Harry Styles’ two-night ‘Harryween’ Halloween-weekend stand at Madison Square Garden promised to be more than the “fancy dress party it was billed as,” and the singer did not disappoint. On Saturday, Halloween Eve, he and his entire band were dressed as characters from “The Wizard of Oz” — with Harry as Dorothy, naturally — and covered “Over the Rainbow” as part of the encore.
Halloween night was less specifically thematic — Styles was dressed as a harlequin clown that many fans on social media said they’d thought he’d rip off to reveal a different costume — but he covered Britney Spears’ 2003 hit “Toxic” in the encore.
As seen in videos from the show posted online (Variety attended and covered night 1), Styles is mock-stumbling around the stage as the band finishes Styles’ rarity “Medicine” — which he hadn’t played the night before — and after a quick pause, the band shifts straight into Spears’ 2003 smash “Toxic” as the crowd erupts when they realize what it is.
He runs from one side of the stage to the other, leading the crowd in singalongs on the chorus and gyrating during the slow and slinky section, before the band brings the song, and the 90-minute show, to a tight conclusion.
It was unclear in the hours after the show whether there was any significance to Styles singing the song in a clown costume, or whether it was simply a show of support for Spears and, by extension, the “Free Britney” movement. Many fans were confused and a few observers on social media seemingly felt it was in poor taste, but most had a positive if not ecstatic reaction.
Interestingly, one fan posted — well before the song performed — that Styles would tear off the harlequin suit and reveal himself dressed as Spears (he didn’t).
Oddly, while Styles had nailed the challenging “Over the Rainbow” the night before, a couple of the high notes on “Toxic” were a little strained — but then again, the guy had been singing, dancing and projecting full-blast for more than three of the last 24 hours, to a total of nearly 40,000 people. By all accounts and any measure, “Harryween” was a triumph.
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