By Carlee Castillo
As an advocate for individuality, a celebrator of the flamboyant, and a fashion connoisseur, Harry Styles has progressed far past his youthful boyband and bakery days.
Many know Harry Styles from his launch to stardom in the British pop band, One Direction. However, following the group’s break-up, Styles has begun his own remarkable solo career. After releasing two acclaimed albums, Styles rocketed further into fame, collecting a group of devoted fans along the way. Such fans were thrilled about the news of his tour announcement for his album “Fine Line,” first proclaimed nearly two years ago. Yet, with the surge of COVID-19, the tour was postponed and canceled multiple times.
During a swift downturn in the rollercoaster of the pandemic, Styles recently reintroduced his “Love on Tour,” mandating vaccines and masks. I was lucky enough to attend his concert in Denver and can attest that the integrity of his tour title — love — was paramount. Prior to even entering the venue, attendees laughed and sang among strangers, donning elaborate outfits. The show began with the poem “Style” by one of Styles’ most revered poets, Charles Bukowski. In the audio, Bukowski’s voice boomed, discussing the role of art in everyday actions and the “style” of influential figures from Joan of Arc to Ernest Hemingway. Most notably, he emphasized, “loving can be an art.”
Styles’ set presented titles celebrating and divulging his love of the audience. Such songs included “Adore You,” “Lights Up,” “Treat People with Kindness,” and more. These are anthems of community and compassion. Their resonance was apparent in the teary eyes and hugging limbs of fans during the show.
Following a couple of lively tunes, Styles made a point to acknowledge the difficulties of the last year, noting the communal suffering of the pandemic as well as the pain of individual circumstances. While almost glistening on what seems to be a pedestal of a stage, Styles, rock star and elite celebrity, teared up while expressing his gratitude for his supporters. Vulnerability was embraced rather than shunned during the entirety of his performance.
With youthful and abundant energy, Harry Styles invigorated the crowd with a throwback rendition of “What Makes You Beautiful” from his One Direction era. The inclusion of this song reaffirmed Styles’ appreciation of his supporters, paying homage to his older fans, while ensuring every demographic would feel represented by his setlist. Tara Siegel of Castle Rock, Colo., avid One Direction and Styles fanatic and my best friend, said, “experiencing your favorite artists’ music live surrounded by your favorite people in the world is something that can’t be described. I’ve never felt more free and happy. I could live in that moment forever.”
In reference to Harry’s opening poem, what is ‘style’ anyway? How can one’s character be categorized? Following my “Love on Tour” experience, I believe that style is encouraging others to be the truest versions of themselves. Style is a rock star crying in front of millions. Style is creating community amidst isolation.
Style has the first name — Harry.