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Review |  11 May 2017 18:37 |  By Kavita Yadav

Bieber India purpose tour delights and disappoints

MUMBAI: The buzz had been building up for months now. Justin Bieber was coming to town. And one could feel the excitement in the air as the media went agog about his impossible demands to perform on his The Purpose Tour India stage. Everyone bummed for tickets - pricey ones with the most expensive one at Rs 75,000. With that kind of a price tag, most of us in the older age bracket (25-plus) expected a gee-whiz show worth that money from the Baby crooner. We expected it to be a spectacular evening; a night we wished would last forever.

So, did it turn out to be a memorable night? Well, it was a dream come true for most Beliebers who had been waiting to watch the star. However, the employed lot who shelled out their hard earned money ended up feeling that it was an "average night". It was Bieber at less than his best.

There were lights, mikes and the dancers, but not the Bieber most of us have watched in music videos. The star looks phenomenal in most of them and one imagined that image would only get bigger during his much hyped India visit. But to our disappointment, the blonde mopped celeb walked up stage in shorts and a jersey. A very insipid dress sense is what one wag commented. One would have liked some more glitz and glamour but then we can excuse that by saying that Bieber was just being humble, down to earth. He wanted to come across as a simple boy, which we think is kind of nice. Also given the Indian weather conditions, and the fact that looks don't really matter, we can let his dress sense pass once again.

For a musician it’s the performance that matters and we were deeply hopeful that Bieber wouldn’t disappoint a soul. After all, it was a night with Justin Bieber!

Well, what came along was not a little, but too short of our vision of a Bieber concert. The lights shone brightly on the stage with not too clear a ‘Bieber’ view for the fans at the back of the ground near the boundary ropes of the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai on 10 May.

There were just two screens available for the 40,000 strong fans . However, this did not impact their ecstasy and joy; the energy levels did not drop a bit in the first 30 minutes of the sensational singer’s arrival. Bieber began with songs from his Purpose album to screams of delight from the screen-agers who had thronged around the stage.

The ones from the 25 plus bracket however wondered what the excitement was about. We couldn’t help but stare at the screens as Bieber lip-synced to his famous tracks. Yes, it was all lip-syncing. And this was obvious because the heart-throb of a zillion young things continued to stop in between his performance to get rid of the sweat off his body with a towel. It did give us a gym feel, but hopeful as we could be, we stood there reminding ourselves that the best was yet to come. Well, the clock ticked 10 but the wait did not end.

However, the concert was a delight for the 10-16 year old overenthusiastic nubile youngsters, who continued to scream their lungs out, calling out his name, dying to get Bieber's attention, at the end of each song. They jumped and danced to his tunes and also showed off some Bieber attire and merchandise that they probably purchased on their way to the ground.

They were awestruck, giddy with adulation, to have seen Bieber pop out of their phones and laptop screens right in front of them. A living and breathing Bieber on Indian soil. Luckily none fainted.

The Grammy-winning artiste did try to include their ilk in his performance by inviting four Indian kids on stage to perform with him. They grooved and danced to his numbers and at the end of it Bieber asked them their names and gave them a ‘Hi-Five’ which gladdened every one's hearts as it indeed was a cute gesture.

The singer also interacted with the crowd every now and then and there were fireworks in the sky.

But, there was a lot that was missing in terms of ‘interest and energy.' There were none of the orchestrated performances that enrapture, enthrall you when you are at a Bruno Mars or a Madonna concert.

Bieber’s dance crew gave a spectacular performance but the star of the night Bieber did not quiet move that body or change his facial expressions. He looked exhausted throughout the concert. It seemed like he was going through the motions, like he was at a rehearsal, not a concert. Maybe the Mumbai humidity sapped him of all his desires to perform.

We understand that performing the same set of songs over and over again can get mundane, but it was the first time for those in the audience. So, the ‘Baby’ could have done this one more time to avoid fans feel ‘Sorry’ for having travelled from afar to watch their idol perform - for them.