Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
On Saturday, I’ll join thousands upon thousands of eager fans screaming from the stands as one of the grandest spectacles unfolds before our eyes. Some people may be drunk, tons more will be waving signs around in the air, sporting facepaint and brightly decorated outfits. The only difference between my Saturday plans and that of 98 percent of the Boston College community: while most students at BC will be cheering on the football team as it takes on Notre Dame in its annual Holy War, I’ll be joining throngs of prepubescent girls at the TD Garden to bear witness to Justin Bieber’s Believe tour as it touches down in Boston.
It may sound like a bit of an anomaly: a straight, 22-year-old man eager to attend a concert put on by what some may call an overproduced, hypersexualized 18-year-old whose fanbase is largely made up of girls and mothers who wish they were their daughters’ age—but it makes sense to me.
The Biebs has churned out a steady stream of pop hits over the past several years, and even if I’m not particularly aching to hear any of his ballads live in person, it’ll be nothing short of a fun time to experience tracks like “Love Me”—which my floormates during freshman year were obsessed with in a completely non-ironic way—and “Beauty and a Beat” live.
More than that, I think I’m even excited to watch one of the world’s biggest stars in his comfort zone. I’m neither a Belieber nor hater extraordinaire, more a casual observer who, as an aspiring music journalist, thinks it’ll be an interesting experiment to attend such an event. I’ve got my earplugs handy and have already discussed my choice of outfits with my guest—surprise, it’s neon—but from there, I’m not sure what to expect.
The TD Garden in particular is an interesting venue for concerts. Last fall, I saw Jay-Z and Kanye West bring their unstoppable Watch the Throne tour to the arena, but their collective body of work was extensive and well-known enough to fit the size of the gargantuan Garden. Bieber, on the other hand, has really only released two albums of note. Because I sincerely doubt he’ll be playing any of his Christmas songs (remember that guys? Bieber released a Christmas album. It happened, we all heard it.), that means Bieber has maybe 20 songs from which he can whip together a two-hour show.
I don’t doubt that much of the time will be filled with tightly choreographed dancing, as nobody can truly deny that the pint-sized pop star’s moves are pretty slick. I’m also willing to bet that extensively over- the-top theatrics are in store for the tens of thousands who sold out the show in mere minutes, if pictures of his prior tour dates that I’ve stumbled across are any indication as to what’s to come. Giant wings? Check. A big floating Xbox contraption that swoops over the audience? Double check (unless the videogame console dropped out as a sponsor).
One thing I certainly don’t expect to hear are natural vocals, and I’ve decided that’s okay in my book. A lot has already been made of the fact that Bieber’s voice has dropped—we all knew it was coming, but just as not a single Democrat prepared for a world in which Mitt Romney won the election, no tween girl was ready for those dulcet tones to deepen so pronouncedly. It’s less about the vocals for me than it is about the show as a whole, and if that means auto-tuned microphones and backtracks are the price to pay for a TD Garden danceoff, I’m at peace.
If Bieber is good enough for our newly re-elected president, he’s good enough for me. I’m going into Saturday’s concerts with high expectations—not for quality singing or standout moments, but for a spectacle that, given the circumstances, can and should surely top the most spectacular of spectacles. At the very least, I get to see Carly Rae Jepsen sing “Call Me Maybe,” and isn’t that exactly what 2012 is all about?