EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey — After sets from Jaden Smith and Cody Simpson, a quick mirror pic sesh in the bathroom, a pit stop at the glow-stick vendor and an onscreen countdown, Justin Bieber took the stage at the IZOD Center. More accurately, he was dropped onstage, dangling in the air from a pair of giant metallic wings.
Friday night's New Jersey show was one of four Bieber has planned for the tri-state area. After Gov. Chris Christie asked the superstar to lend a hand in Hurricane Sandy relief, the Believe Tour headliner announced Thursday that he was donating a dollar from each ticket sold to relief efforts. Christie tweeted that his daughters are "big fans," so there just might be a chance they sat in the same section as the Victoria's Secret models we spotted and whom Justin reportedly befriended when he performed at the VS fashion show this week. Gossip aside, the "As Long As You Love Me" singer put on a great show.
As his Hermes-like wings detached and rescinded, Bieber landed headfirst into "All Around the World," leading his dance troupe in an all-white ensemble (complete with gold studded kicks) as a Bieber-fied color guard rushed the arena with flags from around the world. The stage and its surrounding screen mimicked a spaceship, playing "bleeps" and "bloops" between the first few songs and showing images of a stereo interface. But between the jackets on his dancers and the metal spacecraft centerpiece, it was hard to tell what Biebs was going for: international or intergalactic?
A cappella snippets of "Up" and "U Smile" lefts tweens fanning themselves as Justin ad-libbed and flaunted his vocals. Then, the arena went dark (more screams) and the date "February 21, 2011" flashed on the stories-tall screen. Of course, fans already knew what the date meant: the end. The end of Justin's signature shaggy hairdo. A YouTube clip and media montage ensued that included reports from critics who asked, "Can Justin make the transition from boy to man?"
To a host to screams, JBiebs returned to the spotlight, only to be chased off by a mock photographer, prompting another big-screen production of a James Bond-style chase. A group of men followed Bieber as he dodged hurdles, made quick turns, and yes, even stopped to check his hair. And when he left the virtual world for his real one in New Jersey, he sprung up from underneath the stage, finding himself among dancers-turned-fake-paps, who multiplied as he sang.
Finally shaking off his pursuers, a sweaty Justin ended "She Don't Like the Lights" by peeling away his fitted black jacket, but he had a little trouble. His first-row fans came to the rescue when he asked, "Help me take this off?" They happily obliged and continued to tear his jacket to shreds in a fight over who would keep it (just kidding ... but it might've happened).
The DJ pumped up the crowd with Rihanna's "Where Have You Been" as Bieber left to change his vest (I can't even begin to tell you how much this kid loves vests). Teasing a "special show," he invited Jaden Smith back onstage for "Fairytale," where the boys showed their rapping power. Bieber slowed it down with Usher's 2001 hit "U Got It Bad" before delving back into the rap genre with "Beauty and a Beat." Although Nicki Minaj wasn't there to spit her verse, images of the pink-wigged diva flashed onscreen.
Oh yeah, and did you hear that JBiebs took his shirt off too? First, he lifted his white tee to strap on a harness to stay "safe" before a mechanical arm extended him over the arena. And then, shrieks smashed sonic levels as fans got a glimpse of his abs in his shirtless (but jacket-clad) dance performance toward the end of the show. Could it get any better?
Of course! In his live-show tradition, Justin invited a lucky girl from the crowd to an onstage throne to be serenaded with "One Less Lonely Girl."
Finishing off the concert, Bieber gave IZOD attendees an answer to the question asked earlier in the show. Can a teen phenomenon make the transition to manhood? With his performance of the sexy "Boyfriend," the singer showed off his high falsetto but also his deeper voice, wooing thousands and thousands of ladies. Whether the media think Justin Bieber has lasting power or not, these girls are going nowhere.
Have you seen Justin Bieber in concert? Tell us what you think of his performances!