OK, I admit it.
I came down with a touch of Bieber Fever last night.
The kid’s a 16-year-old cultural phenomenon, boosted to dizzying media heights by legions of Bieber-Feverish fans and media outlets always looking for ways to sell newspapers, magazines, web site hits and photographs.
My Fever was borne of the latter, but truth be told, I also just wanted to shoot this kid.
There’s no telling if his talent or popularity will sustain. Twenty years from now, will he still be drawing large crowds like the 20,000 that packed the St Pete Times Forum to capacity last night or will he be more like former teen icon Leif Garrett whose current appearances are on “Celebrity Rehab”?
I hope it’s the former. I hope Justin Bieber matures and grows as a performer, keeps his celebrity status in check and has a very long and successful entertainment career.
St Petersburg Times music critic Sean Daly inferred very strongly that Bieber lip-synched much of the show. I couldn’t tell and I was right in the front of the stage. Of course, I’m not a critic. I don’t photograph a lot of concerts and, when I’m shooting, I’m in a zone of focus, thinking about light, apeture, shutter speeds and capturing the moments that make great images.
Most times, I cannot even recall afterwards what songs were performed while I’m shooting a concert. I can say that that was not the case last night. Media photographers were allowed to shoot the first three songs of his show before being ushered out. One of those–“You Smile, I Smile”–did permeate my masculine veneer somehow. I’m suprised I’m admitting it.
From a photographic standpoint, the show was outstanding. Press photographers were allowed to stand right at the front of the stage. The lighting added a nice ambiance to the images.
There’s no doubt the fans loved the show. Without a doubt, it was the loudest concert I’ve ever been to. I had to cover my ears in the moments as the lights lowered and Bieber got ready to take the stage. The cheering voices were piercing.
Justin Bieber had arrived.