REVIEW: Justin Bieber wows fans in Sheffield
He came, he saw, he conquered - and the crowd loved it.
Some fans camped out more than 24 hours to make sure they were near the front for Justin Bieber - and they were not disappointed, even if it took a while for him to warm up.
Support came from New York electronic duo The Knocks who were treated with deserved apathy until they finished and announced ‘Justin Bieber is next’, to be met with a wall of screams.
A film featuring the man himself started, bringing more screams.
And they were even louder when Mr Bieber finally made an appearance - albeit in a perspex box as he kicked off with Mark My Words, while scrawling on the inside of the box.
He followed with Where Are U Now, shedding his red baseball jacket to reveal he was wearing tour merchandise - a black T-shirt with Purpose on the front and Bieber and Sheffield on the back.
The thousands in the audience - predominantly and unsurprisingly teenage girls - were lapping it up, particularly when he lifted his T-shirt to give a glimpse of his famous six-pack, before clutching his waistband, something he did so often throughout the gig it seemed almost like a comforter.
Get Used to It continued the theme of a giant singalong - we won’t get into the whole debate about the vocals continuing when he stopped singing to concentrate on his, admittedly rather good, dancing, something which happened repeatedly throughout the show.
I’ll Show You saw Justin with boxing gloves around his neck performing inside a cage illuminated by a firestorm effect, before a quick costume change - and another T-shirt with his name emblazoned across the back.
There was no chat and little interaction with the fans as Bieber seemed to still be in his ‘no talking’ strop about screaming at previous UK dates.
However, that all changed when he slowed it down. After asking various parts of the arena how they were doing,, he “changed the vibe” and showed how talented a singer he is with acoustic versions of Cold Water and Love Yourself - just Justin on a sofa, singing and playing guitar.
And the Sheffield crowd showed their own restraint as they listened and saved the screaming until the end - and never when he was talking.
The 22-year-old Canadian clearly appreciated it as he stepped up his performance afterward, even breaking a smile for the first time.
He told the fans he’s been on tour for a long time - he is nearly 100 shows into the Purpose world tour which began in March and continues until April next year - and is missing his family and thanked the fans for keeping him company.
A neat way into Company, performed on a floating trampoline high above the crowd, complete with Bieber backflips.
After No Pressure, there was a short interval before Bieber showcases another of his talents with a drum solo. He was now wearing a Metallica T-shirt, albeit with yes, you’ve guessed it, his name across the back.
The chat is ramped up as he stops to take questions from the audience.
When the first fan asks ‘will you be my friend’, he says ‘of course’, before predictably and possibly honestly picking Sheffield when asked about his favourite UK date, much to the crowd’s delight.
“My life is much like yours,” he says when asked ‘how’s life’. “It has ups and downs.”
When a fan asks what his favourite track from Purpose is, he says Children, neatly choreographing into the next track on the setlist, which featured four impressive school-age street dancers on stage.
What Do You Mean nearly takes the roof off ahead of a plug for the exclusive Sheffield-only merchandise, and performances of his breakthrough song Baby and the tour title track Purpose, which he performed reclining on the stage close to fans after telling them ‘everyone has a purpose, don’t waste it’.
He closes with a stunning version of global chart-topper Sorry with the show offering a microcosm of his career - the former bad boy comes good in the end.