Harry Styles says he experienced the happiest and saddest moments of his life while recording his newest album, “Fine Line.” He also says the album is about “having sex.”
The heartthrob pop star brought all his happiness, sadness, and of course, sex appeal to his Sunday night Love on Tour show at the Tacoma Dome, where he sang through a psychedelic pop-rock set, preached themes of love and inclusion and gave his fans the attention they’ve been craving.
The crowd, which appeared to be around 90% girls and women in their teens and 20s, jumped out of their seats and screamed in unison when Styles skipped onto the 360-degree stage in billowing mint-green trousers and a shimmering lavender button-down. The stands rocked violently as he strummed the first chords to “Golden,” the dreamy opening song to “Fine Line,” on his blonde semi-hollow body guitar.
The fans — many of whom were wearing feather boas in honor of the fashionista’s famous Grammy outfits — have been waiting a long time to see Styles. He announced Love on Tour in November 2019, a month before “Fine Line” came out. But the tour, originally slated to start in spring 2020, was postponed twice because of the pandemic, while “Fine Line” topped charts and “Watermelon Sugar” won Styles the Grammy for best pop solo performance. Styles seemed to know how much he’d been missed.
“Some of the time, I’ll be facing toward you, which means you’ll be looking at my face,” Styles said, talking about the 360-degree stage. “Some of the time, I’ll be facing away from you, which means you’ll be looking at my ass.”
He promised he’d show equal parts of both to the screaming crowd, and he delivered, facing different directions on each song and directly addressing different segments of the arena.
Belting out the hit “Adore You,” Styles directed the crowd to sing: “Just let me adore you.” He responded with a cheeky, begrudging “OK.”
But the flirtiness didn’t come off as self-indulgent, feeling more like a method to make the crowd feel comfortable and included, and to allow themselves to share in the emotions Styles channeled into “Fine Line.” He told the crowd to “be whoever you want to be tonight” after the opening song. And the star, famous for promoting inclusivity, later ran around the stage holding a rainbow LGBTQ+ pride flag and later a Black Lives Matter flag over his head.
Styles reopened all the old wounds of past failed relationships with “Falling,” singing longingly at the edge of the catwalk with the stage lights out, backed only by steady, pulsing piano chords from Niji Adeleye. The song left at least a few members of the crowd with blurry eyes. But Adeleye catapulted from sadness to joy when he pulled out a cowbell at the end of the song and danced with Styles back to the stage and into a dancey percussion intro to “Sunflower, Vol. 6.”
On this song, Styles let his band jam with improv from guitarist Mitch Rowland and Adeleye. Drummer Sarah Jones shined during a super-funky version of “Watermelon Sugar” with a laid-back groove, punctuated by Rowland’s guitar licks. During these moments of chemistry among the band, the show felt more like a 1970s rock festival than a 21st-century arena show from an international pop star. The psychedelic vibes were heightened by the marble swirls on the screen around Styles’ face on these songs. He says “Fine Line” was inspired by artists popular in the 1970s like Joni Mitchell and Paul McCartney, and by afternoons spent lying in the grass and tripping on psychedelic mushrooms.
The crowd was back to jumping with joy when Styles belted through a rock ‘n’ roll version of “What Makes You Beautiful,” from his One Direction days, and when he finished out the show with a super rocked-out “Kiwi,” from Styles’ first solo album.
But the most memorable parts of the show were its more tender moments, like when Styles told the crowd to “tell the people you came with you love them” before singing “Fine Line,” and couples and friends, nestling against each other, swayed to his falsetto and acoustic guitar.
It felt like the crowd arrived at the show infatuated by Styles — and left in love with each other.