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Monday 22 September 2014

Review: One Direction in Croker - slightly sloppy but nothing short of a spectacle

Emma Jane Hade

Published 24/05/2014 | 06:49

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Liam Payne and Niall Horan of One Direction in concert at Croke Park, Dublin.. Picture:Arthur Carron
Liam Payne and Niall Horan of One Direction in concert at Croke Park, Dublin.. Picture:Arthur Carron

OVER 80,000 happy children and adults are waking up around the country this morning after witnessing One Direction prove why they are the biggest and most popular band in the world.

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Simon Cowell's cash cows rolled into Dublin last night for the first of their highly anticipated three night stint in Croke Park.

The rain spat on the legions of dedicated fans throughout the evening, but as soon as the presence of pop 's favourite quintet was felt on stage- nobody cared.

One Direction arrived centre field in a haze of fireworks and noise close to 8.30pm. Opening with the hit tune 'Midnight Memories'- armbands, sequins, glittery hats and ponytails went everywhere, as every child in the the country's biggest playground almost exploded with excitement.

What I witnessed over the next two hours was nothing short of spectacular.  Seemingly un-choreographed and slightly sloppy in parts- but nothing short of a spectacle.

I finally understood what the One Direction mania was about, as I was sitting in the midst of it in my pink plastic poncho with a cup of tea.

I'll admit that I wasn't the first out of the traps and didn't get into the swing of things early on in the two-hour set, as for the first time ever, I found myself in the older age bracket in the audience- even though I still consider myself fresh at 23.

But after another couple of hits from the One Direction stable that I don't name the name of, this all changed. 

I slowly found myself 'wooing' a little louder, and before I knew it I was on my feet shouting 'Ole, Ole, Ole' the loudest.

No matching suits, stepping off stools at key changes and cheesy dance moves with these lads, it was all very plain and simple- what you see is what you get.

They put on a show.  From start to finish. 

Engaged with the audience, endearingly announcing when they were individually running off stage for toilet breaks or to grab a hoody.  They just had you- hook, line and sinker.  They could have said or done anything and they would have got a cheer.

However, the highlight of the show was undoubtedly Niall Horan.

Mullingar's favourite son arrived on to the stage clad with a guitar and a smile, and kept it on for the night.

Possibly the first Westmeath man to draw such cheers from an audience in Croker, the man of the hour couldn't be heard any time he opened his mouth as the audience just went nuts.

As the small town boy proudly brandished the tricolour above his head, that was the moment he instantly became Ireland's favourite son. 

And, at one stage he even led the lads at an attempt of an Irish dance while he blasted out the chorus of Pat Shortt's classic 'Jumbo Breakfast Roll'.

I'd be a big liar if I said I didn't feel salty little tears prickling the corners of my eyes when he arrived back on with an Irish jersey towards the end.

It was all about him, declaring it the best night of his life, his band mates knew it was about him and allowed the spotlight well and truly shine upon him as they played in front of their biggest live audience ever- ironically where 20-year-old Niall's X Factor journey began.

So what's the verdict?

Fun, easy listening, entertaining and infectious.

And, according to the little people in my family, 'OMG, BEST NIGHT EVER'.

Hats off to MCD and Croke Park bosses who pulled off the mammoth task of making a concert fun and safe for all ages.

Highlight?

The highlights were Niall, Zayn and the rousing rendition of 'Best Song Ever' at the end.

Low points?

Harry Styles hair.

Best song?

What Makes You Beautiful

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