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ATP! Live Review: One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer - Rose Bowl Pasadena, CA (11/09/2014)

Where do I even begin with the Where We Are Tour, aside from the fact that I now have two very bright pink wristbands from two back-to-back shows boasting 5 Seconds Of Summer on the bill and a lot of ringing in my ears? Jokes aside, I usually avoid concerts that happen in anything arena-sized and up because I like my shows to feel personal, and that’s very hard to do when you’re playing to 90,000+ people. Which is why, though I was beyond excited and had already seen the two bands live before, I still went into this stadium performance mentally prepared to not be as drawn in as I was the night before. (If you missed that review, you can catch that here.) My caution was half right, as 5 Seconds Of Summer reined in their performance and incredible amount, but given the fact they weren’t the headliners, the venue was ginormous and the audience they were catering to was looking for something a little less rock oriented, it wasn’t really shocking. That isn’t to say they didn’t still put on an amazing performance, it just wasn’t the same as at their House of Blues Sunset Strip show. I can say, though, that I wholeheartedly look forward to them returning to the City of Angels in November for their two night run at The Forum because that promises to be a ridiculous show any 5SOS fan-- or any pop-rock fan in general-- won’t want to miss.

Now, for the other half of the show. I have to say that I love One Direction. I am not sorry about this, and chances are I will take this love I have for this stupid boy band to the grave. I thought I would grow out of it by now, but anyone who may have seen me at the September 11 date of their three day stint in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl would have thought I was much younger than my near 23 years with the amount of screaming I did (still not sorry.)

There’s a reason the quintet will be the first band to ever play the Rose Bowl three times in the same run, and that’s because they somehow managed to pull the whole stadium into their performance. Though there was literally no way for the band members to have pinpointed everyone in the crowd-- though Harry did manage to pick out two girls in the crowd to receive a stadium serenade of “Happy Birthday”-- it still felt like a personal performance. They are ridiculously charismatic and it is a belief of mine that anyone that actively dislikes them does so without actually giving them a chance.

Of course, it also helps that they are ridiculously talented. Maybe they don’t all play their own instruments-- I say all because Niall does play guitar-- but their voices certainly make up for that. Every singer pulls his weight in the band, all sharing solos and all contributing to harmonies in a way that would leave the songs sounding hollow if any of them were missing. What you’re hearing on album is exactly what they can do live and, in some cases, they even expand on that to take the notes to a whole new level. (Here’s looking at you, Zayn.) Couple that with the giant stage that filled up the field, frequent fireworks and sparklers, and streamer cannons, and the show was more of a full production than just a concert.

In the end, there is nothing I can write here that will truly paint a picture of the experience of seeing either band live, and while you have the chance, you should certainly see them together. And as someone who has now seen both a combined total of five times, I can say that neither will leave you disappointed. However, if you cannot catch the tour, the Where We Are Concert Film will have a limited today run October 11 and 12 in select theaters and will also be released on DVD on December 2.

Victoria Patneaude

Alter The Press!