Yesterday at 8pm in Dublin, 50,000 fans held their breath as they waited for the second Prince Harry.
after that, the “Best Song of All Time” by his former band One Direction was played through the speaker system.
Suddenly everyone was singing along. It was euphoric, joyful and slightly deafening. It was also an indication of what was to come.
About 40 minutes later, the volume at Aviva Stadium really got deafening when Harry Styles took the stage. It was not just a visit.
He wore green-striped shorts and a matching sleeveless top (to show off his muscular, tattooed arms), and gelled his hair like Elvis in his prime.
His 1970s top was open to show the crucifix and ample chest hair.
He opened with the 1970s electro-funk “Music For A Sushi Restaurant” singing “I Could Cook An Egg On You”. He then played the guitar and sang “Golden”.
Soon he was walking around the giant stage with a microphone and singing “Adore”.
50,000 phones were hoisted into the air filming a teen (and teen) idol they came to see Aviva set on fire.
Every time he smiled (albeit defiantly) at the crowd and danced exaggeratedly for their benefit, the reaction was eardrum-squeezing frenzy.
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It was like the aforementioned Elvis in his heyday.
It was Harrimania. Especially when he said: “It’s great to be back in Dublin. How do you feel, Dublin? My name is Harry. You can be whoever you want tonight. I want you to take the hand of the person on your left and say, ‘Got you.’ Then I want you to take the hand of the person on your right, and say, ‘I love you.’ Then I want you to close your eyes and say: “I love you. Ok?”
It was quite normal, not least all the young fans in the room did what he asked and shouted their approval in doing so.
Parents of young fans might easily recognize him as Allied soldier Alex, trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940 in Christopher Nolan’s World War II film Dunkirk.
He was more at ease with adoring fans than with Nazi bombers overhead, playing the soothing brooding “Maltida”.
Everyone shakes their phones back and forth (the light of the screens creates a magical effect) to this very deep song.
The young and predominantly female crowd was in their own alternative pop paradise. To everyone who was judging Styles or the audience last night, let me point out what he told Rolling Stone magazine in 2017: “Young girls love the Beatles. Are you going to tell me they’re not serious?
He has charm and composure, but there is a certain vulnerability in him. He made the crowd sing “Happy Birthday” to the happy girl on the show.
He is a very nice guy. For all its edginess and badassness, this is the same multi-millionaire star who apologized to her mother Ann, who was on the balcony at a recent concert, for humming the words “cocaine, side breasts, smother her with a sea view” in front of her. Keep driving.
“Dublin, make a fuss!” Harry asked. He breathed in vain. The Aviva Stadium was already shaking with a sold-out crowd chanting his name. He paced the gigantic stage like the biggest star in the world, which he certainly is at the moment (ten sold-out nights at Madison Square Gardens in New York).
Its sound owes a lot to Prince (not Harry from Windsor, but another from Minneapolis) and David Bowie and the 1980s, as well as Justin Timberlake or Kendrick Lamar.
Accepted by the LGBTQ+ community and the rest of the planet, Styles, with his gender-bending fashion style and sexually ambiguous image, is the perfect cultural ambassador for today’s 2022 world.
His music is also bold. As Styles recently told The Guardian in a review of one of his former bandmates: “Think of little Niall Horan trading his mom-friendly MOR, cool indie rock teen idol Louis Tomlinson…”
Last night in Aviva, Stiles took the city by storm. “Dublin,” he asked, “do you know who you are?”
Dublin will not forget him for a long time.