After watching both Adele and Justin Bieber storm Mt Smart Stadium one week apart, Alex Casey puts the pop heavyweights head to head.
Last week I traveled back and forth to Mt Smart, more than any human should ever have to, all in the name of pop music megastars Adele and Justin Bieber. Among the flurry of cellphone lights, seductively overpriced t-shirts and shrieking fans spilling cider everywhere, both evenings were a lot to take in. Bieber wore a lot of different jackets. Adele screamed about a bug. Bieber coughed a bit. By way of bringing order to the mayhem of Mt Smart, I have pitted the two against each other by way of ten simple rounds to see who came out tops.
Round #1: The Dr Hook award for sexy eyes
Bieber donned a pair of murderer glasses for much of his concert which, according to one Google search and no link-clicking, seems to be strictly for fashion reasons. Perhaps it was to distract from his cold, or as an homage to The Lovely Bones, directed by our own fair Peter Jackson, or maybe the glasses had eyes stuck on the lenses so nobody would know he was actually asleep the whole time. Adele’s eye-based statement came before the concert in her firmly-shut peepers on giant scenes that were to open with the opening line of ‘Hello’. Her eyeliner as always was sharp enough to kill a rhinoceros, but it quite frankly just made me jealous.
Round #2: The Rob Brydon award for man-in-a-box innovation
Before Adele, I had never screamed so loud at a black box since someone I knew finally got sent this and it was full of interesting chutneys and wine. Her transportation method to the stage at Mt Smart was ingenious – part The Prestige, part Domino’s robot, all Mr Burns unexpectedly jumping out of a cake. Bieber basically stood inside a perspex glass prison like Hannibal Lecter for a couple of songs, probably to stop him from running off stage and into the arms of the nearest granny. ‘Twas a means to an end for sure, but nothing close to the electricity of spotting Adele’s Trojan horse powering through the crowds.
Round #3: The KillsMoon award for art direction inspired by X Factor NZ
Whilst trapped inside his glass case of emotion, Justin Bieber took to scrawling ‘love yourself’ on the walls in white, clearly paying homage to the time Stevie Tonks wiped jizz all over a window pane and then tried to draw a frog for some reason. Adele did have an underwater clip sequence slightly derivative of Daniel Bedingfield’s horrific NSFW naked underwater video, but Bieber was the much more artistically atrocious.
Round #4: The Reese Witherspoon award for enthusiastic New Zealand appreciation
Adele welcomed a kapa haka group on stage, teared up a lot and then buzzed out about how one of the performers was the mother of her makeup artist. She said “kia ora”, she talked about Hamilton and Wellington and bad Auckland traffic. Bieber definitely mumbled ‘New Zealand’ once…
Round #5: The Angela Stone award for being real
“Don’t wear this many rings ever” – Bieber
“Auckland weather gives me boogers” – Adele
Round #6: The Harry Warner award for showing us rude
Adele talked about burps and boobs and growing a beard, but Bieber put uncensored ECU shots of Michelangelo’s David on screen a lot. Like, a lot.
Round #7: The Sugar Rush Girl at Mariner’s Game award for best crowd
As much as I admire and identify with screaming teenage girls taking endless selfies, nothing beats the mad wino Mum crowd. Wedge heel jandal, mini bottle of sav, slap on ya sunnies and wrap around a pashmina because it is time to BOP to ‘Rolling in the Deep’ harder than you’ve ever bopped in your goddamn life Sharon.
Round #8: The Crying Dawson award for hysterical crying
Whilst Adele elicited more of a consistent leak throughout, bursting forth a damn during ‘Someone Like You’, I have never seen anyone cry as much as the teenage girl next to me at Bieber. I thought we’d need an ark to get out of Mount Smart. Maybe that’s why Bieb needed the perspex box after all. Her equally emotional friend wrapped her arms around my throat during ‘Let Me Love You’ which I think was supposed to be nice but felt a lot like an attempted murder. I guess life really is worth living.
Winner: Shockingly, Bieber.
Round #9: The Oprah Winfrey award for things hidden under seats
Adele stopped after a few songs and told a man sitting at the very back of the stands to look under his seat. Tucked under there was a letter from her and a selfie of her holding the letter and oh my god isn’t she the best? Things got even better when she misread the man’s Triumph t-shirt to read Trump, and threatened to rip the letter out of his hands again. Bieber didn’t hide jack shit anywhere, but some 10-year-old fans definitely hid some contraband glowsticks under the seats next to us for some reason. We, adults, stole some.
Round #10: The Hellers award for biggest banger
Adele’s ‘Set Fire to the Rain’ brought with it enough fireworks to put a Warehouse Boom Box truly to shame, and ‘Rolling in the Deep’ sure got Shazza and Suze out of their seat as I mentioned earlier. But, oh my god, Bieber closing with ‘Sorry’ – complete with weird ‘wet’ imagery and fireworks and smoke and screaming – was summink else. Could have done with some members of The Royal Family mind you.
of the Spinoff’s first book!Find Out More
Round #11: The Adele award for being a gracious being who is hilarious and very good at singing and I want to be my best friend forever and ever amen
Winner: The wickedly talented Adele.
The ultimate victor in the Battle of the Mount Smart
Adele wins, “sorry” Bieb
The Spinoff’s music content is brought to you by our friends at Spark. Listen to all the music you love on Spotify Premium, it’s free on all Spark’s Pay Monthly Mobile plans. Sign up and start listening today.
Love The Spinoff? The best way to support us is to join The Spinoff Members. For just $2 a week you can help us hire more journalists – and receive a FREE copy of our first book.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.