K-Pop Concert reviews G.Na U-Kiss Big Bang Teen Top SM Town A-Pink
Beaches of South Korea Tips on how to get to South Koreaâ€™s beaches from Seoul
Summer 2012 Life in Korea
Page 5 - Beaches in South Korea
During the scorching summer months, it’s good to know how to get away while staying in South Korea. Take a look at some of the more popular beaches around the South Korean peninsula.
Page 7 - Seoul’s Soul - Deoksugong Doldamgil
Learn about the urban legend behind the stone wall path at Deoksugong Palace, and if there is any truth behind the myth.
Meanwhile, in... Japan
Page 15 - U-Kiss’ First Japan Tour
U-Kiss dove into the Japanese market at the beginning of 2012, doing a nation-wide Zepp tour throughout Japan. Check out the review for their final weekend in the tour, at Zepp Tokyo.
Canada Page 18 - 2K12 Seoul Sonic In Toronto
K-Pop kick started the Canadian Music Week festival, with performances from A-Pink, Teen Top, G.Na and Brian Joo bringing Korean music to the Canadian audiences
Page 8 - Big Bang’s “Alive” tour
One of the most popular acts in South Korea is taking their show on the road, with a world wide tour throughout 2012. Check out the review for Big Bang’s first show on their tour, in Seoul.
Page 12 - K-Collection Fashion Concert
A combination of fashion and music made up the K-Collection Fashion show, creating a practical way for Korean fashionistas to check out this year’s fashions and shop at the same time, all while enjoying a good show.
The United States
Page 20 - Google Korean Music Wave Concert MBC, in collaboration with Google, brought some of the top stars in Korean music to LA for a concert many American fans will never forget.
Page 23 - SM Town World Tour III In LA
The famous SM town series of concerts brought their family of artists to LA to perform for the growing number of fans in the US, and didn’t disappoint.
Letter From the editor
Contributing Writers Rebecca Bredin Jacqui Simon Georgina Espinosa Graphic Design Marti Capaul www.ksoulmag.com
Looking to reach a new market in South Korea and around the globe? K-Soul magazine will be selling a variety of advertizing spaces for our Fall 2012 issue! Please contact us at http://www.ksoulmag.com
Dear K-Soul Readers, Hello hello hello! First and foremost, thank you for downloading the very first issue of K-Soul Magazine! This project has been a labour of love for some months now, and it’s a little strange and scary to see it finally finished! The primary goal of this magazine was to be a source of information for people coming to Korea who have an interest in Korean pop culture. There are loads of magazines here for expats, but they tend to stay within the English speaking areas of Seoul. However, there are more and more people coming to Korea to dive head first into Korean music, television and theatre, and when they get here, there isn’t much to help out! Where are the concerts? The tapings? How can I get to experience all that Korean pop culture has to offer? That’s what KSoul is here for. We want to make South Korea accessible to everyone, and help learn about the real, current pop culture that can be found here. To make this happen, we need your help. With your continued support, this magazine will be able to flourish. This project has become one where Hallyu wave fans from around the world can come together to find and share information from where ever they are. You’ll find concert reviews and listings from around the world. However, this isn’t just about K-pop, but life in Korea in general. We want you to have a great time in South Korea, no matter how long you’re here for. With your continued support in K-Soul, we hope we can bring you more reviews, news, and interviews with people spreading the Hallyu wave around the world. Look forward to more from K-Soul in the coming months! ~Rebecca Bredin Editor
Summer day trips from Seoul As the summer temperatures begin to soar in Seoul and across South Korea, people are going to be looking for any and all ways possible to beat the heat. While a vacation would be nice, some people might not have the vacation time or the budget for a hotel. However, thanks to South Korea's size, and being boarded by the ocean on three sides, day trips to the beach can be managed, even from Seoul all the way down to Busan. Here are some of the more popular beaches in South Korea. Gyeongpo Beach Gyeongpo beach is located near Gangneung, in Gangwon province. It is the largest beach on the Eastern coast, and is a popular tourist destination year round. A unique feature of Gyeongpo Beach is Gyeongpoho Lake, which was formed by a large sandbank seperating the body of water from the ocean. The sand in Gyeongpo Beach is very fine and clean. Surrounding Gyeongpo Beach is a thick pine forest, creating an atmosphere very distant from the urban cities most live in. Busses leave from Dong-Seoul station to Gangneung every half hour, and cost between 13-20,000 won one way. The trip takes about 3 hours, depending on traffic. The first bus leaves at 6:30, and the last bus home is about 11pm. Once you're at Gangneung, it's about a 10 minute cab ride from the station. Taking the trains or KTX isn't an option, since there is no direct line from Seoul to Gangneung. Naksan Beach
Naksan beach is another Eastern coast beach, also located inYangyang, Gangwon province. This beach is famous for its deep waters and beautiful sun rises, so if you miss the last bus, there's still something to look forward to the next morning. The sunsets are also gorgeous, so be sure to try check them out, without pushing it for missing your bus home.
