My job is not limited to age appropriate activities. Therefore, it didn’t surprise me that I was sent to attend Justin Bieber’s concert in Kórinn, Kópavogur, on Thursday night. After all, this was a historic event not to be missed. By most accounts, it was to be the largest musical event in Iceland to date, with 19,000 tickets on sale.
Justin Bieber’s arrival had been awaited with anticipation. Numerous girls had camped in front of the concert venue since 7 am that day, one of them telling reporters that if she managed to touch her idol, all her goals in life would be accomplished.
The previous day, a mother reported receiving a phone call from her teenage daughter, crying inconsolably. When the parent, fearing the worst, asked what had happened, the answer she got was, “Justin just landed at Reykjavík Airport!” Watching his arrival on TV proved too much for the young girl’s nerves. Others, better prepared, had convened at the airport, ready to cross fences to get a glimpse of the object of their affection.
My colleague and I arrived early in Kórinn and were able to secure a spot several meters from the stage. The star was not expected for another couple of hours, so there was plenty of time to look around. Most of the fans appeared to be girls in their early teens. A group of them stood right behind me, fanning their fake eyelashes and dancing to the sounds of the warm-up act, performed by Icelandic musician Sturla Atlas and his band. Their hair was dyed blonde. When they danced, they raised their arms with considerable force, making me dodge several times to avoid injury.
Another group looked more relaxed, smoking e-cigarettes and creating a cloud-cover over our heads. When two of the girls smiled, I noticed their braces.
Behind us were two teenage boys, visibly excited to see their idol. They kept pushing us closer to the stage, blaming it on those behind them, but having overheard their secret plan to fool us to get closer, we were not deceived.
Photo by Geir Ólafsson.
Whenever the warm-up band asked if we were looking forward to seeing Justin, everyone screamed in approval and the blond-haired girls fanned their eyelashes excitedly.
Clearly, I was the senior in the crowd. I breathed easier when I spotted one man with grey hair and another with none, and a few mothers with a wrinkle or two under their eyes. More numerous were little girls and boys riding piggyback on their parents.
It was almost 8:30 and the moment everyone had been waiting for was approaching. Suddenly, Justin himself appeared on stage in all his glory, and the crowd went wild. My eardrums told me I had seriously underestimated the power of teenage voices; such were the screams.
I looked behind me. The blondest of the girls had turned paler than her hair; she was holding her head and I could hear her gasp, “Oh, my God, oh my God,” again and again. I got ready to catch her, because she seemed to be about to collapse, but, to my surprise, she held on. Her eyes were full of tears, but that did not affect her make-up, since she was wearing a waterproof mascara, as advised prior to the event by mothers with make-up experience in the musical field.
Before long, a thin, dark-haired girl was carried past us in her boyfriend’s arms, her face white and her body limp. She had been closer to the stage than we—clearly too close.
Justin, unaware of the emotional power failures he was causing, sang his songs in a relaxed manner, smiled and danced with his team. He had plenty of charm and his music was enjoyable, especially the slower tunes, which he sang with emotion, without background music, while playing the acoustic guitar.
“Iceland, make some noise,” he shouted at one point in between songs; and noise they made, screaming at the top of their lungs, whenever directed to do so.
Leaving the concert, I may not have felt that I had reached every goal in life, but I was delighted to have been there and feeling lucky there had been no age limit.