Dear Justin Bieber, it is too late to say ‘Sorry’ now
Canadian popstar Justin Bieber’s first ever concert in India failed to live up to its hype and what was thought to be one of the best concerts in India proved to be nothing more than a show which was only high on star power.music Updated: May 11, 2017 16:38 IST
I have not been to many international concerts. In fact I can count the number of times I have seen an international artist’s concert on my fingers. Justin Bieber’s concert was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as it was made out to be, yet it remains one of the most forgettable concerts that I have attended, and I haven’t attended many.
Right in February when we broke the confirmed news, fans, especially youngsters, had been waiting for the concert. On the plane to Mumbai, I ran into a mother with her two daughters . “We booked the tickets right when the concert was announced. My daughters are crazy about him,” she said before asking me if I could help her daughters get “close to Bieber” because I was a journalist and would probably have more proximity to the pop icon. I told them even if they cannot get closer they can enjoy him singing live. “That’s all okay, bhaiya. But only if we could get close to him, it will be a dream come true for us,” said one of the daughters, hoping that I’d guarantee her something.
Meeting them made me realise that the 23-year-old was more than just music and live concerts. He is a star, and even if he doesn’t do anything remotely associated with music, people will still line up for him.
I left for the concert at 3pm from my Mumbai hotel, thinking I will reach in an hour (I was staying in Bandra) I chose to ignore a colleague’s advice who told me to leave at 1pm keeping the traffic in mind. I paid for my mistakes as I got stuck right outside the stadium for over one hour. I decided to ditch the cab and reach the venue on foot.
Right outside the venue, luxury cars and sedans kept pulling up dropping the guests and of course creating a traffic nightmare. With many ways closed for VIP movement to the venue, things didn’t get any easier. “I have been stuck here for the last two hours. I am not even interested in Justin Bieber. I want to get out of here,” a local cab driver told me.
DY Patil stadium was buzzing and for once it was not filled with cricket fans. I had the VVIP pass which meant I could hobnob with the celebrities. With stars walking on the red carpet, posing for the Mumbai paparazzi, Bieber’s maiden concert was building up to something huge and massive, and though I am not his biggest fan, I too started to jump on to the Belieber bandwagon.
But as I mentioned, it led to a massive disappointment. The Canadian got on stage at about 8.20 pm. Not surprisingly his entry was greeted with an overwhelming roar, and shouts of “Bieber, Bieber” echoed throughout the stadium.
15 minutes into the low-on-energy performance and he decided to do an acoustic performance. After about a minute and thirty seconds into that performance, Bieber realised his guitar was mistuned. Credit where it’s due —he got away with remarkable ease and got back on to finishing the song.
The acoustic performance made me believe that things might change and he might take things by the scruff of the neck. Didn’t happen, and as he was performing Love Yourself, I could overhear people wondering if Bieber was actually singing or was it all lip sync. To my amateur ear it sounded like the song was playing straight from YouTube. As I searched for a big scoop, I was lucky that I was standing next to a popular Indian singer, and when I asked if he indeed was lip syncing, a gentle affirmative nod confirmed the sad truth. Later I could see the same singer interact with another singer and talk about the same. Clearly, he wasn’t impressed too.
One could feel the underwhelming performance after an hour when people in the VVIP lounge started making plans for the rest of the night, and started moving inside thanks to the heat and humidity.
He went through his hits including Baby, What Do You Mean among many others and while the crowd near the stage were too busy having a good time, people around me started leaving, hoping to give the traffic jam a miss.
Incidentally, he ended his gig with his famous track, Sorry - you would think that the popstar was apologising for a rather shambolic performance. But perhaps, it was too late to say sorry.
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