Billy Joel’s residence at the moment is Madison Square Garden. Since beginning his monthly residency at the Big Apple arena in January 2014, New York’s “Piano Man” has essentially controlled the venue.
But on Saturday night, MSG was converted into “Harry’s House,” as Harry Styles
brought his Love on Tour 2022 tour to the storied location for the first of 15 — count ’em, 15 — sold-out performances that will take place from now through September 21.
The 28-year-old pop sensation is, in fact, holding down a residency in the most well-known arena in the world, performing more gigs in a single month than Billy Joel would in a whole year.
Since Harry released his third solo album, “Harry’s House,” in May and celebrated it with a release-day concert at the new UBS Arena in Long Island, the pop world has essentially become Harry’s world. But he was able to make MSG into a cozy area where all of his yelling and shrieking fans, regardless of gender and decked out in feather boas, sequins, and glitter felt seen and heard in a group-safe environment.
“Hello there, New York. The wonderfully pleasant superstar, who obviously didn’t need an introduction, added, “My name is Harry,” to one of many loud roars. In this room tonight, please feel free to be whoever you’ve always wanted to be.
You could immediately sense the Cult of Harry.
Although he is a millennial idol, he is bringing back the unfettered love and peace of the 1960s. The strength of Styles lies in this, despite the fact that he is not the best dancer, singer, or musician. However, he can perform without any backup dancers and with only a few of the usual production bells and whistles needed for an arena concert.
That was clear as soon as he entered the stage leaping and bopping to “Daydreaming,” the opening track from the outstanding “Harry’s House,” which dominated his playlist. He had perpetually floppy hair.
His contagious giddiness was obvious as he continuously skipped across the in-the-round stage, the better to work all four corners of the Garden with his hilariously goofy dance movements.
The former member of One Direction, who paid tribute to his old boy band by revising and reenergizing their biggest single, “What Makes You Beautiful,” also displayed more musical sophistication than you may have anticipated. He intensified the funk in “Watermelon Sugar,” his first Grammy-winning smash, and veered into Steely Dan territory with “Late Night Talking,” his current single.
Before he strutted into the horned-up sexiness of “Music for a Sushi Restaurant,” there was even a sneaky snippet of the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.”, which many of the young audience members probably didn’t appreciate.
The Garden was levitating due to the widespread pogoing, but it was Styles’ No. 1 hit “As It Was” that has been at the top of the charts for 10 weeks this year.
In the midst of Styles’ residency, which has seen British alt-R&B performer Blood Orange open each of the 15 shows, the Garden will once again become Billy’s home on Wednesday when Joel performs there. But MSG belonged entirely to Harry on Saturday night and for the following 14 nights.