Halloween came a day early to the blocks around New York’s Madison Square Garden, as thousands of angels, devils, cowboys, ghosts, animals, astronauts, unicorns, Cruellas, Britneys and princesses and queens of all stripes descended upon the sold-out venue for the first of Harry Styles’ two “Harryween” concerts.

Lazy loaded image

Even with a heavy percentage of accompanying parents, at least 65% of the attendees were decked out to the nines, and Styles and his band did not disappoint either, as all of the musicians wore elaborate “Wizard of Oz” costumes — with Harry as Dorothy, of course. He performed the entire show in a blue-checked dress with a bow in his hair, heavy rouged makeup, a basket containing a stuffed Toto, and sparkly red shoes.

“Growing up in England, we like Halloween,” he said early in the show. “But we definitely didn’t get into it like you do.” He pranced around the stage in his costume. “I look cute!”

The group’s well-oiled set contrasted hilariously with their “Wizard of Oz” get-ups. Sometimes Styles camped it up, skipping, curtsying, hiking up his dress to do a shuffle step. But he mostly was in arena mode and at times seemed to forget that he was wearing a Dorothy costume, rendering his standard stage moves — boogying around his mic stand, raising his heavily tattooed arms skyward in Elton John-ish “Come on!” exhortations — inadvertently comical. As if to amplify that point, during “Cherry,” his false eyelashes and heavy mascara began getting into his eyes. He gamely carried on, blinking and rubbing them while trying not to laugh.

Lazy loaded image
Theo Wargo

Meanwhile, guitarist Mitch Rowland played emotive solos and roaring power chords as the Cowardly Lion, bassist Elin Sandberg was dazzling as the Glenda the Good Witch, keyboardist Niji Adeleye was the Tin Man, drummer Sarah Jones was the Wicked Witch of the West, etc.

The set drew heavily from Styles’ latest album, “Fine Line,” and included a handful of songs from his self-titled debut and the Harry showcase from his One Direction days, “What Makes You Beautiful” — and one notable addition: a soaring cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” It’s not an easy song to sing but Styles nailed it, smoothly hitting the octave leaps and riding through a tricky key change as Madison Square Garden’s iconic ceiling lit up in rainbow colors.

After a closing double-punch of “Watermelon Sugar” and “Kiwi,” Styles clicked his heels three times, picked up his basket and exited stage left.


Yet for all of Styles’ gracious comments and good-natured quips to the crowd, the best one-liner of the evening belonged to my companion, my 15-year-old niece.

From our seats, it was difficult to see what was inside Harry-as-Dorothy’s basket. “What do you think he’s got in there?,” I asked.

“Louis Tomlinson,” she replied instantly.

. Carolina
. Adore You
. Only Angel
. To Be So Lonely
. Cherry
. She
. Two Ghosts / Falling
. Lights Up
. Canyon Moon
. Treat People With Kindness
. What Makes You Beautiful
. Encore:
. Sign of the Times
. Over the Rainbow
. Watermelon Sugar
. Kiwi