Review: One Direction - O2 Dublin
IN a week when Justin Bieber traumatised 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.
One Direction emerge to the strains of 'Up All Night', the first of an endless parade of frothy chart baubles.
Around the arena, the shriek factor soars, so that it starts to become difficult to form a coherent thought, much less absorb the music.
From a distance, with placard waving teens occasionally blocking your view, the band initially resemble a series of elaborate, interchangeable haircuts with skinny young men attached.
There's Niall, the Mullingar blond with a zillion twitter followers; Harry, the dimpled posho who used to step out with Taylor Swift, plus their three, markedly less distinguishable companions, each dipped in Beckham-esque levels of Brylcreem.
Musically, 1D veer from the cute to the harmless and all the way back.
The wholesomeness, like the screams, is unrelenting. Blondie's 'One Way Or Another' and The Undertones' 'Teenage Kicks' are absorbed into the One Direction continuum, all the barbs and angles ruthlessly removed.
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 organised spontaneity as they answer fans' Twitter questions.
A sequence of gloopy ballads serve only to underline your suspicion that Horan, now and then hefting a guitar, is probably the most musically talented.
But through it all, their grins never dim, the quintet emanating such radioactive quantities of good clean fun you feel you should be wearing sun block.