Picture this: after purchasing tickets nearly two years prior, stressing over rescheduled pandemic dates, spending hours and hours picking out the perfect hair, makeup, and outfit combo, and traveling all the way back to your hometown, the moment is finally here. You’re standing next to your best friend, bouncing on your feet as the lights go out in Madison Square Garden.
“Style. Style is the answer to everything. TA DA DA DA DA. A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing. TA DA DA DA DA. To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it. DA DA DA DA. To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art. TA DA DA DA.”
The voice of poet Charles Bukowski reciting his poem “Style,” mixed with Harry Styles’ adlibs from his song “Golden” is what echoes through the darkened venue as thousands of fans anxiously await Style’s entrance onto the stage. Having been to many concerts before, truly nothing compares to the feeling of the “Love on Tour” intro. From the abrupt flashing visuals that lit up the screen to hearing Styles’ voice fill the space for the first time, the whole thing felt surreal.
This was the moment my best friend, Angelica, and I had been waiting for.
When Harry popped up on the stage and instantly began strumming the catchy “Golden” chords, I felt the instant serotonin rush and my hand flew to my mouth as I stared at the stage in disbelief. As dramatic as it sounds, nothing could’ve prepared me for seeing him in person for the first time in over three years, after spending most of my quarantine watching TikTok edits from “Live on Tour,” his first world tour. I remember instantly grabbing Angelica’s hand as we began to dance and shout the lyrics, just living in the moment.
The setlist was made up of a collection of select songs from Harry’s debut album, Harry Styles, and his sophomore album, Fine Line, with the addition of “What Makes You Beautiful,” the hit song from his former band One Direction. While a couple of my favorite songs from HS1, like “Meet Me in the Hallway” and “Ever Since New York,” didn’t make it to the setlist, the ones that did definitely fit with the flow of the entirety of the Fine Line album.
By far my favorite thing about going to concerts has to be hearing the live versions of album tracks. From a slew of note changes to new instrumentals, Harry and his band brought new life to the tracks we have been listening to since the release of both of his albums in 2017 and 2019. In particular, “Canyon Moon” and “Sunflower Vol. 6” were given a groovy revival with the addition of percussion that gave the tracks a whole new feel.
Like “Live on Tour,” the more rock-heavy tracks “Only Angel” and “Kiwi” remained crowd favorites — indicated by the shaking floors and water being thrown up on stage as Harry danced around the center and busting out his signature “dance” moves. Not to mention screaming the lyrics “New York baby always jacked up, Holland Tunnel for a nose is always backed up,” in the heart of New York City is just something indescribable. At one point the floor of MSG was shaking so violently that I almost fell over the row in front of me while screaming out the lyrics to “Kiwi.”
While the whole night was amazing, one moment that will replay forever in my mind was hearing the opening chords to “To Be So Lonely.” After “Sunflower Vol. 6,” the lights in the entire stadium dimmed and the audience was chattering with anticipation. For some shows, Harry skipped over the track and went straight to “Woman” leaving some fans disappointed. For my best friend and I, “To Be So Lonely” happens to be one of our favorite songs, and so the second we heard the opening chords and the blue hue lit up the stage, I promptly screamed and Angelica literally fell to the floor.
The show also had the perfect mixture of high energy moments — like when Harry and Pauli, his band member, jumped around on stage to the instrumentals of “What Makes You Beautiful” — and heartfelt moments — like when the venue lit up with flashlights as he sang tear-inducing ballads like “Fine Line,” “Falling,” and “Cherry.”
As I’m writing this now from my Boston apartment, exactly a week from my show date, I can’t help but feel like my heart is full and reminisce on the feeling of that night in MSG. Rewatching videos over the last couple of days has brought many smiles and of course the occasional tear slip — I won’t even deny it.
So yeah, I guess the one emotion that I felt throughout the night was love. Love for everyone’s beautiful outfits. Love for the music. Love for the energy radiating off the stage. Love for my home city. Love for my best friend and I dancing the night away. And of course, love for Harry Styles — it truly is Love on Tour.