Justin Bieber can do anything. That’s one takeaway from a massive arena event like Wednesday night’s Newark, N.J. stop, on the 2013 edition of his Believe Tour. Give him a backup crew of five and a massive EDM beat and he’ll lead a hip-hop dance routine. Strap him into a rotating platform that juts two stories above the some-18,000 screaming fans of the Prudential Center and he’ll strum a fragile acoustic version of his song “Fall.” Put him behind a drum kit on a riser at the top of his intricate three-tiered stage setup, about 60 feet in the air, and he’ll solo to the back of the third mezzanine. Unfurl a slow bass line and he’ll rap the Tyga hit “Rack City” over the top. Give him a white grand piano and he’ll fold over it to belt his hit “Believe” to close the show, with fireworks and lasers and dancers and strobes.
Maybe he’s not a virtuoso of any single stripe, but he’s got enough stripes to lead an adoring pop army, even after more than a year of touring on the same concert and album. There’s just not enough Bieber to go around, as liberally as he spreads himself.
Thanks to YouTube, fans knew Bieber could do whatever he wanted from an early age. The jack of all showbiz trades had cameras trained on him from the beginning, and a lot of early footage of his life is shown throughout his live show on 100-foot video screens attached to the stage. A toddler-aged Justin dances in a kitchen. A pre-teen Biebs plays a wild drum solo as he emcess for himself. The vibrant confidence and charisma of his early videotapes are part of his success story, one that he continues to push as an achievement of his dreams through hard work, viral marketing and perseverance. “Let me hear you scream if you have a dream, too,” he said more than a time or two throughout the night.
Bieber is one of the biggest pop stars on earth, and he’s almost always behaved that way. At nearly every step of his life, when there’s a camera on him, his incredible self-consciousness leads to some kind of performance—perhaps even when he spars with paparazzi. He seems hyper-naturally aware of even the cameras 100 yards away from the stage, knowing exactly when and where to look directly into the lens with that wounded look, that one of sad puppy eyes but a remarkably unfurrowed brow. He’s seen as an unerringly young and prodigious dilettante, and we’re made to believe that through practice we, too, could achieve this level of success.
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