x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Bieber thrills fans at first of two Dubai gigs

Singer two hours late but no complaints from thousands of excited youths who packed Dubai Sevens Stadium for last night's show.

Canadian singer Justin Bieber performs for screaming fans at Sevens Stadium in Dubai. Sarah Dea/The National
Canadian singer Justin Bieber performs for screaming fans at Sevens Stadium in Dubai. Sarah Dea/The National

DUBAI // Justin Bieber stormed on stage with a bang last night - but more than a few boos could be heard amid the screaming fans' cheers for their pop idol.

The Canadian singer was two hours late on stage, beginning his set at 10pm.

Some fans had been waiting in the heat at the venue for five hours by then - but quickly forgave his tardiness as he got straight down to business with the hip-hop tinged All Around the World.

Walking down a staircase in the centre of the stage wearing white and a gilded glove, he thrilled the crowd backed by an eight-piece band and 12 dancers.

Thousands of spectators, some as young as 6, crammed the sold-out show at Dubai's Seven Stadiums, many wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the singer's face.

Others had his name written on their arms, with pink and blue hearts drawn on their faces.

One Dubai-based fan said seeing the singer live was a dream come true and the best birthday present she had ever had.

"It's the most perfect birthday ever," said Lina Majdalawieh, a Dubai resident who had turned 13. "He is just perfect. I love his hair, his eyes, his personality, his music."

Fans travelled from across the region to see the 19-year-old singer live, including Mia Irani, 14, from Lebanon. "I'm not processing anything because I'm so excited - it's my dream to experience his music, his vibe," said Mia, who was with her family.

A beaming Lala Kubba, 12, from Jordan, wore a red T-shirt she designed bearing the words "Keep calm and love Bieber".

"I love him so much, it's his personality I love the best," said Lala, 12, who travelled with her mother and friends.

Young Mia Zeineddine, 8, said she planned to cover her room with Bieber's face.

"I want my bed, my wall, floor and carpet, everything to be only filled with him," she said.

"I always go like 'wow' when I hear him."

Her long-suffering mother Maysa said she had no choice but to accompany Mia and her younger brother Marcel to the concert.

"We too know all his songs because we have to play it in the car every day over and over again," she laughed.

"Being here, it's my punishment. But it's fine because this is what they love."

Other indulgent parents stood behind metal barricades and snapped pictures of their children at their first concert.

Fans brushed aside Bieber's recent run of bad press, including altercations with photographers.

"If he is happy we are happy," said Joanna Pinto, 15. "We respect him. People shouldn't judge him so much."

Her friend Nikita Kumar, 14, added: We have waited years to see him. He is just a teenager so let him be and let him live his dream. Seeing him perform is ours."