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Justin Bieber cancels 'Purpose' tour dates for his 'soul and well-being'

Justin Bieber cancels 'Purpose' tour dates for his 'soul and well-being'

Includes planned MetLife Stadium show
Justin Bieber cancels 'Purpose' tour dates for his 'soul and well-being'
Justin Bieber in New York on May 4, 2016.
Photographer: Chad Batka/The New York Times

Justin Bieber has performed more than 150 shows in 40 countries across six continents and 16 months on his “Purpose” world tour. But the final 14 scheduled dates were just too much.

On Monday, he canceled his remaining concerts for this year, which were spread across four months and included shows in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Hong Kong and Singapore, citing only “unforeseen circumstances.”

“Justin loves his fans and hates to disappoint them,” a statement sent by a publicist said. “However, after careful consideration he has decided he will not be performing any further dates. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.” (Last week, Bieber had been barred from performing in mainland China because of past “bad behavior.”)

Fan reaction to the news was swift and plentiful online, split along the lines of disappointment and understanding. On Instagram, where Bieber was most recently shirtless on a hike and at 7-Eleven, commenters flooded his page with purple heart emojis and messages like, “We respect your decisions.”

In a brief video interview published Monday evening by TMZ, Bieber, looking casual in front of a gigantic black pickup truck, said: “Everything’s fine. I’ve been on tour for two years.” Asked about his downtime, the singer added, “Just resting, getting some relaxation — we’re gonna ride some bikes.”

And, as he has done so many times over the years, Bieber apologized to his listeners.

“Sorry for anybody who feels disappointed or betrayed,” he said. “Have a blessed day.”

The “Purpose” tour began in early 2016 in support of the singer’s smash album of the same name, a nominee earlier this year for the top prize at the Grammy Awards. But reviews of the shows were mixed, with some citing Bieber’s perceived disinterest in performing. Writing in The New York Times, the critic Jon Caramanica compared this teen-pop star to a kidnapping victim (“forced into high-intensity labor”) and noted “the studied indifference that was the norm throughout this sometimes worrisome night.”

He added, “Mr. Bieber gave the impression of a boy king who inherited subjects he didn’t ask for, responsibilities he’s not interested in shouldering.”

Still, the tour grossed $163.3 million last year, according to the industry trade publication Pollstar, and had earned another $93.2 million so far this year. And his music’s popularity has not waned: Bieber has two songs on the Billboard Top 5, including the remix of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito,” which has held the No. 1 spot for 11 weeks and counting.

In a note on Instagram on Monday night, Bieber’s longtime manager, Scooter Braun, thanked the tour’s promoter, AEG Presents, and the singer’s record-label parent company, Universal Music Group. But he also defended the cancellations, adding that “a man’s soul and well-being I truly care about came first and We must all respect and honor that.”

Bieber also received support on Twitter from John Mayer, a fellow touring stalwart who also gained inordinate amounts of fame as a young man.

“When someone pulls remaining dates of a tour,” Mayer wrote, “it means they would have done real damage to themselves if they kept going.”

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