Photo for Star Tribune by Courtney Perry
Justin Bieber Live 2.0 was better than the first time around. His show Saturday at Target Center was slick but more satisfying than his first headlining gig there in 2010.
He’s a more effective performer, very much bent on connecting with his fans. As my review detailed, his presentation, including the lighting and video work, was smartly conceived. He clearly worked hard to please his Beliebers.
The Biebs has changed in ways other than his hairdo. His bubblegum pop has given way to more of a club sound that appeals to an older crowd, though his audience still included lots of tweens and pre-tweens. He even added more of a club and hip-hop vibe to some of his older tunes. That’s why the encore was a striking juxtaposition: “Boyfriend,” the hip-hop heavy hit that was the first single from this year’s “Believe” album, followed by “Baby,” his 2009 breakthrough that was still bouncy but not as chirpy (his voice is deeper) and had a hip-hop tinge.
Even though the 18-year-old Bieber is maturing, he recognizes that his audience remains young. The concert started at 7 p.m. and ended by 10. Smart move, even on a Saturday night.
Bieber still tends to dress hip-hop casual but he’s jazzed up his outfits (there was a nifty black leather jacket and a slick suit with a too-small fedora). He’s also tried to come up with something of a signature look. While Michael Jackson had the one bejeweled glove, Biebs wore finger-less gloves whose color matched the color of the tongue of his shoes. Got that. So he opened with gold lame gloves and white shoes with gold tongues. Sweet.
Opening act Carly Rae Jepsen was a bit disappointing. Her set was short (five songs), her band was too loud (even on the forever catchy “Call Me Maybe”) and her voice was too raspy (sounds like she’s not used to singing hard on the road). She was more impressive when she resurfaced during Bieber’s set to sing “Beautiful” with him. It’s her song featuring him, but it sounds like it’s hit-bound, as is already the case in their native Canada.
Bieber’s set list on Saturday:
All Around the World/ Take You/ a cappella choruses of You Smile and That Should Be Me/ Catching Feelings/ One Time > Eenie Meenie> Somebody To Love/ Love Me Like You do/ She Don’t Like the Lights/ Die in Your Arms/ Beautiful (with Carly Rae Jepsen)/ Out of Town Girl/ on cherry picker over crowd: Be Alright/ Fall / onstage Favorite Girl/ Never Say Never/ Beauty and a Beat/ One Less Lonely Girl (sung to girl from crowd brought onstage)/ As Long as You Love Me/ Believe ENCORE Boyfriend/ Baby