February 3, 2023 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | By Katie Rowley

As the rest of my classmates in the Half-Block course, Movies About Movies, awoke on Thursday, Jan. 26 to work on their final exams that were due promptly at noon, I was finding my way to Denver International Airport for a flight that would bring me one step closer to the only thing getting me through eight days of classes with none of my friends on campus: a Harry Styles concert in Los Angeles.

That’s right, in less than 12 hours, I would be at the Kia Forum, screaming my heart out to the lyrics from Styles’ third album “Harry’s House.” But first, I had to navigate my way through an uncertain parking situation, an egregious amount of clothes stuffed into one backpack (because I was not paying for a checked bag), and a three-hour-long wait before my flight even took off (because my dad insisted on being at the airport hours early).

Despite my anxieties, everything went fine; and before I knew it, I was boarding my flight, accompanied by several other “Harries” (identifiable by the merch they had on) and two of the hottest men I have ever seen in my life.

A quick hour-and-a-half flight brought me to Los Angeles International Airport, and even closer to seeing Styles. I took an Uber to the friend I was meeting in L.A.; her mom had rented out a beach house in Malibu where I would be spending the next 48 hours. Sitting in the back of that Uber, I truly was living my Party in the U.S.A. moment (minus the Jay-Z song).

All that stood between me and Styles was a quick nap, donning ourselves in our best outfits, and a 40-minute drive back into L.A. Grace Schmude ’24, in pink assless chaps and bedazzled shorts, and I, in velvet palazzo pants and a custom bedazzled fruit shirt, began the journey to the Kia Forum, along with her mom and her mom’s best friend.

Buzzing with excitement as we joined the line of eager Styles fans, Schmude and I made sure to capture every aspect of the arena (and our outfits) with thousands of photos. The Forum had gone all out for the event: “Harry’s House Night 13” was projected on the top of the arena accompanied by photos of him and his lyrics covering every inch of the building.

Our seats were front and center in the 100s—we’d have a perfect view of Styles’ performance after stocking up on merch, of course. I opted to buy a tote bag and poster, even though I was unsure of how I’d get it home.

While waiting in line for food, Styles’ opener, Wet Leg, began to take the stage. I rushed back to our seats, excited to see them perform their top hits: Wet Dream and Chaise Lounge. After their set, the entire arena bustled with the knowledge that in 30 short minutes, Harry Styles would be taking the stage. Amongst the audience, rumors of different celebrities being in attendance swirled; everyone from Olivia Wilde to Jennifer Aniston was there (apparently). Schmude and I befriended all the people sitting around us and made sure to hype up everyone’s amazing fits.

Belting out One Direction songs and Bohemian Rhapsody with a sold-out arena reminded me of exactly why I had spent so much money and so many hours on this pop singer from Great Britain: he fosters a community that feels like home. I felt at home, far away from my actual home, surrounded almost entirely by strangers.

And then, at 9:00 p.m., Styles took the stage. Opening with Daydreaming and ending with his epic rock song Kiwi, he took all of us on a 90-minute ride through the most heart-breaking parts of his discography to multiple, dancing-filled mash-ups of his most upbeat songs.

If I’m being honest, I don’t remember much of the show. I was too overwhelmed by his presence and living in the moment to capture many memories. I do remember him, however, ripping his brown leather pants and profusely apologizing, along with the many times Schmude and I turned to each other to scream lyrics, and die over how amazing Styles is. He filled that entire arena with joy and love.

The night ended with a sleepy car ride back to Malibu, full and warm with love for Harry and those around me. My brief trip to L.A. ended shortly after the concert, and I flew back to the cold Colorado that I call home – incredibly thankful for the community that Styles creates for his fans and the joy of being in that space once again.

Leave a Reply