Marnath Jalech, 14, of Omaha and Nyawech Ruach, 13, La Vista had plans to attend the Justin Bieber concert.
The cousins counted down the days and memorized every lyric. The only problem? They didn’t have tickets. “We just kept hoping and praying that we could go,” Jalech said. “My cousin and I dreamed about it.”
Shonia Struck, a concertgoer with extra tickets, made that dream happen. Struck was walking into the CenturyLink Center with her son Joseph, 10; daughter Kaitlyn, 8, and two extra tickets when she saw the cousins holding signs.
Struck forked over the tickets to the sold-out concert, for free.
“It’s all about giving back. It’s about Beliebers helping Beliebers. I can tell they are really happy.”
“I am just so excited,” Jalech said. “Like, whoa. This will be our first concert.”
The group was just one among the hoards that rushed into the CenturyLink Center with Bieber fever Saturday night. Fans wore rub-on tattoos and star-struck expressions. They carried homemade posters printer paper covered with song lyrics. They wore shoes, shirts and bracelets bearing Bieber’s name.
Bieber fever got a little out of hand earlier Saturday at Westroads Mall when police responded to crowd disturbances after rumors spread that he had been spotted there.
Approximately 1,000 people were waiting there for him, Omaha police said. One female had minor injuries after being knocked over. There were no arrests.
Bieber recorded a video at Westroads Mall in July 2010 before his last performance in Omaha.
In the video, he raps: "This is where we ball/this is where we ball at the Omaha mall."
Bieber tweeted Saturday afternoon:
Several teens said that tweet drew them to the mall.
“There were a lot of teenage girls,” said Jim Sadler, senior general manager for the mall. “That was it. It's just crazy.”
Brighid Welchans, 14, came to Westroads with the pop star's name in white and an optimistic smile. Welchans started the search at 12:30 p.m. with friend Sam Elkims, also 14.
Brighid and Sam soon exchanged phone numbers with other Beliebers and widened the search, determined to find Bieber.
The girls paused to call out to a girl walking past in a T-shirt with Bieber's face on it.
"Have you found him yet?" Welchans asked.
The girl nodded her head forlornly — no — and kept walking.