Harry Styles’ One Night Only Show Brings Fans to Long Island : NPR

Elmont, New York (UBS Arena) May 20, 2022: Fans from around the world gather on Friday afternoon to watch pop star Harry Styles perform at the UBS Arena.

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Elmont, New York (UBS Arena) May 20, 2022: Fans from around the world gather on Friday afternoon to watch pop star Harry Styles perform at the UBS Arena.

Lanna Apisukh for NPR

Harry Styles is currently at the top of the world and his biggest fans are following the ride.

To celebrate the release of his latest record Harry’s houseStyles hosted an exclusive “One Night Only in New York” concert at the UBS Arena in Elmont, NY. It marked the first time Styles performed his entire new album, the same day it appeared on streaming platforms.

Thousands of fans from around the world flocked to Long Island for the event, some traveling from places as far as Canada, Ecuador and Argentina, sometimes even without tickets, just to get a chance to attend the event. And while Styles will tour Europe and Latin America later this summer, along with a series of residencies at major North American concert stages in the fall, many fans have chosen to make the pilgrimage to Long Island for this particular performance.

Despite the rain, fans remained in good spirits as they gathered from around the world to see Harry Styles.

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Despite the rain, fans remained in good spirits as they gathered from around the world to see Harry Styles.

Lanna Apisukh for NPR

For Nikki Shomali, 16, an eight-hour drive from Toronto, even without tickets to the show, was worth the risk of seeing Styles, especially after the pandemic deprived Shomali and friends of the chance to see his latest tour. “We’ve been Harry fans for a long time and we’ve always wanted to see him in a show,” Shomali says. “So this is like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Fans with their parents traveled on Friday afternoon to see Harry Styles perform at the UBS Arena. Pictured here: Yian Chen, Hui Chen Chou, Nikki Shomali, Diana Tabrizi, Nirvana Jafari, Gelareh Manouchehri, Kit Mintz, Ilmee Mintz.

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Fans with their parents traveled on Friday afternoon to see Harry Styles perform at the UBS Arena. Pictured here: Yian Chen, Hui Chen Chou, Nikki Shomali, Diana Tabrizi, Nirvana Jafari, Gelareh Manouchehri, Kit Mintz, Ilmee Mintz.

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For Domenica Celleri, 19, the chance of seeing Styles outweighed the risks of traveling all the way from Ecuador without having a ticket to the show. “This album is another level for Harry… and to be one of the first on ‘One Night Only’ is a priority for me,” Celleri said. “I’ve been a fan of his since he was in One Direction. And I want to keep growing up with him.” Luckily for Celleri, she got tickets the night before the show.

Maria Sherman, author of Larger Than Life: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS and NPR Music Contributorsays attending live performances is an essential part of being a fan of Styles, or ‘Harries’ as they call themselves. “With Harry shows, people consistently made the trek, often flying over to see him at The Forum in Los Angeles or Madison Square Garden in New York because they wanted to feel like they were participating in a landmark performance,” Sherman says. .

Fans await Harry Styles’ performance on Friday afternoon at the UBS Arena.

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Fans await Harry Styles’ performance on Friday afternoon at the UBS Arena.

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While the glittering outfits and glittering pop veneer Styles plays may seem superficial, many of his fans are drawn to his political message. “He’s made it a point to gesture toward socially and politically progressive ideologies that have historically been banned in the boy band space, mostly out of fear of isolating an audience,” Sherman says. “It allows fans to use their fandom to also enforce or at least relate to the things they care about most, in terms of identity and their community.”

Left: Matthew Slowey and Garett Reed wait outside the UBS Arena. Right: Abbi Dicenso wears a custom outfit with the letters “H” and “S” on the back of her pants to celebrate her love of styles.

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Left: Matthew Slowey and Garett Reed wait outside the UBS Arena. Right: Abbi Dicenso wears a custom outfit with the letters “H” and “S” on the back of her pants to celebrate her love of styles.

Lanna Apisukh for NPR

Fans show their love for Harry Styles with tailored pants and tops bearing the pop star’s name.

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Fans show their love for Harry Styles with tailored pants and tops bearing the pop star’s name.

Lanna Apisukh for NPR

During the concert, Styles kicked off the show with a short speech, encouraging fans to “be who you’ve always wanted to be.” During his poignant performance of “Sign of the Times,” he took both a Ukrainian flag and a Pride flag from fans, and carried them both during the song. For fans, it’s little gestures like this that make them feel seen for who they are and what they believe in.

For Giselle Roca, 25, a Harrie from Miami, gestures like this have made her feel more confident. “I accept myself and am not afraid to be myself, because he is so unashamedly himself that he has more or less taught me to do the same and not to be afraid,” says Roca. “I feel like I’d really like to meet him one day and just thank you for everything he’s done for me in the last 11 years of my life as a child, as a teenager, as an adult now.”

Fans Abigail La Rosa, Stephanie Vega and Giselle Roca wait in line to see Harry Styles perform. The three friends came from Florida to see the concert.

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Fans Abigail La Rosa, Stephanie Vega and Giselle Roca wait in line to see Harry Styles perform. The three friends came from Florida to see the concert.

Lanna Apisukh for NPR

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