Shibuya’s O East venue was crammed with hundreds of teenage fans as 16 year old superstar Justin Bieber performed a secret concert in Tokyo last week. The star was only in the city for a few short days before jetting off again to perform in Australia.
The show kicked off with an introductory YouTube style video projected on a huge movie screen, very apt as the video streaming website is one of the secrets of Bieber’s success. Over 100 Million views to his videos ensure his music and comment reaches hungry fans in their own homes and mobile devices.
A fan uploaded video from the event
Also a keen Twitter user his pre concert tweet from @justinbieber enthused “In route to my show in tokyo!! I love this place!!!,” Justin Bieber has well over two million followers on the micro-blogging site, huge numbers to contend with for a person still so young.
If you are unaware of ‘Bieber’, as Japanese fans called him, he is the teen sensation that has been hailed as the savior of the struggling music industry. Benign and safe yet completely entertaining.
Bieber’s talent lies in creating songs that are pure pop, perfect for the Japanese audience. He may be compared to a new flavor of bubble gum, but his downloads and ticket sales gives a much needed cash injection to the industry; which then allows smaller, less mainstream acts a chance to be heard.
The teenage star performed 5 songs at the Shibuya venue, including an acoustic guitar performance which showed off his varied musical talents, in one song he even took the role of an MC and rapped live.
The enthusiastic audience went even crazier when informed that the ban on photography would be lifted – Seconds later hundreds of mobile phones and digital cameras were held high obscuring most of the stage. “We love you Bieber,” Screamed the deafening fans.
Justin Bieber has a natural confidence and is a fun artist to watch, when asked whom he would most like to perform with he said “I’d love to collaborate with Ne-Yo.” Signed to Usher’s record label, the future is already looking very bright for the Canadian performer.
As well as being a musician he was a presenter at the 52nd Grammy Awards, back on January 31, 2010. He also gained popularity as a vocalist on the charity single ‘We are the world’, which benefited victims of the recent Haitian earthquake.
During an after show question and answer session the subject of girlfriends was raised, he commented “I love Japanese girls,” followed hilariously by a wave of screams from the crowd.
For an audience too young to drink alcohol, it is easy to compare his rapidly expanding personal brand with that of a high street coffee shop or fashion brand. His recent song ‘Baby’ with hip hop star Ludacris even features a line about a popular coffee chain: “She had me going crazy, oh I was star-struck, she woke me up daily – don’t need no Starbucks,”
Just don’t be surprised to see a new ‘Justin’ themed Latte in coffee shops across Japan soon.
Justin Bieber will return to Tokyo on May 19th to promote his latest single and album in Japan.
His album My World 2.0 is available from record stores and to download now.
Photography courtesy of Universal Music