Man, OH MAN! Our beloved, Zayn performed his first official show as a solo artist and of course it was surrounded by so much controversy. WHAT ELSE IS NEW. And for once, I think it was warranted, maybe not toward Zayn in particular but toward the show as a whole. It was a mess to be honest.
So, let me start from the beginning. For weeks prior to the actual event, iHeartRadio advertised Zayn’s Album Release Party and Q&A at the Honda Theater in New York on Friday, March 25. The event was to commemorate the release of Zayn’s solo album, ‘Mind of Mine’ which was released that same day.
On the afternoon of Thursday, March 24, I was informed that I along with my sister were invited to attend the album release party. When I tell you I screamed to the high heavens for 20 minutes straight, I am not exaggerating. I would of screamed longer but I didn’t have the time. Because soon after receiving the incredible news I had to quickly purchase a Boltbus ticket, pack for the weekend, and clean my apartment before hopping on the last scheduled bus from Baltimore, MD to Newark, NJ! It was a frantic 4 hours to say the absolute least. But, I arrived at my mother’s place safe.
While I was sleeping cozy in my warm home, there were apparently hundreds of Zayn fans toughing it out it the cold streets of New York waiting in line to receive standby tickets to Zayn’s iHeartRadio show. What in the entire heck? So, at around 9pm on Thursday, iHeartRadio announced that fans who lined up starting at 10pm Thursday and remained in line until 5pm the following day, would be guaranteed entry into the Honda Theater. My Twitter timeline started filling up with endless footage of these devoted ZQUAD members sleeping on the concrete outside of the theater, shivering from the cold, and trying to shield themselves from the rain. The only prominent emotion I felt was anger! I was angry at iHeartRadio for exploiting these fans and their love for Zayn for publicity and a few retweets. Not to mention, I don’t think they made it clear at the time that only the FIRST 40 PEOPLE IN LINE had guaranteed entry!
By the time I arrived to the scene, it was 5pm Friday evening and I saw three distinct lines. The first, the line I was in, for those that were on the guest list/iHeartRadio contest winners. The second, the first 40 people that were on standby from the night before. The third was the line of hopefuls that wrapped around the building. Those hoping that iHeartRadio would miraculously allow the Honda Theater to go over capacity. And that was to no fault of their own. Those fans were continuously made to believe that if they stayed in line and cried and pleaded their pink faces for iHeartRadio’s twitter videos, then they’d be given a golden ticket in. Nope.
Just as I was finally about to be let into the building (way past the advertised ‘doors open’ time of 7pm), an iHeartRadio rep lowly said to me, “These kids are about to hate me because I’m about to tell them they waited for no reason. We’re at capacity.” With wide eyes I said, “Are you serious? That’s so nasty.” And then I walked my giddy self into the venue to get a decent spot to see my bae perform. I’m sorry, I did not have time to be too concerned with anybody besides myself and Z. It was ugly and selfish, I KNOW!
The first thing I noticed about the theater was the size! Let’s just say it was a cozy little thing. I described it as a two-car garage. I was actually happy about this, though. It meant a chance for Zayn to get real intimate with his audience for his first show! The next thing I noticed was a prominent timer which read ’30 minutes’ located high up on a wall near the stage. I was all types of confused. WHAT DID 30 MINUTES MEAN! 30 minutes until Z comes on stage? Z is performing for 30 minutes? I needed to know!
But fret I sha’nt because in 10 minutes Z’s band, hit the stage and slayed my entire existence. I mean, I knew the band had to be decent enough to be working with Zayn but I had no clue they were THAT good. My LORDT! They had a nice 5-minute jam session and my mouth was agape, screaming, ‘yaaaaaas’ the whole time. I am not ashamed.
Then, the main event, the supreme, the Z-God, Zayn strolled on stage real casual. The audacity. All of us are out here in the crowd losing our minds, yelling ‘ZADDY’ and other obscenities with a Z, and full on bawling and Z had the elephant nerve to step on that stage and up to the mic so coolly! Nah, bruh! And then to further kill us all, Zayn opened his performance with his song, “tRuTh.” LISTEN TO ME! Talk about symbolism! All of us in this fandom knew what it meant for Z to open with THAT song and we could not even take it! That coupled with Z singing in his sultry, low register, SLAYED. Z followed with “LIKE I WOULD.” Even though I was slightly caught up in jamming to this song, I did notice there was something off. I thought the sound was a bit off which I think may have caught Zayn off-guard because he mis-said a lyric in the song. Either that or Zayn was just really nervous! Understandably so. His finale song (unbeknownst to us in the audience) was “iT’s YoU.” This is what really took me out. Zayn’s vocals on “iT’s YoU” are unreal but hearing this performed live was life changing. It sounded 10X better, and I honestly did not think that was possible. Kind of frightening actually.
After his performance, Zayn took a few moments to talk with the host of the show while us in the audience went all ‘heart eyes emoji’ over Z’s thick accent. Even as I type this, I’m getting weak in the knees all over again. But as quickly as the interview began, it ended. Without even a goodbye, Zayn left the stage and the host proceeded to play about 3 more tracks from the Mind of Mine album. The entire crowd twisted our necks at each other in confusion. It was the general conclusion amongst us that Z was coming back at some point to perform again but at that point I looked back up to that timer at noticed it said 3 minutes. Once it reached zero, the lights in the venue came on, security came out and began packing up the stage equipment. Still confused, everyone in the audience stood in position until security notified us that the show was indeed over. Oh, for realz? But what happened to the Q&A! Still reluctant to admit defeat, many of us remained in venue until another security guard announced, “the artist has already left the building.” Almost all at once, a sea of groans and curse words ensued. So that 30-minute timer meant the ENTIRE show, performance + interview, was 30 minutes. OK, cool.
As we made our way out of the venue, I ran into quite a few groups of fans that were publicly voicing their annoyance and disappointment. Much of it was from those fans that slept in line overnight. My sister and I remained on the sidelines, not really saying much. The reason? While we, too, wanted the show to be longer, we still had a bomb af time! We really felt guilty about not being as upset as some other fans were. So much so, we waited until we were away from the crowd and underground waiting for the E train.
When I got home, I ended up checking through Twitter and Tumblr and oh, girl people were PISSED! What I really got from it was that people didn’t know who was to blame for what went down. Was it iHeartRadio that mislead us or was it Zayn that abruptly decided not to complete the show? Lordt knows. All I know is that I had a good time but now I also have trust issues. Welp.