On Tuesday evening, the Norwegian press received quite unexpected news. It appeared that pop sensation (aka Disney puppet) Justin Bieber had landed at Oslo Airport. Somehow, his fan community had gotten word of it already and crowded the airport terminal. The star himself was therefore driven directly from the plane to the VIP terminal and from there on to Oslo. The chaos the fans created at the airport was just one of the many things to come…
When he arrived in Oslo, the Canadian artist checked in to Hotel Royal Christiania; which is unusual as most celebrities stay at Grand Hotel on Oslo’s main street, Karl Johan. His fans had also expected him to check in to the Grand, with the following amusing results when tabloid newspaper VG’s journalist informed them of the mistake:
(And the police said “thanks a lot, dude” to the journalist before rolling their eyes and running after the hordes of teenage girls now headed for the other hotel. Fortunately, most of that area is pedestrianized)
Here’s where things get dangerous. First, Bieber’s motorcade exits the hotel and drives in the direction of the Royal Palace (the author still not sure what they were going to do, but is pretty sure it wasn’t visiting the King). The thousands of fans gathered outside the hotel RAN AFTER the cars, straight into heavy traffic including a tram. Nobody was hurt, fortunately, but reportedly, police officers in Oslo suddenly acquired an average of 25 % more grey hairs that evening
On Wednesday morning, the author arrived in downtown Oslo for a “class excursion” (motivational Norwegian for “field trip”). The city was already filled with young girls dressed in purple. It had by now been unofficially confirmed that there would be a free concert on the roof of the Opera House. There was already a specially-built stage in the harbor for a more traditional concert in connection with the King and Queen’s 75th birthdays. Bieber would use this stage and have the audience sitting on the opera house roof. At this point, most of the girls had gathered outside the hotel, and screamed every time something resembling movement could be seen through Bieber’s hotel room window.
As the author walked up on the opera roof, chaotic scenes had already begun. A good estimate would be that at 10 AM (i.e. about six hours before the concert was supposed to start) about a thousand people were already on the roof. By the time the field trip was over, the police had blocked off the pedestrian bridge to the opera, and many fans had instead gathered at Jernbanetorget. Eventually, police had to intervene and cancel the planned press conference due to the hysterical amounts of fans. Meanwhile, Bieber’s record company, Universal, finally *officially* confirmed that there was going to be a concert and announced that it would be delayed from 4 to 9 PM. Also, JB would only perform six songs. After much joking that the crowd would be much reduced because the youngsters had to make it home before bedtime, police finally said what needed to be said. In short, they demanded that the concert be held earlier, and they told Universal Records to go **** themselves.
The concert finally occurred at 9 PM and Bieber performed a whooping seven (!!!!) songs. Around 100 fans had to be evacuated due to crushing, dehydration and other problems. Bieber left the stage after about half an hour, and to add insult to injury Universal then did not inform the police where he was going or when he was leaving the country.
Despite the fact that cleaning crews in the capital are currently on strike, the mountain of trash all around the roof of the opera house is the least of the city’s worries. Officials are furious, and have every right to be. Mayor Fabian Stang compared what happened to “setting fire to a wall and being surprised when the house burned down”. The police admit to being underprepared, but are also angry with Universal Records for basically being given responsibility for a situation they were not sufficiently informed about. Universal has, wisely, kept their mouth shut.
This morning Justin Bieber and his crew left for Paris. The Oslo police department said “bonne chance” to the Paris police and took a long-awaited sigh of relief.
Both images in this post are copyright Verdens Gang.