Thursday afternoon, my husband, 12-year-old daughter, one of her friends and I loaded up the car and drove to New Orleans to see a concert at the Superdome. Years ago, an adventure with a pre-twerking Miley Cyrus at the Cajundome had forced me to proclaim, “No more concerts.” Then there was Taylor Swift. And again, I said, “Never again.”
I kept my word until last week. Going to a One Direction concert at the Superdome is not for the faint of heart, and I wasn’t sure I had it in me. My husband, on the other hand, is a man of mercy and was always planning on taking the girls. I’ll confess that I toyed with the notion of selling my ticket. Finally, one of my friends shamed me when she said sending my husband on his own to the Superdome with a crowd of 50,000 mostly screaming pre-teens was grounds for divorce, in her book. Plus, I realized that this could be the last time one of my girls wants to take a trip like this with parents in tow.
A band called Five Seconds of Summer opened for One Direction. Our seats were one section down from the nosebleed, and I knew from the start that this event was not going to be a stroke of acoustical genius. If you didn’t know the words by heart (and fortunately, most everyone there did), you had no shot at understanding what anyone was singing or saying. For the record, the sound of tens of thousand girls screaming does something horrible to one’s auditory system. Fortunately, I brought earplugs, in a lovely shade of purple.
Once the openers finished, we sat for a solid 90 minutes waiting for One Direction. They played dance music like “Put a ring on it” and “Summer Loving” from Grease during the waiting period. Our daughter and her friend danced the whole time. Conversing with anyone was impossible. So I played a word game. My husband and I wrote each other an occasional note.
Finally, the moment arrived, and the five-boy band hit the stage and runway. You’ll be pleased to know that, according to Zane, Harry and Liam, we were their loudest crowd ever. After the concert, my daughter mentioned this thrice with great pride. When it occurred to her that they might say this to every crowd, she didn’t wilt at all, convinced in the honest ways of the boys with long hair. For one of the early songs, the stadium went dark, and thousands of points of light lit up the space like the Milky Way over the ocean. My husband leaned over and yelled, “Back in the day, we did this with lighters. Now, they do it with cell phones. I’m uncertain which habit is worse.”
Other than that, the only spoken sentence that I understood for certain happened during a fluke of sound waves clarity. One of the band members yelled, “This place is absolutely epic.”
In case you’re not in the know about One Direction, they’re mostly from England, with an Irish dude thrown in for good measure. They’re all beautiful boys, and they sing well too. Their lyrics are largely uplifting: “Don’t forget where you belong.” “Don’t let up.” “Live while we’re young.”
When they started playing the song that goes, “You don’t know you’re beautiful — and that’s what makes you beautiful,” the 20-something beside me, whom I didn’t know and hadn’t spoken to (because speaking was impossible), handed me her phone and motioned for me to video the performance. She wanted to dance. So I did. I even cut from the stage to her and her friend dancing – hoping they could see that, in fact, they are rather beautiful.
Truth be told, had it not been for the terrible sound quality, the screaming and the grown woman in front of me who was sporting a sequined bow the size of a young t-rex, going to see One Direction was an enjoyable evening. Even still, I’m thinking One Direction, live and in person, was a once in a lifetime deal.