No sooner than I find myself at a loss for how to go about really getting a feel for what it is about Justin Bieber that people are so enamored with, I'm reminded of something I saw in M.
Read his face, read his soul, you say? Well, the logical extension of that would obviously be draw his face, OWN HIS SOUL! Why I didn't think of this in the first place is beyond me. Unfortunately, I can't draw for shit. But that's what YouTube is for. There are dozens of videos promising to teach me how to draw Justin Bieber's face and ultimately possess his soul for my very own, but I settle on this one.
Why that one? Because it's 46 seconds long, that's why. I'm already dangerously close to being far too old to be writing an article about this kid. Who has time to wait nine minutes to learn anything? No, under a minute is more my speed.
Approximately 90 seconds later, I'm not sure what I'm looking at, I just know I want it dead.
I OWN YOUR SOUL, BIEBER!
Finding that nothing I could do from a distance was enough to help me see what it is about Justin Bieber that makes tweens tick, short of actually approaching a group of tweens and asking and subsequently being escorted to my car by mall security, I decided to take this show on the road. As luck would have it, Justin Bieber was LIVE! IN CONCERT! IN OMAHA! Awesome?
I hit the road and set up shop at a hotel across the street from the venue, where I had a perfect view of the "Justin Bieber VIP Experience" tent. Apparently, it's either a very exclusive club or a total rip-off, because that tent is tiny as shit.
Anyway, most of the down time prior to the show was spent power drinking because A) I take my job seriously and B) I was hugely concerned that they wouldn't be selling beer on account of all the kids in attendance.
Not wanting to stick out as the creepy dude who was way too drunk and old to be at a Justin Bieber concert alone, I tossed on my best disguise and hit the venue.
As you've probably noticed, I'm horrible at disguises. And my fears about no alcohol sales turned out to be completely unfounded. In fact, as concerts go, the access to booze at this one was unprecedented. Apparently, parents have reservations about getting trashed in the company of children, which meant even before the show started and the hallways were jam packed, the beer lines were practically non-existent. Also pleasantly devoid of lines: the men's room.
And I got the pictures to prove it!
But enough about my drinking problem, on to the show! One thing I learned right away is that children have no concept of how opening acts are supposed to be handled. By the time The Stunners, the first of two opening acts, hit the stage the arena is completely packed and complete pandemonium has ensued. Don't these kids realize that at this point you're still supposed to be dropping acid in your van and listening to Judas Priest on the cassette deck? The Priest is still playing arenas, right?
As for me, I haven't even made my way to my seat, instead opting to check things out from the handicap section which is delightfully free of screaming children. The Stunners were horrible, but I found myself oddly transfixed by their stage show for some reason nonetheless.
The Stunners: all over the age of 18 from the proper distance.
Awkward! Back to the hallway for awhile. Holy shit, is that a Microsoft Kinect set up? It is. Time to rock some dance moves. Only one question at this point: Lady GaGa or Bell Biv Devoe? Just joking, that's no contest, Poison wins by a landslide. Also winning by a landslide, my desire to get the fuck away from the Microsoft Kinect after about 30 seconds.
You can't see me on the dance floor! Seriously, you can't, that picture is way too blurry.
Sean Kingston takes the stage next and if you think for one damn second I'm sitting through that, you have another thing coming. That is not part of the arrangement. Instead I spend the next hour or so on the smoking deck until the Biebs commences to do whatever he does that passes for rocking.
Unfortunately, I make the mistake of not heading for my seat until he's actually on stage. See, in my experience, no matter how packed the show may be, the nose bleed seats are a pretty calm affair. Not so this time. By the time the music starts, the odds of me stumbling around and actually finding my lone upper stratosphere seat buried in a sea of screaming tweens is not in the cards. Instead, I just kind of find a place to stand where I can still see and proceed to try and figure out what all the hype is about. As evidenced by this picture, I'm standing pretty goddamned far away.
I can confirm that the ghostly apparition in white is the man himself, Justin Bieber. OMG you guyz! As for the show, it will probably come as no surprise that things sound suspiciously similar to the actual CD. I'm not accusing the kid of lip syncing; he's clearly singing most of the time. What I am saying is that he's either employed the tightest band this side of Purple Rain-era Prince and the Revolution or great lengths are being taken to make sure the CD player hidden safely backstage doesn't skip. But who am I to judge? I outsource the writing of all my articles to some guy in India for $3.50/month.
All of the typical pop star tricks are in play here. Tons of background dancers, lots of pleas for the crowd to SCREAMMMMM! and of course, plenty of flying out over the crowd on some platform contraption so everyone can update their Facebook status to say they were "like, THIS close to Justin Bieber last night!" Naturally, at some point the lights get dimmed and shit gets intimate.
It's all been done a million times before. Some of these kids have probably even seen it before but they're just still too young to know they should be annoyed by it.
So, I guess I get it, kids. Someday you'll look back on your Justin Bieber fandom and chuckle with embarrassment. Until then, scream your lungs out and buy your magazines and your temporary tattoos. A 35-year-old Justin Bieber's desire to not have to find a day job is counting on it. As for me, I'm too old for this shit. I hightail it back to the hotel bar before the encore and call it a night.