Gig Review: Justin Bieber’s ‘Purpose’ tour

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Justin Bieber’s latest World Tour is already making headlines for the wrong reasons. The star most notably walked off stage during his performance in Manchester but is the tour all that bad? Nerve Online’s Jess Reid weighs up whether the teen heartthrob can still deliver a solid performance

After the release of his fourth studio album Purpose the Canadian star has finally made it clear why he has achieved worldwide success. His comeback album sounds different to any of his previous work (We’re looking at you Baby) and carries a fresh electronic feel. Bieber has also managed to transition his fan base from young teenage girls to hipster late teens and even some more alternative adults!

I have been a fan of Justin Bieber since he first appeared in mainstream music and have even attended some of his earliest gigs. At the time there were only young girls like myself and the occasional mum, who had been forced along by her daughter.

But last night at London’s O2 Arena there was a huge mixture of people. From groups of girls to families to couples, there is no doubt Bieber has won over a lot of people with his new music.

So after the support act had been on, who were of course very good, although failed to keep the crowd’s attention (sorry but I cannot even remember their name) we waited a further 40 minutes for the real show to start. Bieber began his set with the first song on his album Mark My Words. The stage production was incredible along with the background graphics. He hadn’t even got on stage yet and girls were screaming, full of anticipation. The singer first appeared to the audience in a transparent box which began floating over the stage writing words all over the glass including “purpose” “love” and “mark my words”. As for his vocals (this he did sing) were heart melting.

Then the real performance began. Justin sang Where R U Now his first number one hit from the Purpose album. This, and a number of up other beat songs from the album he most definitely did not sing but mimed, nor did he attempt to make it seem like he was singing. In my own opinion I think he can get away with it because not only does he dance his socks off with an incredible dance crew behind him but he puts on a show. However, I can understand that people will be irritated that they aren’t getting what they paid for. Other songs he lip sang included hits like Company (but with this he was jumping around on a floating trampoline), What Do You Mean? (Again another very dancey number) and of course his number one smash hit Sorry.

At one point he told the audience to be quiet so he could speak, which is quite insulting to fans who are just cheering on your success

The star only really showed off his vocals when he emptied the whole stage, except for an old looking sofa on which he sat and played guitar. This was definitely one of the shows highlights as he sang a slowed down acoustic version of one of his newest tracks Cold Water and his most successful song ever Love Yourself. This really got my hairs standing up as the audience, who were made up of 15,000 people, joined Justin in song as he showed off his amazing guitar skills and his vocal range. Everyone had their phone lights on creating a starry setting with just a single spotlight on the star. This was what I came to see.

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The sea of lights at the London O2 Arena

He sang a few of his golden oldies including Hold Tight from his third, least successful album which no one really knows called Journals, As Long As You Love Me and Boyfriend from his second album Believe and of course he had to do Baby, his first ever number one hit and also the most disliked video on YouTube. However the audience absolutely loved it and it was one of the most upbeat songs that he sung. You could really hear how his voice has changed as he sang songs from earlier in his career.

As I mentioned earlier Bieber ended the show in style singing (and mostly miming) Sorry. But it was the ending the audience wanted.

The whole show had a few surprises, e.g. the trampolines floating over the crowd, a huge drum solo by Bieber on an elevated platform, a random, odd looking man doing a dance half way through the show.

Although I enjoyed myself I honestly believe it looked like Justin Bieber couldn’t be bothered. I don’t think I saw him smile once, and although he danced, it seemed as if each move was such a huge effort for the star. He kept putting his head in his hands as if it was the worst time of his life. And at one point he told the audience to be quiet so he could speak, which is quite insulting to fans who are just cheering on your success (felt like he was going a bit Kanye on us Beliebers). He had a couple of moments where he spoke deeply about being on this earth to have a purpose and that he had been told a number of times that he wasn’t “good enough or strong enough”. I’m definitely one for an inspirational quote but I really felt it wasn’t convincing and it took up a bit of time near the end of the show with someone shouting “Oh just get on with it”…

Written by Jess Reid