Justin Bieber: The Purpose tour
Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, NZ

March 18th, 2017
4/5 stars


It has been just over a year since Justin Bieber started his Purpose tour, and it is clear that every lyric, every dance move, every beat is now nothing more than muscle memory. 

Hitting the stage to Mark My Words, he appeared suspended in a Perspex cube. Thousands of teenage girls screamed. If you were seating in the temporary south stand, you could feel the scaffolding shake. After all, many childhood dreams were coming true.

Bieber’s Auckland show was full of tricks. From fireworks, pyrotechnics, lasers, lights, graphics, high tech videos and dancers, the show’s production was next-level. If only Bieber’s energy could match it. While he was punctual, and never missed a single beat, it seemed at times that Bieber lacked the excitement and passion everyone else around him had.

Especially in the first half of the show, it felt like he was only going through the motions. There was little interaction with the audience, and when he spoke, he rarely went off-script. For those in the VIP section who paid more than $700 to see Justin Bieber up close, it must have been rather disappointing that he didn’t come closer to them.

Nevertheless, us fans can only scream our devotion. It doesn’t matter if Bieber spent the whole show chewing gum or with his hand casually in his pocket. He is still, after all, Justin Bieber. And whether you were a dad taking your 8-year-old to her first concert, or a teen girl who grew up with Bieber’s poster, the one where he still had a fringe, hanging on your wall, it was impossible not to sing along, especially to his old hits, Boyfriend, As Long As You Love Me, and of course, Baby.

The show itself was littered with metaphors. He was in a glass box, then a cage – an ode to how he lives his life. The baby-faced, fringe-flipping YouTube star from Canada had the whole world following his every move. Growing up in the public eye, he has courted controversy. But when he spoke (well, preached) to the audience about how Life is Worth Living, it was evidence that Bieber knows how much influence he has on his fans. The young boy has matured. 

The acoustic versions of Cold Water, Love Yourself and a cover of Lifehouse’s You and Me proved that the pop star has talent. His drum solo was nothing short of brilliant. He can sing, he can play the guitar, he can play drums, and he can dance. He delivered an incredible, well thought-out show. His vocals were on point, his dancers were amazing, and he was, as fans pointed out, as beautiful as ever. 

It’s no longer cool to hate on him. And if you still think it’s funny to make fun of the young singer, then maybe it’s not only Bieber who still has some growing up to do. There’s a reason why the Canadian can still sell out stadiums and produce top charting songs. Whether or not Bieber wanted to be there, whether or not it was just another day in the office for him, there is no denying that Bieber is a star.