Justin Bieber has apologised and promised to improve his timekeeping after angry fans complained that the teen idol took the stage two hours late for his O2 Arena show.
Bieber, photographed wearing two watches during a weekend partying in London, infuriated parents who demanded refunds after the singer’s tardy appearance forced them to lead sobbing children to the exits.
Fans, who had paid up to £70 for tickets, booed as they waited for the singer’s arrival. Some concert-goers complained that they missed trains and were left stranded after Bieber finally hit the stage at 10.30pm.
The US singer, who turned 19 on Saturday and has 35 million Twitter Beliebers, moved swiftly to quell what threatened to become a PR disaster.
He denied the claim that he had been two hours late but appeared to blame the media for inconveniencing him.
Bieber promised that his performance at Tuesday night’s show would begin at 9pm.
In a series of Tweets, he said: “Waking up to a crazy day. Last night I was scheduled after three opening acts to go on stage at 9.35 not 8.30, but because of some technical issues I got on at 10.10. So I was 40 minutes late to stage. There is no excuse for that and I apologise for anyone we upset.”
Bieber added: “My relationship with the media is not always easy but I’m trying” and said “since I have been here it hasn’t been easy with the press at times.”
Bieber said: “However it was (a) great show and I’m proud of that and tonight we will run on time and look forward to putting on an amazing show for everyone in attendance. I’m all about the music and the performance and I respect my fans.”
But many Disbeliebers said they would not be coming back. John Lush, 48, an advertising manager, who took his 10-year-old daughter, said they were only able to stay for one song before they had to leave to catch the train home to Bromley, Kent.
He said: “I am absolutely livid. I don’t think a refund would compensate the emotional damage he has done to my children. Giving money to a 10-year-old who couldn’t see their hero is not enough, not when they have school the next day.”
Ellie Steadman, a blogger who said she worked at the O2 Arena, challenged Bieber’s explanation. She wrote: “Bieber was due on at 8.30pm. Nobody had a clue what was going on, it had been hours since the support acts, the audience were past the point of patient, there was a LOT of booing. I found it stressful having to try to help parents and sobbing kids, people were leaving because of how late it was.”
Writing on her elliegracex blog, she said she was not aware of any technical difficulties delaying the star’s arrival. She wrote: “Justin Bieber you are just a 19 year old whose world could be the complete opposite tomorrow if you don't start showing some respect and genuine care for your fans and people who work for and around you.”
The O2 Arena sought to reassure fans attending Bieber’s residency at the 20,000 capacity venue, which continued on Tuesday night. “We have been informed by the @justinbieber team that he is scheduled to go on stage at 9pm tonight,” the venue Tweeted. “We will be doing everything within our power to ensure Justin makes it on stage at the right time.” The venue was barely half-full by the time Bieber’s over-running show drew to a close.
In 2009, Madonna kept fans waiting an hour before performing at the O2 when she demanded that the air-conditioning was turned off inside the arena. Axl Rose of Guns N’Roses is notorious for keeping fans waiting until close to curfew time before hitting the stage.