Last night, myself and three friends made the great trek across Cape Town to experience Bieber Fever for ourselves. Having been an appreciator of the kid for about a year now, I was pretty darn excited to experience the tears, the fainting and the general hysteria for myself.
Sadly I did not cry or faint (duh) but I did get a good glimpse into some of the hysteria and witnessed a few girls in the general vicinity (front left of general standing) freaking out and bursting into tears when he was apparently ‘on his way’. To be honest, when they made that particular announcement most people were quite taken a back having figured that the Biebs was kicking it back behind the stage ready to burst on. That said, he still seemed to arrive on time and we didn’t have “London Round 2” on our hands. In fact, there was a ten minute countdown that came on the screens which I actually think was a device used by his producers to make sure he couldn’t be late – but that’s just me speculating.
After the opening act (blah), we were treated to about forty minutes of Michael Jackson tracks in the background and it definitely confirmed suspicions that I’ve had for a while now, and the signs are out there if you want to see them – Bieber definitely wants to be associated with the King of Pop. There were many other tell-tale signs throughout the gig including silhouettes and some signature MJ moves. What was impressive though is that he’s borrowed MJ’s work ethic too and the highlight of the show for me was just being able to witness firsthand how talented the guy actually is – the dancing in particular was very impressive – and the visuals on the screens were great. My favourite was a Hollywood action scene where the Biebs is chased by the paparazzi who look like a S.W.A.T. team using cameras instead of guns. Bring on an action movie with Biebs – unless it turns out like Abduction. There was fantastic integration between the live show and some obviously pre-recorded sequences, as well as segments giving us details on Justin Bieber’s life in the past few months. Everything was top-notch and really world-class.
Bieber has a good voice. Many people may not like it, but they’re kidding themselves if they deny that his vocal chords aren’t doing a pretty damn good job there. It’s a pity then to have to report that this is where the show lost some of the magic for me. His good voice and catchy lyrics were lost for a good part of the show because the sound really was not up to scratch! It seemed to improve slowly but surely but the first song in particular was not good and just didn’t land with the impact that one would have liked.
The other giant criticism I want to launch at the show is the fact that the live feed on the screens was never any closer than a wide shot. They occasionally bumped in on Bieber’s supporting band as well as the opening act, but as for Bieber himself – nothing. One can only speculate that someone had a word with the camera team and made them swear to not touch the zoom button when the Biebs was on, because we all knew the capabilities were there. Conspiracy theories have already begun online (not really) – did he have a really bad pimple? Was it even him? Thankfully, I was assured it was him about ¾ of the way through when he picked up one of the cameras on stage and filmed himself for a few just a few seconds.
This was all very sad because when we left the concert, none of us felt like we had really connected with the artist like we had done in the past with perhaps Coldplay or even Bon Jovi the night before. It is also very evident that Bieber is very young and unfortunately when he was not performing a song or a dance number, he didn’t really have much to say. That being said, I’m not sure Michael Jackson spoke that much in between the acts, so perhaps I’m being a bit harsh here. Oh wait – did I just compare him to Michael Jackson again? Oops.
In general, what we saw was an excellent stage show, executed with precision and energy, but we couldn’t help feel that we were just caught up in the giant Bieber Machine and that we were just a quick stop, and another bunch of 50000 people to tick off the list. Sounds harsh I know, and I don’t mean it as an offence to Justin himself, I really do believe that he loves his fans – but it’s just the impression you got out of the show.
The kid’s got talent though, so don’t be that person who denies it. I mean look, everyone is entitled to their wrong opinion – but rather just have the right one.