I watched them when Datzentertainment first brought them here in 2009 for a showcase. That was at St James, and it was a sold out performance. At an average of age of 20, they put on a solid performance, and left an impression as the one of the, if not first Korean band to perform in Singapore at the onset of Kpop wave here.
Before their first full-scale concert PLAY! in 2012, they’d returned a few times, as part of the line-up of other Kpop concerts, and usually – because of precise band set-up – as the opening performance, they never fail to heat up the crowd.
The PLAY! concert at Max Pavilion in January 2012 was when they showed their musical prowess as they held court for 2 hours despite lead singer Hongki being rushed to the hospital before the show started for a flu-relief jab. I remember they belted out most of their hits and title songs, but they left me wanting to listen to more. Which I did at their 6th anniversary concert in Singapore last Saturday. And it was daebak.
Here are 6 things I liked about the concert:
1) the energy
Although lead singer Hongki kept lamenting how it seemed like he wasn’t able to keep his energy levels as high as before, now that he is 26 (Korean age), the powerful rock music complete with his solid vocals absolutely heated up Indoor Stadium, despite a less impressive crowd size versus the super A-listers (think Super Junior, Girl’s Generation and Big Bang).
2) the rock music
I’ve always liked their title songs. Even when I didn’t understand Korean, the melodies always resonated with me. While I wished they sang more of their classics, I was happy that despite a song set without much of it, it was still a two-thumbs-up concert, in my opinion.
3) the ballads
I especially liked the acoustic ballad segment when all of them, including drummer Min Hwan and bassist Jae Jin joined Hongki crooning “I Confess” and “Always With You”. The moments of crystal clear vocals were very charming, and added complexity to the otherwise rock concert.
And, I absolutely loved the remix of “Severely”:
4) their colours
Towards the end of the concert, they sang what they claimed is the kind of music they wanted to do – “Black Chocolate” and “Revolution”. I liked it that the self-indulgence was nicely done, not too much, not too little. The two songs may not be commercial hits, but definitely scored in musical terms.
5) their maturity
If you’ve followed them and their music from before, this would be pretty obvious. Wanli and I are very much pleased and amazed with how well they’ve grown.
6) their respect for the translator
Few Kpop performers would introduce their translators on the stage, sans fanmeets. I really liked how Hongki invited his “teacher” on the stage to translate for him. Well done, whether it’s him or the organizers.