Concert Reviews

An Evening with Justin Bieber at the Danforth Music Hall

What is your purpose in life? As cliche and unexpectedly philosophical as it sounds, Justin Beiber asks this very question not only in his new album, but to all of his die-hard fans at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. 

Last month, the 21-year old global pop icon from Stratford, ON quickly sold-out two nights at the Air Canada Centre next May in 2016. But in a twist of good will, Bieber took to social media and on Tuesday December 1, tweeted that he would have performing an intimate acoustic performance. What made it more surprising would be that the tickets would go on sale just 4 hours after his tweet. And as you can imagine, the Internet went nuts and of course, tickets to this special show sold-out in minutes. 

Now, what is the purpose of all this? Despite all of his troubled past with the law, he has recently claimed to be reborn anew. Putting words to action, his performance was to benefit to the Stratford House of Blessing. Supporting an organization from his hometown that is dedicated to serving those who are hurt and in need is worthy and humble motion. This was dubbed #PurposeinTO.

This rare treat for Bielber’s had lucky fans lined up for hours to try get as close as possible to him. ticket-holders began lining up for this special night hours ahead in the cold. The very first slept over night and had maintained their position for almost 24 hours. Every parking lot on the Danforth was practically full. Walking up and down the street close to the venue, kids, teens, and parents held signs and were enthusiast to talk about their favourite Bieber stories. 

The Danforth Music Hall was packed. As expected, once doors opened anxious youngling emotions took over. Initially, people were getting in smoothly, but here and there arguments and commotion occurred. Girls crying and some hands flying. But security maintained the peace overall. Inside, looking onwards from the back of the venue, a sea of his most loyal fans stood in anticipation. Against a red stage, fans all joined in to count down the last minute. And then Justin Bieber walked out on stage. He said that he wasn’t exactly sure what was going to happen, but reassured everyone that he would be performing a bunch of songs. He kicked off the night with his chart-topping hit “What Do You Mean”. More acoustic versions of “Baby”, “Purpose”, “Sorry”, and even Drake’s “Hotline Bling” were performed. Everyone embraced and sang along to his slowed and stripped down renditions.

Throughout the night he was humble and interacted with his adoring fans. He passed around his mic for spontaneous Q&As. When asked what his favourite candy is, he quickly responded with Sour Patch Kids. People of all ages were present. He made sure this was known as he asked the 40, 50, and 60-year olds in the crowd to raise their hands. No one was shy to do so. And he smiled.

In the grand scheme of things, Justin Beiber is a winner and nominee of over a hundred awards from around the world, he is a marketing machine, with feet in music, fashion, film, and lifestyle. His presence echoed through the intimate music hall. Justin showed a different side. Maybe his real side. This wasn’t one of his elaborate dance routines with confetti and pyro in a enormous stadium. This night, he pulled back the curtains. He seemed down to Earth, embraced fans, and genuinely wanted to be there. And even it was just for a moment, we got to witness Justin the artist, the human. I am a Belieber.

About author

Chief Editor & Founder of Live in Limbo. Host & Producer of the Capsule Podcast. Sean is an award-winning photographer and Nikon Professional Services member. His work has appeared on the CBC, Pitchfork, and MUCH. He is an Academy Delegate at the JUNOs (CARAS) and has been involved in the Toronto music scene since 2005. He is also an endurance and CrossFit athlete. You should follow him on Twitter @SeanChin.