Justin Bieber - Staples Center - 6/24/13
Better than... playing with Barbies.
What does the Bieber key, an image looming on a giant screen over the audience of girls wearing matching outfits with their friends, signify? Before one could figure it out, the lights in the Staples Center went off and the girls' screams rose like thunder as someone on stage started talking. It could have been a homeless man who had wandered in off of Figueroa announcing a plague. This audience would have shrieked first and asked questions later.
Justin Bieber-style excitement is infectious. The sudden mass chanting of "Justin! Justin!" caused all-over goose bumps as nearly everyone in Staples did "the wave", accidentally punching each other in the face with their cell phones as they tried to keep it up. Round and round and round the arena, this was the longest wave in the history of waves. It stopped only when a light finally flickered again on stage.
Some people might complain, but it's magnificent when the girls scream. It's like a pep rally. Everyone is on the same sugar-infused team. This is good. Children are wonderful.
It felt like I just came out of a cave and I was marveling at civilization for the first time.
A mom reprimanded me about how I should put my beer in the cup holder on the seat in front of me; I wanted to explain that the bouncing children were shaking the seats and it will spill everywhere but I just said, "OK" since she's a mom and I'm powerless in this environment. I put my beer in the holder and it spilled all over the shoes of the daughter of the mom that made me put it there.
All the girls posed and primped themselves in case Bieber might notice them from a mile away, invite them backstage and live happily ever after for one whole night together. It's a healthy fantasy all girls should entertain. They don't need to know that if the fantasy ever actually materialized it will probably be lame or embarrassing. Let them believe they will ride away on Escalade chariots into the sunset with the object of their shy sensual fantasies.
In the midst of all this tweendom, a countdown appeared on the screen above the state, replacing the giant Bieber key. Seven minutes. The screaming continued. Another Michael Jackson song (the fifth of the hour) played in the meantime.
With 30 seconds to go, a guy appeared on screen and reminded the girls all to breathe. They shrieked in response. Then there were fireworks everywhere. It was almost impossible to think clearly when Bieber floated into view on black wings made from cymbals and guitars and confetti exploded all over the audience.
After a little dancing, Bieber removed his jacket exposing his tattoos and golden gloves. He said we all looked gorgeous tonight. He began wiping his face but stopped midway because he was compelled to hit a few smooth notes. He asked, "Are you ready?" A Stevie Wonder type of swelling sound surrounded him. Two women in white long butterfly gowns rose from the floor, attached to a windmill. Bieber was casual and rested on a railing that just happened to ascend from the ground when he leaned back against thin air. He kept grabbing the general area where his crotch might be, if it were a real saggy crotch. He was so cute it was like looking at a dolphin.
On multiple screens, he appeared to dive underwater wearing sneakers and baggy white pants. Then he emerged in real life wearing a gold hoodie-vest, popping out of the ground again. He grabbed his crotch (again!) and pointed at the audience. Then we watched a montage of Bieber awards footage that was a little nauseating. Was it a secret transmission, a cry for help? "Save me from my fame! It's such a bummer." Probably not.
More shrieking from the crowd. It started raining on the screens. Everyone held themselves. Bieber emerged with an umbrella and black pants. All the screens displayed him in various poses trapped behind raindrops. He put his hands up just wishing he could break through and then he ran away. The stage went black. A helicopter circled on screen. We watched a video of Bieber being chased by paparazzi dressed as assassins. He tripped them up and winked as he got away, jumping over buildings and landing on the stage somehow. I couldn't tell whether he was singing or lip synching, or some combination. No one cared, truth be told.