“It’s over” are two of the most terrifying and emotional words that ever formed a short sentence.
It’s over. So concrete, so final, so finished.
Tonight; Harry, Louis, Liam, and Niall took the stage together for the last stop of their OTRA Tour, the last stop of their final tour together for an unknown amount of time. There are still a small number of gigs the boys are involved in through mid December, but their tour…their OTRA legacy; it ended tonight.
OTRA; It’s over. But One Direction remains.
For the first time in five years; fans of One Direction aren’t promised a very small window of time before Louis, Harry, Liam, and Niall take the stage again. For the first time in years fans aren’t counting down the months until a new album, or wondering when to set alarms for pre-sale tickets at a city close by. For the first time; fans are preparing to say goodbye to the boys without knowing when they’ll return.
And it’s got everybody feeling a bit emotional.
It’s hard to look back on the last five years of music and entertainment and miss a time when One Direction wasn’t making headlines in one way or another. It’s not likely that you’ll look back on the last 5 years of magazines and miss a cover without their smiling faces or an article about them inside. It’s impossible to go through the top 40 hits or album release charts over the last five years and miss One Direction’s large impact on music.
In one way or another, the last 5 years of your life – fan or not – were somehow impacted by five young men who set out as individuals to chase their dreams and came together to change the world.
In 2015 the world changed One Direction and fans watched helplessly as we saw our boys struggle openly for the first time since we’ve been their fans. When Zayn could no longer take the stress and lifestyle of being in the band; he left, and in his absence we saw Liam, Niall, Harry, and Louis get closer and bond together – not only to protect us – but to save themselves.
Now, we see them saying goodbye – not to hurt us, but to save themselves.
We see them, for the first time, saying they’re tired…that they’ve been doing this for years and although they love it; they have to love themselves more. In the last week alone we’ve seen smear campaigns against the boys, more articles slamming them as a group and as individuals than highlighting their last shows in a positive light, and seen media claim that secrets and behind the scenes feuds are going to tear and keep them apart. They have to step away before this kills their spirits, before it breaks the resilient walls they’ve had to build around their hearts.
They deserve to take a moment to feel what it’s like to be alive again – not just going through the motions and meeting crazy demands. We see them promising us that they’ll be back, interview after interview, and knowing that some fans still don’t believe it. We see them worrying about us and what’ll happen during their time off, but worrying more about what would happen if they didn’t take it.
We see them pausing something extraordinary to give it a longer shelf life, taking a break from something incredible to ensure it’s longevity.
We see them knowingly stepping away from the height so that this isn’t as good as it gets – they’re ensuring themselves and us that it’ll only get better once we see them again.
You’ve got to think about their families tonight – the immense amount of emotions they’re feeling as well. Their hearts are bursting with pride, probably sat crying at what they’ve seen their boys do over the last 5 years. They saw their sons pack their bags to chase a dream and they actually watched them change the world. They’ve spent inadequate amounts of time with the boys they helped prepare for the world during one of the most critical times to growing up. They’ve loved their boys from afar while we got to keep them on borrowed time and for as much as they’ve been generous in sharing them – it’s time for them to be selfish and get to know their children again.
It’s time for them to go home and sneak to the kitchen in the middle of the night for a snack and end up having a three hour chat with their moms. It’s time for them to kick a ball about with their siblings and it’s time for them to drink pints with their friends…they’re going to miss it, they’re going to miss us, but its long overdue.
This adjustment isn’t just hard going to be on the fans; it’s been evident in the concerts leading up to this one and the interviews when the boys were asked about the hiatus that it’s going to be indescribably hard on them too. Niall himself even said it would be a shock to the system for the four lads; it’s definitely going to be one for the fans as well.
Fans expected the boys to show a lot of emotion tonight – and they did. Their crew, friends, and people who helped make OTRA what it was showed their emotion as well – a lot of them taking to twitter and snapchat saying goodbye to the world they’ve known for the last five years – at least for now. Our guess – there wasn’t a dry eye in Sheffield, and for fans around the world; our eyes weren’t dry either.
Fans at the final OTRA show said the boys were emotional from the beginning; appearing to have tears in their eyes and talking about how thankful they are and how this isn’t the end.
“You guys will always be in our hearts, it’s not the end” – Harry
“Last of On The Road Again Tour but not the last of One Direction” – Liam
“We know our fans are the best in the world” -Louis
“This is the perfect way to end the tour.” – Niall
This is the last time the lights dimmed on stage for the boys as it is and as they are right now. The final stop on the final tour of the first five years that drove One Direction to stardom – and did so in a way that was bittersweet. This is the last time we’ll see them as they are now because once they return – things will be different and new – like we’ll be getting to know old friends again.
Louis, Harry, Liam, and Niall –
We thank you; for tirelessly giving us so much of yourselves for the last five years. For dancing on stage with injured bodies, for singing high notes with weak voices, for pushing yourself to the limit to give your all to people who demanded it of you.
We thank you for the laughs you provided, the tears you sometimes caused but always dried, the friendships you brought us to, from yourselves and the way we were able to form bonds within the fandom. We thank you for your kind hearts, the way you’ve given not only to the fans you’ve met, but the ones you haven’t…to the charities and the schools and the programs that help better lives of people you may never get to know.
We thank you for the generosity you’ve inspired in all of us – the way we’re more apt to give, even if we don’t have a lot, because we’ve seen you do it. We thank you for being the best versions of yourself because it pushed us to be the best versions of ourselves too, and we thank you for the times when you weren’t – because it showed us that you were human and we’re not going to be good all the time – but sometimes those “mistakes” we’re making are the most fun choices anyway.
We thank you for fighting for us when we couldn’t do it for ourselves, for allowing us all into your hearts the way we allowed you into ours, and for showing us that love can look a million different ways and still be true.
We thank you for every single moment, every single memory, every single song we’ll have stuck in our heads forever. We thank you for every photograph we have on our phones, on our walls, and in our wallets; for the way you found us in the crowd and smiled when we caught your eyes. We thank you for the blown kisses, the “we love you too’s”, the way you made us feel like we were important even if it was just for the couple hours we spent in front of you – belting out your lyrics as you sang them to us too. We thank you for the confetti strands we kept, the way our hearts flutter just thinking about the nights we shared with you, and the way it’s all engraved in us – the way we’ll remember it just as clearly as you will.
We believe you, when you say that you’ll be back and we know that this time off, to just live and explore other parts of who you are is important, and we promise to respect that. We know it’ll be hard on us, but we know it’s not going to be a cake walk for you either; this has been your life for 5 years, walking away – even if for a little bit – has to be heavy on your hearts also.
We’ll be here – when the lights have all dimmed, the hysteria has died down, and you’ve found yourselves and found time to see what it’s like to be young and free.
We’ll be here when you miss it, and we’ll be missing it too.
So goodnight Louis, Harry, Liam, and Niall.
We’ll see you soon, then.