New York City got a little taste of Justin Bieber in the wee hours of Wednesday morning (Nov. 18), when the pop superstar, fresh off the release of his new album Purpose, took over the Citi Concert Series on TODAY. And, even though the 21-year-old singer faced sound issues on the televised performances of "Sorry" and his Halsey collaboration, "The Feeling," in Rockefeller Plaza, everything on site went just fine.
Bieber fans in New York, some of whom had been camping out overnight for a chance to see their idol for free, were treated to a series of moments that were not shown on TV. Most notably, at 7 a.m., Bieber gave a lengthy soundcheck on the plaza, performing "Sorry," The Feeling," "Love Yourself" and his Big Sean collaboration "No Pressure" nearly in full. Fans, of course, didn't care that they were just hearing most of these songs (and were going to hear them in full later), all they cared about was that a coffee-guzzling Bieber was live in front of them.
While Bieber was even just prepping for the live show, Beliebers and casual passersby tried to scramble over the barricades in order to get a good look at the global superstar. Were it not for the numerous police officers and dogs surrounding the area, it could have easily been pandemonium.
When the time for the show actually came, things were notably settled down on the plaza, and Bieber breezed though "No Pressure," showing off some of his more awkward dance moves while Big Sean offered up his featured part. After a lengthy break, Bieber returned to the stage and performed six more tracks, half acoustic and half fully accompanied with dancers and friends. He and Halsey showed off some palpable chemistry during "The Feeling," and while they may have struggled a bit on those big ol' high notes, they made up for it by getting fans to roar at their intimate moments.
A photo posted by Music Times (@themusictimes) on Nov 18, 2015 at 5:03am PST
Bieber shined the brightest when he stripped down his music to its bare bones. On the plaza, he debuted "Company" live, with just a bit of an acoustic accompaniment, and he told attendees that he felt genuinely good because he hadn't done that song live yet. The other acoustic highlight was, of course, the biting Ed Sheeran penned "Love Yourself," which had the masses singing along just days after Purpose dropped.
Love the casual shade of #loveyourself #purpose #biebertoday A video posted by Carolyn Menyes (@athousandmph) on Nov 18, 2015 at 9:04am PST
He also broke down "What Do You Mean?" for his final televised performance. After struggling a bit with the track in rehearsals, which he stopped midway to get rid of some Autotune on his microphone, Bieber made up for the technical flub by executing the song well.
And, while that may have been the end of Bieber on TODAY on TV, fans on the plaza got a little bonus Bieber: an a cappella version his Jack U collaboration "Where Are U Now." Like his acoustic performances, this genuine little treat played well to fans and sounded just as good.
A video posted by Music Times (@themusictimes) on Nov 18, 2015 at 9:01am PST
During the entire performance, Bieber seemed grateful and energetic, despite the early morning hours. He jumped around the stage at one point like a sugared-up kid, in a move that was incredibly charming. Bieber may be a lot of things, a young multi-millionaire, a former brat, one of the most divisive pop icons in recent memory... but there is no denying that he loves to perform.