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.