Justin Bieber seemed to relish being back on stage at KeyArena after what he acknowledged has been a rough couple of years. The 22-year-old star appeared to have matured.
In the closing moments of his show Wednesday, March 9, at KeyArena, Justin Bieber stripped off his shirt as he danced under an enormous cascade of water. It was a fitting conclusion to an athletic, theatrical, 90-minute show that at one point included Bieber bouncing on a trampoline suspended above the crowd.
Bieber is in that special category of celebrity whose job seems to revolve as much around the act of being a Hollywood star as it does practicing the art that propelled him to fame in the first place. So it was fascinating to see him grinding his day job, as he launched the first night of the “Purpose” world tour to a sold-out crowd.
Bieber started the show by emerging in a glass box suspended above the multilevel stage and quickly received a deafening roar from the crowd of mostly younger women and girls. By the time he settled into the cheeky dub-lite of his new single “Where Are Ü Now” it was clear the cheering wasn’t going to stop soon.
Bieber seemed to relish being back on stage after what he alluded to as a rough couple of years (which included a notorious visit to a Brazilian brothel). The young star celebrated his 22nd birthday March 1 and he did appear less boyish, his once perfectly manicured hair pulled into a messy man bun. “Where Are Ü Now” reinforced the maturity theme, with its reflections on aging.
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Another new song, the coy “Love Yourself,” sparked a massive singalong as Bieber plopped down on a couch for a solo acoustic session, which confirmed that underneath all the layers of vocal effects, he can actually sing.
But the quiet moments didn’t last long. Bieber soon turned the arena into an island dance party with his breezy hit “What Do You Mean?”
“Baby,” the single that helped launch Bieber’s career in 2010, got the biggest cheers — until Bieber decided to rip his shirt off.
By the time he closed the show with his massive hit, “Sorry,” it didn’t really matter that some of the lyrics had been muddled or that the vocal effects were overdone. Nothing could topple the positive quality of the evening overall.