On the western coast of South Korea, there are also lots of beaches that people can visit. Eurwangni Beach is a popular choice for many due to it's location. Easily accessable via the Seoul and Incheon local bus and subway system, many people in the city like to visit Eurwangni beach. The beach is about 200 metres long, making it easy to walk up and down the coast, and it is famous for its sunsets. However, the sand is filled with shells, which makes walking barefoot something visitors should do with caution. Eurwangni Beach is a great place to take the family, with lots of nature for children to experience.
The busses to Naksan beach are a little more limited in timing compared to Gyeongpo Beach. From Dong-Seoul station, busses leave every 20-50 minutes, and the trip costs about 17,000 won one way. The first bus to Yangyang leaves at 6:30, but the last bus home is around 6:30, so be sure to check your schedules carefully. The trip is about 3 hours, 20 minutes. There is no direct way to Yangyang from Seoul via train, so bus and driving is the only option.
To get to Eurwangni Beach, you can get on Bus No.301 from outside Aja Shopping Mall (across from Shinsegae Department store, Yeongdeungpo Station) and take it directly to the beach. It takes an hour and 40 minutes, and cost 5,700 won one way. Busses leave every 20 minutes. Or, you can take the subway to Incheon station, and then take the 306 bus to the beach. These busses leave every 10 minutes.
Daecheon Beach Daecheon Beach is better known for their mud than their beach, but don't let that stop you from visiting this beach in Chungcheongnam province! Home to the Boryeong Mud Festival which takes place every July (July 14th-24th this year) Daecheon Beach is considered to be the best beach on the Western coast. The beach stretches on for over 3km, and attracts over 10 million visitors a year. The waves are calm, the water is warm, and the mud is known for it's health benefits to your skin. To get to Daecheon beach, you can take the bus from Central City Express Bus terminal. The bus to Daecheon terminal costs between 10-15,000 won, takes about 2 and a half hours, and leaves every hour. The first bus leaves at 6:30am, and the last bus back to Seoul is at about 9:50pm.There is no direct route to Boryeong from Seoul via the KTX or train lines. If you are going through the summer, there is a direct bus that goes from Central City Express terminal directly to the beach, but details about this bus are unavailable at this time. Note that the Boryeong Mud Festival is one of the most popular festivals for foreigners in South Korea, so depending on your tastes, this may be a great time to visit, or a time to avoid. Check your calendars carefully. Haeundae Beach Haeundae Beach is considered the best beach in South Korea. Just outside of Busan, it is well prepared for visitors, with countless food options and hotels along the shore. The waters are really shallow, and there isn't much of a tide, so the beach doesn't change much from day to night. The sand is made up of regular sand and eroded silver coloured sea shells, which makes the sand shine beautifully, but isn't as soft as some of the other beaches in Korea. The beach is lined with vendors, and there are countless people with beach chairs and umbrellas set up that can be rented out.
Despite being the southern tip of South Korea, a day trip to Busan can be managed with the KTX. From Seoul station, the trip is about 3 hours, and costs about 50,000 won one way. The KTX is a relaxing way to travel across the country, so could be worth the extra budget.
All photography ÂŠ Korean Tourism Organization
At City Hall Station, nestled among the modern building and the ancient palace, hides a deep rooted superstition. The naively unaware walk under the lush trees during the summer, while others take their chance and risk fate. It is Deoksugong Doldamgil, or Deoksu Palace Stone Road. It can be found at City Hall station, exit two. Just left of the main gate and ticket booth to Deoksu Palace is the Palace Stone Road, a gorgeous winding road that follows the wall of the palace. Urban legend states that couples who walk along this road are eventually doomed to break up. This urban legend isn’t just superstition or an old wives tale, but is rooted in history. The Supreme Court was located at the end of the Palace Stone Road, until 1995. It also housed the Family Courts, where couples would go to file for divorce. Over the seventy years that the courts resided at the end of the road, the Deoksu Palace Stone Road became heavily associated with breaking up. While the courts haven’t been at Deoksu Palace for almost twenty years now, the superstition still stands.
