Sunday 4 December 2016

Justin Bieber 3Arena review: 'An uneven show - but you wouldn't expect anything less from an erratic and unpredictable pop star'

Justin Bieber, Purpose World Tour, 3Arena, Dublin.

Eamonn Sweeney

Published 02/11/2016 | 09:27

Justin Bieber. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Justin Bieber. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Canadian singer Justin Bieber performs on stage at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris on September 20, 2016. / AFP / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT /Getty Images

During the opening number of Justin Bieber’s mammoth Purpose world tour, the 22-year old Canadian is stuck inside a perspex cube scribbling lyrics on the walls. David Blaine’s infamous 44-day exile in a glass box above the Thames immediately springs to mind.

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A few songs later, Bieber is trapped in an octagonal cage pleading, “Don’t forget that I’m human. Don’t forget that I’m real.” The subtext of this colossal production appears to be a conceptual pop show about the goldfish existence of a teen star who fell to earth to become the most googled person on the planet.

Even though he is only in his early 20s, it feels like Bieber has been around forever in pop years. During the first half, he doesn’t look like he particularly wants to be here. The stage set is jaw-dropping, but these performance values don’t fully extend to a performance that is often lip-synced.

Dublin doesn’t see a repeat of his petulant behaviour in Manchester where he reportedly stormed offstage because the audience wouldn’t stop screaming; a bugbear of generations of pop acts from the Beatles and the Walker Brothers to the present day.

Canadian singer Justin Bieber performs on stage at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris on September 20, 2016. / AFP / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT /Getty Images
Canadian singer Justin Bieber performs on stage at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris on September 20, 2016. / AFP / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT /Getty Images

Bieber asks the crowd to pipe down for the last song of the main set, Purpose. Miraculously, they comply. As the evening progresses, Bieber seems more relaxed and is occasionally animated. He address his adoring crowd of steadfast Beliebers and does a genuinely touching routine with some local school children.

Bieber eventually has the 3Arena erupting with joy. It’s an uneven show, but from an erratic and unpredictable child pop star who is awkwardly coming to age, you wouldn’t expect anything less.

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