VANCOUVER - Justin Bieber dazzled a deafening crowd during a sold-out concert in Vancouver Tuesday night, but the teen heartthrob made no mention of reports he was involved in an altercation that's being investigated by the RCMP.
The 16-year-old from Stratford, Ont., had fans shrieking every second he was on the Rogers Arena stage. Most wore Bieber T-shirts, some clutched "Bieber Fever" signs, while others had their arms, legs and even faces painted in the teen's honour.
The legion of fans cheering his every move was a welcome change for Bieber, whose name has been in the headlines for different reasons of late.
RCMP are investigating allegations a 12-year-old boy was assaulted by another boy at a laser tag centre in Richmond, B.C. last week. Media reports have suggested Bieber was the second boy.
RCMP have said the 12-year-old's father filed a complaint, though his son suffered minimal injury and did not require medical attention.
Police have not publicly identified Bieber as having anything to do with the altercation.
The celebrity gossip website TMZ.com quoted unnamed sources saying a boy went out of his way to target Bieber during a laser tag game.
Sean Blishen, 17, said the alleged incident is all anyone at her school is talking about.
"I just thought it was kind of funny," she said outside Rogers Arena before Bieber's concert, as she and friend Brooklyn Fry raced to find last-minute tickets.
"Like, he's a normal kid like everyone else."
Fry, 18, said the entire incident appears to have been blown out of proportion.
"People are obviously going to make things up about him, making it worse than it might be," she said. "I think maybe he was taken in the wrong context. But maybe not. You can't always be on the star's side."
Though they had difficulty finding tickets in their price range, Blishen and Fry said it was worth showing up just to witness the atmosphere.
A cardboard cutout of Bieber wasn't lonely — a steady stream of screaming females posed for pictures with the lifesize image.
"It's crazy. It reminds me of the Jonas Brothers concert, times 10 though," Blishen said of the scene.
While many of the girls made no secret of their claims that Bieber is the sexiest man alive, Blishen and Fry said they weren't convinced.
"His songs are catchy. They make me want to dance," Blishen said.
"(But) I don't like his hair at all. ... It's like someone put a bowl on his head."
Added Fry: "It's not even him. It's the songs."
Maddie Devlin, 16, disagreed. So did her pink and black "Bieber Fever" sign.
When asked how she came down with the fever, Devlin said: "Because he's cute."
Bieber has been met by mob scenes on several occasions in recent years, most notably when he was greeted at an Auckland, New Zealand airport in April by a group of overzealous fans who knocked over his mother, Pattie Mallette, and stole his hat.
Before that, a public Bieber performance in Australia had to be shut down by police after thousands of girls surged toward the stage (eight of the crowd members were sent to hospital) and appearances at malls in Long Island, N.Y., and Paris had to be aborted due to reports of out-of-control crowds.
A row of security guards kept fans from getting too close to Bieber Tuesday.
He entered from underneath the stage, to a roar that even the building's primary tenants — the Vancouver Canucks — would envy.
Bieber donned a white jacket and pants for his first number, capped by a Toronto Blue Jays hat.
A throng of cameras flashed as he sang. Those who weren't taking photos held out their hands, hoping Bieber would provide a touch.
At one point, he sat in a metallic heart and floated over the audience while playing the guitar.
One of the loudest moments of the night — and there was no shortage of contenders — may have come when Bieber brought a fan on stage.
The blonde girl shook as she sat on a stool and Bieber provided her with red roses.
She covered her mouth with her hand throughout the tune, which Bieber capped by giving the girl a hug.