20,000 Beliebers Can't Be Wrong
Justin Bieber's heavy doses of charisma and positive messages impress on the night his personal belongings were stolen
By Travis Hay
To paraphrase the legendary Neil Diamond, I saw him live now I'm a Belieber.
But I won't get into how teen megastar Justin Bieber won over this hardened, somewhat cynical music critic just yet. First allow me to set the stage by putting my experience at Biebs' Oct. 9 concert at the Tacoma Dome in perspective. Yes, the same show where Bieber's laptop and camera were stolen. The camera and laptop contained "personal footage" of the star. The theft doubled as a news story and a good publicity push for his new video.
I knew that I wasn't in for the typical concert experience the moment I noticed my 15-year-old niece, who was my date for the evening, painting a purple J and B on her cheeks. Not many fan bases outside of Insane Clown Posse's juggalos paint their faces in devotion to their musical heroes. And unlike juggalos, Beliebers aren't likely on any FBI watch list.
In case you didn't already know, purple is a sacred hue for Beliebers because it's Justin's favorite color. Unfortunately, my wardrobe is lacking in the purple department, but I wanted to be in the spirit of things, so I sported purple earplugs, which definitely came in handy, but not because of the music: because of the thousands of screaming fans. But despite my minimalist effort to fit in, when we arrived at the arena, I discovered I was very much underdressed for the occasion. The sold-out, 20,000-capacity venue was bathed in purple lighting and almost everyone in the crowd had some shade of purple on, making the stands look like a grape-colored swarm of humanity. The devotion runs that deep.
Moments before the show began, I looked to my left and my niece was trembling with adrenaline. It was her first concert and just like every Belieber in the building that night, she idolizes Justin Bieber. When I asked her what it is about JB that she likes so much, she rattled off several reasons, the first of which was his charitable efforts. One dollar for every ticket to the show went to Pencils of Promise, an organization that promotes global access to education. She also mentioned his music and of course it doesn't hurt that Biebs is a teenage heartthrob.
Our conversation was cut short at around 8:15 p.m., which was when a 10-minute countdown on a video screen struck zero. That's when the mass hysteria really kicked in. My purple earplugs were working overtime as the shrieking of teens nearly drowned out Bieber's band. The mass swooning started around 8:20, which was when a winged Bieber appeared suspended above the crowd. The guy knows how to make an entrance.
As far as the performance is concerned, Bieber puts on a good show. He worked a multitiered stage with a catwalk and eight video screens displaying dance moves that would make his mentor, Usher, jealous. He acted out "She Don't Like the Lights," a song reportedly about his girlfriend Selena Gomez not enjoying the media attention their relationship receives, by dancing around backup dancers who were acting like paparazzi attempting to take his picture.
He displayed his musical chops during a drum solo and during a three-song acoustic set that included "Be Alright," "Fall" and "Favorite Girl." During the acoustic numbers he played his guitar while hovering above the crowd in a cherry picker. For "One Less Lonely Girl" he brought a fan onstage, gave her flowers and serenaded her while she cried in what surely had to be the most surreal moment of her life. I was later told this is customary at Bieber concerts.
The setlist was heavy on songs from his latest album, "Believe," which was released earlier this year. "Out of Town Girl," with its Timbaland-aping beat and "Beauty and a Beat," which has hints of Skrillex and Daft Punk in its production were highlights. The latter featured a video of Nicki Minaj delivering her verse.
At one point Bieber asked the clichéd "Where are all the ladies at?" and the place erupted. He later asked for all the guys to make some noise and it was all crickets.
"I guess that means there's more for me then," he said with a sly laugh.
When he wasn't playing the role of ladies' man, Bieber seemed genuinely grateful for all of the support from his fans, and he shared several positive messages between songs. The overall themes of his messages were of self-confidence and determination.
"Believe in your dreams and never say never," he told the crowd before launching into "Baby," one of the songs that sent his star into the stratosphere.
Seeing such an impressive showing of fan support combined with hearing Bieber's simple, positive message was refreshing. That is what turned me into a fan of the 18-year-old Canadian dynamo and if you get an opportunity to see him perform, I bet he'll make a Belieber out of you too.
All Around the World
Somebody to Love
Love Me Like You Do
She Don't Like the Lights
Die in Your Arms
Beautiful (with Carly Rae Jepsen)
Out of Town Girl
Never Say Never
Beauty and a Beat
One Less lonely Girl
As Long As You Love Me
If I Was Your Boyfriend
act mature u guys are not 5 year olds so don't act like them.
Yes I Am A BELIEBER.
I like Justin Bieber, and the 20-month-old little girl I nanny likes his "Baby" video and sings along.
And to all the haters: You're just jealous!
Justin is kind of the modern day Donny Osmond. Donny set some amazing examples for teens. Don’t smoke, don’t drink or don’t have sex before marriage. Donny's fans respected him so much that Donny is still going strong at the age of 54 where he has sold over 100 million records and is currently headlining the Vegas strip. Wonder if Justin can hold up to Donny's standards?
I'm an old man but I like him O.K. I just wish he'd keep his hand off his crotch. But then I guess that's one of the things that keeps the thousands of young girls screaming.
I remember back in the mid to late 70's, we had a lot of choices for teen idols, way more than today. Many were a product of Tiger Beat and record companies that lasted for a year or so but some actually had talent and staying power. Many of those teen idols are well repected movers and shakers in todays industry. People, lay off the teen idols! They are what are young people need and want today. Let them enjoy bubblegum pop and shows or appearances by our "squeaky clean" pop idols right now. We had that right of passage just like the generations before us. I would much rather deal with musical offerings of these performers than have our preteens and early teens head straight into the often dark and crude musical offerings on the charts today. Who cares if you don't like or appreciate their music - it is our youths first taste of developing their own personal tastes and style. I can easily imagine the choices that youth in less progressive societies have. It is really amazing what some of the messages some of these performers send and some of the "not so public" work these young people do for a variety of causes. I am sick to death of the critiscisms of people that don't know who they are talking about and aren't being productive in any capacity of their own. If you don't like the music or the person, fine, but go on with your life and resist the urge to put someone down just because they don't entertain you. Get over yourself!
Bieber / Just like the irish singers Jedwards are children who capture the kids attention. what is sad is the generation growing up today are cheated out of what music is.it used to be if you didn't pronounce your words completely or keep on key and ,many other things you were not considered a musician. seems today they can get away with it and for this I will keep my oldies and listen to what real music is . I am a writer and when I write the song DOES NOT keep repeating line after line after line ect if you get my drift. anyone can write a song today with only 3 or four lines that keep repeating itself.
when I write, my songs have a theme and I get the point across or a few of my songs tell a story (that's the ones I like best). today I don't know WTF they are even on about . sorry people, your children need to sit down to some oldies and learn what music is about.
Bieber is ok but not my favorite singer. He is just so want a be. I would never pay to go see this.