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Harry Styles performing at the 2021 Grammy Awards
Photo by Francis Specker / CBS

Harry Styles Concert Review: ‘Love On Tour’ in Tampa

As Harry Styles finally graced the stage at 9:03 pm, the restless crowd of over 20,000 fans roared with a boom I had never experienced before—deep enough to rattle the inside of my head. Harry’s shimmery pink blouse was buttoned down so low that his butterfly tattoo beneath his sternum was poking through. His acoustic guitar hung across his body as he smiled with his charmingly crooked smirk and reached for the microphone. From his first note, all the way to the closing of the show, it was abundantly clear that Harry Styles was born to be on stage. 

My older sister, Maddie, is the biggest Harry Styles fan I know. One might call it an obsession. When she found out that he was performing in Tampa during his world tour, she immediately bought a plane ticket to come visit me so we could experience the concert together. I’m not as crazy of a Harry fan as Maddie is, but I liked his music enough to spend half of my bimonthly paycheck on a concert ticket. Luckily, his performance truly made it worth every penny. 

When the day of the concert arrived, I saw hundreds of women around my age walking through the streets of Tampa wearing multicolored boas, white leather boots, and pink cowboy hats. I thought I had been transported to New York City for NY Fashion Week. I felt pressure to fit in, but getting last minute tickets made it difficult to fully prepare. I ended up wearing a black dress I had been saving for a special occasion, inspired by the line in his song, Kiwi, “When she’s alone, she goes home to a cactus, in a black dress, she’s such an actress”. 

Harry Styles opened the show with one of his more high-spirited songs, Golden. Looking to my left, Maddie’s eyes were full of happy tears. Instantly, I was glad to experience this moment with her. A few more upbeat songs were performed as Harry practically galloped across the stage with just pure elation. His energy was contagious to the dancing crowd. 

The lively atmosphere slowly calmed as the lights dimmed and he began to sing Falling with a spotlight highlighting just him and his guitar. Everybody in the crowd turned on their phone flashlight and swayed along with the melody of the magical, slow ballad. It looked and felt as though I was floating in a midnight sky on the starriest night imaginable.

Not only does Harry Styles have a clear passion for performing, but he also has a talent for making sure to express his gratitude to his fans. In between songs, he thanked us profusely for being there to support him for what he loves doing the most in life. He even acknowledged a front-row fan’s 19th birthday and made the entire arena sing her Happy Birthday. I can’t even begin to imagine how special she must have felt in that moment, and Harry genuinely wanted her to feel exceptional.

Many more songs were performed, with the help of Harry’s incredible band of six backing him. During the song Treat People With Kindness, Harry held a gay pride flag in one hand and a bisexual pride flag in another, and ran across the stage waving them behind him like a cape. The spirit of acceptance was overwhelming. Harry told us, “I want you to have fun tonight and be whoever you truly are”.

At the beginning of his biggest hit, and one of my personal favorites, Watermelon Sugar, Harry pointed out the fact that there were at least 15 people in the crowd wearing a banana costume. Maddie filled me in: this had become an inside joke among Styles’ fans on Twitter after one person attended a show in a banana suit towards the beginning of the tour. Now, more and more people show up in banana costumes. Honestly, I wish I was in on this joke as well so I could’ve danced in a banana suit too, but I digress. Instead of singing the original lyrics, Harry pointed to the costume-wearers and sang, with a thick British accent, “She’s dressed as a banana, he’s dressed as a banana, they’re dressed as a banana” to the tune of Watermelon Sugar. The absurdity of this moment was a good break from the emotional roller coaster that Harry’s songs were taking me on. Once he started in on the actual lyrics of Watermelon Sugar and continued with the rest of the song, I danced along with the taste of watermelon still on my tongue from the Harry-themed cocktail I ordered before the concert. 

Everyone has a moment in a concert that resonates with them the most and never seems to dwindle away even years later. For me, it was during Lights Up. Nothing could have prepared me for the spiritual experience that took place during that song. I can’t quite put my finger on why it was my favorite four minutes of the entire show, but the sound of Harry’s smooth, raspy voice during the line, “I’m not ever going back” will forever live in my brain. The show ended with the rock song Kiwi, which, arguably, held the most energy of the entire night. Harry left every speck of fuel he had on that stage as white and red strobe lights filled the crowd. By the time the last note of the song was strummed on the guitar, Harry was on his knees with his back arched on the floor as if his body was the physical manifestation of his music. His reflective shirt dimmed to black, and the crowd erupted.

Sophie is a senior at The University of Tampa. She is a writing major with minors in sustainability, english, and sociology. When she's not on a camping trip or swimming at the beach, she enjoys doing yoga, eating vegan food, and hiking with her dog. You can find her on instagram @sophie.cavanaugh.
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