Justin Bieber’s name was being chanted seven hours before he set foot on the stage inside Oracle Arena in Northern California. Thousands of fans had gathered in the early afternoon hours to gawk at his caravan of tour buses and hope they’d catch a glimpse of the superstar. Like him or not the eighteen-year-old pop sensation seems to be here to stay. The ticket sales on his current romp around the country, a trip dubbed “The Believe Tour,” seem to support the loyalty of all those Bieber fans.
More proof of the Bieber empire that is being built was the opening act. Carly Rae Jepsen, a new signee to Bieber’s record label, had a strong showing of radio friendly material. The 26-year-old seemed to have materialized out of nowhere last summer with the catchy “Call Me, Maybe,” a song that may have been spun on radio more than any other single. In the history of music. Although her performance was strong it wasn’t anything stunning. Jepsen looks the part, sounds the part and is quickly climbing the charts with another pop confection. She rounded out her set with the hit song which turned into a sing along. Jepsen is talented but predictable.
The shrill screams never subsided throughout the night. A roadie making his way on stage to place water bottles next to the drum kit elicited screams. But when Justin Bieber arrived, flying a dozen feet above the audience, the sound was deafening. The noise level could rival a Slayer set. Once he landed and got rid of his wings, yes he had wings, he launched into a two hour performance that featured a few wardrobe changes, a lot of choreographed dancing and every Bieber hit imaginable.
The production of this tour is top notch. In the midst of all those back up dancers, the elaborate stage and the pyro it’s easy to lose sight of Bieber and all his swag. But when all the pomp and circumstance fled to the wings for a few numbers and it was just Bieber and an acoustic guitar the fans actually quieted down. His vocals were solid and it was one of the rare moments that seemed spontaneous, even though it wasn’t.
When Jon Chu, famed director of Bieber’s movie and Bay Area resident, was welcomed on stage mid set to be introduced to the adoring audience it was the only moment where Bieber was off script. The rest of the performance, although entertaining and worth the price of admission, was more like a music video than a genuine concert.
After all was said and done, the show was exactly as advertised. As the thousands filed out into the parking lot the young fans could be overheard re-hashing their favorite parts of the concert. Memories were made in Oakland that night. Bieber hit the mark with his performance and has proven all the naysayers wrong. The Beliebers are multiplying and Justin is capitalizing while he’s entertaining.