Uplifting set has fans screaming in delight
WHEN One Direction take to the stage and the big screens capture their reactions, it's Niall Horan, the quintet's only Irish member who looks especially awestruck at the sight.
Tonight must feel like Horan's very own All-Ireland final – with 80,000 young fans assembled in front of him and especially keen to let him know he's the local boy made good.
Created on 'The X Factor' in 2010, One Direction are the world's biggest boyband – and it shows tonight. The scale of the show, replete with pyrotechnics, a vast stage and the sort of 'ego' ramp beloved of certain stars attests to their enormity.
With each of 1D's three albums hitting the US number one spot, this is truly a manufactured entity with a global reach and one whose most recent shows spanned the South American continent.
Early songs, the rock-pop anthem 'Midnight Memories' and the catchy 'Rock Me' are calibrated to stadium size although the incessant screams allow the quintet plenty of leeway when it comes to bum notes.
It says something about the quintet's collective showmanship and charm that the grey gloom that clung over Dublin all day is (metaphorically) lifted.
But it's very much Niall Horan's night – whether battling to unfurl a tricolour in the stiff winds at the front of the stage or introducing "my favourite song", 'Don't Forget Where You Belong', which provides the set's emotional high point.
Fittingly enough, it was at this very stadium, he reminds us, that he first auditioned for 'The X Factor' as a 16-year-old. He's come a long way.