REVIEW: One Direction, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, October 25

From left, One Direction's Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Niall Horan.
From left, One Direction's Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Niall Horan.

Pop juggernaut One Direction have given signs recently of being on the verge of winding down.

Five years since the group's X Factor win propelled them to worldwide fame, the five lads became a foursome with the sudden departure of Zayn Malik. This was followed shortly afterwards by the announcement of a planned hiatus for the group after the conclusion of their current tour.

But, at the first of three dates at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena, there was no sense that the party might be ending any time soon.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who's been at all aware of the 1D phenomenon that the lads were welcomed onto the stage by a delighted screech that continued more or less continually throughout the entire show. For all that they've tried to widen their appeal of late with a rockier style, One Direction's core fanbase of pre-teen girls - plus their parents - made up the larger part of tonight's audience.

But the group lived up to their promise - given by winsome unofficial frontman Harry Styles - to provide a night of entertainment for all. With a mix of newer songs, such as the recent Drag Me Down and Act My Age, and older hits such as Kiss You and their debut hit What Makes You Beautiful, the band have hit on a pop-rock formula for their live show that has an easy appeal to all ages.

This was a crowd-pleasing show in which the audience were never far from being asked to put their hands in the air or 'make some noise' - the group's members quite shamelessly making the hoary old claim that this was the 'loudest crowd yet' - but of course there was room for slower numbers. The mawkish Little Things, written by Ed Sheeran, obviously went down well with the portion of the audience who 'finished' singing the song for the band.

All four members of the group kept things moving by addressing the crowd - reading out their banners and interacting with members of the audience - but it was Styles who did so with the most charm and humour.

The band kept their patter very humble, constantly thanking their audience for its loyalty, and on a couple of occasions, asking it to applaud itself. There was none of the swagger that might be expected of a group that has been a worldwide smash hit - and as a result, they probably won themselves a few new 'Directioners' among the more reluctant members of the audience. Even the dads.