Written and photography by Rebecca Bredin
When it comes to shows in South Korea, none are more anticipated than Big Bang’s yearly “Big Show”. The concerts, which have run annually since 2008, sell out in minutes, and are without a doubt one of the best large venue concerts in South Korea. This year’s show was even more anticipated than normal, due to the events of 2011 surrounding Daesung and G-Dragon. The fans that filled Olympic Park Gymnasium on the first weekend of March were there, not only to see their favourite group, but to show they still supported the group. The show opened this year following the concept of the Alive album, with the five idols being frozen and brought back to life to bring epic music to the people all while looking for some power source. After a short video, Big Bang emerged from five capsules on stage, and began to sing “Tonight”. The audience went absolutely nuts, and were jumping and singing along. They immediately performed “Hands Up” right after. After the two songs, there was a short break as the live band played, and the members of Big Bang spoke to the audience, thanking them for coming and introducing themselves.
After the brief introduction, the members sang “Fantastic Baby”, one of the more popular songs from their new album. Even though the video hadn’t been released at the time of the concert, the audience was going crazy, knowing all the fan chants and lines. “Hands Up” right after. After the two songs, there was a short break as the live band played, and the members of Big Bang spoke to the audience, thanking them for coming and introducing themselves. After the brief introduction, the members sang “Fantastic Baby”, one of the more popular songs from their new album. Even though the video hadn’t been released at the time of the concert, the audience was going crazy, knowing all the fan chants and lines. After “Fantastic Baby”, the members disappeared off stage. The band (which was live and on stage, an excellent addition) played as the members had a quick costume change, and played “How Gee”. When they reappeared, the members were on bikes and segways (return of the segways from G.Dragon and Top’s 2010 videos!!) The backup dancers were having a dance battle on stage during this song, and there was a really cool street feeling to the performance, which was fun.
TOP and G. Dragon bring down the house with their performance of “High High” They then immediately went into “Stupid Liar”, from the 2011 album. Since there isn’t as much choreography for this song, the stage did the work, with the guys getting onto individual platforms that raised them up over the stage. As the song ended, G.Dragon and Top snuck off the stage, indicating the start of the solo performance. Daesung, Seungri and Taeyang had a little MC moment, where they spoke to the audience as the other two got ready for their next song. They talked about how the 2012 concert was going to be a world tour, and listed off some of the countries they would be going to. To lead into the next song, Taeyang began singing “Bugigayo”, which cued the band to start. The second “Bugigayo” started, the entire audience was on their feet, dancing and singing along. After a quick introduction, G Dragon and Top started with “High High”, keeping the audience on their feet again. A huge Korean flag unfurled from the stage, and two Chinese New Year style dragons came out on stage. The guys seemed to be having an amazing time on stage, and the atmosphere of the whole arena then was a huge party.
The stage was then cleared, and a video started of a helicopter and a rough war scene. Seungri came out on stage, wearing military style clothes, with just a vest and no shirt on underneath, and holding a gun. Then, he surprised everyone by performing a military style remix of “Strong Baby” instead of his last single “VVIP” from last year. He then began singing “What Can I Do” as the audience chanted and sang along. After Seungri’s solo piece, all five of the members were on stage again, and sung the Japanese version of “Gara gara Go!”, which remixed into the English version of ‘Number One”, which was really cool. After the two group songs, the five stopped and had another talk moment, where they asked the audience different things, like what they thought of their new looks and the new album. On the night that I went to, they sang a bit of “Bad Boy”, and then taught the audience the dance to “Fantastic Baby” (which was useless to the audience since that song had been performed in the first 5 songs, but we can look over that fact.) After they spoke for a bit with the audience, five microphones came out from the extended stage, and they broke into “Cafe”. The song seemed to have had the choreography changed from the year before. The song then transitioned into “Bad Boy”, which by the end turned into a bit of a reggae remix, which was fun.
There was another short video, which led into “Blue” really nicely. The entire audience sang along loudly, and it was really cute to hear all the VIPs singing with Big Bang. The song then switched into “재미없어 (Ain’t No Fun)” which is a really fun song to see performed, despite the lyrics being a pretty vicious sounding breakup. Right after, they went into “사랑 먼지 (Love Dust)”. A single drum ushered the songs from “Love Dust” to “Love Song”, which seemed similar to the video, where everyone just seemed to appear out of nowhere and then they all were on stage. After “Love Song”, all the guys left the stage, and there was another video, this time of a dragon flying about. It was really interesting looking. This was the introduction to Taeyang’s solos, where he sung a remixed version of “나 만 바라봐 (Look Only at Me)” and “Wedding Dress”. At the end of his performance, he ripped off his shirt, then went off stage, much to the disappointment to all of the VIPs. Daesung followed Taeyang with his solo song, “Wings”, which was fantastic. The audience was electric as Daesung sang. After 2011 and all of the trouble and stress that Daesung dealt with, he was welcomed back to the stage with open arms. During his song, he gets onto a hanging pole, and ends up flying over the audience while singing. In the middle of the song, the backup dancers surrounded Daesung, and triggered a costume that he was wearing on his shoulder, revealing huge angel wings. It was a really happy moment on the stage, and it was another moment in the arena where everyone seemed to be buzzing with an amazing energy, happy to see Daesung performing.
