Today Madison Square Garden is the home of Billy Joel. New York resident “Piano Man” has practically owned the Big Apple Arena since he began his monthly residency there in January 2014.
But on Saturday night, MSG was transformed into ‘Harry’s House’, as Harry Styles took his Love on Tour 2022 trek to the iconic location for the first of 15 – yes, 15! – concerts which will take place until September 21st.
Indeed, the 28-year-old pop phenom has his own residency in the world’s most famous arena, doing more shows in just one month than Joel would do in a year.
And of course, the pop universe has essentially been Harry’s world since he released his third solo album, ‘Harry’s House’, in May, celebrating it with a release day concert at the new UBS Arena in Long Island. But he managed to turn MSG into an intimate room where each of his screaming, screaming fans — decked out in feather boas, sequins and sequins, regardless of gender — felt seen and heard in a safe communal space.
“Good evening, New York. My name is Harry,” said the ridiculously charming superstar – who obviously needed no introduction – to one of the many deafening roars. you free to be who you always wanted to be in this room tonight.”
At that time, you could feel the worship of Harry.
He may be a millennial idol, but he brings back the peace and free love vibes of the 60s. Therein lies the power of Styles, who is neither the best singer nor the best musician. , and certainly not the best dancer. But he can carry and own the stage with minimal typical production bells and whistles—no backup dancers needed—required for an arena show.
This was evident from the moment he came bounding and bounding out onto the stage – with his hair forever on – to “Daydreaming,” the opener which is one of the tracks on the excellent “Harry’s House which topped his setlist.
Perpetually jumping across the round stage – only to work better on all four sides of the garden with his deliciously silly dance moves – his contagious vertigo was undeniable.
But there was also more musical sophistication than you’d expect from the One Direction alum, who paid homage to his former boy band by reworking and reinvigorating their biggest hit, “What Makes You Beautiful”. He dug deep into the funk of his Grammy-winning debut hit “Watermelon Sugar” and took “Late Night Talking” — his current single — into Steely Dan territory.
And there was even a sly bit of the Village People’s “YMCA” – which many young viewers probably didn’t understand – before he strutted around in the horny sex appeal of “Music for a Sushi Restaurant.”
But it was Styles’ No. 1 hit, “As It Was,” which topped the charts for 10 weeks this year, that levitated the Garden from the collective pogo going on all around.
In the middle of Styles’ residency – with UK alt-R&B artist Blood Orange opening for all 15 gigs – the garden will once again become Billy’s home when Joel resumes for a gig on Wednesday. But Saturday night – and for the next 14 nights to come – MSG belonged to Harry.