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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

July 14, 2010 at 7:40 AM

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Concert review: Justin Bieber at Everett's Comcast Arena 07/13/10

Posted by Andrew Matson

Photo by Sclary; tweets, fan reviews and photos here

Canadian teenage pop star Justin Bieber spent a good chunk of his Everett concert up in the air Tuesday night.

At one point he sat in a giant metal contraption shaped like a heart and floated on cables attached to a track in the ceiling. Suspended in the very center of the Comcast Arena over a sea of screaming tween fans, he strummed an acoustic guitar and sang "Favorite Girl" without the support of his large backing band.

"You-oo-oo," he sang with years of imagined perspective, slowly spinning inside his heart, another heart literally stitched onto his sleeve. "Of all the girls I've ever known, it's you."

It was Bieber musically stripped down and still winning, playing guitar chords competently and earnestly belting out notes with his Peppermint Patty voice. He managed to look down at his homemade-t-shirt-wearing faithful and make eye contact often, achieving a level of intimacy despite being seatbelted to a massive technical gimmick.

Later, he wore a harness and scaled a fake wall on stage, and after that, got in another cage-like structure similar to the heart but instead shaped like an egg and flew over the crowd again.

Based on sheer crowd noise, the song of the evening was either the Southern rap-inflected "One Time" or synth banger "Eenie Meenie," both of which elicited deafening shrieks and went off with fog blasts and high octane dance choreography. Bieber brought out one of the show's openers, Sean Kingston, for the latter.

During breaks in the music, a large screen played intentionally low-quality YouTube style footage of Bieber horsing around and explaining things. He played Xbox (a sponsor) and introduced his back-up singing group, Legaci, noting they were discovered on YouTube, just like he was.

The screen solicited an encore at the end of the night asking (in comic sans font) "Do you want more? Then make some noise!" It was cross between a Mariners game crowd-hyping tactic and a cell phone text message directly from Bieber.

Before the concert, elementary school/junior high-aged females and scattered parents/older siblings waited around the block to get into the Events Center, and when the line went near Bieber's tour buses, groups of girls screamed if anyone exited a bus, even if it was clearly not Bieber.

"Why are we screaming?" asked one girl to her friends. "'Whoo,' this guy."

But she screamed, and even if she and her group were being sarcastic about it, other screamers parroted them down the line, screaming being apparently contagious.

Further along the line stood a Justin Bieber impersonator, a young kid with sideswept bangs and a hooded sweatshirt half unzipped. Girls took pictures with him and kissed him on the cheek. Other evidence of the real/fake line not mattering was the first opening act of the evening, a Pussycat Dolls look-alike group called the Stunners who played covers of contemporary pop R&B songs.

It was to Bieber's credit that he seemed like his own person on stage. When he asked all the moms in the crowd to make some noise, his tone of voice was knowing and level.

But when he introduced his hit "One Less Lonely Girl," he was in actor mode.

"Wherever I go, I like to make people less lonely," he said, voice full of put-on softness.

Photo by Jim Bates, Seattle Times

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