Being an adult at a One Direction concert is a confusing experience. Now 28 and 25, neither of us intended to become fans, and that journey is a story for another day. I don’t think anyone starts liking One Direction believing the love will be so real, but alas it is. Combined, we’ve been to loads of concerts. Everything from small Punk Rock shows held in a hole in the wall, to Country shows held in giant fields, and nearly everything in between. Nothing is like a One Direction concert.
Our journey to the stadium began at 5:00 pm. The opening act, Icona Pop was scheduled to take the stage at 7:00, so we thought this would allow us time to get dinner in the city before our main event. Riddled with excitement for the impending hysteria, we hopped an uber. The three-mile drive should have taken roughly 10 minutes.
30 minutes later, our uber is stuck in horrific traffic, the kind where you’re part of a weird displaced parking lot of angry travelers. We joke as we’ve left plenty of time, and mock those foolish enough to wait as they’ll surely never make it. 1 hour passes. We try to continue jovially, but in the pit of our stomachs bubbles with a real fear that we’ll have to get out of this hot box and run down the overpass as NOTHING will keep us from seeing these boys. 15 more minutes pass. The driver asks us to send emails for him. We are confused but try to help. The Uber driver now hands Grace his flip phone. Once realizing “email” means “text message”, her fingers struggle to remember what T9 was, and how to text on real buttons, a momentary distraction from the panic.
10 more minutes pass. OUR FEAR IS REAL. We wonder why we didn’t get a hotel in the city the night before. Arriving the day of the event seems risky given its magnitude. What were we thinking?
The Gods hear our desperate pleas, and we are finally able to drive around the venue exit and take another route into the city. We leave the uber at the first intersection so we can walk the remainder of the way to the stadium.
We’re instantly reminded of our age as we pass the tent constructed as a parent waiting area.
Our excitement is threat level midnight as we procure our boxes of chicken tenders and yards of margaritas/daiquiris and head to our seats. Our seats are amazing. We’re in the first level of raised seating and the view is spectacular. The only thing that could bring us down: Icona Pop.
Pro-tip: Never buy daiquiris or margaritas inside M&T Stadium. They have no booze and the fruit mix is too gross to count as a slushy.
Icona Pop should be recruited by the military for use in torture. Is this really still happening? They refuse to sing the word “sex” when covering Bruno Mars, but their next song has a chorus celebrating “The first time we got high. The first time we got drunk.” Their logic is baffling.
The children around us are equally confusing.
Who the hell do kids these days think they are? We encountered two famous “viners” including a 15-year-old boy who had a slew of teenage girls waiting to meet him. People were crying over meeting celebrities at a One Direction concert who were NOT one direction.
The teen was seated two rows in front of us, and his fans produced a line which blocked the aisle. Our only goals while waiting for the show involved obtaining beer and visiting the bathroom, which required use of said aisle. Their inconvenience was preposterous given that he was a boring tiny child.
When the screech boxes Icona Pop end, our heart rates rise. We know the next thing we see will be our glorious boys bounding around the stage. We have questions. Who will sing Zayn’s solos? Will Harry’s hair be restrained in a bun or let free to flounce about the stage? Will impending fatherhood have changed Louis? What if he seems sad? What is a viner? Will Niall’s Irish accent still be strong and deep and weaken our souls? Our active minds are grateful for the stimulation provided by these questions, as the wait is long.
The lights dim. The roar of the crowd changes you. The sound is deafening and we are of course screaming as a part of the madness. This isn’t the cheer you’re used to at the end of a set. This is 70,000 people screaming as loud as possible, and it’s awesome. The stage lights up, fireworks explode, and the decibel reaches an impossible level. IT HAS BEGUN.
We assume the theme of the concert is joy, as that is the only thing we feel.
And then they are singing, their voices are enchanting, and they are exactly as we knew they would be.
Harry takes a box of cookies from a young girl. He asks if the Tupperware is microwavable, like he ever needs to eat leftovers.
Louis and Liam have a water pistol fight.
Niall strums his guitar.
They are perfection.
No one misses Zayn. Have fun making #realmusic. How would anyone leave this? This crowd is more intense than last year. It might be because we all want to show the remaining members that we still love them just as much. It might be because they are constantly riddled by split rumors and we want to show them that they should stay.
The children around us who thought we might have been attending to be ironic are now impressed with our fierce dedication. A girl in front of us sits during a slow song. We chuckle, as we could never sit during a One Direction concert. We dance, we jump, we scream, we give this everything!
When the songs end we initiate a chant in our section. The children aren’t as bold as we are, as the pretense of being cool is something we bid adieu to years prior. We aren’t afraid to look ridiculous or be the first one to start some mayhem. They also haven’t had any margaritas, so there’s that as well.
The concert ends.
The children call their parents. We call an uber.
It’s an evening that simultaneously makes us feel old and young. We’ve just spent the evening in the company of people too young to know N*SYNC, they never saw the 80’s, they didn’t have to use the payphone during high school. They look forward to being able to drive. But on the flip side we’ve sung along to our fave tunes, and jumped around like insane youths. For the evening we were one of them.
Our hearts are young.
But we still don’t get the viner thing…