After five years and four tours in more than 30 countries, One Direction brought it all to a close in a tiny arena in Sheffield, England, this past weekend, and I was there.
It wasn't really a tough choice for me to decide that I needed to fly from New York to England for a whirlwind weekend to see my four favorite boys perform their last headlining show of possibly their last tour ever. I took a cab, two planes, and two trains to get to Sheffield for one night only, and it was one of the best nights of my life. And the next morning, I turned around and took three trains and a plane back to New York, but what I really want is to relive Saturday night forever and ever.
My love for One Direction is no secret. There's no shame in my game, because Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan are very important to me. I often find it hard to describe why I really love 1D so much. I find their songs to be incredibly catchy and fun and often to have really relatable lyrics. I find the boys to be charming and funny in interviews and appearances. I find their shows to be high energy and chaotic, mostly because the boys can't dance, so their set includes a lot of bopping around a giant stage with no rhyme or reason. I also have found some of the most amazing friends ever through them.
From start to finish, the Halloween night show in Sheffield was perfect. My friend and I dressed up as Harry Styles, complete with temporary tattoos to match his terribly wonderful ones, because what else do you dress up as when you're in the same room as Harry Styles? Speaking of, he perfectly completed my collection by wearing the same outfit he had worn the other seven concerts of theirs I'd been to over the past three years: black shirt, black pants. Thanks, Styles. At least he whipped out his superamazing, flashy gold boots for this big finale.
The songs positively flew by in a flurry of those four boys running up and down the catwalk singing, Niall making faces at his friends in the crowd, and Harry splashing our section with water twice before throwing me his water bottle. (Buying third row seats was one of the best decisions I ever made.) I tried to catalog each and every moment in my head and force time to move slower, knowing that this might be my last show ever. I tried to make mental notes of everything that made this show so special. I'll always remember how Liam's dad led a conga line of the group's friends and family through the crowd to the stage and danced to "Act My Age" and had the band play the hook five extra times for them while they and the boys danced together like no one else was even there.
Though the arena was buzzing the whole time, especially because it was Louis's hometown show, the air was thick with emotion over this being it. Few eyes were left dry when Niall stopped the show to thank the other three boys for having him in the group for the last five years. And Louis and Liam had to take a long pause on the side of the stage toward the end for a tight hug. But then came the very emotional hugs at the end of the show before the final bow with the band. So many hugs to go around, and all of us fans in the audience basically lost it, because we all feel like we've been part of this whole thing with them. We all feel like we're part of this phenomenon that's happened over the past five years, and even though the One Direction fandom is massive, we all feel like a family.
It's hard to think about the fact that we're nearing a time where there won't be an active One Direction anymore. I still don't know what I think will happen when we've reached the hiatus next Spring. Louis, Liam, and Niall keep making promises about coming back, but Harry's been mostly quiet about it. No time parameters had been mentioned until Niall threw out a timeline of 18 months until their return on Saturday night during the show. But all the thank-yous for the last five years together between the boys, the band, the crew, and the families feels pretty final to me.
I feel incredibly thankful to have found One Direction because they have brightened my life in so many ways. They've given me memories to last a lifetime, and everything they do fills me with so much joy. Not everyone finds something that provides them with unending happiness, but I did with One Direction. That doesn't make me crazy, insane, or weird — it makes me a fan. When I thought to myself that this show could be their last full-length concert ever, I truly didn't know how I could possibly miss it. I could never possibly regret the time, money, and effort spent getting to this show, because for me, going to a One Direction concert always feels like going home.