In the right direction

In the right direction
(From left) Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles and Niall Horan make up One Direction, the top British act for the third year running.

When British-Irish boyband One Direction play their first Singapore show at the National Stadium next month, it will be the biggest Western pop concert here in recent times.

In fact, the quintet have outsold even Michael Jackson's 1996 concert at the old National Stadium, which drew an audience of 26,000 (although the late King Of Pop's two-night gig here in 1993 sold a total of 80,000 tickets).

More than 30,000 tickets to One Direction's show on March 11 have been snapped up since they went on sale in June last year.

The fact that tickets went on sale nine months ago - a rare occurrence for gigs held here - is a sign of how popular the band are. For the biggest pop acts such as Jay Chou, tickets are usually released for sale about seven months before the performance date.

Tickets for the upcoming One Direction concert, ranging from $88 to $388 each, are still available. The Singapore show is part of the group's worldwide On The Road Again Tour to promote their fourth album, Four, released in November last year.

The gig, with a production budget of $2.2 million, is also one of the biggest single-act shows staged by concert scene veteran Michael Roche, managing director of Live Nation Lushington.

He declines to reveal the group's artist fees, but says that it is the most the company has paid.

He says: "There's a lot of planning and we put the tickets on sale in June, but it's been in the works for almost 12 months before that. It's an enormous amount of work."

The One Direction set-up will be massive, with two main stages and an extended runway that allows the five members to get closer to more of their fans among the audience.

In anticipation of younger fans and their chaperones, the standing area will also have special areas for families.

Last month, concert trade industry publication Pollstar ranked One Direction as the most successful live act in the world last year, based on ticket sales.

Their tour sold 3.4 million tickets, more than double that of their nearest competitor, American singer Justin Timberlake, and made US$282 million (S$382 million) in gross ticket sales.

Earlier this week, the band collected another award cap when the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry (IFPI) named them the top British act for the third year running. Globally, they rank second behind American singer Taylor Swift.

Boybands have been a staple almost from the beginning of the pop music history and, right now, the five who make up One Direction - Niall Horan, 21, Zayn Malik, 22, Liam Payne, 21, Harry Styles, 21, and Louis Tomlinson, 23 - are sitting pretty as the most successful one.

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