Sunday, October 6, 2013

One Direction impress fans of all ages at Sydney concert

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Footloose and fancy free: One Direction show off improved singing and dancing since their visit to Australia last year. Photo: Justin McManus

Review by Claire Stokes (aged almost 16)

It wasn't just the number one hit songs that got the girls head over heels for the five young lads from Britain at their first Sydney show at Allphones Arena on Saturday night.

The slow intimate songs and their pretty faces got the knees wobbling too.

For the young and young at heart: Alan Stokes (centre) with his teenage daughter Claire at the One Direction Concert in Sydney.

For the young and young at heart: Alan Stokes (centre) with his teenage daughter Claire at the One Direction Concert in Sydney. Photo: Steve Lunam

This was my second One Direction concert. After seeing them in April 2012 at the Hordern Pavilion, I bought tickets for One Direction in October 2013.

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Seventeen months have passed and I am still madly in love with them.

I had to pay back my parents $400 for one single ticket with numerous hours of work in a pizza shop and it was all worth it. 

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Keen: Alan and Claire Stokes with 1D fans Ellie Stacey, 6, and Charlotte Doyle, 5. Photo: Steve Lunam

This time the screams and the tears were multiplied even in the bigger arena.

The boys' voices were strangely loud enough above the screams.

They seem to have grown more mature, with their singing showing a lot more experience and training than last time.

In Moments Zayn Malik perfected his high note showing off an amazing range and capability. Liam Payne and Niall Horan's voices have improved to an amazing extent and you could hear it in She's Not Afraid, Little Things and Kiss You.

There were a lot more boys in the audience who were genuine fans, too, cheering the band on and not just being pulled along by their daughter, girlfriend or best friend.

Absolutely everyone at the concert was friendly and accepted me going with my dad, in a Manly Sea Eagles shirt, as we all cheered, screamed and shed tears about the boys.

They have contributed a lot more then just music to our lives.   

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Review by Alan Stokes (aged 50 a bit)

The expectation of anyone but adoring teenagers  at a One Direction concert is that you'll walk out having seen too much of a phenomenon and heard too much of a screaming mob. They even sell earplugs at the front counter.

But the first Sydney show of the 1D world tour left you wanting more - much more - of their songs.

On a night with plenty of teenage fandom in the room, the love ballads stood out in a two-hour plus show that surprised even the most cynical.

When the boys dropped their often inaudible chatter which slowed the momentum, and when they stopped trying to be rock gods, one thing was clear: they do upbeat pop very well and they do love just beautifully.

And when they do Ed Sheeran, they do him better than he does.

Moment and Little Things stood out but even they couldn't compete with More Than This.

At every turn Liam Payne was on song, showing he has grown into the sort of frontman who will last way beyond a boy band.

This was a coming of age show. One Direction have musical talent, can harmonise well and there was even emotion.

There were no weak links, either.

 Zayn Malik was brilliant at times but struggled in the first half of a performance that wilted when the music stopped and the talk took over.

 It's as though the boys feel they have to talk to their Directioners, but the sound was muffled and the banter too quick for anyone but those who got all the in jokes.

That's a minor criticism.

There was something for all the parents who'd brought the kids along - great covers of Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus and Teenage Kicks by the Undertones, as well as stolen riffs from Baba O'Riley by The Who (Best Song Ever), Summer Loving from Grease (What Makes You Beautiful) and Should I Stay or Should I Go (Live While We're Young).

Most of all, though, it was a night for the young at heart.

One Direction put the innocent fun back into pop.

Who wouldn't fall in love with that?

One Direction return to Allphones Arena on October 23 through 26.


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