"How's everybody doing down at LaBrea?" Niall Horan asked, which may have been a bit optimistic in estimating his reach. Facing west as he stood on a stage set up near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, Horan was addressing a crowd that in reality extended only to Sycamore.
But you took his point: Here were several thousand fans of Horan's boy band, One Direction, filling a sizable stretch of Hollywood's busiest thoroughfare on Thursday night.
The occasion was an outdoor concert organized by "Jimmy Kimmel Live," which is making a semi-regular habit of shutting down the street in front of its studio next door to the El Capitan Theatre. In recent months the talk show has put on gigs by Paul McCartney and Van Halen, among others.
One Direction was there, of course, to call attention to its new album, "Made in the A.M.," on late-night television, part of a promotional push that also included an appearance Wednesday on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and a scheduled performance on Sunday's American Music Awards.
Given that the group has said it won't support the record on the road, though (it's taking a break next year that may well turn out to be permanent), Thursday's concert also served as a kind of de facto Los Angeles tour stop.
As such, it was brief: just six songs, including four from "Made in the A.M." and two oldies. But it still had a good bit of what makes 1D's shows so delightful.
"Would anybody mind grabbing some wings from Hooters?" Harry Styles asked at one point as he peered down the street. Dressed in a black collared shirt and silver floral-print trousers, his hair as long and greasy as the Vampire Lestat's, Styles was in fine form Thursday, a perfect example of the studied nonchalance that will serve as One Direction's enduring legacy.
In "Perfect," widely thought to be about Styles' relationship with Taylor Swift, he slyly lowered his voice for the lyric about "looking for someone to write your breakup songs about." In "Love You Goodbye," one of a handful of songs on "Made in the A.M." that conflate a romantic breakup and the band's demise, he worked his best lovable-cad expression as he wondered "why you're wearing that to walk out of my life."
Liam Payne played it slightly less cool. "This is the most amazing thing I've ever seen," he said as he took in the crowd, which is either the falsest or the saddest thing that anyone in One Direction has ever uttered.
Yet his enthusiasm helped enliven "Drag Me Down," the new album's generally underwhelming lead single, and gave the folky "Story of My Life" a surge of senior-year nostalgia.
The concert ended with "No Control," a slashing guitar-pop jam from One Direction's finest album, last year's "Four." It's about a guy happily giving himself over to a woman whose "perfume's holding me ransom," and here you could tell how much these guys are looking forward to being trapped in that position rather than stuck on yet another world tour.
After five years of nonstop grinding, they can't be blamed for wanting to disappear. But that doesn't mean they won't be missed.