Concert review: Justin Bieber brings hits, Ludacris to Philips Arena

Justin Bieber and his hair played Philips Arena Tuesday night. He returns Wednesday. Robb Cohen Photography & Video /www.RobbsPhotos.com

Justin Bieber and his hair played Philips Arena Tuesday night. He returns Wednesday.
Robb Cohen Photography & Video /www.RobbsPhotos.com

BY JEWEL WICKER

Justin Bieber fans likely got exactly what they expected during the first of two shows at Philips Arena.

The singer performed his latest album “Purpose” in its entirety, along with his old hits during the Tuesday night stop on his international “Purpose Tour.”

The show was certainly a spectacle. At times Bieber was on a stage filled with background dancers as risers appeared, laser lights danced around them and visuals of Bieber and his collaborators were displayed on a giant screen.

The show opened with a video of Beiber falling, a bunch of broken pillars floating around him, before the singer appeared on stage for a performance of “Mark My Words.” During a performance of “The Feeling,” singer Halsey appeared via video as dancers flipped in the air, secured by harnesses. Then, for “Boyfriend,” three risers illuminated by neon bars appeared on the stage as dancers in black costumes adorned with bright lights danced around them.

The staging, lighting and visuals were certainly highlights during the show, but Bieber didn’t rely on them the entire time.

Bieber reaches out to fans. Robb Cohen Photography & Video /www.RobbsPhotos.com

Bieber reaches out to fans.
Robb Cohen Photography & Video /www.RobbsPhotos.com

Fans looking to see Bieber alone on stage, without the bright lights and flipping dancers, were able to catch a few glimpses.

During an acoustic portion of the set, he sat alone on a red couch and played guitar while singing songs such as the Ed Sheeran-penned “Love Yourself.” Later in the show, he played the drums on a giant riser.

The show certainly had its rough moments, however.

Although Bieber could be heard breathing heavily between songs, he didn’t try very hard to hide the fact that most of his vocals weren’t live. During a performance of “Company,” he hit a back flip on a trampoline while delivering effortless vocals. Other times, he spoke over the recorded vocals.

And, while his set was filled with hit songs such as “Where Are You Now” and “What Do You Mean?”, the show dragged, much like the album it’s named after, when Bieber performed slower tracks such as “Children” and “Life is Worth Living” toward the end of the set.

Ludacris’ appearance during Bieber’s performance of “Baby” and an encore performance of “Sorry,” during which Bieber danced under a downpour, ensured the show ended on a high note, however.

Ludacris was the only guest during the singer’s set. Moxie Raia and Post Malone served as his opening acts.

While Bieber made a point to shout out his mentor Usher, who attended the show, there weren’t any references to the time Bieber spent living in Atlanta during the show.

The singer’s show rarely deviated from the set list throughout the night, but he didn’t have to.

Every time he moved, the crowd screamed.

And, therein lies the truth.

Bieber knows what his fans want and has no problem delivering it.

The singer will return to Philips Arena April 13 for a second show.

Note: This review has been updated with a correction. Bieber sang “Life is Worth Living,” not “Purpose.”

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