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Live review: Justin Bieber @ Etihad Stadium, Melbourne


Justin Bieber's 'Purpose Tour' at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Friday March 10, 2017.

7 Things We Learned

1. Justin Bieber could not be arsed, but meh, we all love him anyway.
2. Lip syncing doesn't matter if you're honest about it.
3. Beliebers are bonkers.
4. Sandwich bags can double up as Justin air transporters.
5. Holding a ten-year-old in your arms at a gig is harder than propping up a drunk adult.
6. Laser shows are just as fricken awesome today as they were in 1991.
7. Despite the solid electronic dance music vibe, Baby is still the biggest JB banger.

A little more detail:

Mark My Words
After a cheeky on-stage illusion, the real Justin Bieber made his first appearance dangling from a glass box above 50,000 adoring Melburnians. Mark My Words – the first song on the young Canadian's latest, career-changing album Purpose – opened one of the most elaborate stage productions I've ever witnessed.

Passion
The crowd were a little older than expected, closer in age to the 23-year-old Biebs; but the predicted screams, tears and fainting from young lasses were out in full force. Jeez, Beliebers sure have passion for their cause – I noticed a few with plastic sandwich bags and Tupperware pots to collect his breath in! Unfortunately, the same fervent emotion was not matched by their leading man - not one little bit.

Lip-syncing
Although we were dazzled by the stage production, dancers, band, laser extravaganza and the fireworks booming around the stadium, Justin gave us about 65% of the energy his team offered. He didn't smile, chat or engage with the audience much... but you know what? NO ONE CARED! There were a couple of moments when the singer purposely dropped down his mic while lip-syncing to What Do You Mean? and it didn't matter – it was a manufactured and honest move. He wanted his fans to know.

Production
The stage was continually changing, morphing from a digital Game of Thrones-style wall to an urban city skate park – the crew went up and down on hydraulic platforms and Bieber, at one point, seemed to be performing in a cage fighting ring... although it may have been a trampoline?

Getting cosy with Justin
The hoodied heart-throb got a chance to show off his kit skills, in a levitated drum solo (albeit one that went on a little too long). One show highlight saw the entire room plunge into darkness, the only light focused on a scruffy chesterfield sofa with a single boy and his guitar nestling down to play. It was an unexpectedly intimate moment; Biebs closed his eyes and performed acoustic versions of Cold Water and the favourite of all mummas, Love Yourself.

Baby
Despite the distinct and solid EDM vibe to Beiber's gig, the track that gained the biggest crowd reaction was the singer's 2010 smash hit Baby... although his flirty question “Who wants to be my baby?” may have helped. Even I involuntary screamed “MEEE!” much to my daughter's horror.

Purpose is available now at JB Hi-Fi.

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