Sometimes, a dumb idea or a stupid joke goes a little too far, and a funny conversation about Phish’s lighting guy, Chris Kuroda, working the nearby Justin Bieber concert ends up with you actually going to said Justin Bieber concert. That’s kind of what happened to me, when an escalating chain of events – we have to go! Trey will be there! He plays Phish songs! The stage set up will be incredible! I’m checking Stubhub! I bought tickets! I bought tickets? – led me to Madison Square Garden to see Justin Bieber (and Carly Rae Jepsen!). The worst part is, despite not trying to, I really liked it. 

If you think Phish has dedicated fans, you should see these little fuckers. Its like going to this concert is every girl’s princess ball. It’s like their parents just said ‘fuck it’ for the night. Everyone is decked out, whether its in homemade Bieber shirts, or legitimate pricess costumes. Seriously. Like, full on Disney princess. I don’t know if they are hoping that Bieber picks them out of the audience and marries them on the spot, but every – single – girl. Princess costumes.

Before Bieber came out, some asshole decided to dim the lights a little bit every 10 seconds, teasing the crowd into think the show was about to start. And that means that every 10 seconds, every single girl in the audience would shriek at the top of her lungs. The stadium was literally shaking. It felt like the noise alone could explode your head. All of that was just warm up for when the Biebs finally jumped out, exactly on the cue of a 10 minute countdown.

That’s the thing – this was more of a spectacle than a real concert. There were constant intermissions with cheesy videos that would lead up to Bieber jumping out to fireworks. Oh – the fireworks. There was a lot of fireworks. Like tons. All the time. The visual experience was truly awesome, with massive light rigs all above the crowd, a huge screen behind Bieber, and pyro pretty much everywhere. Between the dancers and the lights and the Bieber, there was so much going on.

Oh, and laugh all you want, the music was no worse than any other top 40 electronic/pop radio hits. Was it cheesy pop garbage forced down the throats of our youth? Of course it was. But it was that garbage in its absolute best form. There are some certifiable hits in there, and they are pretty danceable beats. The kid’s got swag, he commands the stage and has control of the audience for the entire time. Not that it’s so hard to do for a bunch of 14 year olds. For me and all of the MILFs in the audience – and yes, there were tons – I think we just got to enjoy the pure outrageousness of it all. Here is an 18 year old boy, literally descending from the heavens onto the stage for thousands of screaming girls to ogle. He changes outfits, he dances, he sings, theres fireworks, lights, ridiculous videos – one showed a montage of news clips questioning Bieber’s staying power, before he triumphantly returned to the stage to sing some song that probably had to do with overcoming adversity. It’s just so over the top, there’s so much going on, it’s pretty hilarious.

Look, I can’t in my right mind tell you that you need to goto a Justin Bieber concert. Being around that many little girls for such a long time is probably hazardous to your health in some way, it definitely makes you feel a little  creepy. But what I can tell you, is that it was pretty awesome. And if you get asked by a girlfriend or daughter or niece, you may have a better time than you think. His band is awesome – they do a medley of a few Phish songs at one point (2001, First Tube, Sand and Waste), and the guitarist has a pretty nasty solo later on in the show. The lights and fireworks are cool. The event as a whole is just kind of hilariously awesome. It’s definitely not as bad as you think.