By Jake Brown
Just watching, listening, and looking back on the pictures, videos, and snapchats from the evening right now will make “U Smile” (and it’ll make me smile as well).
“She’s crying right now” were the words from one “Belieber” sitting behind me to another on their friend’s emotions.
Well, it was that kind of night. Last night (May 4), it was the first of two stops of the Justin Bieber’s “Purpose Tour” at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The 22-year-old sensation had the crowd on their feet all night, ready to explode with each successive song. Just when you thought that one song got the loudest reaction from the Brooklyn faithful, the crowd would get even louder with the next one.
Bieber himself seemed to agree: “I think this is the loudest crowd so far.”
Through all the well-documented issues that Bieber has had over the years, his maturity can be clearly seen, mixed in with the youth. The tour truly is serving a “purpose.” The evening takes you through the journey that the young pop star has been on since he started in this industry at just 14 years old. He took off nearly from day one, going from a YouTube sensation singing “One Time” and “Love Me” to becoming one of the biggest stars in the work; perhaps surprisingly, he’s remained popular for nearly a decade now.
Before Bieber hit the stage, Bieber’s pal Post Malone played a brief set. The anticipation was building as it got closer to JB. 20-year-old Malone finished his set with his hit song “White Iverson,” which had much of the Barclays crowd singing along and getting prepared for what was ahead of them for the next 90 minutes.
And that’s when the spectacle began.
Once the lights dimmed, Bieber’s Calvin Klein ads came up on the screen, and the screams began. The crowd full of teenage girls, college girls, post-college girls, mothers, and boyfriends (who say they were dragged to the concert but really wanted to go) were raucous and once Bieber came up from under the stage inside of a cube, the tone was set.
Bieber was surrounded by a dozen backup dancers who didn’t miss a step all night. He started the night with “Mark My Words” off the Purpose album. A majority of his songs were off the hit number one album that has seen him touring around the world. The international tour began in March in Seattle and goes all the way through November, ending in London. While the pop superstar did mostly new songs, he made sure to mix some of his older ones, like “Boyfriend” and “Baby.”
It’s evident that the new, more grown-up Bieber was on display, showing off his singing, and dancing, skills. Bieber also rocked a drum solo, did backflips on a trampoline coming from the ceiling, and playing his famous acoustic editions of songs, which included my personal favorite “Love Yourself.”
The night ended with a splash. After leaving the stage following “Purpose,” he came out for his encore, which was his current smash “Sorry.” While concert goers often leave early to beat the traffic (or, in the case of Barclays, the subway rush) nobody was missing “Sorry” to get home earlier. Bieber and his dancers performed the song while jumping around in an elevated pool with water raining down on the man of the hour.
The show was full of songs that made people sing, cry, bob their head to, and dance. Looking back at these pictures, videos, and snapchats, you realize that these are the kind of experiences that people need in life. They make you appreciate music. A lot of people have said a lot of things about Bieber in the past, but he made a lot of mistakes as a kid. In many ways, he’s still a kid. Everyone makes mistakes, and when the spotlight is on you around the world at 14, those things happen. This tour serves as a reminder that Justin Bieber isn’t just a trouble maker; he has become, to many, an icon. He’s been able to put out number one hits and number one albums over and over. Wednesday night at the Barclays Center proved once again that this man knows how to put on more than a concert, but a spectacle.
Get used to it.