To begin with, we had an amazing time at the Justin Bieber Purpose World Tour. It was a great event, and except for the box office fiasco and the following incident, we have only nice things to say about the event.
Sure, Justin lip-synced – but if anyone has ever looked up Justin Bieber concert performances, they should expect this. He is famous for it and he also doesn’t seem to make an effort to cover this up. He came to the stage on time, put up a great show and didn’t throw any of the tantrums he is infamous for.
As instructed by the organisers, my friends and I used public transport, instead of a cab. However, if you did use public transport that day, there was no way you would have known where the box office was located – which, by the way, happened to be located 1.5 kilometres away from the stadium! If you came by car, though, there were ample signs guiding you to the box office’s location. Instead, we trekked for a total of three to four kilometres, just to find the box office.
In retrospect though, I believe we could have trekked as far as eight kilometres, without purpose, in the uncomfortable, humid weather of Mumbai – as long as we didn’t need to face what we faced next!
We had received ‘Gold Special’ invites (due to our partnership) – but there were hordes of people who had paid ₹10,080 for the same access (in the figure above, ‘Gold Special’ is the area labelled ‘Gold’ to the left of the ‘Stage’).
The ‘Gold’ areas were the only elevated platform-areas in the entire venue. Essentially, large podiums were built so that the audience here was elevated, providing them with a great view of the entire stage.
We finally arrived at the ‘Gold Special’ area by 4:45 pm, although we had already reached the venue by 2 pm. The ‘missing box office’ and the ‘ensuing trek’ took up all the intervening time.
Since we had a die-hard ‘Belieber’ in our group, we stood in the front rows within the ‘Gold’ area. Here’s when shit hit the fan!
Sarthek performed, and then, Zaeden came on. Everything was going brilliantly until Alan Walker arrived on stage. Alan Walker, the sensation behind hit singles like “Faded” and “Alone”, got the crowd bumping and jumping! Within 10 minutes of beginning his set, he put on an absolutely ‘sick’ bass-drop! However, along with the bass-drop, the podium slab beneath our feet also dropped by about five or eight inches!
Everyone on the slab and those around us heard the sickening metal gong and stopped jumping and dancing. However, no one really moved. After all, due to the slight inclination caused by the drop, we could now view the stage even better! The ‘Beliebers’ took it as a plus – and although they weren’t dancing with the same fervour as they had been, a few moments earlier, no one budged from their spot.
A completely-unaware Alan Walker kept dropping ‘sick’ beats, and the audience was absolutely loving it! Meanwhile, due to the audience shuffling their positions, my friends and I now stood on the slab that had dropped a few inches and on the one immediately to the right of it. I was standing on the slab which was to the right of the one that had dropped. Another bass-check got the audience jumping wildly. This time, the slab I was standing on fell!
By now, the audience around us was visibly stressed! Some girls pushed through and left the area. Parents started pulling their children behind, in an effort to get them off the podium slabs.
However, many of the girls, being ‘Beliebers’, didn’t want to leave the area, despite the seemingly impending danger. And can you blame them?
As we stood there, every face around us showed confusion and fear, which was also reflected in our movements and dancing. Everyone seemed to be moving with caution. But no one wanted to admit what they feared!
This continued, till someone (possible from the event organising or production side) climbed on to the thin railing in front of the podium. Using a member of the audience to support him, he started asking us to move back. He said: “Please move back! It’s unsafe! Give us 10 minutes! Please move back!”
It took them some time to get the ‘Beliebers’ to move back from the podium. They then proceeded to add some more supports to make the podium safe, while the concert continued. Even then, they couldn’t trust the podium enough, and were doubtful whether it would be safe. So throughout the entire concert, the team stood by, there! They even added additional wooden slabs to provide external support.
Such things should not occur anywhere and at any time – let alone at Justin Bieber’s first concert in India! Of course, he is not to blame. This was the sole responsibility of the local event organisers. They should have been doubly vigilant, especially since this concert had people as young as 12 years. Moreover, the front rows in the various sections at the venue were packed mainly with girls aged between 12 to 20!
Even after apparently investing $4 million, the most basic and paramount necessity of all events, safety, was overlooked.
All in all, it was a really horrible and life-threatening experience, which was totally uncalled for, at an otherwise spectacular event!