Remember four years ago, when Justin Bieber was just a cute little Canadian pop star with a Beatles haircut and a rabid teen-girl following cultivated on YouTube? And when everyone unaffected by Bieber fever was simply bemused and baffled by all the hubbub?
These days, Bieber seems increasingly to be the latest young star known less for his career and more for crude and obnoxious behavior, from bar brawls and street racing to some bizarre incident involving a monkey. Non-fans disdain him and he's replaced Lindsey Lohan as the main celebrity target of late-night TV comedians.
But all that hasn't cost him his loyal audience. He can still pack an arena, and he'll no doubt do exactly that when he comes to the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa tonight.
His "Believe" tour has been a hit with his audiences and restrained appreciation from critics, which is exactly what one would expect. ("There's something I want to get off my chest," he reportedly told an audience at a recent show. "A lot has been said over the past few months. All I want to say is, I do this all for you.")
But even the critics have allowed that the show is energetic and professional and that the Bieb is backed by an excellent eight-piece band. So anyone who has even the mildest case of Bieber fever ought to be enthralled.
Details: 7 p.m. Aug. 8, Tampa Bay Times Forum, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. Tickets: $53.45-110.50. Information: 813-301-2500, www.tampabaytimesforum.com.
-- Marty Clear