TORONTO - Teenage girls are excitable creatures at the best of times.
Even more so when cute boys are in the room.
And when those cute boys also happen to be able to sing, are a bit cheeky and have British, Irish and Australian accents, well then you can expect the female response to be off the charts.
Especially when there’s 48,000 of them in one place.
And so it went at the Rogers Centre on Friday night where it turned into a major screamathon as British-Irish boy band One Direction arrived for the first of two back-to-back stadium shows of their so-called Where We Are world tour with fast-rising Aussie boy band Five Seconds Of Summer - aka 5SOS - in tow.
One Direction, who also have their own initials 1D, are made up of lone Irishman Niall Horan, and Brits Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson with a backing four-piece band.
They’ve sold 45 million albums since forming in 2010 and their enormous stage on Friday night with flashy video screens, and accompanying catwalk (whose tail end revealed an elevating stage during the song One Thing) was indicative of those impressive sales.
“O Canada!” said one member after the quintet opened their hour-and-45-minute show with Midnight Memories from their 2013 album of the same name.
“I see you, you beautiful, beautiful poutine-eating people,” joked Styles, clearly a fan favourite with his long hair held back by a black and white polka dot scarf and wearing a sheer black top halfway unbuttoned.
“I am falling in love with you right now,” Styles said later before getting everyone to sing Happy Birthday to fan Athena. “Does anybody here like the Maple Leafs? .... If any of you come to England, you’re going to stay at my casa!”
“You are all so beautiful and Canadian,” added Horan, who occasionally strummed an acoustic or electric guitar and was the only member to play an instrument. “My favourite thing, apart from poutine, in Canada is Michael Buble. Nice fella.”
They also named checked Toronto rapper Drake, or Drizzy as they called him.
The charming thing about One Direction is that they talk off the cuff (hopefully), don’t perform any choreographed dance moves, and just seem to wander around their gigantic stage as the mood strikes them, singing and making occasional jokes.
At one point they even broke into Pharrell’s Get Lucky while introducing their musicians.
Song highlights included such ballads as Right Now, Little Things, Moments, and Story of My Life, and uptempo pop songs Alive, One Thing, What Makes You Beautiful and the set ending Best Song Ever.
Still, the group haven’t arrived in Toronto without controversy.
Earlier this week, Malik - who was brought up a Muslim in Yorkshire - was bombarded with death threats by outraged Israelis after posting a #FreePalestine message on Twitter.
“It’s amazing to be here tonight in Toronto performing,” said Malik as the group members took turns addressing the crowd.
Still to come Oct. 11-12, is the Milan-shot One Direction: Where We Are – The Concert Film, that will run in theatres for one weekend.
Adding fuel to the already potent teenage hormone-fuelled fire were opening act pop-punk foursome 5SOS who have just seen their self-titled debut album rocket to the top of the charts in Canada this very week based on their huge hit She Looks So Perfect.
Timing, as they say, is everything.
“Toronto make some noise!” said lead vocalist Luke Hemmings as if that was really necessary.
“How are you tonight? I like the roof. I like what you’ve done.”
He later referred to the nearby CN Tower as “the Canadian Tower,” proving you can’t have everything but his cute looks softened the blow.
The group - rounded out by lead guitarist-vocalist Michael Clifford (in a Metallica T-shirt), vocalist-bassist Calum Hood (in a Sublime T-shirt) and drummer-vocalist Ashton Irwin (in a Motley Crue T-shirt) - plowed through their 40-minute set highlighted by two covers - Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and the oldie but goodie, The Romantics’ What I Like About You.
The foursome were clearly warmed up, fresh off a last-minute accoustic performance in the MuchMusic parking lot earlier in the day and will return to headline their own show at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre on Aug. 25 as part of their just announced Rock Out With Your Socks Out tour that will hit four Canadian cities this summer.
One Direction set list
Little Black Dress
Why Don’t We Go There?
Don’t Forget Where You Belong
Live While We’re Young
Through the Dark
Better Than Words
What Makes You Beautiful
You & I
Story of My Life
Little White Lies
Best Song Ever
5SOS Set List
Teenage Dream (Katy Perry cover)
What I Like About You (The Romantics cover)
She Looks So Perfect
Music writer Jane Stevenson was at the Rogers Centre providing live updates. Click here for a mobile-friendly link.