June 29, 2017
Justin Bieber's Purpose Tour Ignites Los Angeles' Staples Center: 10 Best Moments

Justin Bieber's Purpose Tour touched down at Los Angeles' Staples Center on Sunday. The pop icon thrilled the 19,000-strong crowd with a sizable heft of the Purpose album hits which dominated 2015 and early 2016, plus a few classics too.

On hand serving special guest raps on Purpose's "No Pressure" and 2013 Journals "Confident" were Big Sean and Chance the rapper, respectively. The show was the first of Bieber's sold-out three-day L.A. run. Celebrities in the house included J Lo, Kourtney Kardashian, Odell Beckham Jr., the Biebs' mother Pattie Mallette, ex-gal pal, Hailey Baldwin, E!'s Jason Kennedy, Derek Hough, Joe Montana, and Ashley Benson.

Like many who were not able to physically be in L.A., I watched it live via Periscope, before drowning in the ton of videos tweeted by those who went and those following it online. Based on combined footage, and the tsunami of praise in tweets under the #PurposeTourLosAngeles hashtag (which trended post-show into Monday morning), the Prince of Pop's third era is his most musically and aesthetically impressive to date.

During the spectacular, the audience was treated to a visual and audio feast of stunning set-pieces, dancers, a new and seriously tight band, almost sensory lights and lasers, video interludes, and acrobats. Notably, Bieber backflips on a trampoline stretched over part of the crowd.

Three things were overwhelmingly clear from the concert. 1.) Despite the still high number of female, teenage fans screaming their heads off last night, Bieber's music and performance level has transitioned to adult. 2) The singer is also more interactive and emotionally connected with audiences than on his previous two tours. 3) Meanwhile, the Purpose Tour clearly demonstrates why Bieber is currently the biggest male superstar on the planet.

Here are 10 highlights from his Staples Center triumph:

1. How to make an entrance.

The first time the crowd claps eyes on the Biebs he is seen inside glass case which ascends from beneath the stage to Purpose's "Mark My Words," an emotional, longing ode to a lost love. He is seen writing lyrics on the walls while a holographic backdrop of Renaissance Greek images and Michelangelo's "David" provide the backdrop.

It's a dramatic and captivating way to launch a juggernaut tour and follows a spoken word introduction backed by images of a male falling through pillars. Some media outlets have referred to the box as a "glass case of emotion."

2. Bieber's Grammy-winning Jack Ü collaboration "Where Are Ü Now" is the perfect show pacer.

The pulsing EDM-pop game changer follows from "Mark My Words" and set the Staples Arena on fire.

3. The pop star opened up onstage about alienation and pain in his life and gave fans advice on finding their Purpose.

During a genuinely moving part of the show, just before singing the title song of his album, the Biebs shared that he has "struggled" with finding his "identity" and living a "real" and "authentic" life.

He admitted, "I've been so broken...I've been so hurt in my life and I know you guys have too," then added that he thought, "so many people try to hide their scars."

Justin went on to say he wasn't saying that he wouldn't "slip up" or "make wrong decisions" in the future, and that it was "OK to be real, it's OK to be authentic." Advocating, he added that his focus has been "finding my purpose." The spiritual dimension to Bieber's tour is noticeable and better for it.

Justin bieber
[Photo via Jeff Kravitz / Getty Images]

4. Bieber's connection with his fans at the show came across as something both were grateful for.

Towards the end of singing "Purpose," the singer held hands with fans while sitting on stage, fittingly reaching out to those who have supported him while he went through his very public difficulties.

5. Justin and Big Sean had the audience bopping on "No Pressure."

The mid-tempo R&B jam gets typically deadpan bars from Big Sean, which worked a treat on the night.

6. Chance the Rapper and the Biebs were confident on an oldie but a goodie.

In contrast to Big Sean, Chance was a joyous bundle of hyperactive hip-hop. His chemistry with the Biebs delighted the crowd and he received rapturous cheers.

Los Angeles Times' Mikael Wood wrote of the two rappers' appearances with Bieber. "Here's a pop star big enough that two high-profile MCs will schlep downtown just to put in 90 seconds with him onstage." (sic)

7. The Biebs showcased some seriously sexy and idiosyncratic dance moves.

During "Confident," a little hip swinging and hand-fanning.

A bounce and a hop.Popping and locking.More bouncing.How cute is this?Just watch what happens in "Hold Tight."Happiness is watching the Biebs get his groove on.
8. Watching Bieber trampoline to a slinky jam is a win-win.

If you're a Bieber fan you've probably already heard about the trampoline segment. But it really doesn't get old. At least, it hasn't yet.

During the performance of "Company," the trampoline is lowered above the crowd. After some sexy dancing, the Biebs pulls off a couple of backflips.

9. Who'd have thought a downpour could be so fun?

For the closer, the heavens open as man-made rain cascades over Justin and his dancers. The finale echoes the singer's American Music Awards spot and is a total theater moment.

10. Bieber's Purpose tour wardrobe is iconic

Much has been said about the singer's styling on stage during his tour, some of it by fanboys at Indie music sites who decided the superstar wearing flannel (in fact, Bieber has done so for years) -- having blond hair and ripped jeans (again, years), a T-shirt featuring Kurt Cobain's likeness, and an acoustic segment in his concerts (Bieber has always had an acoustic set in his shows and tours - and busked with a guitar as a child) -- means he is trying to be Cobain.

Music site idiocy aside, Bieber's tour look is a heightened take on the "street grunge with a very vintage skater feel" style he already rocks in real life. Longtime stylist Karla Welch recently told Billboard that she and Jerry Lorenzo of the Los Angeles label, Fear of God, worked up 15 stage pieces for Bieber's tour.

These include different music legends' likenesses featured on T-shirts, including Marilyn Manson (with the words "Bigger Than Satan" and "Bieber" on the back). Metallica, David Bowie, and Tupac also get shirts. There may well be more artists to come.

In short: Bieber and his Purpose Tour rose to the occasion last night. And, as Sunday's show was only the seventh on the 64-date North American leg, it's almost certain the superstar's concerts will get even hotter and better along the trek.[Images via Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images]