Sunday, December 5, 2010
I've been waiting months for yesterday to happen. Around October, a few friends and I purchased tickets to the much-anticipated YG Family Concert 2010. The YG Family is an entertainment empire here in South Korea. They essentially hold an enormous share of the pop/hip-hop market here on the peninsula. Among their bigger names are Big Bang, 2NE1, SE7EN, Gummy, and PSY (video links). All of these guys performed at the concert.
Sunday started out pretty rough, as Shannon and I decided to hop the more economical bus up to Seoul. This was sort of a mistake. After going to every single bus terminal at Dongdaegu, we finally find the Seoul-bound bus. The bus takes roughly 4 hours, double that of my preferred KTX form of transit. But whatever, slight hitch in plans. We arrive in a heavily overcast Seoul and make our way to Olympic Park, which takes roughly an eon on the subway. We were feeling fairly exhausted and uncomfortable from our long trip up, and began to develop second thoughts on our decision to head to a super poppy Korean (i.e. - lots of lights and glitter) concert with a bazillion screaming girls. But we persevered. Arriving at Olympic Park, we were greeted by numerous stands peddling 2NE1/BigBang glow sticks, key chains, mouse pads, pillows - everything. Then we finally made it to the venue and head in to the show. I was right; lights and glitter were in no short supply and the screaming girls were a bit more screamy than I expected but it is a pop concert. We settle into our pretty fantastic seats (thanks Bethany!) and wait to wowed.
Since we arrived a bit late, we missed a couple 2NE1 songs (oh well) and came into a Se7en song. Pretty slow start until Gummy rolls out with a brilliant piano solo number. Her voice is beautiful but the real surprise came when the stage began to move. The stage was probably the second star of this show, after BigBang, of course. Never have I seen so many lights, fireworks, fire(!), confetti cannons, moving parts, elevator lifts (like 8 or 9), and length on a stage before! These guys really know how to put on a show. At one point there were at least 10 confetti canons running for a solid 4 minutes. SO MUCH GLITTER! Anyhow, here a few highlights from the show:
1) Se7en comes out to sing and sits on a circular table in the middle of the stage. The stage lifts up and out of the stage and he continues to melt our hearts from about 20 feet above the stage. When he comes back down to the stage, he changes into the sparkliest sneakers I've ever seen. But these aren't just any sneakers - they are roller skates. He skates all around the stage and it's just adorable.
2) This song. I know, it doesn't seem like anything special but increasing the popularity of the phrase "What's up?" is a goal shared by every single English teacher in Korea. No one understands this phrase. Thank you guys for furthering our cause!
3) BigBang's entire wardrobe, including: the sparkliest jackets I've ever seen (G-Dragon's green one was the best), giant fur coats word by T.O.P. and G-Dragon, ginormous chains, and the sparkly gloves.
4) T.O.P.'s new platinum/white hair.
5) My realization that PSY looks like a Korean Wayne Newton. No lies, this guy is old and a little creepy. And his only dance move is jumping.
6) The encore (or in-core, as Koreans say) of the concert. All acts came out and performed a couple number together, including their rendition of We Are The World (this is actually from the concert I attended, sorry about the poor quality, cameras weren't allowed - sneaky sneaky person!).
Overall, it was a great experience (minus the girl screaming bloody murder behind us). We also got a decent amount of camera time grooving to the beats. I now have a much greater appreciation for BigBang (Shinee used to be my #1 KPop band but after last night's show they've been ousted) and Korean showmanship. If you like KPop, I absolutely recommend heading to a concert - you will never look at glitter the same way again.
(Apologies for the lack of my own pictures but as I said, no pictures were allowed. I tried to snag a few with my phone but the event staff was insanely vigilant.)