Love On Tour was something I honestly never thought was going to happen. After watching concert after concert get postponed and eventually canceled, my hopes of actually attending tapered off.
This fear of cancelation was a rain cloud looming over me up until the concert. The excitement I used to get leading up to those big nights was noticeably absent for my first concert in over two years. It didn’t really hit me until I’d found my seat and the lights went down that I was actually there. When you’re staring at Harry Styles live and in the flesh it’s hard to maintain incredulity.
Styles’s latest album, the pop-rock hit Fine Line, came out in December 2019 with Love On Tour marking the album’s stage show debut; contributing to the majority of the setlist, Styles performed 11 songs off the album, alongside five from his previous self-titled album and one from his One Direction career.
Styles played a variety of songs throughout his show ranging from bright rock to soulful ballads and managing to hit everything in between. At times the song transitions were jarring, lacking a cohesive musical style to tie them together; however, Styles opted not to sing large sets of songs back to back, which helped minimize this effect. On many of his songs, he sang harmony lines or tried out new vocal riffs, keeping the music relatively new and exciting even for those intimately familiar with his repertoire.
Soaring, upbeat opener “Golden” set the tone for the whole show. Also the first track on Fine Line, it was a perfect beginning that sent the crowd into a frenzy that did not waver for the remainder of the night. Other musical highlights included guitarist Mitch Rowland ripping through the guitar solo in “She,” Styles’s extended improv in “Sunflower, Vol. 6” as well as extended outros on popular singles “Adore You” and “Lights Up.”
The video board effects and lighting design were evocative of the psychedelic sounds flowing within the music, creating a cohesive experience between the visual and auditory space in the venue. The music wholly encompassed the space, immersing the listener in an experience far greater than just listening to a song.
Although Little Caesars Arena is a larger venue, the concert had the intimate air of one much smaller. This was due in part to the stage layout, which was centered on the floor with fans on all four sides rather than pushed off to one end, as well as Styles’s stage presence as he joked and interacted with the 18,000 fans in attendance.
Through all the music and the cheers, the defining moments of the night were the ones created between the audience and Styles, as his charisma and quick wit made jokes and rapport unique to the night’s attendees. Despite the melancholy nature of much of the material, he managed to keep an overwhelmingly positive energy throughout the course of the show; Styles never stopped smiling, dancing and interacting with his fans.
Love On Tour in Detroit was a breath of fresh air, despite the masks required by the venue. Styles’s effort to keep the concert light and entertaining reflected well on his skills as a performer, and it will be exciting to see where they take him next.
Daily Arts Writer Hadley Samarco can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.