West Valley City • Thursday night at the Maverik Center, the cacophony was enveloping, with a wall of sound ricocheting around my brain that heightened, and then numbed, the senses. Loud as the Old Testament God, the sounds were unlike those I have ever encountered, and it is likely that I will hear the ringing from the atonal symphony of sound for as long as I live.
Oh, was there music to be heard, too? I was just talking about the screams and squeals of thousands of young girls and the noise they made, because they overwhelmed any music produced in the concert put on by British boy band One Direction. Beatlemania has, apparently, bitten the dust, with this show finally arriving after tickets went on sale about 15 months ago.
I have seen Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, and The Biebs, but never before have I been to a show where I couldn’t assess the quality of the music and singing — 20,000 red-blooded girls were singing along and frothing at the froth onstage throughout, and the noise was unavoidable, even in the empty men’s rooms. Every mug for the camera and every wave engendered a frenzy even louder than the one before it. I expected fan devotion, but not the volume.
Time Magazine has identified each member of the band with a particular characteristic, much like the Beatles a half-century ago: Niall Horan is the “cute” one (and the only Irishman in a band of Englishmen), Zayn Malik is the “quiet and mysterious” one, Louis Tomlinson is the “funny” one (and oldest, at 21), Harry Styles is the “charming” one (and who has dated Taylor Swift) and, not least, Liam Payne, who was called the “sensible” one. (Poor Liam. The drab adjective doesn’t set hearts aflutter, as his image elicited the quietest shrieks throughout. Harry and Niall seemed to be the favorites, based on decibel level.)
The quintet was assembled by none other than Simon Cowell. Each one of the boys auditioned for the British version of the televised singing show, “The X Factor,” and during the competition it was suggested the five become a boy band. The new group ended up finishing third, but Cowell (who was a judge and produced the TV show) signed them, and since, the band has turned into an estimated $100 million empire based on two albums and carefully tousled hair.
Before the show, products such as One Direction fragrance, Claire’s accessories, an upcoming concert film, and action figures shared space with a public service announcement on anti-bullying and an opening set by Australian pop-rock band 5 Seconds of Summer. The 5SOS warm-up set was largely uneventful except for the lead guitarist’s Sex Pistols shirt, a cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” and the drummer remarking to the crowd that “I like drugs.”
I am familiar with 1D’s body of work, and though it was near-impossible to decipher the words onstage, I can comfortably say that puppy-love songs written by Swedes dominated the proceedings.
Because all I was left to do was watch the stage show, I was struck by the laziness.
Unlike boy bands in the past, there is little to no choreographed dances, and the boys, clad in plain, simple t-shirts and unflashy jeans, were content to stand around as if they were uninterested — even while being transported across the arena on an elevated platform at one point. In between songs they bantered about nothing much at all, talking over each other frequently (even though I couldn’t hear much of it, except for the ludicrous calls from 1D for the crowd to “make some noise,” as if they weren’t doing so already). I even saw several instances of the self-satisfied boys sitting down, waiting for their solo to arrive as others sang. Since I was not physically attracted to any of them, I found the stage show uninteresting and tedious, especially a too-long segment of the show when the boys answered fans’ tweets.
One tweet asked the lads where they would go, if they could go anywhere in the universe. Can I answer?
When • Thursday, July 25
Where • Maverik Center, West Valley City
Bottom line • Indecipherable concert surprising for its laziness