beautiful” rang through the space. Everyone and their mom sang and danced along to this peppy jam. Styles smile beamed as he ran around the stage waiving a gay pride flag and rocking the moment like there was no tomorrow. Styles informed us that he would be doing an encore, but instructed us to cheer like we didn’t know it. Unsurprisingly, the Pepsi Center immediately filled with screams and cheers. He went on to energetically perform “Ever Since New York”, “The Chain”, and “Kiwi”. As he walked off, he blew kisses, accepted roses and underwear that was thrown at him, and threw water back and forth with overjoyed fans. As I walked out, I once again listened to the crowd as it swelled down the escalators and out the tiny, glass front doors. “...that was the best night of my life!”, “He’s so talented, I was sobbing!”, and “I can’t wait until I get to see him again!”.
Overall, it is evident that Harry Styles is not only a humble young man with a beautiful voice, but also a showman with talent that far surpasses his years. He easily captivated over 19,000 fans, and dozens of security guards alike, prompting everyone to sing and dance along to his delighting music. Going into this show not knowing much of Styles or his capabilities, I can easily say that I am a fan, and will happily attend his shows in the future, as well as recommend that everyone do the same!