Let me tell you a story about One Direction's album release party.
To celebrate the upcoming release of the British-Irish pop band's third album, Midnight Memories (Monday, Nov. 25), iHeartRadio and Ryan Seacrest hosted a party for the band, and a close gaggle of their fans, in Los Angeles on a Friday afternoon. It was a small theater with a line out the door, and I was there for the whole thing.
Let's just say that we were all so close to Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson that we got pretty intimate that day.
It's important to note that some of the fans had been waiting in line all night, and probably hadn't slept — as Seacrest joked — because of their pure excitement. Those were the people who were let into the theater first at 2 p.m., and who crowded in front of the stage. All of their parents (because yes, these are mostly minors who need a legal guardian with them) were asked to kindly step to the back of the room so that the real fans could get as close to the stage as possible. In total, there were probably around 150 of us, which meant that everyone was huddled tightly around One Direction.
There were also some local celebs in attendance with their daughters, like Kim Richards of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Cindy Crawford.
Once all of the audience members has loaded into the theater, an imposing man with a baseball cap came onstage and warned everyone to turn off their phones and stop tweeting, probably because the concert is scheduled to air on the CW on Friday, Dec. 9, and nobody likes spoilers. (Speaking of, if you are one of these people, you've been warned: SPOILERS AHEAD.)
Like all boy band concerts, there were plenty of screams while we waited for One Direction to take the stage; a light would flicker, a background musician would accidentally strum a chord, or a door would crack open, and right on cue, the audience would shriek until it was clear that it was just a roadie and not, in fact, Louis or Harry.
Eventually, though, the lights went down, a door opened wide, and out popped the host for the afternoon: Ryan Seacrest. He wore a brown leather jacket, and easily maneuvered his way through the crowd until he was bravely right in the center of it all. He read lines from a teleprompter in front of him, as the fans gathered around and bounced in giddy anticipation.
He then said the words we'd all been waiting for: "Here they are, One Direction!" and a collaborative scream emerged from the crowd that took the form of one long and piercing wail. The doors flew open again, and the boys emerged from backstage to take their places in front of their microphones.
They opened with "Best Song Ever," the lead single from Midnight Memories, and, unsurprisingly, the crowd sang along to every word.
Without missing a beat, as soon as the "Best Song Ever" finished, Seacrest was onstage with the band, ready to ask them questions about Midnight Memories.
Ryan Seacrest: What is it that you feel inside when you see and hear this kind of emotion, not only on the road, but in every part of the world?
Harry: For us, especially when we travel, and to go to places where we're not from and have this kind of support is amazing. Thank you very much.
[Random Fans Screaming: "Harry!" "I love you!" "Look at me!"]
Seacrest: You guys have heard of Ed Sheeran right?
[Random Fans Screaming: "AHHHH!"]
Seacrest: Ed wrote "Little Things." Tell me about your relationship with Ed and how it came about.
Liam: To be fair, I don't know how it came about. We were just bumming around the studio with him, hanging out, and this song came up.
The band then smoothly transitioned to playing the Sheeran-penned love song, "Little Things," which is from their second album, 2012's Take Me Home. The rest of the show followed a similar pattern: The boys finished a song, Seacrest jumped onstage, and asked questions that eventually segued into the next track.
"Last First Kiss" was the next song up (also from Take Me Home), which was prefaced by a very loaded question from Seacrest: "Have you ever kissed anyone at a show?" Most of the band uncomfortably shifted, except Niall, who saw an answer teed up, and mischievously smirked, "We'll start tonight."
(Note: Unable to confirm whether or not Niall made good on that.)
Seacrest later announced that they were going to show a never-before-seen clip from the ultimate fan edition of the band's documentary This is Us, which will be available on DVD and blu ray Tuesday, Dec. 17.
A clip of the boys backstage, coupled with excerpts from their concerts, played for a few minutes. And all the while, the fans screamed at random moments that struck a chord with them. A clip of Liam smiling, for example, got quite the loud reaction.
The concert and Q&A went on for a few minutes shy of an hour, during which the band performed a total of six songs, including "Story of My Life," which is the second single off of Midnight Memories, and the song that made them popular in America, "What Makes You Beautiful." Also important to note, was that a portion of the Q&A was dedicated to fans in the audience asking questions.
Julia: Zayn, have you picked your best man yet?
Zayn: It's going to have to be a bit unconventional. I'm going to have to have, like, five or six best men.
Taylor: What do you like to do in your free time?
Niall: I like to sleep a lot. I like to play a lot of golf. I love golf.
Liam: Eat a lot of food, listen to music, and — this is really geeky — but when I'm in America, I watch a lot of Weather Channel.
Harry: Sleep and watch movies and stuff.
Louis: I think I speak on behalf of me and Zayn, but we play a lot of video games.
Madeline: If you could date any celebrity right now, who would it be?
Niall: I'm gonna go with Kate Beckinsale.
The band also talked about making the album itself, which was done on the road rather than in the studio. Harry said they often recorded in hotel rooms, propping mattresses and couches up against the walls to keep the sound quality in check.
Harry also answered the all-important question of whether or not there is hidden meaning about their personal lives in any of the songs. "When you're writing a song, it's hard to not write about personal experiences," he said. "A lot of the times, it might sound like a love song, but it might be about your family. Or your dog."
The afternoon ended with the band singing the title track from their new album, "Midnight Memories," an upbeat pop song with a lot of Zayn hitting some amazingly high notes.
As can be expected from any One Direction album, there will be a lot that you can dance to — and I absolutely was — and a lot of love songs that are about someone, or someone's dog.