One Direction still have X Factor on first night of farewell Dublin gigs
One Direction, 3Arena, Dublin
Breaking up is hard to do – or at least it is in the case of One Direction, who, since announcing they were to take a "temporary" breather, have released a new album and embarked on a 58-date farewell tour.
It's almost as if the tall-haired man-cherubs can't bear to shuffle off stage and onto the next phase of their lives and careers.
Nor are their fans in any hurry to see the back of them. The screams booming across 3Arena as 1D made their entrance for the first of three sell-out Dublin shows were truly thunderous – adolescent hysteria mixed with the giddiness of ten-year- olds who've had more than their recommended daily intake of sugary snacks.
Their reward was a solidly enjoyable performance from four young men visibly outgrowing their teen hearthrob status yet keen to put in a decent stint at the office (then, with One Direction Inc pulling in an estimated £200,000 per day across the past year their work ethic is no surprise).
Introduced in 2010 as tousled-haired lads next door, Harry, Niall (one foot in a black cast), Liam and Louis nowadays look every centimetre the jet-setting pop royalty that they are – their tattoos and tans in blunt contrast to such winsomely slurpy smashes as Clouds, Best Song Ever and Where Do Broken Hearts Go? (all of which tried to find a different way of asking if you would like to be their girlfriend).
Still, their essential likeability endures. From the instant they broke through as Simon Cowell's world conquering minions on X Factor 1D's winning quality has been their lack of slickness (even Niall's scripted guitar bits are somehow made to feel spontaneous). Consequently, 3Arena was untroubled by over-rehearsed dance routines or unreasonably toned torsos.
Instead they sauntered back and forth smiling, splashing mineral water, politely asking the audience to scream as loud as they could (it turned out to be pretty loud).
Their banter, too, was loveably shambolic ("Sure, aren't we having the craic!" said Niall; Harry impersonated a Moore Street banana retailer). The only serious moment was when Niall asked the throng at the barriers to step back to avoid a squish.
Musically, little of interest happened here – even the band's biggest hits are ruthlessly forgettable (it is telling that Styles's daring solo tryst turned out to be a Kodaline collaboration). But One Direction were effortlessly, endlessly charming and, for that alone, they will be missed.