Tales from the Tour: One Direction 'Stole My Heart"

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, April 6th, 2016 at 11:18 PM
Tales from the Tour: One Direction 'Stole My Heart by Kimberly Firestine

I’m not going to lie — I pranced about on the Internet doing everything I could to avoid them and pretend I didn’t know who they were. It wasn’t long before I caved and watched them perform on “The X-Factor” via livestream. It was there my slow decay into boy-band garbage began, sending me head first into the VIP section of a party I pretended I was too cool to be at.

The Palace Theater in Albany seats 2,844 people and is one of the nicest places I’ve ever been to for a concert. For this tour, I was that jerk who buys the meet and greet for a band they don’t care about, just to get a good seat during the opener. With the money I made from babysitting, I bought a fourth row VIP seat to the show. Bridget and I had bought our tickets separately, but had made a deal to switch seats after One Direction’s set was over.

There are very few things I remember from that show. But I’m not going to lie, I screeched pretty loudly when One Direction took the stage. I remember that not many people towards the front were really there for their performance, but I didn’t let that stop me from singing and jumping around like an idiot.

My seat was lined up exactly center stage and I had a perfect view. I could see every curl on Harry Styles’ head and every stripe on Louis Tomlinson’s T-shirt perfectly. What I didn’t realize was they could also see me.

It wasn’t until Styles’ solo during their last song — global hit “What Makes Your Beautiful”— that I realized my bright blue hair and horrible dancing was completely visible to them. It wasn’t until Styles ended his solo, looked at me, clapped twice and said “thank you” that I realized I was in too deep.

When it was over, I thought it was a dream until I met Bridget at the bathroom to exchange seats. When we found each other, her eyes just about popped out of her head as she yelled “DID HE REALLY JUST DO THAT” at me. Apparently, it was visible to her and the rest of those in attendance via the screens the theater has on each side of the stage.

Fast forward to the summer of 2013. My next chance to see One Direction was July 5 at Hershey Stadium. This time I managed to score another fourth row seat and a meet and greet with One Direction. I was the first person in line for the meet and greet and was so nervous I almost threw up. It may have been the sweltering 90 degree heat, but I digress.

I left home around 10 a.m. to drive to Hershey and arrived with enough time before the meet and greet started to allow for parking and to find out where exactly I was supposed to be going.

The spot where the meet and greet was held was a small room inside the main gates of the venue. Those working the meet and greet gave us each a number, took our information and gave us our passes. They were also nice enough to hand us bottled water and move us into the shade, as the heat was almost unbearable and we had over a two hour wait before everything got started.

Roughly a half hour before it began, they moved the line from in front of the meet and greet room to under the stadium seating where the concession stands and merchandise booths were setting up. I’m assuming this was so One Direction could enter the room, because as soon as all of the line was there, screams erupted from outside the gate. Every time another batch of screams was let out, my heart rate skyrocketed. When the lead meet and greet person came to get us and move us to the entrance, I felt like time had stopped. I led the line back out to the door and waited for One Direction’s security guard, now former security guard, Paul, to tell me to come in.

Just before we were let into the room, Styles — wearing no shoes and a floppy hat —poked his face out of the makeshift curtain door. That was the first time I realized he has tattoos covering both of his feet. He let out a soft “hello” and I replied with the same. Then Paul walked out and brought us in.

The time between walking into the room and walking up to them was the longest 30 seconds of my life. The band was still deciding who stood where when Paul directed me to walk up for my photo. As I walked up, Niall Horan and Tomlinson were playing rock, paper, scissors for who had to stand on the end. Tomlinson looked up at me, gave a polite “hello, babe” and hugged me tighter than I was expecting. I hugged Niall next and that was when Liam Payne said “all right then, group hug!” I suddenly found myself standing in the middle of the greatest group hug I will ever have the pleasure of being part of.

There were some jokes tossed around — mostly sass on the part of Horan — and I took a spot in between Horan and former member Zayn Malik. Styles kept yelling random things on the other side of Malik and Horan could barely stop cackling enough to get the photo. After the picture, I said “thank you” and “see you soon” quickly before I was hurried out of the room.

The sound check party was basically how any of them go these days. They played some songs, asked some questions and a half hour later they left the stage and we had to find our correct seats. For the show, I knew I was in the fourth row of the section, on the other side, but didn’t realize my seat was actually right next to the catwalk that had been set up for that show. I’m honestly not sure how I’ve ended up with such great seats each time I’ve seen them, but I’m not going to start questioning it any time soon.

A lot of people don’t know how fun concerts of this variety can be. I made friends with those sitting around me and we danced and sang our hearts out all night long. Aside from the barely tolerable performance from then-newcomers 5 Seconds of Summer, it was a pretty great show.

Kimberly Firestine is a Senior Staff Writer for The Spectator.

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