If anyone was to call anyone the biggest Justin Bieber fan ever, a fight would likely erupt. Undoubtedly, Tulsa has Bieber Fever -- and just in time for his sold-out show Wednesday at the BOK Center.
The singing, dancing, 18-year-old Canadian pop sensation has swept middle America off its feet and into arena concerts filled with hundreds of thousands of screaming, crying, hand-waving children, teens and moms. Bieber was discovered in 2008 after posting his own videos to YouTube, where he found his earliest fans. Many have been with him on the wild ride since, with hits including "Baby," "One Less Lonely Girl," "Eenie Meenie" (with Sean Kingston), "Boyfriend," "Beauty and a Beat" (with Nicki Minaj), "Pray," "Never Say Never" and more.
'Dream come true' "I actually do love Justin Bieber," Libby Auld said. "I should probably be ashamed."
She and 6-year-old daughter Layla will head to Wednesday's sold-out Bieber concert together at the BOK Center. "We sing along to all the songs. Yeah, maybe it should be the Beatles, but, you know, when I hear Layla singing to Bruno Mars and s-e-x, Bieber is a much better option."
Plus, "I'm a huge pop music fan. I'm totally egging this on," the 31-year-old mother said about the "Bieber Fever," then laughed.
Their love affair with the crooner started about two years ago during a road trip to California. "I call it the Bieber Road Trip, because that's about all we listened to. 'Baby' had just come out."
When she realized his Tulsa tour stop had sold out in minutes, she lost hope of seeing him live, until a vendor friend for her restaurant, Elote, came to the rescue.
"I pleaded with the guy, 'Please help a little girl's dream come true!'," she said. "He puts on a great show. These pop stars like Katy Perry and even Taylor Swift, it's a lot about theater and art and I'm into both. As parents, we have to be as open-minded as our children are. These concerts are really good."
In reality, two girls' dreams will come true Wednesday night as the pair spend the evening together in their box seats at the BOK Center.
"Oh, I've been a girl before. I've been there," Auld said. "I remember when Bryan Adams did that song for 'Robin Hood,' and I was totally in love with Kevin Costner and even named a teddy bear after his character."
Some things don't change.
"Layla writes 'I heard JB' all over everything. I'm sure in her free time she's practicing her cursive signature of 'Layla Bieber' for when she and Justin get married."
Auld bought her daughter a Bieber calendar for Christmas last year, "and she's drawn hearts all over it."
This year, friends fronted the concert tickets, but Santa brought a T-shirt and CD (and a shirt for Mom, too). They will wear the shirts to the concert, Auld said.
'I'll jam that' Andy Bantly, 42, isn't going to the concert, but he'll be the guy in the bicycle cab taking girls (and boys) of all ages to their ultimate destination.
Bantly owns Yeti Cab, a one-man business that offers cheerful rides to downtowners as they head to and from concerts, restaurants, ballgames and other events.
"I've been on a bicycle all my life," the riding enthusiast said. "I was in San Antonio with my dad a few years ago and we took a pedicab. I saw others give the guy $30 for a ride and said, 'Man, I need to do this.'"
Bantly doesn't charge a fee for his service, but he certainly takes donations. "People's consciences pay way better than any set price," he said. "Everyone here is really nice about it."
He takes all kinds, too, he said. He's worked Winterfest, Tulsa Performing Arts Center shows, BOK Center shows, Cain's Ballroom and Brady Theater shows and more. "I've learned a lot about the history of downtown and will share what I know about the Race Riot monument, our art deco and stuff like that," he said.
"Kids love to get in the cab because they think it's an amusement park ride," he said. "They beg their parents until they say yes. I encourage that behavior," he added, then laughed.
Then there are the first-daters, the rodeo men speaking Spanish or Portuguese and "riding like I'm a bull" and the "girls-night-outers." "Almost all of them are sharing stories while we ride. It's always fun."
Find him in the red and black bicycle cab -- "The one that plays loud music," he said. "If it's a Christmas show night, I'll play holiday tunes. If Journey is at the BOK Center, I'll jam that. If it's Bieber, you'll probably hear that, too."
