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Justin Bieber's 'Purpose' Tour Hits Los Angeles: 5 Crazy, Sexy, Cool Moments from Staples Center
Justin Bieber’s Sunday night show at Los Angeles’ Staples Center was as much a homecoming for the 22-year-old as a statement of purpose. True, the Canada-born, LA-based singer hadn’t been away for all that long -- Bieber last took the stage of the 18,000-seat arena in Nov. 2015 for a fan-only record release party -- but in the time between, he had come far, scoring a rarefied second No. 1 single, the irresistible “Sorry,” and winning the respect of the industry as it acknowledged he was no longer just a teen sensation.
Indeed, the crowd at Staples proved that new fanbase is growing in numbers and diversity — shrieking tweens dominated, of course, but there were plenty of child-free ladies on a girls’ night out to be found and even the occasional dad didn’t look the least bit miserable. And it’s no wonder: Bieber is a showman through and through. His aim is to entertain, and he does so with a mix of nonstop visuals, dance moves and killer hooks that are impossible to deny. And if that doesn’t impress the arms-folded parent, maybe a trampoline stage descending from the sky will.
Read on for five standout moments from the March 20 stop of Bieber’s Purpose Tour.
Bieber in a Glass Cage of Emotion
The dramatic opening to the Purpose show involves a transparent cage which ascends from beneath the stage. Inside: Bieber making a solemn promise with the song “Mark My Words.” It’s one of several hydraulic feats throughout the show, another of which -- Bieber performing inside an LED structure -- is reminiscent of technology U2 put on display during its most recent Songs of Innocence.
A Fashionable Nod to Grunge
Bieber’s tour wardrobe is meant to give a “street grunge with a very vintage skater feel,” tour stylist Karla Welch recently told Billboard. It’s a look that works as Bieber’s ever-expanding T-shirt collection includes nods to Marilyn Manson (with the words: “Bigger Than Satan” and “Bieber” on the back), Metallica (worn during “Baby,” no less) and 2Pac, who first started his rap career mere miles from the Staples Center. Bonus: Bieber rocks a robe like nobody’s business, no doubt emulating what countless fans have done at home perhaps with a hairbrush as a would be microphone. Dare we say, it’s sexy?
Pep Talks with Purpose
It’s not often that a pop star takes time on stage to openly address such weighty issues as insecurity and authenticity, but Bieber does several times throughout the show. “I've been so broken … and so hurt in my life,” Bieber says during one such moment. During another, Bieber speaks of trying to “be real” but realizing that he inevitably will “slip up.” Ultimately, he adds, it's “truly about finding our purpose.”
Did Somebody Say Trampoline?
Proof that Justin Bieber is living out his wildest dreams: a boxing ring-like stage that descends from the top of the arena where the “floor” is essentially a trampoline. Bieber executed more that a couple good flips at the end of “Company,” which was a relief, since he’d hit his head on one of the stage fasteners earlier in the song.
Bieber brought out Big Sean for “No Pressure” and Chance the Rapper for “Confident” at Staples Center -- cameos that proved his cool cred, and, even in a town crawling with celebrities, made for an extra special show.
Bonus: Rain in L.A.
Much has been written about the penultimate finale to each Purpose show, during which it literally rains indoors. As crazy as it sounds, during "Sorry," the onstage baptism felt like an appropriate bookend to what's essentially a religious experience for countless devotees -- and on Palm Sunday, no less. Preach.
Photos by Jeff Kravitz (instagram.com/jkravitzphoto)