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Justin Bieber Apologizes For Delay In Start Of London Concert

Justin Bieber performs live at 02 Arena on Monday.
Jim Dyson
Getty Images
Justin Bieber performs live at 02 Arena on Monday.

Screaming, crying fans are par for the course if you're teen idol Justin Bieber. But this is a bit different.

After a Monday concert at London's O2 Arena that reportedly started two hours late, the 19-year-old pop star has been forced to apologize for upsetting disappointed young concertgoers and their angry parents.

In a series of tweets Tuesday, Bieber issued his mea culpa:

"Last night I was scheduled after 3 opening acts to go on stage at 9:35, not 8:30," he said, disputing reports that he got started two hours late. "But because of some technical issues I got on at 10:10 ... so ... I was 40 min. late to stage," he wrote. "There is no excuse for that and I apologize for anyone we upset. However it was [a] great show and I'm proud of that."

The fans will likely forgive him, but their parents, some of whom paid $200 each for concert tickets, might prove a harder sell.

"There were teenage girls crying outside," financial analyst Louise Cooper, who had taken her 9-year-old daughter to the gig as a birthday present, told The Associated Press.

Tracey Wilson, who was at the concert with her daughter, told the BBC the concert was supposed to start at 8:30 p.m., but the warmup act ran over about 20 minutes, and then "we sat there until 10:20 p.m. for Justin to come on."

Wilson says she complained at the information desk but was told "there's nothing they could do and that 'it's just Justin Bieber's production team.' "

"We said that was all well and good, but most of us have to get trains. ... It was just a shambles. I said, 'We've really got to leave at 10:50 p.m. to get the last train,' " Wilson said.

According to the BBC:

"Another parent, Wayne Parsonage, who said he paid £400 ($600) for three tickets, tweeted that he ended up missing the performance so he could make the last train home, and later added: 'Disgusting!! Waste of my time and money ... never again.'

"Richard Hayward, from Folkestone, Kent, said he had to deal with an 'inconsolable' daughter who was in floods of tears as she was only able to see 15 minutes of the concert before they had to get the last train home.

" 'She had set a countdown to the concert on her phone, and her bedroom wall is covered in Justin Bieber posters,' he added."

One fan told the BBC to fill the time waiting for Bieber to come on stage, "They were playing Michael Jackson song after song after song — it was so annoying."

"Everyone was on edge, and as more time passed, everyone was getting more worried and booing."

But teens told the BBC's Radio One that it was all worth the wait.

"He got straight on with the songs. Everyone forgot about it because it's Justin Bieber," said Sammy and Abbey, both 15, and 16-year-old Paris.

Radio One says reports suggest Bieber also turned up late to his gig in Nottingham on Saturday.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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