Firstly I just want to say a massive thank you to anyone who's reading this - I started this blog about 12 days ago now and I'm shocked at the amount of views it's had in so many countries!
Secondly, and the reason why I'm writing this blog post: I went to One Direction's Where We Are tour in Wembley stadium on Friday night (06/06/14), which was absolutely insane!
All the members of One Direction were absolute pros at singing live, and kudos to Harry for singing through a sore throat. Their gratitude to the fans is apparent, and it's nice that they are aware of what the fans have done for them even if the fans themselves don't even realise. This goes the other way too, as I don't think the 1D boys realise just how much of an impact they've made in lots of their fans lives. This concert showed the impressive dedication of the fans, as their love for the band was clearly shown in all the handmade signs which had obviously taken a lot of time to make. Surprisingly it wasn't just a couple of fans who had made banners, but I would say that it was the majority! Fairy lights, massive collages, and lots of thought had gone into their outfits and banners, and that, coupled with the fans who brought inflatable bananas or volley balls, made this concert enjoyable as you couldn't help but smile along with them.
Having said this, though, I'd be lying if I said that it was the best concert that I've ever been to. Whilst their singing was on point, the stage set amazing, and the stunning effects of the pyrotechnics, I still felt like there was something lacking - that being crowd interaction.
I don't think this is entirely 1D's fault though, as I think it is definitely very difficult to interact with a crowd of 90,000 in a massive stadium - and it is for this reason that I prefer smaller arenas. I'm also not saying that there was zero crowd interaction, as seeing Instagram and YouTube videos the next day told me all the little private interactions the boys had with the standing crowd at the front. However, whilst they interacted with the standing concert-goers, there were still very little interactions with the rest of the stadium, which is of course difficult in a stadium of that size. In my opinion this made it difficult for the crowd to really connect with the boys, as even in the five 2-3 minute interactions that did happen (this is 2-3 minutes for each band member for the entire concert), the majority of it was sadly lost due to the mumbling and echoing effect of the microphones.
So why do One Direction actually need to interact with the crowd? As Louis Tomlinson said during their performance at Radio 1's Big Weekend a couple of weeks ago:
"I don't know why each of us have a talking bit, it's gonna be awkward by the end of it."If we go by this comment, then maybe we don't need any crowd interaction, and only need to hear them sing live and nothing more.
However, in my opinion, fans come to a concert in order to see their favourite band live, in the flesh - and this includes seeing their human-y side, to engage with the boys who, for many of them, helped them or lifted them up in their times of need. For these fans, it wasn't a super-boyband that helped them; it was the individuals of Niall, Zayn, Harry, Liam and Louis who each helped them. For once, the fan's world and their favourite band's worlds have united in the same time in the same place, all of them living in the same moment. The fans want to live that moment with these boys who were there for them during the hardships of their lives, and this is clearly seen by noting how much effort the fans have put into their banners, signs, outfits and face paint. Rather than portraying the boys as merely performers there to sing live, then, perhaps more interaction and engagement with the crowd is necessary.
By being both a 1D fan and a student who has often needed some procrastination fuel, I have watched a lot of the YouTube videos from previous concerts that they have done in smaller venues. It is apparent from these that they are perfectly capable of interacting with the crowd, in that there were a lot more laughs and talking and question time in those previous concerts. In addition, what I liked about those previous concerts was the interaction that you saw between the boys themselves, allowing us to feel as though we are involved in a little snapshot of their lives for a night. This again is something that was lost a bit in the stadium tour, as the boys were often scattered across the stage in order to be seen by as much of the audience as possible in the vast amount of space that they had.
It is for this reason that I prefer a setting in a smaller arena, to enable more of a personal touch that seems to be lacking from the stadium setting. Don't get me wrong, I think that One Direction deserve everything that's come their way, including that of performing at stadiums; it's obvious that they work so hard in everything that they do - both the boys and everyone behind the scenes - and I want to congratulate them on that. Not many artists can sell out as many stadiums as they have, and frankly they deserve every ticket sale as they are each very talented and hard working individuals. I also understand that in order for the boys to reach out to as many fans as possible, it makes sense to use stadiums to allow more people the opportunity to go.
However, whilst it is apparent that in using a stadium setting we gain pyrotechnic effects and the opportunity for more fans to see a concert at one time, we also compromise on seeing the personal side of One Direction. Indeed, my favourite parts of this concert were when Niall had to leave briefly to go to the bathroom so the others were forced to talk, and when Liam told a one sentence anecdote of his naked dream last night. The goofy, chatty, jokey, random and sometimes weird side of One Direction that many fans know and love, is also the side of One Direction that stadiums sometimes make difficult for us to see.
P.S. Yesterday I uploaded a couple of photos onto my Instagram account, and a 1D fan found these photos by using the hashtag and started following me. Being polite I followed her back, and found that she had uploaded a video from the concert. Her caption for this was: "This was amazing and so touching. I'm so proud of my boys and the fandom. I can b myself around ANY directioner no matter there age, and they won't judge me. were a family, look wat we can achieve wen we work together! Directioners are all so friendly and i luv each and every one of u! Thank you for everything were there girls and there our boys and we always will be, forever! Luv u directioners and 1D". I don't know why but I really found this so sweet that some Directioners feel like this! I don't want to name her Insta just in case she doesn't want it to be known. She has a private account, which makes it all the more touching as she clearly isn't saying this to get attention or loads of likes from anyone. Just goes to show how influential One Direction can be!