Wed, 06 Mar 2013 15:30:00 GMT | By AFP

Fans' fury as Justin Bieber late to British gig

Canadian singer Justin Bieber apologises to angry fans after he turned up nearly two hours late for his London concert

Fans' fury as Justin Bieber late to British gig (© Rex Features)

London: Teen superstar Justin Bieber faced fury from his British fans on Tuesday after he showed up late for a sold-out concert in London.

The Canadian singer played the first of four nights at London's O2 Arena on Monday, but hundreds in the audience took to Twitter to vent their frustration after he failed to appear on stage until nearly 10:30 pm.

The 19-year-old insisted on Tuesday that he was only 40 minutes late -- but many fans said they had been led to believe he would be onstage at 8:30 pm, making him almost two hours late.

"I was 40 min late to stage. There is no excuse for that and I apologize for anyone we upset," Bieber wrote on his Twitter account.

"However it was great show and I'm proud of that," he said, adding that the delay was due to "technical issues".

But parents of children in the 20,000-seat stadium complained that the singer kept young fans waiting on a school night -- with some forced to miss the gig altogether in order to catch the last trains out of London.

"I'm never going to a gig by Justin Bieber ever again," Louise Cooper, who had to leave the concert early to take her child home, told BBC television.

"Two hours we had to wait, and then because we had to go home early, all we heard were the new songs from the new album that we don't know."

Another mother, Charlotte Stapleton, told the broadcaster: "He arrived about two hours late on stage and there was no apology at all from the singer."

An AFP photographer said concertgoers booed as they waited, while the venue played Michael Jackson songs over and over again in an attempt to keep them happy.

A spokesman for the O2 Arena backed up Bieber's account of what happened.

"He was due onstage at 9:30 pm, which makes him 49 minutes late," the spokesman told AFP.

"He was always due on at 9:30 -- possibly the media have got the wrong end of the stick here.

"There were three support bands first who played on time -- Jayden Smith (Will Smith's son) played at 7:30, followed by Cody Simpson at 8 pm and Carly Rae Jepson at 8:30 pm."

He added: "We will do everything in our power to make sure Justin gets on stage tonight at a reasonable time."

Bieber insisted that his second London show on Tuesday night would run on schedule.

"Tonight we will run on time and look forward to putting on an amazing show for everyone in attendance," he wrote.

But he added a swipe at the British media's reporting of the delays.

"Since I have been here it hasn't been easy with the press at times... I'm not okay with things being exaggerated," he wrote.

Bieber's four nights at the O2 follow dates in the British cities of Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Nottingham as part of his worldwide tour promoting his third studio album, 'Believe'.

The singer, whose Twitter account has 35 million followers making it the most popular in the world, shot to fame after homemade videos of his performances went viral on YouTube in 2007.

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