Justin Bieber’s social media power may one day move mountains. But on Saturday, the teen singer’s tweets about the third anniversary of his visit to a shopping Mall in Omaha, Nebraska moved a fan mob to show up at the mall after mistaking his tweets as a hint that he would be there.
The 19-year-old played to a sold-out concert on July 6 at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center.
Local police, who responded to noise disturbances, report approximately 1,000 people showed up at Westroads Mall expecting to see the teen singer.
One female suffered minor injuries after being knocked over by the frenzied crowd, but there were no arrests.
According to local media, several teenage girls said it was Bieber’s tweet that made them think he would be appearing at the mall.
Earlier on Saturday, the pop star posted a message to his Twitter account, which read:
“been a great little break but now gotta get back to tour, where are we going??? OMAHA MALL!!! @thatrygood u ready? #BelieveTour.”
A later tweet posted by the Canadian asked fans to trend a line from a rap — “you know that we ball at the [Omaha Mall]” — that the then 16-year-old penned after his July 2010 visit before his last show in Omaha.
The team that travels with Bieber recorded a now famous video of that trip which saw the “Baby” singer and his crew lead a crowd of excitable female fans in a chant of “Omaha Mall.”
The event spawned a tongue-in-cheek rap of the same name that went viral back in 2010.
Fast forward to 2013, and by early Saturday afternoon around 500 screaming fans thronged the J C Penney department store entrance inside the mall chanting, “We want Justin!”
More teenage girls showed up as the afternoon went on.
Unfortunately, the singer’s “Omaha Mall rap” tweets had been taken literally and misinterpreted by fans.
Bieber’s ex-”swagger coach” Ryan Good, who the singer initially tweeted, posted a reply which also referred to the rap. The pop star later retweeted it, and it’s likely this also added to the mix-up.
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) July 6, 2013
On the way…omaha mall #remix
— ryan good (@thatrygood) July 6, 2013
One fan, 14-year-old Brighid Welchans, arrived in the mall at 12:30 pm with her friend Sam Elkims, also 14, to search for the elusive heartthrob.
Like many other girls there, the pair exchanged phone numbers with other fans as they frantically hunted for Bieber in different stores in the mall. The plan was to alert the rest if he was spotted.
“We have teams,” Welchans told Omaha-World Herald. “We are like a big family. We are gonna find him. We have a system.”
Local police told the hoards of fans that Justin was not at the mall and wouldn’t be coming, as they took control of the scene.
“There were a lot of teenage girls,” said Jim Sadler, senior general manager for the mall. “That was it. It’s just crazy.”
Kenny Hamilton, a longstanding bodyguard and friend of Bieber’s subsequently commented about the fan turn-out on his Twitter account.
There are thousands of Beliebers at the Omaha Mall right now…that is just awesome.
— Kenny Hamilton (@KennyHamilton) July 6, 2013
Incidentally, Bieber also led the crowd in a brief “Omaha Mall” chant at the concert.
Whether he was aware of the fan mob situation as he prepared for his performance is not yet known.
The Believe world tour now moves on to Des Moines, Iowa, then Chicago, Illinois.
Fans Flood Omaha Mall In A Futile Search For Bieber: Credit For All Visual Media To Remi Lee