“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.