By ANDREW DALTON, AP Entertainment Writer
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Justin Bieber can leave even a room full of elite athletes, actors and A-listers star struck.
The invite-only guests at Friday’s first of two nights of a Super Bowl-week party dubbed “Homecoming Weekend” crushed around a small stage-in-the-round under a tent at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, California to get close to Bieber, who hopped, bopped and shimmied through a 45-minute set as the evening’s headliner.
The crowd included Jeff Bezos, his girlfriend TV host Lauren Sánchez, “Hamilton” actor Anthony Ramos and NFL Hall-of-Famer Tony Gonzalez.
Most of the hands around the stage were holding phones in the air and filming. Some gleeful fans turned around to shoot selfies with Bieber, who wore a a black skullcap, shades, a white hoodie and a sparkling necklace as he boogied in the background.
With a spare five-piece band, the 27-year-old pop star played a set that leaned heavily on recent songs, including “Somebody,” “Hold On,” “Ghost,” and “As I Am,” with a few nods to the past, like 2015′s “What Do You Mean?”
He stood at a keyboard to play an earnest electric-piano intro to “Peaches” before getting back to the dancing.
Bieber kept the songs flowing, and kept the between-song banter to a minimum.
“You guys having a good night?” he said at one point. “You guys rooting for the Rams?”
Despite the free food and top-shelf spirits being served, the outdoor patios were mostly empty as everyone jammed into the tent to watch Bieber.
Proof of vaccination was required of the 1,500 guests. Few wore masks.
It was one of a week full of entertainment events leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, the first in the Los Angeles area in nearly three decades, with the hometown Los Angeles Rams playing the Cincinnati Bengals.
Night one also included a DJ set from Marshmello. Drake is set to perform on night two.
The event, presented by The h.wood Group, REVOLVE, PLACES.CO and Uncommon Entertainment, was themed on a high school homecoming.
The mostly young guests posed at photo stations with bejeweled football helmets, took pictures in front of a faux-high-school hallway of pink lockers and trophy cases.
Staffers were dressed in football uniforms, making the rounds with fancified versions of stadium food, including plant-based chicken bites, garlic fries and tiny pizzas.
Other pre-Super Bowl entertainment events on Friday night included Shaq’s Fun House, a public event thrown by Shaquille O’Neal at the Shrine Auditorium that featured a performance from Lil Wayne, and the second night of the three-night Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest, which featured Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Mickey Guyton, who will sing the national anthem at Sunday’s big game.
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton
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