Big touring artists may see hundreds of cities across a world tour. Typically these massive events are hugely formulaic and stage-managed, necessitated by the stadiums they play in and the scale they need to navigate.
To make each show memorable and, importantly, to draw audiences in, many add a specific local reference to the country or city they're playing in.
It could be a nod to the sporting team or attraction, or ideally to local artists to give them some additional exposure. In Australia, some just bring out a stuffed koala or reference a Vegemite sandwich onstage.
Styles' shoey was definitely an acknowledgement of an aspect of Australian culture, even if the beautiful designer sneaker he sipped from was a world away from a sweaty footy boot.
More impressive — and less likely to cause infection — was the inclusion of a cover of Daryl Braithwaite's 1990 version of Horses, a song that has gone from cool to daggy and all the way back again.
Styles hammed it up then proclaimed:
You don't hear that song very much until you get here, but then it's like catnip. ... I can feel the Aussie coursing through my veins!
It's not the first time Australian audiences have asked Styles for a shoey, but only now has he obliged. At a time when anyone around the world can stream just about any event (mostly legally), finding something special about each place and its audience can be tough.
The shoey is something those present won't forget in a hurry.
Liz Giuffre is a senior lecturer in communication at the University of Technology Sydney.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. You can find the original article here.