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Rediff.com  » Movies » A non-Belieber among Beliebers

A non-Belieber among Beliebers

May 11, 2017 15:16 IST

His daughter is a fan. He most definitely is not.
Rajesh Karkera attends Justin Bieber's Mumbai concert to find out what the fuss is all about.

Justin Bieber concert in Navi Mumbai

The crowd was visible from a distance when we arrived.

At 2 pm on May 10 -- 6 hours before Justin Bieber was to start his performance -- thousands of fans were already outside the D Y Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.

Justin Beiber Concert

For most of the attendees, the next two hours, until the gates finally opened, were spent walking around the stadium under the hot May sun trying to locate the gate -- there were 10 -- they were supposed to enter from.

And that is after many of them had already trekked 2 km from the parking area to the stadium (though there was a shuttle service from the parking areas to the stadium, the deployed buses were too large to drop off the attendees anywhere close to the gates).

Justin Beiber Concert

The gates finally opened around 4 pm, and to our collective surprise many of us breezed through without the stringent checks we are used to at venues like this.

A chat with some of the security personnel revealed that unlike during IPL or ISL matches, they were not told to check or confiscate anything.

Justin Beiber Concert

The chat with the security personnel made sense as soon as we stepped in.

Cigarettes and alcohol -- rather overpriced, I might add, at ₹650 for a vodka and Redbull -- were being sold inside the venue. Even to underaged kids.

Since there was no designated smoking area and no age barrier for the attendees, the children at the venue were left exposed to secondhand smoke.

Justin Beiber Concert

At 5 pm, we finally began to see some action on stage. Actress-model Elarica Johnson, the host for the evening, introduced the opening act -- Indian DJ Sartek.

Justin Beiber Concert

While the DJ began warming up the audience, the Beliebers got their photos and social media posts out of the way.

Justin Beiber Concert

In the crowd were many Bollywood stars, including Jacqueline Fernandez (second from left), who had just tweeted about her arrival at the Purpose Tour in a chopper!

Justin Beiber Concert

For those celebs who wanted to get out of the confines of the air-conditioned Ultra Lounge there was an open area marked 'Royal'. However, since the direct view of the stage from here was blocked by the tech console, their view would have been like ours -- the big screens.

Justin Beiber Concert

While another Indian DJ, Zaeden, took over from DJ Sartek, the audience sought out shaded spots and cool drinks.

Justin Beiber Concert

The vendors made a killing.

With no fixed rates, savvy gentlemen like this one happily upped the price of a glass of Coca-Cola -- ₹140 to ₹160 -- from one customer to the next.

Water was free inside the grounds, but it was a task to find the dispensers and the food stalls made the most of it by selling a glass of water for ₹30.

Justin Beiber Concert

Things finally began to heat up when the sun began to go down, and the third and final DJ of the evening walked on stage.

The crowd loved Norwegian music producer Alan Walker, aka DJ Walkzz.

The star of the evening finally took stage at 8.15 pm with what seemed like very little spark to a non-Belieber.

But whatever bang the T-shirt and shorts clad singer -- did the Mumbai heat get to him or was it just disinterest? -- lacked the Beliebers made up for it.

Justin Beiber Concert

The crowd went into a frenzy -- with many in tears at seeing their idol -- when Bieber began singing Where Are You Now?

Justin Beiber Concert

Two more songs followed before the singer greeted Mumbai. By then the tempo had begun to drop as fans started realising that he was lip syncing.

Justin Beiber Concert

Unlike Bieber, the back-up dancers did a fantastic job of holding the show together and were clearly more respectful to the fans and their art than the pop sensation.

Justin Beiber Concert

Bieber shifted to the acoustic guitar for Cold Water, but then he spat on the stage...

Justin Beiber Concert

... And that was all I could take of a Justin Bieber evening.

Rajesh Karkera / Rediff.com