When it comes to stage banter, most pop stars keep it light.
Selena Gomez invites her audience to sing along. Adele talks about how much she loves Target. Justin Bieber laments the crushing isolation of superstardom, the hollowness of hero worship and how the screams of his fans don't make him feel any less alone.
Wait, woah, hold on. Justin, beb, are you OK?
The “Sorry” singer quieted his audience during a tour stop in Birmingham, England to get so unflinchingly real, you're about to feel so, so guilty for paying to see “Never Say Never” in theaters back in 2011 (and, in doing so, contributing to the depressingly cramped captivity of yet another adorable teenager with a voice like a baby angel).
"When I'm singing you can scream.. and then take a chill pill and just listen when I speak" #PurposeTourBirmingham pic.twitter.com/QEe4naIdlA — Purpose Tour Updates (@JustinTourUpd) October 17, 2016
Bieber asked the Birmingham crowd,
Can you guys do me a favor? Can you guys just relax for about two seconds? …I get it, I get it, but I'm like two feet away from you. And I can hear you. I appreciate all the love, it's amazing. But can you show it in a different way? Screaming is just so obnoxious.
The Grammy winner who, according to ET, had been attempting to tell fans a story over their screams, told them he understands “it's been in our blood and it's ingrained — you go to a concert and you scream and stuff,” but requested some peace and quiet.
If you could just scream after the song, enjoy the song and then take a chill pill for a second and listen to me speak. I don't feel like I'm being heard sometimes, and it gets a little frustrating. When I'm speaking, can you guys not scream at the top of your lungs?
Justin went on to explain to a sea of raised iPhones how the Purpose tour has taken him away from his friends and family, which can be increasingly difficult for months on end.
Oof. This is a dark and honest era in the Bieber timeline.
A co-worker of mine attended one of Justin's Purpose shows earlier this summer and noted he performed like “a caged animal,” while another co-worker summed the 22-year-old up as quite simply “a sad dude.”
Justin himself took to Instagram in May and to tell followers he'd no longer be taking photos with fans on the street, insisting,
It has gotten to the point that people won't even say hi to me or recognize me as a human. I feel like a zoo animal, and I wanna be able to keep my sanity.
Sweet Christ, that's tough to hear.
This isn't the first case of fame bearing down on a promising young talent until his or her head explodes like a Peep someone microwaved 30 seconds too long. After all, this is the age-old entertainment tradition that provided “Behind The Music” with enough material for 244 episodes and counting.
Just last week, in an effort to escape the glass prison society and the music industry have built around him, Justin crashed a British day school's soccer practice.
He is Macaulay Culkin in "Richie Rich," when Richie sees those kids playing baseball on a patch of dirt and has to let them ride his backyard roller coaster to earn their friendship.
Justin's like, "Hey guys, can I join your game, maybe?"
And a bunch of rando British high schoolers are like "Uhh...surrre, Justi--"
JK. The Highgate School students obviously welcomed the Biebs into their game.
Still, we should not allow their kindness to overshadow the fact Justin is, quite literally, a character from a coming-of-age '90s film about a boy so wealthy and lonely, his only friend for, like, half the movie is a grown-ass butler named Herbert.
Moving forward, perhaps it's time to treat Justin like he's Richie. Let's help him make true friendships with kindhearted kids his own age.
Let's help him save his family from ruin at the hands of John Larroquette.
Let's ride his backyard rollercoaster because we like him as a person, not because we're a bunch of thirsty poors who have never seen a backyard rollercoaster before.
We have to be there for Justin, now more than ever.