Young Justin Bieber is growing up.
You couldn't tell it by looking at the crowd on Saturday at Oracle Arena. The fans who filled the Oakland venue to bursting capacity were, for the most part, still young, female and incredibly enthusiastic -- the same kind of high-pitched true "Beliebers" who greeted the Canadian heartthrob during the 2010-11 My World Tour.
Yet, that's where the similarities ended between his debut trek and his current Believe Tour. This time around, the 18-year-old Canadian heartthrob, who has already sold more than 15 million albums, came across as a vastly more polished, professional and well-rounded entertainer.
He's no longer just a cute kid with a great haircut and a decent voice. He's also a savvy artist with a game plan for what he wants to accomplish onstage -- and the ability to carry it out.
Bieber is making the leap -- the most treacherous jump in pop music -- from teen idol to adult star. He's not there yet, but Bieber seems well positioned for a smooth landing.
The sold-out show, which arguably was the top ticket in a very busy Bay Area weekend that included shows with Madonna and Florence and the Machine, also featured fellow Canadian pop-vocalist Carly Rae Jepsen. She set the table for the headliner with a likable set that was, of course, highlighted by "Call Me Maybe," the utterly addictive slice of fluffy dance-pop that has been simply impossible to escape in recent months.