The opportunity to witness Queen, the Spice Girls or The Beatles in their prime is one that the luckiest of fans are fortunate to see. While those opportunities have passed, it was Harry Styles, with an English quip and swagger, who brought a deafening night of peak-fandom to Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center on Monday.
Since stepping away from the record-breaking boy band One Direction, the 24-year-old heartthrob has taken on his solo-career with the unequivocal spirit of a young rockstar gone-too-soon in a past life, with a second chance to do right in the present.
In his 2017 self-titled solo debut, ‘Harry Styles’ captures ten tracks that feel heavily influenced by classic American rock, delivered with a grandstanding English flavor. At times he sounds like a modern version of the Beatles, built for stadium anthems that linger on a cool cumulus cloud. Inside Golden 1, tracks such as “Carolina” and “Medicine” raptured the crowd with ease, while softer records like “From the Dining Table” and “Sweet Creature” fully engulfed the young crowd’s sentiments.
Currently, ‘Harry Styles: Live on Tour’ merch includes hair ties, tote bags, vinyl, posters and other fan essentials, but the most popular item seems to be a t-shirt with “Treat People With Kindness” scrawled across the front. More than just a commercial success, the atmosphere inside Golden 1 on Monday reflected these words at just about every turn.
Scattered among fans’ “Black Lives Matter” posters and rainbow pride flags was a clear reflection of Styles’ persistent message of universal love. His suave acknowledgement of the crowd was consistent throughout the show, taking time to recognize individuals by name, wishing ‘Happy Birthday’s’ and making sure a pair of drum sticks made it to one of his youngest fan’s hands.
He took it a step further in some cases, pointing out a fan by the name of Destiny who had attended 21 shows on this tour alone, recalling a handful of specific cities he remembers seeing her in the crowd. I had never seen an artist take the time to make such a gesture, simple, though clearly unforgettable. Then again, few artists are able to get a fan to follow them across the country these days for 21 shows.
In selecting a supporting act for this portion of the tour, Styles chose Kacey Musgraves, the country singer and songwriter who rose to fame after competing on the fifth season of “Nashville Star.” By the time Musgraves neared the end of her set with her encouraging hit “Rainbow,” fans were moved to tears of joy-ready for whatever was to come next.
As Styles commenced the show appropriately with “Only Angel,” the screams of anticipation drowned out any chance to hear anything but the “woo-hoo’s” that come in before the lyrics. His enthusiasm to dance matched by the deafening scream of the fans would kick off an impressive two-hour experience.
Those who have closely followed his rise from ‘X Factor’ contestant to boy band sensation know him better than most fans get a chance to understand their favorite artists. With his latest body of work, a clear grasp of self-awareness and sincere gratitude for his position, Styles is forming an illustrious solo career-capable of enamoring the whole world with cheeky kindness.
For more information on everything Harry Styles, visit HStyles.co.uk.
Photos courtesy of Hélène Marie.