PHOTO: Tori Hoffman (right) and friend Carlyn Recker (left) showed off their tickets before the show Sunday night, July 7, at Wells Fargo Arena. (Photos courtesy of Tori Hoffman)
PHOTO: A friendly fan caught this shot of Justin Bieber singing to Tori Hoffman onstage during his Des Moines concert last Sunday.
By Emily Burds, Express Intern
Tori Hoffman had a whirlwind weekend. The 18-year-old from Cascade found out just hours before show time that she would be attending the Justin Bieber concert in Des Moines on Sunday.
“My friends’ parents surprised her and then she kind of surprised me by asking me to go with her,” Hoffman explained of the experience. Hoffman said that she is a big Justin Bieber fan and didn’t think twice about going.
With no forewarning of the concert, Hoffman said she was just excited to be there. She could have never imagined what came next.
“We had seats just two rows off the floor, which was awesome with how fast the show sold out,” Hoffman explained. While sitting there with her friend, cousin and their friends, Hoffman said she noticed a woman and a man that she thought to be Bieber’s manager Scooter, walking around, checking out the crowd.
“We had talked about how much it was going to suck to know that we weren’t going to be that girl and having to see whoever it was up onstage,” Hoffman said. “But I was just excited to be at the concert at all.”
With the show about to start, the girls settled into their seats and enjoyed Justin’s opening acts Mike Posner and the band Hot Chelle Rae.
“It took an hour for Justin to come on after Hot Chelle Rae finished,” Hoffman said of the wait time. “A lot of people weren’t happy about that but he had such an elaborate set that it wasn’t surprising it took that long to set up.”
Bieber took the stage in all his teen god glory to the sound of thousands of screaming girls. “I was a total fangirl,” Hoffman joked. “I was just in awe staring at him.” This may have been one of the things that set her apart from the rest, as just a few songs later, that same woman from before pointedly looked at Hoffman and summoned her forward.
“She just pointed at me and so I started scrambling down the seats in front of me and she just grabbed my hand and didn’t say a word. We just started walking.”
Hoffman would later find out this woman’s name was Jen as she asked Hoffman whether she wanted to be the night’s “One Less Lonely Girl”, the highest title a Belieber can attain. “I just started crying and saying thank you,” Hoffman said. She was handed a Justin Bieber t-shirt to don and was carted off to the edge of the stage to await her moment.
In the middle of Bieber’s early hit song, he ran offstage, took Hoffman’s hand and led her to a throne of sorts assembled onstage, crowning her with a flower wreath that now proudly hangs on Hoffman’s wall.
“They told me to just look at him, of course how could I not,” Hoffman explained of her encounter with the superstar, who sang passionately to her, holding her hands as she sat in shock in front of thousands of envious fans.
“Once it was done, he asked my name and got it wrong the first time but he had everyone give a round of applause then ran me offstage, gave me a quick hug and a thank you and he was gone,” Hoffman said of the short-lived encounter. However, she says she will cherish it for the rest of her life.
“I had girls sobbing when I got back to my seat and asking for hugs and pictures and just plain staring at me,” she said. Following the end of the concert, it took Hoffman and her group over a half hour to leave Wells Fargo Arena, having to stop for photo ops with any fans who happened to notice her.
“My friends had to basically protect me and escort me out of there,” Hoffman explained of her new found fame. Despite all the attention and Twitter followers she has gained, Hoffman says that she still felt bad that her friends, who invited her didn’t get picked.
“I wasn’t even supposed to be there at all and then I got picked out of the thousands of girls. It just seemed unreal.”
Even with a twinge of jealousy from her gang, Hoffman’s friends said that they were happy to be able to be a part of it too, and help her live this dream.
Now, Hoffman is back to her normal routine. Between working her two jobs and preparing to head off to the University of Iowa this fall, she has been keeping plenty busy. As for her future celebrity plans, Hoffman says she doesn’t think she will ever get another experience quite like that one.
“It was literally the best day of my life.”