Harry Styles in Berlin: Teen Euphoria and Rainbow Flags – the Phenomenon of Harry Styles

concert review

Teenage euphoria and rainbow flags – the phenomenon of Harry Styles


Th 21.07.22 | 09:43 | FROM Luis Lemmen

Picture: dpa / Charles Sykes

Around 15,000 screaming fans cheer on pop star Harry Styles in Berlin. The 28-year-old plays a loud and colorful concert in front of a sold-out audience. But it is not his music that makes the young Briton an icon of an entire generation. Luis Lemmena

“Be whoever you want to be tonight,” Harry Styles calls over the mike and laughs. The drummer on the stage counts the next rhythm with the sticks, the band gives their best. From the speakers on the ceiling of the Mercedes-Benz Arena came the first beat of the megahit “Watermelon Sugar”, and the fans sang, no, shouted from the bottom of their hearts. Harry can be loud with his great band tonight, but his fans are louder.

“As It Was”, “Sign Of The Times” or “Watermelon Sugar”: There has been no mention of Harry Styles’ music in recent years. During his tour in Berlin, he shakes the arena with every song and enjoys more fan support than almost anyone else: the young Brit does everything right, and yet he is completely different.

An (un) ordinary superstar

Harry knows how to impress audiences: as a 16-year-old he participated in the British talent show “The X Factor”. He formed the band “One Direction” with three other guys from the show and celebrated countless charts successes as a teenager. Until they broke up in 2015, “One Direction” was, so to speak, the “Backstreet Boys” of their generation. Soon after the band ended, he started a solo career and quickly made his way through the roof. In addition to his music, he plays and is even referred to as the new James Bond.

From a teen boyfriend to a superstar, that’s nothing new in the music industry. But Harry does everything differently. Even his demeanor sets him apart from the usual top charts: he is not a guy or a poseur, there are no fat cars or chubby watches in his music videos. Instead of arrogance, he radiates openness and tolerance. Harry jumps and dances around the stage in a pink and red top, polka dot bells and a string of glass beads. You can literally feel the euphoria emanating from this evening on stage.

Clothes, music, fans – the most important thing is colorful

The 28-year-old is flamboyant on several levels and that’s why he is so popular. His diversity is especially evident in his style of clothing: “Just wear what you want” is his motto. She enjoys wearing suits as well as skirts to photo shoots and performances, and tries to break the notion of gender-specific clothing. He was the first man to land on the cover of Vogue magazine – in a white dress.

Like his style of dress, his music may not always fall into a clear category. His song portfolio consists of world-famous pop songs, some energetic rock songs, and lots of calm and emotional tones. The topics are almost always about love, loss, and self-acceptance. In this way, Harry, a struggle for freedom, acceptance and tolerance, has become a figurehead of the LGBTQ community over the years.

Mostly women and young fans dress the same colorful as Harry. Her trademark was a pink cowboy hat with heart-shaped glasses. A bit hippie, a bit retro. Rainbow flags everywhere. As young viewers under the age of 16 can only attend the concert in company, some people brought their mother or father with them. But they are more than just a companion: many say their daughter infected them with Harry Styles fever. Teenagers sing their favorite songs out loud with their parents.

Reach through social media

Another important factor that contributed to Harry Style’s rise to modern-day heroism, beyond his unusual behavior, is social media. His eye-catching outfits, concert videos and songs are clicked, shared and discussed millions of times on Instagram, TikTok and company. His fans tirelessly upload his videos, spreading enthusiasm for the musician around the world. On Instagram alone, she now has over 46 million followers. The Mercedes-Benz arena seems almost too small for a huge community of fans. Shortly before the performance started, there were still many eager fans outside who wanted to buy tickets for a few hundred euros.

Going out during the concert

Inside, in the arena, Harry often interacts with his fans during a performance, chatting with them and joking around on stage. But even he is amazed to see the young Soh in the front row of the audience at the end of his song Satellite. Soha holds a very personal sign in her hands: “Please help me go out to my mom,” he says in English. Harry thinks clearly and asks for Soha’s approval. He then nods her head before reading her sign aloud through the microphone, publicly proclaiming her homosexuality. Arena cheers and Soha looks like she’s passed out. Her mother, still seated in the audience, is summoned to the stage and Harry, laughing, hands her a rainbow flag. The answer to my daughter’s trip: two thumbs up. Tears of joy and relief run down Soha’s face on the video screen while Harry is already jumping around the stage and the next song is played.

90 minutes of pure euphoria

It is these moments that make Harry Styles concerts so special for his fans. Although Harry does not speak publicly about his sexuality, they feel understood by him and his music. They let it be heard too: confident in their lyrics, from the first to the last line, they scream everything from their lungs in every song. Especially with the songs “What Makes You Beautiful” and the current summer hit “As It Was”, the arena is reminiscent of a big karaoke party: fans repeatedly drown out Harry’s singing, and the entire arena jumps and dances from the front row of the back seat under the roof. His show is a 90-minute ecstasy of well-being. To really understand the Harry Styles phenomenon, you have to see him and his fans live.

Audition: rbbKultur, 20 July 2022, 22:12


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