Tonight, One Direction's last tour for at least a year came to a triumphant end in the UK.
80 shows across 9 months garnered over $188 million dollars in ticket sales and left fans worldwide begging the band to return after Niall, Louis, Liam and Harry will take their first ever break from touring next year.
To celebrate their amazing achievement, and to toast to their bright future, lets highlight some of the incredible moments that happened during this tour. Counting down from 5...
5. Rainbow Direction
Fandoms dedicated to male artists/boy bands are often assumed to be mindless screaming masses with no personal investment in the band beyond an impossible fantasy that the artist will one day sweep them off their feet. One Direction's fandom in particular has suffered greatly at the hands of a sexist media and public, who seek to kick them down at any opportunity. Unfortunately, the same thing happens to most acts who find themselves with a primarily female fanbase. Anyway, one of the most profound aspects of the One Direction fandom is a movement called Rainbow Direction. A group founded by LGBTQIA fans who sought to create a safe space for other LGBTQIA fans during every single One Direction concert. From their official Tumblr:
We want all fans to feel safe, welcome, and supported. The One Direction fandom can often be unwelcoming to LGBTQIA+ fans. At TakeMeHomeFromNarnia we want to change that. We want to speak out to show support, and stand up proudly to make ourselves known. Because we aren’t just one in a million! We want to show who we are and how much support there is for the LGBTQIA+ members of our community, all around the globe.
During the OTRA tour, participation reached record levels:
"We had Brussels with 307 participants and Boston (USA) with 267 participants. The Boston [total] went up from 102 to 267 in 48 hours. Biggest arena show was London with 126 participants."
Fans bought rainbow flags, wore LGBTQIA themed accessories, made and held up equality signs and openly, proudly represented themselves while connecting with other fans. Harry Styles showed his support by thanking the audience for their visible rainbow pride during the concert immediately after same sex marriage was legalised in the United States:
And then over the following months, he too began to display his own rainbow support:
The actions of Rainbow Direction go a long way to dispel outdated stereotypes about girls, women, men, fans and even boybands, and they deserve credit for helping redefine what it is to be a pop music fan in 2015.
4. 'No Control' Performed For The First Time
To people outside the fanbase, this might not seem significant. But to the fans, it was a testament to their power as global group. In early May, fed up with the fandoms low morale after Zayn's shock departure, fed up with Naughty Boy's continued antagonising of both the fans and band member Louis Tomlinson and, as always, fed up with the band's management refusing to properly promote 1D's fourth album FOUR to its full potential, the fanbase took matters into their own hands. Choosing Louis-led rock track No Control, the fans banded together to promote the hell out of the song via social media, in a bid to get it played on radio worldwide. And it worked. Within 24 hours, fans had the song playing on BBC Radio 1's Breakfast Show aka one of the biggest radio shows in the UK. Over the next seven days, the song went global, playing on more than 60 radio stations worldwide and capturing the music industry's attention. It even became the first unreleased song to win a Teen Choice Award!
In June, One Direction surprised OTRA's Belgium audience with the first ever live performance of No Control and it was LIT:
3. Their talent.
Despite having to fulfil a gruelling four year long touring schedule that, in the end, had both Harry and Niall performing with broken feet for the past month, the band's vocal and songwriting talent has only gotten stronger. The vocal highlights were aplenty during OTRA, lets take a look at a few:
Harry KILLING his Drag Me Down vocal runs:
Liam stunning the audience with his incredible falsetto during Through The Dark:
Louis hitting one hell of a high note during Don't Forget Where You Belong:
Louis Foocking Tomlinson done a foocking high note in DFWYB ? -A pic.twitter.com/7qFu8gY3qA
— 1D updates (@1DalertGER) October 29, 2015
Niall making up for lost Zayn during No Control:
And let's throw in an honorable mention to Zayn himself because this clip is too heavenly to leave out:
2. The Success.
No doubt about it, the On The Road Again Tour was an undeniable financial success. For 2015, the band graduated from arenas to sold-out stadiums (some with 90k capacity!) and did so in style. To the tune of millions upon millions, as well, which is sure to serve them nicely during their time off. Here's a business-side-of-things breakdown:
■ April 2015: After the first leg, 1D had already earned a whopping "$68.2 million from more than a half-million sold seats at 19 sold-out performances".
■ July 2015: The band tops Billboard's Midyear Touring Report, earning $81 million from 23 shows.
■ October 2015: $80.6 million in earnings is the result of the North American leg, bringing the grand total (so far!) to $188 million.
The success extended to outside the tour as well, with Drag Me Down - written and recorded on the road - becoming the band's most successful single ever, hitting #1 on iTunes in 90 countries and #1 on official charts in over 13 countries. Throw in 2 Billboard Awards, 8 Teen Choice awards, an MTV EMA award and some promising album pre-order numbers and, in an era where most critics were determined to shape a band member's departure as One Direction's death rattle - this has actually turned out to be one of their most successful years yet.
1. Band of Brothers.
don't believe anything you are reading. We stand strong as a band and we're brothers ,can't wait for you to hear what we've been working on
— Niall Horan (@NiallOfficial) October 31, 2015
Against odds that have killed off past boybands quick smart, One Direction chose each other and chose to stay. Fans reinforced this was the right decision with numerous concert projects telling them how invested they still are. It was easy to see for anyone really looking, that after Zayn's departure One Direction solidified their bond, put themselves first and began making moves to, essentially, stay put. Relax, recharge, return.
"[Zayn] had a couple of conversations where he had to make a few decisions…if your heart’s not in it you shouldn’t really do it. He made that decision and he’s happy now, we’re happy and everything’s worked out. It’s actually brought us, the rest of us, closer together."
Their close friendship shone through in their goofy, carefree on-stage interactions, a stark contrast to the previous year where exhaustion and low band morale was noticeable. Lets take a look at some of the best Niall/Harry/Louis/Liam moments of OTRA:
A birthday group hug for Liam:
Louis and Liam drenching themselves in Powerade:
Getting a Whip/Nae Nae tutorial from an adorable young fan:
And tonight's final group hugs and performance:
1D can't quite rest easy yet, as they still have a string of promo appearances/performances left for 2015, including a intimate secret location performance in London on the 14th, an Ellen Show appearance, and a live performance of Perfect at the AMAs on the 22nd. But, compared to their old relentless schedule, the next few months will probably be a breeze.
Whatever you feel about the band's music, they deserve a round of applause for their efforts. 4 world tours from when three of them were just 16 years old is unthinkable (and let's be honest, unfair). Whatever they decide to do next, it's pretty obvious their passionate fanbase will support them all the way, and they'll, of course, support one another no matter what.
Enjoy your break, boys!