An exciting day in the city of Navi Mumbai. Floods of people and sweat, running all over as the Mumbai temperature soared. “Justin Bieber”, I disdainfully screamed out his name from the general stands at the DY Patil Stadium, Nerul. But what a Belieber I became in the end.
After finally getting the hard copy of my tickets that I booked on Book My Show, I rushed towards my gate. Entry was pretty quick and easy. I entered the stands at around 5:30 pm, when Zaeden was performing. Not everyone was fully listening in to all the hustle to get the best spot in the house, but Zaeden helped keep the crowd calm.
I’m a sound guy, I work in a recording studio, so my eyes first went to the sound system. The speakers were very well arranged in a way that every part of the stadium got good clean sound. There was very little echo because of the towers of line arrays that were set up in different directions and powerful subwoofers filled the stadium with strong bass.
Alan Walker, an exemplary DJ was up next. He got everyone up on their feet dancing and set the tone for the entire event. Everyone was going crazy with their blow up glow sticks. A great initiative by the organisers to give us free glow sticks. It really lit up the stadium at night.
And then, then came Justin. With an exhilarating music intro, he came up from under the stage. There was an ocean of screams and the excitement too much to contain, some in the crowd actually burst into tears. The entry was pretty awesome with all the graphic visualisations on the 3 massive LED screens and the earth moving bass that shook the entire stadium. Everyone knew THIS is what they’d been waiting for.
Bieber started off with Mark My Words at around 8:15 pm, which was pretty much on time going by the Indian Stretchable Time Zone that we follow. All his stage dancers joined slowly, they kept the liveliness on the stage high. One thing which is worth mentioning here is that I really appreciated the live music. The lead guitarist was just killing it. You can’t fake those fast accurate leads and slides. I was constantly trying to see if the music was pre-recorded. It was totally live. The musicians were so in sync with Justin and were so perfect in their roles. This can happen only with a lot and lot of practice. So we know that Justin doesn’t take his responsibilities lightly.
I was very skeptical that this is going to be a pre-recorded performance and it looked like some of them were, especially the ones in the beginning.
But you could easily hear when Justin switched over to singing live, which was no less than pitch perfect. He is a brilliant singer, there is no doubt about that. And I saw that he is a superb performer as well. He kept the crowd on a constant high and full of energy and excitement.
He entered the stage trying to tie the laces of his shorts. Good thing he did that. I wouldn’t have wanted to see his shorts on his knees, which is usually where it is with this guy. He kept moving throughout the triple platform stage setup, giving a good chance for everyone throughout the stadium to see him. A couple of songs in, he picked up his acoustic guitar and sang hits like Cold Water and Love Yourself.
Bieber’s guitar went out of tune midway, which can be quiet embarrassing for a performer, but he kept his cool and managed the situation well.
We give Bieber a lot of grief over being a brat and he is often in the news for all the wrong reasons, but he had this maturity with his crew. Knowing that it wasn’t all him on that stage, he hugged all his dancers and appreciated them well. It just shows the unity and love they have for each other. He has really come a long way from the teen that had major issues and I think the world is recognising that and starting to love him more because of it.
He credits this transformation to a higher power working in his life which was clear from the song Purpose, which he sang sitting down, with his eyes closed and full of passion in his voice. After this soulful performance, he thanked the crowd with a Namaste, wished them goodnight and left the stage. But the show was not over, an encore was essential.
The stadium, full of roars, started chanting SORRY and sure enough, Bieber came back with his dancing crew for the last performance of the night. With fireworks in the sky above us, the show came to a happy end.
The entire event was very well organised. They took care of pretty much everything. Had proper directions set up and had really essential first aid booths, where many, including my friend with shoe bites went for help. It was fairly easy and convenient to get a snack.
All in all, a great show. Many, I’m sure had the time of their lives. It was a learning experience for me, to strive to excel in what I do and be the best at it before criticising another. Kudos Justin! I guess you’ve made me a mini Belieber!
Was the experience worth it? Yes! Not the water though! Rs. 200 for a bottle of water?! No thank you, I can survive for 2 days without water.
(Kunal John Onkar is a 25-year-old audiophile who runs his own sound recording studio and makes music to keep his body weight at an average of 70.)