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Hong Kong gigs

Mass hysteria as Hong Kong's One Direction fans go wild for Styles and Co.

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 March, 2015, 7:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 March, 2015, 11:59am

One Direction
On The Road Again Tour
AsiaWorld-Expo

Mass hysteria. That’s the only way to describe the madness of One Direction’s Wednesday night performance at AsiaWorld-Expo. And from a frighteningly young audience too: pre-teens made up the majority of the smitten crowd.

Since shooting to fame in 2010, the British boy band have been an unstoppable force in the music industry, and they didn’t disappoint the Hong Kong crowd with their first ever visit as part of their On The Road Again Tour.

The atmosphere at the arena was palpable from early on. As soon as Harry Styles’ voice came over the speakers, the crowd erupted, and that was just to announce a safety video. The Macarena began playing; more hysterical screaming. All this before the band even came on stage.

Sporting ultra-tight skinny jeans, edgy haircuts, and having bulked out quite considerably since their days on television talent show The X Factor, they have definitely tried to swap the fresh-faced image of their early days for something a little more mature.

To their credit, the boys know how to put on a show. While the uber-succesful band might be forgiven for half-heartedly churning out a scripted performance, it felt like they really did want to be in Hong Kong, and their stage presence and audience interaction had the crowd engaged from the word go.

Styles, Niall Horan and Liam Payne in particular overflowed with charm and personality in an effort to make the crowd feel special and appreciated, reading out fan-made posters and handing out a few roses, to the audience’s delight.

Perhaps Zayn Malik was too busy focusing on getting his notes pitch perfect to engage with the crowd, or maybe he was stressing about his overly manicured hair, but he struggled to smile even once, and his apathetic attitude was a notable crack in the otherwise polished performance.

The concert very much catered to the younger fans, with nothing but good, clean fun. So while the boys have upgraded their wardrobes, it doesn’t look like they’ll be getting rid of the PG label any time soon, no matter how many tattoos Styles gets.

The singing was decent overall, and the majority of the tracks came from their latest album Four, with the occasional crowd-pleasers from previous albums including What Makes You Beautiful (Up All Night) and Story of My Life (Midnight Memories).

All of the songs, however manufactured, were delivered with such conviction that it was hard not to get caught up in the contagious, feel-good vibe.

Ultimately, they’re a catchy, wholesome boyband like so many others that have come before them. No one is going to pretend One Direction have reinvented the wheel here, but you’ve got to hand it to them for making it feel like they have.