Harry Styles Proves He’s a Rockstar, Pink Flies and Flips Over the Crowd & More From iHeartRadio Festival Day 1
It’s that time of year again — the reminder that summer is officially over and sweater weather is upon us. But this year the first day of fall (Sept. 22) was perhaps one of the most exciting days of the year, as the iHeartRadio Music Festival kicked off at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Just the first night alone saw the likes of Harry Styles, David Guetta, Pink and Chris Stapleton take the stage, resulting in quite the entertaining and hit-filled night. As we gear up for the other half of the star-studded Vegas festival (including the Daytime Village), take a look at the highlights from #iHeartFestival night one below.
7:15 p.m. PT The show starts promptly as scheduled with Macy’s Rising Star winner James Maslow taking the stage to play a few of his songs accompanied by a backing band and dancers. While those in attendance hoping for the former Big Time Rush member to bust out a BTR tune may have been a bit sad that Maslow didn’t toss any in his quick set, the singer did manage to hold his own with tracks from his debut LP How I Like It such as “Addicted To You,” even dancing his way through a fun rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”
7:48 p.m. Once Maslow got the crowd warmed up, Ryan Seacrest takes the stage to officially get things started for night one, introducing Pink — who began her performance up in the stands, working (and high-fiving) her way down a staircase between thrilled festivalgoers as she sings her party-starting hit “Raise Your Glass.”
7:57 p.m. After mashing up her trippy rock-tinged track “Fun House” with No Doubt’s “Just a Girl” (“I’m gonna sing some Gwen Stefani because I love her,” Pink declared), she abruptly leaves the stage with no warning as her band continued to play. Moments later, she returns fully equipped with a harness around her waist — “safety first!” she exclaimed — and finished off her opening set with perhaps the most mind-boggling part of the night, flipping and flying her way around the arena.
8:15 p.m. British girl group Little Mix served as the fitting presenters to introduce their fellow Brit Harry Styles, who touches on his English roots a few times during his five-song set: “I’m from England, hello,” he announces to the crowd, doing a little silly jig and saying “bloody hell!” Although his set was short, Styles made sure to use his time to convince those in attendance that he’s moved on from boy band hearthrob to rockstar with gyrating dance moves and arm thrusts to encourage crowd participation (and not to mention, his fabulously wild red-and-black harlequin suit). “I would like to see you dance now,” he declares before singing his high-energy solo track “Only Angel.”
8:37 p.m. As he preps the audience for his final number — the wildly sexy rocker “Kiwi” — Styles reminds those in attendance that aside from being a rockstar, he’s also quite the jokester. “I was supposed to fly around, but Pink stole my harness,” he quipped. “So that’s out.”
8:55 p.m. Keeping the British fever going, Coldplay follows Styles with a colorful, LED-bracelet accompanied rendition of “A Sky Full of Stars,” with confetti and an insane light show to add to the allure. For a more tender moment a couple of songs later, the band plays “Fix You,” with frontman Chris Martin sending love to Mexico, Houston, Florida and all the places recently affected by disaster as he kneels on the catwalk and looks to the sky upon sending that love.
9:12 p.m. Adding a bonus song to their electric set following their Chainsmokers-less performance of “Something Just Like This,” Martin admits that playing “Up & Up” felt right “given what’s been going on in the world, everybody fighting” — even feeling inclined to mash up their song with Styles’ “Sign of the Times” chorus. He sits at the piano for the entire song, which helps to set the tone for the meaningful tune as well as the message he was sending in between verses: “You’ve got to also have faith in the people around you… be kind to each other.”
9:42 p.m. Chris Stapleton — whom received shout-outs from both Pink and Coldplay about his talent prior to taking the stage — wasn’t a man of many words during his portion of the night, but perhaps it was because the country superstar was saving his voice to tear up the vocals for the five songs he played. Considering Stapleton’s set follows a rousing show from Coldplay, Stapleton’s crooning (and harmonizing with wife Morgane) provides a chance for people to sit down and simply enjoy the soothing, incredibly impressive vocals.
9:56 p.m. As they did in their first #iHeartFestival appearance in 2014, 30 Seconds to Mars sing an awe-inspiring cover, starting off their set with a medley of David Bowie’s “Heroes” (which turned 40 the same night), Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun,” Linkin Park’s “Crawling,” Prince’s “Purple Rain” and George Michael’s “Freedom” — similar to the performance they recently gave in BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge in tribute to the late legends. Despite the poignant opening and full choir behind them, 30 Seconds to Mars’ frontman Jared Leto — who went into the crowd for their song “Kings and Queens” — was still full of jokes to keep the crowd engaged: “If you’re still sitting down, I’m gonna give you a lap dance, okay?”
10:07 p.m. “You’re not scared of a little rock ‘n’ roll, are you?” Leto asks before diving into the band’s latest anthemic hit “Walk on Water.” Leto then invites “all the crazy people” in the crowd on stage (“don’t come up here unless you’re certifiably insane,” he demands) for their last song, “Up in the Air,” jumping around with the crew he recruited to finish things off and declaring “we’ll see you real soon” before heading off stage.
10:27 p.m. Switching gears from rock to hip-hop, The Weeknd keeps the vibes alive with his smash hit “Starboy,” before going into two more Starboy tracks, “Party Monster” and “Reminder.” As lights flash around him and he works his way across the stage, he yells, “I came to Las Vegas to turn up tonight!”
10:42 p.m. The Weekend gets everyone to their feet for “I Feel It Coming,” keeping the hits coming with the 2015 song of the summer “Can’t Feel My Face” and closing out with the bass-thumping “The Hills,” putting in as much energy as if the night had just begun.
11:00 p.m. “Vegas! We’re in the party capital of the world, and we’re gonna start right now,” David Guetta exclaims as he takes his place upon his massive DJ booth, even though he’s technically starting the end of the party as the night’s closer. Starting off with new and old crowd pleasers like “Mi Gente,” and “Seven Nation Army,” the French DJ continues his elaborate set — complete with fire, smoke, fireworks, streamers and a mezmerizing light show — by reminding the crowd just how many original hits he’s whipped up himself, from the Sia-assisted “Titanium” to Flo Rida’s “Club Can’t Handle Me.”
11:11 p.m. Bebe Rexha makes the only guest appearance of the night, strutting her stuff onto the stage for her part in the Guetta/Nick Minaj collaboration “Hey Mama.” Although she was only on for a short time, Rexha managed to fit in a little twerk session at the end of the catwalk in her all-silver getup.
11:27 p.m. As Usher’s voice reverberates through the arena in the beginning of Guetta’s “Without U,” the DJ can’t help but get a little sentimental as he tops off his end-of-the-night set — closing with a clever expression of gratitude. “I want to thank iHeart for supporting my music, and supporting music in general. But most of all, I want to thank everybody out there… We could never do this without you.”
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