Harry Styles’ own Tweet says it all: “Wembley, last night was one of my favourite shows we’ve ever played. I don’t know where to begin thanking you, I’m completely overwhelmed.”
The knowing nods I receive from Harry Styles fans when I answer “Wembley night one” to the question of which HSLOT I went to confirms that it wasn’t just me who could feel something extraordinary happened in Wembley that night; this was one of the most memorable nights of my life.
Being a 1D stan from the early days, I felt like I had some kind of divine right to be at this gig. Walking up the Royal Route, I was suddenly thirteen years old again, walking this same road with my new secondary school friends – on our way to 1D’s Where We Are tour. This time around however, things were a little different.
Firstly, back in 2013, I had not yet come out as trans, making coming back to see Harry in the same stadium with eight years of personal growth behind me, finally as myself, all the more special. Secondly, and on a much sadder note, my grandfather had passed away just a few days before. You may think it is definitely a choice to go to a concert, a notoriously upbeat event, during the raw first stages of grief. You would probably be right, but I knew, deep down, that going somewhere where I would be surrounded by love would be exactly what I needed, and I indeed have no regrets. That, and I was not going to waste those tickets after what we went through to get them. So we got dressed up (my outfit was inspired by Harry’s “Daydreaming” music video outfit) and powered on.
Some of you will be aware of the discourse surrounding Harry’s tracklists, namely that they change slightly between shows, meaning some fans get to hear renowned fan favourites – such as “Fine Line” or “Medicine” – live, whereas others don’t. If you had asked me before the gig, I think I would have been willing to give a kidney or other small organ for him to play either of these songs.
Maybe I got lucky, or maybe Harry knew what I needed to hear, because what he sang instead turned out to change this night from great to magical – “Sign of the Times”. I still get chills when I think about this performance: having just sung our hearts out to Love of my Life, the beginning notes of SOTT began to play as it started to drizzle above us. We didn’t mind the rain; it was pretty hot in the pit, and the cool water was a welcome refreshment. Everyone around us was feeling this song, tears mixing with the rain pouring down our faces until he reached the bridge and I looked up at the sky right as fireworks glittered through the sheets of rain. The skies opened up, and it began to pour like I’d never seen before; even Harry opened his arms and put his face to the sky.
Having just lost someone very special, hearing the lyrics “We can meet again somewhere / Somewhere far away from here” felt like they were being sung directly to me; I could sing to the sky for what I had lost. Coupled with the heavens falling from above, it really did feel like a sign that everything was going to be alright. Not only was it incredible seeing an artist live who I have revered for the better part of my life, but I also made new friends at this show, saw old friends, had so much fun, and it unexpectedly gave me the space I needed to process and acknowledge a big loss, and I will always be grateful to Harry for that.