SAN JOSE — One Direction made history, of sorts, at its San Jose show Tuesday night at the newly named SAP Center.
Toward the end of the plentiful, two-hour set, Harry Styles told the adoring, 99 percent-female crowd, “This is the first time ever” the band would sing “Best Song Ever” live in performance. Released just last week, the video for the lads' latest hit broke Vevo's record for most online views in a 24-hour time span: 12.3 million.
The song sounded good, similar to most of the tunes the British-Irish band — the equally cute in their own ways Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Styles, who got marginally more applause — is doing on its “Take Me Home” tour.
While competent and pleasant singers, they're also the nicest stars ever in popdom. They profusely thanked the fans (for being “the best in the world”) and shouted “How are you doing, San Jose?” countless times during the concert, the first of two in the Bay Area, and one fans looked forward to for more than a year.
Still, it's hard to say if One Direction — pulled together in 2010 by Simon Cowell after the guys tried out individually for British TV's “The X Factor” — will go down in history as the best boy band ever.
Famous for not dancing, the guys, who share lead vocals and sound quite alike, have a friendly and casual appeal. But still, it might be cool to see them do something other than run around the stage, wave, sit or just stand. At first, the dynamic seemed fun — it's easy to check them out that way — but it got a tad dull.
The show's production values were perfect: some smoke, fire and confetti, but not too glitzy — with excellent videos. In a couple of distinctly PG offerings, they goofed around at a house party and were seen later at the aftermath, in semi-compromising positions and attire. In another, they dressed in disguise and hit the streets of England, badly singing One Direction songs and doing silly (but not dangerous) “Jackass”-type stunts.
As for the songs, they're about as innocuous and catchy as pop gets, and the guys sang nearly two dozen, from the upbeat “Up All Night,” “I Would,” “Heart Attack,” “More Than This,” “Love You First,” “One Thing,” “C'mon, C'mon,” “Little Things,” “Rock Me” and “Kiss You” to syrupy ballads “Last First Kiss,” “Back for You,” “Summer Love” and “Over Again.”
They sang the slow “Change My Mind” while elevated on a platform on cables that moved from the main stage to a second stage on the other side of the arena. In seemingly the show's only spontaneous bit, they answered questions tweeted by audience members, including what food they would refuse to eat (peas, salmon, snails, sliced tomatoes).
“Flying” on the way back to the main stage, they sang “Moments,” a follow-up to a sexy pre-show video advertisement for their new fragrance, “Our Moment,” which looks like something devised by Calvin Klein.
Marketing aside, 1D closed with biggest fan favorites “Live While We're Young” and the breakout hit “What Makes You Beautiful,” a fitting ending to a few hours in which the happy girls in the audience indulged in wholesome fantasies — and what's wrong with that?