For more photos from Saturday's outbreak of Bieber Fever, see our slideshow here.
The last time Rocks Off saw this many lovestruck girls exiting limousines, we were at Junior Prom. So it's no surprise it took us a moment to grasp our usually tougher-edged bearings at Toyota Center on Saturday, as fans prepared for teen sensation Justin Bieber.
Though readers might sense sarcasm in our next statement, Rocks Off was genuinely bummed when denied writers' tickets to the sold-out show. Licking our journalistic wounds, we considered the next best thing: We'd instead head to the swarming venue early, mingle among the Bieber madness, and try to draw conclusions as to what makes these fans gaga for the young man with the million-dollar
Caught somewhere between the youthful fans and their supportive chaperones, we approached a group that was gathering around a huge poster of the cherub-faced singer. Beaming tweens smiled, as doting parents snapped photos of them posing beside the image of their heartthrob.
It wasn't long before we whipped up curious conversation with a few of the line's standout fans. A perky mother-daughter duo, excitedly snapping pre-show photos. Amy Morris and daughter Hope frequently jam out to Bieber's songs on family car rides, having clearly bonded over Hope's adoration for the singer.
"He's sexy," Hope coyly professed when asked why she loves Bieber. Balancing cheerleader Mom with full-time protector, Amy said she appreciates Bieber's "clean-cut" persona, not to mention the lack of the profanity in his songs. The singer's influence spans the entire family, she noted, as his infamous locks even inspired the hairdo of her 17-year-old son, who evidently opted not to accompany them to the show.
"Justin is a very positive role model so far. But will his image change when he's older?" she wondered. "W e'll have to wait and see."
Sisters Celia, 11, and Hailey, 5, were accompanied by their parents, who, like Amy, agree that although Bieber is a positive influence now, they too wonder what will become of the singer as he gets older. Celia announced she was eager to hear "new, acoustic" songs from the artist's forthcoming release, the unplugged My Worlds Acoustic. With that comment, the otherwise reserved 11-year-old refreshingly reminded us that, after all, music lies at the base of this frenzy.
A mass of animated fans piled out of a limousine, many spontaneously embracing one another upon seeing their heartthrob's image on the Toyota Center screen. One of the accompanying parents, Maria Kelleher, told us they had collectively traveled from Yucatán and Cancun, Mexico, solely to see Saturday's show.
"He's my boyfriend!", each youngster claimed, in competitive unison, while boasting handmade posters dedicated to the singer.
"Do you know where Justin is?", ventured 13-year-old Alexis Hickey, rather ominously and standing curiously close. Judging by the determined look in her eyes, it seemed she meant business. Sadly, we didn't know where the object of Alexis' affection was, but luckily she and her lively crew, most of whom wore homemade T-shirts sporting puff-painted love notes to Justin, were still up for chatting.
Our lighthearted talk turned serious, when we asked Hickey how she'd react if Bieber were to shave his head. Instantaneously, she quipped, "I'd hit him in the face!"
Chuckling, she gathered herself and asked to rephrase her response. "If Justin was to ever shave his head," she began, calculatedly, "I would gather all his hair, and glue it right back on his head." The loquacious "almost 14"-year-old explained that many boys their age have grown jealous of the pop singer, as he has stolen the attention of their female classmates.
Asked if she considers her feelings for Justin to be "true love," Alexis imediately answered a solid "yes." Perhaps preemptively sensing our doubt, she elaborated, as only a 13-year-old could, "Some people think they're in love, but they don't really mean it. My love for Justin is real - because he's hot."
As we were wondering if the only criteria necessary for defining this pop icon is a pretty face and a quality 'do, 13-year-old Megan Mules articulated the poignant reasons for her own Bieber Fever.
"His songs brighten my life," Mules said, smiling. Her friend Maya Cropper confidently added, "Just hearing his voice puts me in a better mood."
And just like that, we were reeled back to 1988, recalling our steadfast dedication (or was it love?) for funky Bieber predecessors, New Kids on the Block. Suddenly these fans' sentiments didn't seem as foreign anymore.
We as music writers have chosen such a profession based on our sheer passion - obsession, even - for all things musical. We have, to some extent, stood where these fans were standing: We've felt absolute dedication for artists before and camped out overnight in anticipation of our favorite band's show.
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We entered Saturday's Bieber frenzy blindly, but were ultimately pleased to witness what seemed like a fostering of parent/child relationships, as supportive guardians acknowledged - hesitantly or not - their children's passion for this curious pop sensation. Our enthusiasm for art begins somewhere; we hope the passion we witnessed in these fans leads to lifetimes of growth and appreciation for music.
To the colorful souls we chatted with, thank you for allowing us to share in what seemed bound to be the greatest night of your lives thus far. And here's hoping, for your sakes, Justin won't shave his head anytime soon.
We'd have liked to sum up the concert in its entirety for you; perhaps next time we can. Ultimately, we felt that the soul of this story - the roots of the rumpus - lies with the fans anyhow.
Though we approached the venue feeling wistful and nostalgic, we walked away - if only for a moment - feeling as energetic as a kid again.