Fever at the Apollo
Justin Bieber performs impromptu uptown concert
Story and photos by Sandra E. García
Bieber Fever took over Harlem when the teenage superstar gave an impromptu performance at the legendary Apollo Theater this past Mon., Jun. 18th.
The massive throng of adolescent and teenaged girls (and mothers) that crowded 125th Street to get inside were rewarded when doors opened late in the afternoon.
“I am going to pass out when he comes on stage, and cry,” said 15-year-old Olivia Wolk as she made her way inside.
“I heard about the concert on Twitter and then my friend messaged me telling me she had tickets,” said a very excited Wolk.
“I am going to go crazy when he comes on stage!”
Bieber’s uptown concert was an unexpected departure of venue from Times Square, where a free concert that had been planned was cancelled, according to his manager Scooter Braun.
The Apollo concert also doubled as footage for an NBC special which is scheduled to air later this month to support the release of his new album Believe.
And when the time came, the mini music mogul did not disappoint.
Near 8 p.m., the lights dimmed, and the star attraction, clad in a black leather jacket and pants, made his way through an energetic set, singing and dancing to his popular hits, including “Baby”; “One Less Lonely Girl”; “Be Alright”; and “Pray”.
Rapper Ludacris also joined Bieber on stage for their collaboration, “All Around the World,” the name also of the latter’s world tour.
As Bieber performed, his fans, famous for their enthusiasm, alternated between singing along, screaming and leaning forward to snap pictures with their phones.
Many of the over 5000 fans present had purchased the young heartthrob’s new fragrance “Girlfriend” at Macys for $168.00 in order to receive the “free” tickets, while some were fortunate enough to secure tickets by waiting in line outside the Apollo.
Once inside, though, it mattered little the cost or the journey; they were in.
“I am the biggest Justin Bieber fan. It’s never been a phase for me; I’ve always been a fan of his,” said 14-year-old Sally Harken.
“I’m so excited! I can’t believe I’m here!”
While performing “One Less Lonely Girl,” Bieber has typically brought out an ecstatic fan on stage for a serenade.
In this instance, Bieber brought out his “wife,” as he has dubbed her – six-year-old Avalanna Routh who is battling brain cancer.
Since learning of her condition in February, Bieber has often welcomed Routh on stage for a serenade, prompting many in the audience to cry.
A power failure at the theater caused for the set to come to an unexpected end, and as technical staff sought to fix the problem, Bieber did not miss a beat.
He took to the drums, sang and danced to his latest single “Boyfriend,” enlisting the audience of “Beliebers,” as his back-up singers.
Bieber later tweeted: “What I saw tonight! My fans! My Beliebers! They stepped up for me! I love u! I will never forget 2nite! That was the way a show should end.”
It was another night of history, music and magic at the Apollo for those who sought out their favorite superstar – and those who didn’t believe before probably found themselves humming a different tune the next morning.