Fans, parents feel Bieber Fever

  • Article by: JON BREAM , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 30, 2010 - 6:08 AM

REVIEW: The Canadian teen pop star induced hyperventilation of the sweetest kind from his female fans.

Screams! Shrieks! More screams!

Do you remember your first rock concert?

For 15,800 teens, tweens and pre-tween girls, it was Justin Bieber Tuesday at Target Center. Bieber Fever is a bigger adolescent/pre-adolescent epidemic than the "Twilight" movie franchise.

But this outbreak isn't much different than Beatlemania (hello, Grandmas), New Kids on the Block craziness (hi, Moms), 'N Sync nuttiness and Jonas Brothers frenzy. Well, the one difference is that the fame of this 16-year-old Canadian cutie has been fueled by YouTube (nearly 500 million views).

Still, the reaction at Tuesday's ear-piercing, arm-waving, hyperventilating show was familiar.

Fan (age 15): OMG!!! He's awesome! He's sooooo cute!

Fan (age 15): I love his hair!

Critic: He's clearly a natural charmer, with a light-up-the-arena smile. He moves with an unconscious swagger, a confidence that never borders on cocky as he twists his ballcap backwards. He effortlessly worked the entire stage and seemed to be constantly in motion. He carried on with contagious energy, and he wasn't a bad dancer, who smartly let his four backup dancers do the heavy-lifting moves. And he performed for 90 minutes. That's impressive for a newcomer.

Fan (age 8): I like his music. He sings about love.

Fan (age 13): I like how he talks about girls.

Critic: His songs are bouncy, bubblegum puppy love, updated with a hip-hop beat. Nothing special there. He's got a boyish tenor that won't last. Actually, it sounded like he either had a cold or was hoarse (this was the fifth show on his first world tour). But that actually added a tad of vocal character. It looks like he's grown several inches since his December performance at Jingle Ball in St. Paul.

Fan (age 15): My favorite part was when he went over the crowd while he was singing.

Critic: He is a little daredevil. He flew over the main floor, first in a heart-shaped frame (sitting in a chair, playing an acoustic guitar, performing without his band) and later in a metal basket modeled after a hot-air balloon basket (singing with the band). And, wearing a harness, he even faux-climbed up a wall to spray-paint his graffiti tag. This was a smartly executed production.

Dad (first concert, J. Geils Band): He does a pretty good job. He's an entertainer.

Mom (first show, Poison): He's a really good role model. He acts his age. But the opening acts went on too long. My girls [ages 9 and 10] were getting tired.

Critic: Three opening acts was two too many. Bieber could have jettisoned his cronies the Stunners and Jessica Jarrell. Sean Kingston totally connected with the fans and gave a cool bonus with a surprise appearance by Iyaz doing his two hits.

Fan (age 15): This is awesome! Why? 'Cause it's a bunch of girls screaming.

Critic: Justin Bieber has charisma to burn but he's not as talented at 16 as Justin Timberlake was with 'N Sync. But I'm not going to rain on any young girl's fun.

Fan (age 11): Justin! I love you!!!!!

For a set list and photo gallery, go to www.startribune.com Jon Bream • 612-673-1719

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