TORONTO – Justin Bieber kicked off an intimate benefit concert in Toronto in comfy, casual style, telling the crowd: “It’s good to be back in Canada!”
“It’s really good to be home,” he said, taking the stage at the Danforth Music Hall in a white tuque, grey hoodie, black jeans and sneakers.
“We’re just going to make this really loose,” he added as he sat on a stool beside guitarist Dan Kanter to kick off the acoustic show with his new hit “What Do You Mean.”
It was a family affair at the show as Bieber brought his little sister, Jazmyn, and little brother, Jaxon, onstage briefly.
He performed a mix of hits as well as holiday tunes, and even a rendition of Drake’s hit “Hotline Bling.”
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He also interacted with the crowd, allowing a fan to ask him a question (it was about his favourite candy, which he said is Sour Patch Kids) and with the viewers watching the live stream on his website (“Sucks you guys aren’t here,” he said cheekily).
Fans lined up for over 24 hours to get a prime seat at the sold-out event on Monday evening, the same day he landed a Grammy Award nomination.
“I already have tickets for the May concert, but this one is just so intimate and it’s a smaller venue, so it leaves for more opportunity to get closer to him…. And the proceeds are going to a really good cause,” said Taylor Bousfield, 21, of London, Ont., who arrived at the venue at 11 a.m. on Sunday to secure a good spot at the general-admission show.
“I’m (a) big (fan), but after today, I’ve seen way crazier, to a whole other level.”
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Proceeds from the acoustic concert will go the Stratford House of Blessing in Bieber’s hometown of Stratford, Ont. The outreach centre has a food bank and services to help those in need.
The organization says Bieber’s mother used its services when he was little.
The lineup to get into “An Evening With Justin Bieber” at the approximately 1,400-seat venue stretched around the block before doors opened.
“1,500 people, wow. This is a special crowd,” said Bieber.
Tickets, which were priced at $100 each, quickly sold out when they went on sale last Tuesday.
“It’s pretty stressful,” said Bousfield, who took a bus to the city and camped out overnight with a friend in front of the venue in hopes of securing a front-row spot. They barely slept and planned to still show up for school for exams on Tuesday.
“I have such anxiety, it’s crazy,” she added.
Danielle Leonard, 15, from Richmond Hill, Ont., called it a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
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“At shows at the Air Canada Centre and Rogers Centre, they’re not as special as this one,” said Leonard, who had been camping out at the venue with a friend since 7 p.m. on Sunday.
“There’s a little amount of people and they’re all worshiping the same person that you are, rather than like 50,000 people being there. Like, he’s actually paying attention to the people in the crowd.”
Bieber has helped out the Stratford food bank before.
Last year, he and his grandmother donated several of his childhood items for the group to auction off on eBay.
WATCH: Justin Bieber performs at Danforth Music Hall for charity
The 21-year-old pop superstar has also donated $10,000 to the group.
Bieber has been riding high on the charts with his new album “Purpose,” which includes the hits “Sorry” and “What Do You Mean.”
On Monday he got a Grammy nomination for best dance recording for “Where Are U Now,” a collaboration with Skrillex and Diplo.