It's either a good year or a bad year for the British-based One Direction - who happened to pack Lincoln Financial Center on Tuesday night.
The platinum-plated quintet, formed in 2010, lost singer Zayn Malik in March, which leaves more money to split for Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Harry Styles. That quartet won't have to share with Malik their recently announced 2016 Guinness world records - most followers on Twitter for a music group, and most subscribers for a band on YouTube. So there.
Then again, its members keep slipping and falling on stage, and they have announced what they are calling a mutually agreed-to, extended hiatus to pursue solo projects after the release of their fifth joint album - rumored to be coming any moment now - and their last full concert in Sheffield, England, this October.
Tuesday's Linc gig might well have been the last time screaming local girls and their equally loud mums shared a 1D show. But at the fireworks-heavy start of the show, these guys looked dazed, as if they could stand not being utterly adored for a second. So here was Payne riding a fine falsetto while his bandmates sang, "Here we go again, another go round for all of my friends, another nonstop, will it ever end," during the galloping "Clouds."
Vocally, Payne had the best night, flipping and catching his mic without falter, hitting the highs of the Elton John-like "Steal My Girl" without a hitch, finding the get-down-on-my knees soul behind the lyrics of "Girl Almighty." Each member shared leads throughout each song. Each had his moments, and harmonies were impeccable whenever applied, as in the big beat, Beach Boys-like "18."
Horan held down the guitar-playing vocalist role throughout the night, crooning out the side of his mouth on "Don't Forget Where You Belong" and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go," and throwing out crunching fuzz tones on the Joan Jett-ish "Midnight Memories." Styles was the lead crowd-worker, and he took the first round of vocals in soft, mid-tempo numbers and ballads such as "Better Than Words." Tomlinson? Hmm. He seemed nice and looked good.
The band's best moment came during "Drag Me Down," their most recent single, in which they crooned in a sexy lower register, tackling a snaky, reggae-tinged vibe and a lyric celebrating their fans: "All my life/ You stood by me/ When no one else was ever behind me."