The post “His Fans Are Unlike Any Other Fans”: 5 Harry Styles Openers on What It’s Like to Open for Harry Styles appeared first on Consequence.
There’s nothing else quite like a Harry Styles concert.
As anyone who has found themself in Harry’s House over the years can attest, these events have their own distinct color. There’s rituals and inside jokes, like the conga line during “Treat People With Kindness.” There are consistent accessories, no matter what city Styles has set up in — boas, sparkles, glitter, and phenomenal suits tend to abound — and the sense of community from arena to arena is tangible.
Before the moment Harry Styles steps (or is rolled) onstage, another act has a critical role to play. A support act for Styles has the responsibility of setting the tone and kicking things off for the enormous, eager crowds, often filled with people who have been waiting in their claimed spots in the pit for hours already. As Styles’ current bout of mini-residencies continues in Los Angeles, we decided to zero in on that portion of the show. What’s it like to step onstage for 20,000 Harry Styles fans? What are the moments like backstage with the artist himself?
Throughout these conversations, a pleasantly optimistic trend emerged. These artists, interviewed separately, provided accounts of their time that often mirrored one another. The consensus is that being on tour with Harry Styles is a damn good time, and Harry Styles himself is a good leader for the enormous crew of people that pulls off tours like these.
Below, hear from some of the artists who have opened for Styles on recent tours, with special insights from Madison Cunningham, Leon Bridges, Wolf Alice and more. Styles, who is currently in residency in Los Angeles, next plays the Kia Forum on Wednesday, November 2nd.
Limited tickets to “Harry Styles Love on Tour 2022” can be found here.
Madison Cunningham (opener in New York City on October 30th and 31st, 2021): Our headline tour was broken up by the Madison Square Garden dates with Harry. I would describe that as the happiest I’ve been in a really long time; just the feeling of awe that we all had as a band. We also felt like it was so rehearsed at that point that we couldn’t have failed, and that was a really great feeling.
Gabriels’ Jacob Lusk (opener during Austin residency from September 25th-October 2nd, 2022): The residency was so fun. Harry Styles is genuinely a really nice guy, so that helps. People can fake it for a little while, but they can’t fake it for six days.
Madi Diaz (opener in Toronto on August 15th and 16th, 2022): The experience with Harry was one of the high points of my career and my life. It was one of the craziest experiences I’ve ever had.
Wolf Alice (opener in Europe in June/July 2022): Being part of “Love On Tour” was a really wonderful experience. Being a support band is brilliant, because it’s interesting to see how other people’s shows work. You always come away learning something new.
Leon Bridges (opener in Latin America in May/June 2018): When I was first signed to my label and was starting my career, Harry tweeted that he was listening to my music. All of a sudden I had tons of new followers and his fans were tweeting at me: “If Harry likes then I’ll check out,” or, “Giving you a listen because of Harry.” Press and brands reached out, too. It’s been seven or eight years and people will still interact with that tweet. It was really generous of him because I was so new.
Cunningham: When we stepped out on stage, 20,000 people started screaming, and I wondered to myself, “How are you going to play music after that?” Then when the music started, there was a hush that happened. There was real respect. They listened and they cared. Both nights were like that. We all just were so blown away by that experience and how attentive everybody was. It was so mind-blowing.
Lusk: Harry invited me to come out onstage with him during one of his songs, which was wild. His fans are very supportive. Overall, people were very, very supportive of us. I felt so lucky to be there. When I came out during “Cinema,” you would’ve thought a real star was coming out.
Diaz: His fans are unlike any other fans I’ve ever experienced in my life. They’re so excited, and so there, and so ready to devour music. It made it really awesome. They’re so encouraging. Between songs, they’d be like, “You got this Madi!” The sweetest. I’d never played anything that size in my whole life and it felt like the fans pull with you, which is really cool. It was the polar opposite of complacent.
Wolf Alice: The first show we played was in Hamburg, we had no idea what to expect — being a support band isn’t always easy, as people aren’t there to see you, but we remember seeing the crowd start to sway their arms to “Delicious Things” and feeling quite overwhelmed. The energy amongst the crowd[s] is beautiful, to be honest. Very joyous and excitable — it’s hard not to feel the same once you get in it. We feel very grateful for the experience and we’d be very happy if we ever put on a show like Harry’s!
Bridges: He invited me to open for him, and it was so inspiring because I got a chance to see what stadium shows were like — plus, I got the tour experience, which all developing artists need. Harry used to come out and watch my set. I thought he’d only do it once on the first date but he did it almost every night. He’s a classy guy, one of a kind.
Lusk: What I saw from him was an appreciation for the people who came to the shows. Sometimes, people can get caught up in themselves and don’t realize we can do this because people are coming and buying tickets. He tries to look every person in the eye and give them a moment.
Diaz: One thing I really appreciated is that both of the days we played shows with him, Harry would run the stairs in the arena during soundcheck. He was taking time to watch the set, which was really sweet.
Treating People With Kindness
Cunningham: Harry was so kind to us that it left a mark on all of us when we left. For him to ask us to be there was a a mind-blowing thing in and of itself, and then for him to lay the groundwork for his fans to be kind to us as well… that was mind-blowing, too.
Diaz: When we met, Harry came and hung out in our green room and told me, “I found your music on a playlist,” and then he told the same story on stage the next night. He seems very present, and it seems like he shows everyone the same cards, which is so cool.
Lusk: Harry Styles got down and started tying my shoe. I said, “If you don’t get up and stop tying my shoe… get up!” He wouldn’t get up. Watching him perform every night made me feel like I have a lot of work to do, because his show is just incredible. He gave me some advice, too — I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but he told me they have a crew barbecue, and that he goes out and tries to have the most fun he can possibly have. That frees everyone up to do the same.
Diaz: When we were talking, he mentioned a couple of mutual friends and acquaintances in this way where I could tell he was trying to make me feel comfortable. He’s a lead by example kind of guy. “Treat other people the way you want to be treated” is the way he lives.
Grab tickets to “Harry Styles Love on Tour 2022” here.