'Best birthday ever' Jennifer Green woke up her 4-year-old daughter extra early before school on Dec. 19. For Kendyl's fifth birthday, she'd open her presents before school.
"The Bieber tickets get opened last," she said, preparing to send her kid off on possibly the second best day ever.
The first best day, of course, will be Wednesday at the BOK Center.
"We've had these tickets since they went on pre-sale back in, what, June?" she said. "I'm not a good secret keeper at all. This has been really hard on her dad and me."
But oh-so-worth-it. Dad's staying home to sit the couple's infant daughter that night as mom and daughter hit the town for dinner and the concert. Green spent "more than $300" on the tickets. "We got the good seats," she said.
Kendyl first "met" Bieber last year when some of her older school friends started listening to his music. "Then, she got a toothbrush that played his music, and really, it just took off from there."
The lucky girl "had been moping around the house for weeks after she learned that some of her friends were going," Green said. "I just kept telling her, 'Wait until your birthday, just wait.'
"It's the best birthday present ever."
Hooked Victoria Roberts definitely vies for the title of one of Justin Bieber's biggest fans. Yeah, yeah, there's a lot of competition there, but this 11-year-old boasts 200 Bieber posters between herself and sister Elizabeth, 15.
Wednesday's concert won't be her first time to see the performer live, either. She caught his sold-out show back in 2010, too.
"I screamed really loud," she said about the moment her mom, Trisha, told her she'd scored concert tickets. "Why was I so excited? Because I get to see him dance -- he's a really good dancer -- and sing. And I get to be really close to him."
She's been a fan since way back. Victoria discovered his first videos on YouTube back in 2008, before Bieber Fever broke into a worldwide phenomenon. He's sold 53 million albums since then.
"I was hanging out with my friends and we found his music online," she said. "He was doing things really different, things we hadn't heard before."
She was hooked. She's since bought all three of his albums, his perfumes, a life-size Bieber cardboard stand-up poster, necklaces, watches, tees and other clothes, she said.
She couldn't begin to put a monetary value on her collection, nor would her mother.
"I'm going to wear something so that Justin might notice me," Victoria said dreamily as she anticipated the concert.
"Last time, her mother, a limo driver, took them in a stretch with about 15 other friends and their parents.
"I hope we can do that again this time," she said. "I don't know yet. It'll be a surprise if we do."
Discography Justin Bieber has recorded three studio albums, three remix albums and more than two dozen singles. Here are most of them:
--My World -- "One Time" "One Less Lonely Girl"
--My World 2.0 -- "Baby" "Somebody to Love" "U Smile"
--My Worlds: The Collection -- "Pray"
--Never Say Never: The Remixes -- "Never Say Never"
--Under the Mistletoe -- "Mistletoe"
--Believe -- "Boyfriend," "As Long as You Love Me," "Beauty and a Beat"
--Featured singles -- "We Are the World 25 for Haiti," "Wavin' Flag (Haiti Mix)," "Eenie Meenie," "Next to You," "Live My Life"
--Promotional singles -- "Love Me," "Favorite Girl," "Never Let You Go," "Turn to You (Mother's Day Dedication)," "Die in Your Arms," "All Around the World"
--Other songs -- "Down to Earth," "Bigger," "First Dance", "That Should Be Me," "All I Want for Christmas Is You (SuperFestive!)," "Believe," "Beautiful"
--Official videos -- "Beauty And A Beat" featuring Nicki Minaj, "As Long As You Love Me" featuring Big Sean, "Boyfriend," "Mistletoe," "Next to You" (Chris Brown featuring Justin Bieber), "That Should be Me" ft. Rascal Flatts, "Pray," "U Smile," "Love Me," "Somebody To Love Remix" ft. Usher, "Never Say Never" featuring Jaden Smith, "We Are The World 25 For Haiti," "One Less Lonely Girl," "One Time"
JUSTIN BIEBER with special guest Carly Rae Jepsen
When: Showtime 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: BOK Center, 200 S. Denver Ave.
Tickets: SOLD OUT
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OCTOBER 31, 2014
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