“He’s right there. Literally right there!” screamed my best friend next to me. In that moment I knew he wasn’t just a person on a screen, he was real. In the UBS Arena on Long Island, I witnessed the man, the myth, and the legend that is Harry Styles. As he shot up from the the stage, the music got louder and my heart beat faster. All I could see was a sparkly gold vest, but I knew at that moment that I had achieved what I had dreamed of for so many months. I looked to my best friend with tears forming and my breath shortening over how unreal it all felt.
A month prior, I was calling my best friend and yelling, “I GOT THE TICKETS” in my dorm room. The excitement rose in my voice as I looked at the Ticketmaster website that said “you’ve got em, now let the anticipation begin.” I had officially gotten tickets for the last show of Harry Styles’ Love on Tour. For the next thirty days, all I could do was cross off each day in my calendar until I would hear my favorite songs sung by the guy I had idolized for so long.
Driving up to the arena was the only time that it felt real. Sometimes you can’t fully understand something is happening until you see it yourself. While waiting in the merchandise line, my friend and I chatted with other fans talking about Harry’s beauty brand and movies. It was cool to just be around people who loved him just like us. Having that many people in one place who are just so happy to be there is such an awesome feeling. There is something to be said about the feeling of belonging and inclusiveness with strangers.
Harry’s music is something that has brought so many people joy during hopeless times. In the past two years of the pandemic, being able to obsess over music has taken my mind off of stressful situations. When there is so much uncertainty in the world, being able to follow along with a celebrity can be something that is just so easy and carefree. It’s fun to follow fan accounts, to talk about music, and watch interviews on Youtube. A lot of people think fandoms are dumb, but there is a reason why there are so many. Whether it’s a sports, music, or movie fandom, being a part of one makes you feel included.
Inclusion is exactly the message of Harry’s tour. His concert was a place where everyone could dance around and sing along to songs like ‘Treat People With Kindness’. In the pit area, you could see people doing a giant congo line or the Cotton Eye Joe during many of the songs. Harry brings his talent, energy, and love for performing to the stage and it reflects in the crowd. When you watch him sing you just know that he absolutely loves it. After playing his last song ‘Kiwi’ three times, he said “you’re gonna have to kill me to get me off this stage”. This is what differentiates him from other artists. He never wanted to leave that stage and stop performing. He shows that he loves the fans just as much as the fans love him, because they have changed his life just as much as he has changed theirs.
When the lights went up and ‘Humble’ by Kendrick Lamar started playing, we knew it was time to leave. The floor of the arena was covered with feathers from boas, crumpled signs, and the many accessories left behind. Leaving, you could see everyone’s realization that it was actually over and that it was the last show of the tour. Walking outside back to my car with steam leaving my breath, my best friend and I recapped every moment we could remember. Although it was over, our voices were still filled with excitement as we said “did you see him wave at us!” or “did you hear him say this!” It was truly one of the highlights of my year.