Harry Styles wowed New York where 20,000 fans filled the arena to see the British pop icon

Ellie Henman, superfan of BIZARRE’s Harry Styles, traveled to New York City for a sold-out weekend concert to witness the phenom that is his army of fans and see him go from flawless boy band member to solo sensation.

I AM in a pub in New York and the barmaid forgets to charge me for my drink.

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When he finally comes into view, the crowd goes berserk – and when Harry starts banging and rubbing in front of the stage, some of them are close to fainting.
Harry performs in front of 20,000 fans in New York

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Harry performs in front of 20,000 fans in New York
Harry flaunts the Ukrainian flag on stage

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Harry flaunts the Ukrainian flag on stage

I remind her that she is thanking me and I feel a tap on my shoulder.

A Harry Styles fan who overheard our conversation says, “Treat people with kindness” and points to the speakers playing his eponymous hit.

Less than 12 hours after I arrived in New York, I was immersed in the Harry phenomenon.

I flew to the Big Apple to be part of his fan base for his huge concert to celebrate the release of his third solo album Harry’s House, which is expected to hit No. 1 immediately on Friday.

Harry's House sees Harry Styles offering his most artistically brilliant songs.
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Known as the Stylers, his fans have been by his side since he rose to fame with One Direction in 2010 as the furry boy from the Cheshire village of Holmes Chapel.

But now, at the age of 28, single Harry has taken on the aura of a demigod.

Tens of thousands of people flocked to New York, and he was sure they were worth it.

The day before the concert, he surprises fans by posing for photos with those who queued for hours at Spotify’s event for his new album, the sequel to 2019’s second Fine Line LP.

Later that evening, Harry’s House pop-up stores open around the world for fans to immerse themselves in the album the moment it is released.

I am one of hundreds of people queuing at a store in Lower Manhattan.

Harry’s most devoted fans have been in line for 12 hours now, and as you might expect, many have known each other for years – they share a love for the star.

Although the queue is reminiscent of a Boxing Day sale, there is no hustle and bustle.

In fact, the fans are so respectful that someone even releases a Sharpie pen to number everyone to make sure it’s fair.

Harry, I’m sure, would be proud.

Loaded with goods, in 14 hours I go to the concert.

But while I’ve given myself five hours to soak in the atmosphere, it’s clear that as a fan, I’m a first-class amateur.

Harry’s most devoted followers arrived on Thursday, and their sea is mostly women in feather boas and silk pajamas in a nod to Harry’s eclectic style.

The fact that it starts raining before the doors open, flooding the fans, doesn’t dampen the mood.

I meet Chloe at the front of the line at the UBS Arena.

She did not sleep for 36 hours and arrived first at the door at 2 am.

How many shots are in your coffee?” I’m asking.

“Four,” she replies with a smirk.

“I have been waiting to meet Harry for 36 hours. I haven’t slept yet.

Chloe, 36, has been a fan since Harry was in One Direction alongside Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan – with a group that has released 36 million albums.

For Harry, Chloe would turn heaven and earth. She adds, “I went to the store on Thursday and came straight to the arena on Friday at 2am.

“Harry is like a stripper and I just keep handing out money.

“I’ve been following him since One Direction. I slept on the street for five days to see them on Saturday Night Live, I hitchhiked across the States, I did a lot of questionable things for these people.

“I have spent over $18,000 (£14,500) on Harry and the band. It’s worth it”.

Chloe is not alone in her adoration of Harry, who has also become a movie star, with the latest films Don’t Worry Darling and My Cop coming out later this year.

close to fainting

Those close to Harry who have already been to the shows assure me that the audience will be amazed by his performance.

But he could be in Peppa Pig, and that would be a mega surprise.

Hailey, 27, who has been in line all day, says: “There’s no one better than Harry in the world.”

Anna, 32, adds: “Now Harry is the best artist in the world. No one else comes close.”

Outside the arena, he put on a spectacle. His team has built parts of “Harry’s House” and fans are lining up to take pictures.

Those standing in line were also given colored crayons – and although the frescoes are washed away by rain, the mood remains.

Inside the arena with a capacity of 18,500 people, the excitement that was seething outside reached its climax.

One of Harry’s team members who accompanied me to the concert told me, “Just wait until you hear the noise, it’s something else.”

They weren’t wrong.

The concert is filmed for a one-off Apple TV special, and the crowd screams at the top of their lungs.

My eardrums start ringing as thousands chant their hero’s name, the battle cry of the thirsty Harry.

When he finally comes into view, the crowd goes berserk – and when Harry starts banging and rubbing in front of the stage, some of them nearly pass out.

His live persona has long been compared to Mick Jagger.

But while Harry’s dance moves seem to draw inspiration from the snake-thighed Rolling Stones legend, the young star has created a style of her own.

The louder the screams of the crowd, the faster and crazier he seems.

He’s the Duracell Bunny pop musician, drawing energy from the crowd and darting around without breaking a sweat, which is surprising given his tight leather pants and wool t-shirt.

Although his 13-track record was released in just 12 hours by the time Harry performs on stage, which features an album-inspired glowing outline, the crowd is already perfect for every song.

Along with his #1 track As It Was, which is expected to stay at the top this week, Late Night Talking and Matilda are receiving rave reviews.

Ukrainian flag

Bands of the crowd, watching from the audience, are also dancing – and huge mosh pits appear with sequins and feather boas flying to the sides.

Addressing the crowd, which includes his girlfriend, American actress and film director Olivia Wilde, Harry says: “Thank you so much for your support over the last many years of my life.

“You changed it over and over. I am eternally grateful to each of you.”

Along with performing his album, he sings previous hits, including 2019 solo hit Watermelon Sugar and 2011 iconic One Direction track What Makes You Beautiful.

He also sings his 2017 debut solo single Sign Of The Times and touchingly waves Ukrainian and rainbow flags.

When the lights go out, the chanting resumes and the railing next to my chair shakes as thousands of people stamp their feet and scream for more.

Harry returns for an encore to sing As It Was again, the first song from the new album, which has spent the past seven weeks at number one.

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He is greeted by the loudest cries of the night.

It’s rare to see an artist perform a song twice in a concert, but Harry is happy to break with convention – and he’s clearly on his way to victory.

Written by Sun Ellie in concert

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Written by Sun Ellie in concertCredit: ELLIE HANMAN.

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