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One Direction's long, thrilling MetLife Stadium walks

One Direction during their concert at MetLife Stadium

One Direction during their concert at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Credit: Calvin Aurand

One Direction’s appeal is decidedly low-tech, a throwback to way simpler times.

The biggest addition to the boy band’s show now that they have made the leap from arenas and amphitheaters to stadiums? A long walkway – one that stretched from the main stage set up around the 20-yard line to a smaller stage set up near the other end zone at MetLife Stadium.

Why do they need so much space? Because a major part of the show is watching Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson walk from one stage to the other, waving at screaming fans along the way. There’s some pointing, too, and when one of the cameras for the big screens is around, Horan will occasionally wink. Oh, and they sing, too!

Yes, One Direction has improved by leaps and bounds over last year’s rainy show at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. Some of that can be attributed to the songs – the middle stretch of Mumford & Sons-influenced pop, including “Right Now” and “Happily,” was especially executed well. However, most of the improvement can be attributed to the guys themselves. They seem to want it more, especially Styles, who was constantly trying to keep the energy level up when he wasn’t tossing water and towels to thrilled fans. They are also extraordinarily grateful in their show, taking turns thanking fans for their support.

Simon Cowell, who put One Direction together on the British version of “X Factor,” recently told the Daily Star that the group would need to “up their game a bit.” “We knew a lot of boy bands would follow, but the competition is tough at the moment,” Cowell said, referring to 5 Seconds of Summer, whose debut currently sits at No. 1 on the album chart.

However, judging from the reaction at MetLife Stadium, there is room for more than one boy band in a screaming girl’s heart.

That said, 5 Seconds of Summer is certainly a promising new act. The Aussie quartet is a more traditional band and their 40-minute set was filled with plenty of punk-tinged power pop, including the current buzzy single “She Looks So Perfect” and the soon-to-be-massive hit “Amnesia,” a ballad that keeps a backbeat.

ONE DIRECTION SETLIST: Midnight Memories / Little Black Dress / Kiss You / Why Don’t We Go There / Rock Me / Don’t Forget Where You Belong / Live While We’re Young / C’mon C’mon / Right Now / Through the Dark / Happily / Little Things / Moments / Strong / Better Than Words / Alive / One Thing / Diana / What Makes You Beautiful // ENCORE: You & I / Story Of My Life / Little White Lies / Best Song Ever

5 SECONDS OF SUMMER SETLIST: Eighteen / Heartbreak Girl / Don’t Stop / Teenage Dream / Heartbreak on the Big Screen / Amnesia / Beside You / What I Like About You / Good Girls / She Looks So Perfect

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