Saturday 24 March 2018

Ed Power: One Direction deliver a pop masterclass

IN a week when Justin Bieber traumatized fans - and enraged parents - by turning up for a concert two hours late, One Direction sweep into Dublin and deliver a pop masterclass that is slick, feel-good and, above all, punctual.

Following a short film in which the quintet - in their late teens and

early 20s  none looks  a day over  14 - are seen having a raucous time

in their shared digs, One Direction  arrive to the strains of Up All

Night, the first of a seemingly endless parade of frothy chart

baubles. Around the arena, the shrieks soar towards the red zone so

that it starts to become difficult to form a coherent thought ,much

less absorb the music.


 From a distance, and with placard waving teens often blocking your

view, the band initially resemble a series of elaborate haircuts with

skinny young men attached. There's Niall, the Mullingar blond with a

zillion twitter followers; Harry, the cherubic posho who used to step

out with Taylor Swift (and tonight delivers an impromptu Riverdance

jig) plus  three markedly less conspicuous compatriots, each dipped in

Beckham-esque levels of Brylcreem.


With this sort of show , the last thing you want is a surprise  (hence

the outrage over Bieber's Axl Rose antics in London on Monday). The

closest One Direction come to breaking out of their safety zone is

hovering above the room on a plexiglass platform  (they resemble

window cleaners who've just raided a Topman store-room), though there

is some organized spontaneity as they answer  fans' Twitter questions.


Otherwise the wholesomeness is, like the screams,  unrelenting.

Blondie's One Way Or Another,  The Undertones' Teenage Kicks and

Wheatus' Teenage Dirtbag are ruthlessly absorbed into the One

Direction continuum , all their barbs and sharp angles expunged; a

sequence of gloopy ballads serve only to underline your suspicion that

Horan, now and then hefting a guitar, is probably the most musically



 Through it all, their perky grins never wilt,or even waver, and the

group emanate such radioactive levels good clean fun you feel you

should be wearing sun bloc. Whether their popularity will endure as

their fans mature is an open question. For now, One Directions are

plastic princes of all they survey.


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