AS IF TO EMPHASIZE the globe-straddling brand they have become, the stage set for One Direction’s Where We Are tour – a riot of red and white splashed over a veritable city bypass of ramps - looks like a huge Coca-cola-sponsored theme park ride.
One Direction, Edinburgh Murrayfield Stadium
Rating: * * *
by Fiona Shepherd
The inference, perhaps, being that this show would be a rollercoaster for patrons (no height restrictions apply), with the delicious, teasing build-up supplied by a film of the group members superimposed on various global locations, consulting their maps, trying to find a way to get to you – yes, you Murrayfield - and then hysteria unleashed as the fab five bounded onstage to the rocky strains of Def Leppard’s Pour Some Sugar On Me, which the band’s writers have helpfully jigged around and retitled Midnight Memories.
Despite a collective dose of boy band lurgy, 1D still managed to pack some of the energy lacking from their dazed Radio 1’s Big Weekend appearance in Glasgow. The perpetually bewildered Zayn Malik still didn’t know where he was, committing ultimate boy band folly with the words “hello Manchester”, but at least he was good for the sustained high notes and doe eyes.
Harry Styles, swaddled in baggy jumper, was good only for radiating careless charisma and the occasional croaked salutation. While he pretended to use his mike stand as a fishing rod, his copious vocal parts were gamely covered by his bandmates. Proof, if proof were needed, that all that handsome Harry and cohorts really have to do to generate frenzy is show face.
Accordingly, this was a simple show, relative to its size - just a few streamer showers and some colourful graphics – but at least they brought a live band which is more than many of their boy band peers can muster. The sound was hopelessly muddy – like anyone cared - as they barrelled through their set with a pleasing degree of informality.
With three albums down, 1D have hitched a ride on the Mumfords’ faux folk wagon, dabbled in “some mild dubstep” and made the happy transition from mainly mushy ballads to jolly power pop songs which are more suited to their personality. Though often bland, their songs are never less than tuneful and represent the makings of a consistently strong pop set – that’s if the group don’t all drop like flies before the end of their contract.