At 18, the cherubic heartthrob looks taller, rangier and more mature than he did a year ago. As he prowled the stage and the long catwalk that extended out into the crowd, his step was bouncier and more athletic.
Although the show was extensively choreographed and used a large troupe of dancers on many numbers, Bieber delivered his own steps with almost affected indifference, as if to say, "Yo, I know all the moves. I'm just too cool to bust my a-." Or maybe those ultra-baggy black leather pants he wore most of the night restricted his movement.
There were a number of musical highlights in both of Bieber's primary métiers. On the dance side, there was a pile-driving version of "Out of Town Girl." On the sensitive side, a yearning delivery of "Fall," which the singer performed solo, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar while floating in a ribbed gondola above the crowd.
Bieber also seemed quite pleased with himself after the extended drum solo he took in the middle of a noisy "Beauty and a Beat."
It was impossible to tell how much actual singing he was doing on those numbers when the music was throbbing and he was moving kinetically. But on the more romantic songs, like "Catching Feelings," a doo-woppy "Die in Your Arms," and "Beautiful," a duet with opening act and fellow Canadian Carly Rae Jepsen, Bieber's vocals were undeniably supple and soulful.
Fortunately, Jepsen put on a pair of pants for "Beautiful." For her own set, she chose a garish ensemble that included sparkly gold mini-culottes and black knee socks. Don't call us, Carly. We'll call you. Maybe.
The young, full-throated crowd was clearly there for Justin. All he had to do was take off his sunglasses and the screaming would spike. A few falsetto notes would send the girls into paroxysms.
While the volume of their reaction never wavered, they had the most enthusiastic physical reaction to puppy-love songs like "One Less Lonely Girl," during which they danced with a little more abandon, waved their arms from side to side, and held up the multicolored strobing lights inside plastic pretend microphones that were on sale in the lobby.
It was a generous if not particularly strenuous concert for Bieber, who took numerous backstage breaks while various video packages played. But if his young disciples noticed, they certainly didn't seem to mind.
For more photos of Justin Bieber and his fans, go to www.philly.com/bieber.
Contact David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552, email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @daveondemand_tv.