Justin Bieber live in is an utterly surreal experience. I was expecting to see hysterical tweens (and there were thousands of them at Friday night's concert) but their equally frenzied mothers and gay brothers were a bit of a surprise. Even more disturbing was the singer's highly inappropriate DJ, who warmed up the crowd - median age 12 - with Wynter Gordon's "Dirty Talk" and kept asking all the single ladies if they wanted to get with Justin. In his defence, he did play Ke$ha's "Blow" - so props for that. Then there was the slightly redundant video montage of Biebus as a child (ie. from about 2 years ago) and the King of Pop's random plea for audience members not to text and drive. I hope his fans remember that when they hit puberty and get a licence. Strangely, all these factors just made the concert more enjoyable. It was occasionally bizarre and often a little demented but never boring or predictable. Justin delivers an unforgettable hour and a half of hits and I feel lucky to have seen pop's first real phenomenon since the Spice Girls at the peak of his game.
Biebus launched his holy gospel with a couple of older songs ("Love Me" and "Bigger") from the original 2009 "My World" EP. None of the girls around me knew either song but that didn't stop them crying and screaming for Australia. The thing that really surprised me was how simple the stage was. There is no set to speak of. Just one screen, the band and a couple of dancers. At first it was a bit disconcerting but with all eyes on Justin, I guess props are kind of redundant. He eventually moved onto some newer material from "My World 2.0", including the awesome "Never Let You Go". That was followed by a stripped back segment where JB pulled a Madonna and pretended to play the guitar. "Favourite Girl" and "One Less Lonely Girl" had his disciples swooning and they even dragged an embarrassed looking tween out of the audience to be serenaded by his holiness. I was pressed - it shoulda been me!
Things started to heat up after the ballad section when Justin broke into his Usher assisted smash "Somebody To Love". He had a costume change and his new black outfit was rather stylish. There was something distinctly Michael Jackson about the costumes (down to the sequined hanky that dangled from the teen idol's back pocket) and the choreography that Justin performed with relative ease. Next up was my favourite JB track "Never Say Never", which, as hard as this may be to believe, is even more spectacular live! I loved the dance routine and was highly amused by his random thug poses. During this section Justin also performed his break-through hit "One Time" and played the drums. He's so talented! The video montages were a bit vomit inducing but the crowd loved them and the clips gave Biebus time to change into a fetching black and red hoodie. Why wasn't that available at the merchandise stand?
The last quarter of the concert was probably the most enjoyable. There were some classy pyrotechnics and a couple of fun covers. Justin paid tribute to Michael Jackson with a cute rendition of "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and belted out a bubblegum version of Aerosmith's classic "Walk This Way". He then slowed things right down by sitting down at the paino to sing the incredibly lovely "Down To Earth" from "My World". I don't think Biebus gets enough credit for his music. He's only really released one album and an EP but he already has a bunch of fantastic songs up his sleeve. Another example is "Eenie Meenie", which is impossible to resist whether you're 8 or 28. JB then left the stage but hurried back to ask what the audience wanted to hear as an encore. I thought the screams of "Baby" would permanently damage my ears and I had to elbow my friend to stop loudly prefacing each request with "a dingo's got my" but it was worth the hearing loss and death stares from parents. "Baby" is an undeniable modern pop classic. I can't think of a better way to end one of the most exuberant, unashamedly fun concerts I've seen in a very long time. Bring on the live CD and DVD!