Last night, 20,000-plus fans and their parents filled the American Airlines Center to witness the world's biggest boy band take their victory lap after almost three years of steady fan-base-building. It would be easy to talk about One Direction as a study on how watered-down pop music has become, and how pop acts are more "marketing tools with great social media presence." But that's obvious. So let's look at a few things the boys from Britain do and don't do well.
Things One Direction does well:
Stand in pairs Sit in pairs Pose for photos Eat nachos Break up with Taylor Swift Direct Dallas concertgoers to scream Make Simon Cowell an ungodly amount of money Impersonate cardboard Change shirts Read signs Sing that one song you hear on the radio and ask, "Is this the Wanted, or One Direction?"
Things One Direction does not do well:
Dance Speak in Texas accents Date Taylor Swift Not repeat the same joke four times Play instruments Sing literally any other song then the one you hear on the radio and ask, "Is this the Wanted, or One Direction?"
As you might gather from the lists above, One Direction have their crowd interaction down pat; they possess enough self-awareness to know they are just a blip in their fans' lives, something to discuss ironically through shared links on whatever takes over for Buzzfeed in 15 years, so they do their best to own it.
The group spends a significant portion of the concert hamming it up for the crowd, by posing for photos, waving, taking multiple (sometimes excruciatingly long) monologue breaks to pander and thank the screaming girls for being so loud and energetic. They showed two pre-recorded videos and took a 15-minute long interlude to answer Twitter questions from the fans in attendance, during which one of the members, in an attempt to prove that they aren't robots, grabbed a tray of nachos from a fan and started eating.
After a poster contest, One Direction gabbed about television shows they miss from childhood. This faux-spontaneity ended with a Keenan & Kel impression, a shout-out to Everybody Loves Raymond and a That '70s Show reference. Around this point, I started googling the price of vasectomies.
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Of course, I'm not One Direction's target demographic. Hell, One Direction's target demographic will age out in a year, so the group has to take advantage of it all while they can -- which they will. They've already announced a tour for next summer, and there's sure to be a quickie album put out to go along with the Morgan Spurlock-directed documentary slated for late fall or winter. Because, let's all be real here -- right now One Direction have a license to print Nabisco-labeled money, and the very happy 20,000-plus fans in Dallas are ready to help them do it.
God bless the parents who indulge their children's love of terrible pop songs made by clean-cut white boys. Several bemused dads were in the crowd, and tons of moms were reliving their New Kids years through the screams of their daughters.
Nabisco was all over the AAC with branded cutouts of the group holding Ritz crackers for people to take photos with. They also gave out free snacks post-show.
Programs: $20. T-shirts: $35. Buying your child's love through terrible merch: priceless.
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One of the One Directioners tried to make "Smoke that brisket!" a thing, which means they must have made a stop at Pecan Lodge sometime during the day.
Opening act 5 Seconds Of Summer sported Nirvana and Sex Pistols shirts ... they covered a Katy Perry song.
One Direction covered Wheetus's 2000 hit "Teenage Dirtbag." Let that sink in for a bit.
The DART Green Line was chaos all day before and after the show as teenage "Directioners" flooded the service with giggles and endless ranking debates of who is the hottest group member. The answer is Niall if you really must know -- Harry is a perv.