WASHINGTON (WJLA) - From the very moment One Direction appeared on stage at Nationals Park, it was clear this was not the boy band of old.
The group simply walked on stage after a brief video montage. There were no special props to launch them onto the platform, no big introductory dance number. Their wardrobes on stage seemed like the sort of clothes they'd wear while lounging around.
The lack of splash on stage did nothing to quell the deafening screams of the 50,000 fans who packed the field and stands at Nats Park Monday night.
A small fireworks display lit up the sky as the boys performed their opening song, "Midnight Memories." It was a single that didn't make a dent on the charts in the U.S., but the fans knew every word. In fact, they knew every word of each of the songs in the 23 song set list.
Fans in D.C. had been waiting months to see Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis in concert. Tickets for the D.C. stop in their "Where We Are" tour sold out, less than three minutes after they went on sale last November. Nine months later, the wait was way too much for fans to handle.
Some greeted the band as they arrived at the Mandarin Oriental hotel where they stayed. Some fans learned lead singer Harry Styles was hitting up a D.C. spin class, and waited for him to exit. Others waited outside Nats Park more than 12 hours before the show got underway.
The band's casual style continued throughout their nearly two-hour set. The group walked around the stage, singing and flirting with fans, but there were no choreographed dance moves and no special costume changes. After the only break in the show, Louis Tomlinson returned wearing the same jean shorts and white T-shirt he wore during the first half of the show.
The rain added another element to the evening. It started pouring just as the opening act, 5 Seconds of Summer, started performing. By the time One Direction made an appearance, the fans were soaked and so was the stage. Band members slipped on the surface several times while running around.
The set list covered the usual radio staples from their two albums, including, "What Makes You Beautiful," "Story of My Life," and "Kiss You."
Perhaps the highlight of the evening was the ballad, "Little Things." The entire stadium of 50,000 lit up, with cellphone flashlights, as the group performed the acoustic love song.
The show wrapped just shy of 11 p.m. with another hit, "Best Song Ever." A fitting ending for many D.C. fans who just had the best night ever.