This song was way more dance-y than all the others. I bopped along. The shrieking hadn't stopped, and by now, I had a pretty bad migraine. I wondered if the Beatles really stopped playing live shows because their fans were too loud. Or maybe so many jumping, howling underage women made them uncomfortable. Again, I tried to imagine what it was like being one of the five or six guys in One Direction. For some reason, I pictured their lifestyles a lot like mine. Coffee. Beer. Weed. Music. Sometimes sex. Then this -- work. We just have different jobs. How does it feel to turn on so many women at once, just by stepping onto a platform and pretending to sing?
So many little girls were happier than even Christmas morning, Easter, Halloween and their birthday combined. This was the night of their 12-year-old lives. There was another song about dancing. Dance. Do it. Dance, then buy. Who gives a shit about anything else? What else was I going to do?
I couldn't very well shake each and every one of those girls by the shoulders, point, and shout, "Do you see those earplugs they're wearing? Each of those is a one-way radio, telling these guys exactly what to do, when, and how to do it. They can't even hear your screams. Even if they cared for your swollen eyeballs puckered with tears, they wouldn't know what to do about it. So why? What's the point?"
But then they could just as easily say the same things about me. I live in a bubble, but I'm not entirely lacking self-awareness. If you ask me what makes my taste better than theirs, I can only stammer. If music, no matter how bad, makes someone happy, then it's done its job, right? What else is it supposed to do?
The lights beamed down to blue and green. The screen showed gratuitous close-ups of the dudes' stubbly faces. But they were so beautiful! Chiseled right out of GQ. Yet, they were trying to look dirty. Rough around the edges. Asymmetrical. This song was somewhat like Mumford and Sons. More fire. Confetti cannons barfed into the sky. Sparks flew. Whoever pulls these triggers, I want that job. Good job, dude.
Another slow song. The cellphones came out again. Twinkle, twinkle. One of the five or six guys took his earplugs out, told the girls to scream as loud as they could. Unfortunately, they obliged. My headache deepened. There was space and flames and confetti during a song that sounded suspiciously like REO Speedwagon. The catwalk raised, a few songs were sang, the catwalk was lowered again.
And then it was more of the same, followed by more of the same. There are only so many times you can see mini fireworks shoot out of the same section before it gets old. You see it. It goes away. It comes back. It adds less and less of the same thing every time. It defies logic.
I left soon after the encore. The parking lot was already crammed with people. Everyone had a smile on their face like they'd just woken up from dental surgery. The buses loaded up, disappeared. The news vans took off after them. I drove home in a stupor.
So it wasn't what I expected, although I don't know what I expected anymore. Perhaps my weird little dream of seeing something like this was idealistic at best, out of touch at worst. But regardless, I am surely glad I experienced this grandiose abomination.