Harry Styles started off his headlining set at Coachella on Friday night with a simple greeting. “Good evening. My name is Harry.”
We know, the masses must have thought in unison. After all, there were tens of thousands gathered on a polo field in Indio, California to catch his set, and as many tuning in live on YouTube.
“It’s big in here, innit?” Styles cracked, before explaining how things were gonna go. “For the next 80-or-something minutes, our job is to entertain you. I promise you we’ll do our absolute very best. You also have one job — that is to have much fun as you possibly can. I want you to be whoever it is you always wanted to be in this field tonight.”
For Styles, that meant a regression of sorts — to his younger, pre-One Direction days when he would sing Shania Twain songs in the car. And there she was, in the flesh, about an hour into his set, to duet on “Man, I Feel Like a Woman,” Twain’s massive 1999 hit.
“I have to tell you, in the car with my mother as a child, this lady taught me to sing,” said Styles of Twain. “She also told me that men are trash. But to you, the memories you gave me with my mother, I’m forever grateful. This is very special for me.”
Said Twain: “I’m a bit starstruck, what can I say? No, really I’m a fan of you, of course. I realize that when I was writing this song, you were just a little kid. It’s kind of a dream and very surreal to be sitting here right now to sing this song with you. I think I’m just in love and this song is all about love. So let’s just sing about love.”
The two then took to stools to sing 1997’s “You’re Still the One.”
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Earlier in the set, Styles brought out a couple new songs of his own: the just-released “As It Was,” and a new tune presumably called “Boyfriends,” in which Styles remarked: “Who in the audience has ever had a boyfriend? Who in the audience has never had a boyfriend? To boyfriends everywhere, fuck you.”
Styles implored the crowd “to please be gentle” for the track’s debut. The acoustic-based song with multiple harmonies tells of what seems like an on again-off again relationship in which, “You still open the door.”
It all related nicely to Styles’ comment at the top of the set: “We have a full moon, you have a ticket and I have to play.”