|Fresh off his four American Music Award wins over the weekend, Stratford, Ont. native and teen pop sensation Justin Bieber performs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto November 23rd, 2010. (Dave Abel, QMI Agency)
TORONTO - "JUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUH-STIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN!"
That's right, the ear piercing screams and proclamations of undying love attributed to "Bieber fever" once again echoed throughout the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night.
Justin Bieber, the 16-year-old teen pop sensation from Stratford, Ont., arrived back in T.O. for a second hometown arena show - he first played the ACC back in late August - during a week of more career highs.
His arrival was sandwiched between his leading four American Music Award wins last weekend, including artist of the year, and this Friday's release of My Worlds Acoustic, which features acoustic versions of songs from 2009's My World and 2010's My World 2.0, and a new single, Pray, which he performed (slightly off-key) during the AMAs.
Bieber's second Toronto date, for which photographers were approved but reviewers were not (despite being given tickets in August) so QMI Agency bought one this time, saw Biebs once again whip thousands of mostly tween and teenaged girls into a loud and hysterical frenzy with his clean-cut good looks, b-boy dance moves, and disposable teen-pop sound.
Frankly, given all the excitement and hype about this young talent discovered on YouTube, I was expecting the second coming of Michael Jackson, or at least Justin Timberlake.
But it was bit more reminiscent of Cher, given the number of times Biebs left the stage to change outfits while handing the proceedings over to his backing vocal group, Legaci (also discovered on YouTube), or airing videos of him as a cute little kid performer, telling fans in his current 16-year-old state not to text and drive, or showing the trailer for his upcoming 3D concert film, Never Say Never, due in February.
It was all mindless distractions while Bieber took a break or changed clothes.
When I asked wide-eyed six-year-old Amy from Oakville, who sat next to me with her mother and two sisters, what it was she liked about Bieber as she clutched off her drawing of him and her holding hands amongst hearts and peace signs, she just shrugged and said, "He's cute." (An hour into the 95 minute show, she was asleep).
A concert, however, has to be more than about dreamy looks, not that any of those aforementioned screaming girls really seemed to care as Bieber travelled over top of them in a heart shaped vessel while playing the acoustic guitar and singing Never Let You Go and Favourite Girl.
To be honest, that was probably the most genuine moment of the night because we got really hear Bieber's sweet-sounding raspy voice and his own guitar playing instead of the super-produced version of him performing amongst four dancers, Legaci and a six-piece band.
Also good were such uptempo numbers as U Smile, Somebody To Love, and Baby.
And when he dragged a girl up on stage to present red roses and sing to her - even stroking her face and touching her forehead - during One Less Lonely Girl, it was worth it just to see her hyper ventilating while still managing to sing the lyrics herself.
On the minus side, Bieber's cheesy, well-rehearsed stage banter didn't help matters, sounding like something he said every night no matter what town he was in.
"What's up Toronto? I see a lot of beautiful girls in the audience tonight. You guys ready to have some fun?" he said, moments after opening the show with Love Me and Bigger.
However, there was another real moment where his backstage family came out with a candle-lit cake to celebrate his recent AMA victories.
"Can I have a group hug?" Bieber asked as they all started to leave the stage and instead gathered in the centre to put their arms around the 16-year-old singer who also played piano and got behind a drum kit during the show, hinting of better, more grown up things to come.
The one-time aspiring hockey player also led the audience in a chant of "Go Leafs Go! Go Leafs Go!" adding, "Hopefully, we'll get it (the Stanley Cup) this year!"
These moments are more of what Bieber's My World Tour really needs.
Never Let You Go
One Less Lonely Girl
Somebody to Love
Never Say Never
Legaci Medley: Wavin' Flag/ OMG/ Hey, Soul Sister/Down/My Love/Nothin' On You/Billionaire
That Should Be Me
Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'/Walk This Way
Eenie Meenie(with Sean Kingston)
Down to Earth