The latest “British invasion” — a certified pop music phenomenon — is about to land in Boston.
One Direction, the wildly popular Anglo-Irish boy band, has topped US music charts and enthralled preteens everywhere for more than a year. The band itself isn’t coming to Boston, but plenty of its merchandise will be here.
A One Direction temporary store, a “pop-up,” will open Saturday at Faneuil Hall and remain there for three weeks. By the time the store, called 1D World, opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday, project manager William Stone expects about 2,000 fans — known as “Directioners” — to be lined up outside Faneuil Hall’s glass greenhouse.
Recent experience suggests Stone’s forecast may not be too far off base. The first 1D World launched in Sydney last year, and 2,500 fans lined up hours in advance, chanting their favorite One Direction hits.
Soon, the retail concept took off, spreading to 16 other locations internationally. At the most recent US 1D World pop-up store, at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, 2,000 fans showed up for opening day. Numerous other pop-ups are planned for this summer, Stone said. “The concept is to take a concert operation and put in a store setting,” Stone said. “But this isn’t merchandise you can get online or anywhere else, it’s exclusively for the store and it’s that feeling of exclusivity that makes it work.”
He believes the band’s Boston shop will get a similarly enthusiastic reception. The most fanatic — along with their parents — will probably camp out overnight to have the first crack at merchandise, including stick-on nails, life-size cutouts, and the band’s popular adult “onesie” sweatsuit, he said.
“There will be hysteria, there will by crying, there will be excitement, there will be screaming, and there will be singing,” said Stone. “Sometimes the kids get rambunctious, so we’ll have security on site at 6 a.m.”
If you’re having trouble grasping the boy-band hysteria over One Direction, consider the dazzling smiles and perfectly tussled hair. Or you could simply look up their album sales.
One Direction’s first album, “Up All Night,” debuted at number one in America in 2011 and became the fastest-selling album in the United Kingdom that year. A year later, the second album, “Take Me Home,” sold 540,000 copies in the United States its first week. Today, the band represents a $50 million business empire.
The latest One Direction store is set to open as thousands flock to the city for the Boston Marathon, students are set free for spring break, and Faneuil Hall hosts its second annual Street Theater Festival.
Giveaways will also be available, including a shopping spree to the store before it opens, and tickets to the band’s sold-out June show at the Comcast Center, which are being hawked online for as much as $1,000.
Stone said that while many passionate youngsters may show up hoping to catch a glimpse of Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry, and Louis in person, there’s “no chance” they’ll make an appearance.
Still, he said, the devotees will come.
“It’s the experience of being in the store and the Directioners just being together. It’s the closest thing they’re going to get to the band — at least before June.”