"I'd like all of you to be quiet and listen to me now," Justin Bieber told his fans at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai. "I named this tour Purpose for a reason. Everyone has a purpose. You should always believe the best is yet to come," the 23-year-old promised towards the end of his performance.
Then the stage went black — it seemed like the show was over — but fans were still chanting: 'Justin, Justin' and screaming 'SORRY, SORRY' (the name of his song) in excitement. Bieber didn't let his fans down, and returned to perform one of his most famous numbers 'Sorry'. A crew member even waved the Indian flag on stage (FIR pending, if we have learned anything from Coldplay) as fans cheered his name. They had been waiting for this for a long time.
If you arrived at the concert grounds early in the morning, you would have seen fans waiting for the box-office to open. Some of them told me, "We have been here since 8 am."
And if you thought you were too cool to like Justin Bieber, the 45,000 people who showed up at the concert would have vehemently disagreed with you.
The DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, where the concert was held, was jam-packed with Bieber fans and the Platinum section (Rs 15,400 for one ticket), which was the closest to the stage, was divided into audience of three categories: Disillusioned mediapersons covering the concert (a very small percentage), unsupervised teenage Beliebers and parents who were accompanying their teenaged kids to the concert, many of them from out of town. Neeraj had accompanied his daughter Nikkita, aged 13, for the concert. They had flown in all the way from Bengaluru for the show. Another mother had brought her 15-year-old daughter from New Delhi. A 13-year-old, Jenna from Mumbai, was here with her father. "This is my birthday gift, my 13th birthday gift. Best birthday ever!" she enthused. A father was protectively chaperoning his son who was in a wheelchair.
Since the stage was the closest to us, kids stuck to its periphery while the parents sat a few metres away with a watchful eye on their offspring.
Fans, dressed in Bieber memorabilia (lots of Purpose World Tour T-shirts) waited patiently as the three DJs performed their sets from 4 pm onwards. As DJ Sartek, Zaeden tried to warm up the crowds, no one cheered. The audience was more interested in getting some food. Food was available outside, but you could not carry it inside the concert premises. What was available were small water bottles, ice cream, chips priced at Rs 100 (and Rs 200 after 8 pm) and very warm, free drinking water. There were no dustbins at the venue, which meant all the water bottles and wrappers found their way to the ground by the end of the show.
Though Beliebers were excited when Alan Walker came onstage, they only cheered intermittently as he played his set list. Most 13-year-olds around me were catching up on gossip and blabbering about Bieber.
Then at 8 pm, the crowd started chanting: 'Justin, Justin'. Bieber turned up on stage ten minutes later, dressed in his iconic white t-shirt (which had 'Beliebers' written on it), black shorts and sneaks. The set started with 'Where Are You Now?' which was also the track most fans were looking forward to in the concert. He thanked India and Mumbai for the rousing welcome. "What an amazing night. Thank you so much for having me. I am really happy to be here... The sun here is very different!"
Bieber then took up the guitar and sang 'Cold Water' and 'Love Yourself'— and pulled an Adele at the Grammys (she restarted her George Michael tribute performance because she made a mistake).
As he started strumming the tune to 'Cold Water' he realised that his guitar was not tuned properly. So after a new lines, he started to play the song again. "Sorry my guitar is a bit out of tune because it is so humid here," he said before starting the song again.
Everything progressed smoothly with his usual set, and he even tossed his scarf into the crowd and a lucky girl caught it. The two hours were almost over as he performed what is usually the last track on his set— 'Purpose'. Before that he gave a speech: "I'd like all of you to be quiet and listen to me now."
"I named this tour Purpose for a reason. Everyone has a purpose. You should always believe the best is yet to come," he said, and then performed the slowest track of the night.
Then just when you thought the night was over, the stage empty, Bieber was back to perform 'Sorry'. "The show cannot end without 'Sorry'," fans yelled at the stage and they were right — he performed the track at the end of his 120-minute set.
Now fans were posed with the next question as they tried to step out of the plastic bottle and wrapper-riddled ground: How do you get home from here?
Uber surged their prices by three times, roads were jam packed as 45,000 people poured out of the stadium, shoving each other and stepping on each other's toes. No one was complaining though. Schools and colleges are closed for summer, so the kids will probably be sleeping off their exhaustion on Thursday morning.
As for Bieber himself, he took off in his chopper, presumably for an after-party, having made the dreams of thousands of fans come true.
Published Date: May 11, 2017 10:16 am | Updated Date: May 12, 2017 07:16 pm