“I’m not gonna lie, Philly. I’m in a fantastic mood,” Harry Styles said.
I could not help but feel the same as the singer-songwriter addressed the nearly 20,000 fans who filled the Wells Fargo Center this past Friday, Sept. 17.
When tickets for Styles’ second solo tour went on sale nearly two years ago, no one could predict the challenges that lay in the many months ahead. Therefore, it is no wonder that while walking into the arena, I was overwhelmed by anticipation as it was finally time for the COVID-19 comeback concert of a lifetime.
As the lights dimmed, a brief calm spread across the audience. But as the opening notes of “Golden” boomed through the speakers, each and every fan burst into screams. Basked in amber light, Styles slowly began to rise from beneath center stage causing the crowd’s shrieks to swell into a mind-numbing roar.
While Styles started rehearsals for the tour in early August, my Philadelphia “Love On Tour” journey began just three days prior to the show and was only actualized mere hours before the singer took the stage.
Having tracked pit ticket prices for several days, I jumped at the opportunity when the cost of two halved late Friday morning. Thus began the frantic hurry to finish assignments and explain to visiting parents why I could not join them the first night of Family Weekend.
My partner-in-crime for the night, fellow junior Grace McDermott, and I set out for Wells Fargo at 6:30 p.m. and arrived more than an hour after the arena doors opened. Even so, we miraculously secured spots just three people away from the stage edge.
“I can see his pores,” screamed McDermott as Styles sang and danced just three yards away.
The night was littered with memorable moments, including Styles' impressive recounting of Philadelphia fun facts. Did you know the city is home to the country’s first zoo and hospital?
Styles’ made it clear that his immense love for Philly expanded beyond the city’s accolades in health care sharing,
“You know what’s great about Philadelphia…WAWA BABY, WAWA,” Styles said, skipping around the stage.
The best part of the concert came with the singer's electrifying performance of “Only Angel.” Not only is this my favorite song from Styles’ entire discography, but as he sang the lyric “and there is nothing I can do about it,” he waved at McDermott and posed for my disposable camera. We were floored and have since watched the video of this moment too many times to count.
A touching moment came when Styles took a moment to thank his fans for granting him the privilege to perform, something he missed dearly during lockdown. Styles reflected on the hardships of the pandemic and how he feels immense unity with each fan, having struggled through these hard times as a global community.
“Over the last eighteen months, everyone in here has been through something collectively, and every single one of us have been through something individually, and it was difficult,” Styles said. “But if there is anything I’ve learned from these last eighteen months, it’s that time with the people you love is the most important thing. Tell the people that you love that you love them. Tell the person next to you that you love them. It is ‘Love On Tour’ after all. And if we just have each other’s backs, I think we’ll be all right.”
Like many people, I found great comfort and solace in the lyrics of Styles’ songs this past year. Preaching to “Treat People With Kindness” as well as acceptance of all, the singer serves as a great role model and example of how to live a balanced, happy life.
These messages obviously resonate with Styles’ fans and were seen in practice throughout the night. Girls complimented each other’s stellar outfits. Friends hugged as Styles sang a heartbreaking but glorious performance of “Falling,” which had me in tears.
But all good things must come to an end and in a flash, the evening ended. McDermott and I found ourselves leaving Wells Fargo with ringing ears and sore feet, having run over two miles while chasing Styles around the stage. The show was truly a once in a lifetime experience being so close to someone I admire so deeply.
“Best night of my life,” McDermott said.
My final take away from the night, as was quoted in the “Love On Tour” opening video is,
“Style. Style is the answer to everything.” - Charles Bukowski