Justin Bieber was genetically engineered in a secret government laboratory to be the Ultimate Teen Heartthrob. Millions of dollars are spent every year to ensure that the Earth's population worships the Bieb; the number of powerful men in suits whose job it is to ensure that "Operation: Hot Bieber" is successful likely rivals the suited army of even the President. In fact, according to Klout (a San Francisco company that tracks social media statistics) JB's online influence is greater than that of Mr. Obama or even the Dalai Lama. In short, last night's concert at the Scottrade Center was a well-attended, pretty big deal.
Dutifully, I volunteered to cover the show. I didn't belong, I'm not a fan, and I wasn't exactly looking forward to it, but when the Prince of Pre-Pubescent Pop makes an appearance in one's land, one had best take heed. Aiding me on my quest was my associate, one Kenny Snarzyk, the long-haired / mustachioed front man of local doom metal band Fister.
Kenny arrived at my house at about 5 p.m. with a fifth of Old Overholt Whiskey and two pint-sized, newly-purchased flasks -- plastic ones, as he was moderately concerned about metal detectors. We found a clean funnel and divvied up our evening's only salvation as we strategized our attack. We were discussing the overabundance of children that we would be surrounded by at the show when Kenny (who is a father himself) succinctly summed up the concerns of every parent who would be in the building: "I like kids, you know?" Kenny said. "But I look like this."
Bieber traffic slowed our approach; teen girls screaming in their cars ("OHMIGOD THERE'S A LIMO!!!! OHMIGOD OHMIGOD OHMIGOD!!!!!) were audible before the Scottrade Center was even in sight. Throngs of hysterical Beliebers walked the streets, generally flanked by their watchful parents. The typical group archetype consisted of four to six individuals: One over-protective Mom, two to four hyperventilating female tweens, and one miserable, angry Dad. We parked the car and headed through the sea of people to the entrance.
Now, I've been a white dude for about as long as I can remember, so I'm not going to pretend that I have any deep understanding of what it is to be discriminated against in this way, but I'd imagine that our approach and attempt to enter the building is about as close as I'll ever come to experiencing the type of profiling that has been known to occur in airports all around the country in our post-9/11 world. Essentially, we were two dudes in turbans with fuses sticking out of our shoes and every single Dad in the place was an on-edge airport security official. I can't remember the last time I was so blatantly, unblinkingly stared at. I cannot over-emphasize how clearly we did not belong here.
Getting inside was a nightmare, but Kenny effectively parted the exceptionally densely-packed crowd like the Red Sea by charging ahead and repeating, "I'm bleeding! I'm bleeding!" over and over again as parents clasped their children close to get them out of the way. I walked with my arms raised over my head and hands visible to all, terrified that one of these many watchful angry Dads would misconstrue my attendance / shoulder to shoulder proximity to their children to be something creepy. It occurred to me that the glazed-over look in my eyes and smell of whiskey on my breath certainly weren't helping my case.
After fighting our way to the box office (Bieber was not issuing press passes for this tour, so we had to buy our own) we learned that the show was sold out of any tickets below the $85 mark. We fought our way back outside and haggled with some scalpers for a while, eventually purchasing nosebleed seats at $45 a pop. Tickets in hand and anticipation in our hearts, we crotched our flasks and made our way into the building.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.