After Daesung’s solo piece, the band place an instrumental version of Wings while the members all changed their costumes. Big Bang came back out on stage, singing an acoustic version of “Haru Haru”. The entire audience sang along with Big Bang, which was really amazing sounding during the chorus at the end, when Big Bang stopped singing and the audience took over completely. After “Haru Haru”, the guys didn’t seem entirely convinced that it was the best the fans could have done, so the audience had to sing the chorus of the song one more time. After the audience proved they could sing along, Big Bang began performing “Lies”, however on the Saturday night, there was a pause in the song. The audience did the entire opening fan chant before realizing that the band had stopped, and then laughed when they realized everyone stopped singing. Big Bang explained that this was the last song, much to the protest of the audience, and the group talked more about the tour coming up, and their album, thanking the fans for supporting them once again in the past year. Daesung’s message was especially sweet, thanking the fans for the support during the difficult time he had over 2011. After all of the guys said their first set of thank yous, then the music started, and the fans chanted with all their heart as Big Bang sung “Lies”. After, since it was the “last song”, Big Bang appropriately sung “Last Farewell”. The confetti cannons were fired, the lights were going crazy, and the fans were standing and dancing the entire time as they sung and danced along with the group.
Daesung flies over the audience while performing “Wings”
Of course, this wasn’t the real ending. As the group left the stage, the fans began chanting again. Normally, fans will chant “Encore!” to bring the group back, the fans began chanting “Thank you!”, which was a really sweet change to the standard chant at the end of a concert. Also, the fans had the energy to keep chanting for ages, which is more than other concerts have been able to say, where the fans chant too quickly, exhaust themselves, and then it fizzles out. The lights finally dimmed again, and another video played, closing the theme of these five idols who have returned to earth to save the planet. There was a story of having to find an orb that would give them super human powers in the short video. It can be assumed that Big Bang finds these orbs, and they come back to the stage. The first few notes of “Sunset Glow” play, and the audience leapt to their feet once again, screaming and singing. The energy was pulsing as the group performed. quickly going from “Sunset Glow” to “Heaven”, the very last song of the concert. At the end of the show, it was madness on the stage, with the guys running around, Taeyang ripping his shirt off, and everyone dancing and singing along. There was a lot of English used in the last few minutes, with introducing the band (who all seemed to be not Korean, which was an interesting direction to take) and giving their last thanks to the audience before finally leaving the stage.
The Big Show yearly performances are the standard when it comes to high quality concerts in South Korea. Their shows are amazingly executed, high energy, and fun. All five of the members always seem to be having an amazing time, and they make you forget just how long the concert can be. The songs are familiar, and there’s a good mix of old and new songs. Normally, fans outside of Korea don’t get to experience these, but 2012 will be a very special year. The dates in Japan have already been set through May 17th to June 24th, performing two shows in Aichi, Yokokama, Osaka, Saitama, and Fukuoka. This means that over the next few months, another 19 cities will be listed. Anyone who is a fan of good music, and doesn’t mind the fact the English might be limited should go to this concert. Big Bang concerts are not limited to people who just like k-pop, but to people who just like music. Keep an eye on Big Bang this year. The group that has already dominated Korea and Japan is looking world wide.
2012 K-pop Collection Fashion Concert
On Sunday, March 11th, fashion and music were combined at the Olympic Park Gymnasium Stadium in the first K-Collection Fashion Concert in Seoul. The show was broken into five parts. Opening with a performance by Tiger JK and Bizzy, the models that would be taking part in the days performance were an active part on the stage as the two singers performed. It was a really exciting way to start the show. What made the K-Collection Fashion Concert unique from the standard fashion show that people come to expect was the accessibility of everything. Instead of being in a small hall filled with industry icons, looking at ridiculous outfits that people would never wear on the street, this show was meant for the masses. The audience was filled with teenagers and adults, music fans and fashionistas alike, all who were looking for the new spring and summer fashions. Instead of the clothes being border line ridiculous, they were all things people would find in any department store.
The most interesting part of the K-Collection Fashion Concert was that people in the audience could shop as we watched. When arriving at the stadium, everyone was expected to be able to access the website for the show on their smart phones. A bar code would link phones to the fashion show’s mobile site, and every item that was on stage that day would be available to order on the website. As well, we were given a book that showed all the items once again, and different combinations for the outfits. It was a really awesome way to sell products, because we could see exactly how the items could be worn, and how they would look off the rack, when walking around. There was a great selection of designers on display at the show. There were fashions for both men and women, as well as accessories such as bags, and even wigs and hair extensions. Stores like 8ight Seconds, Kappa, and Suen were there, and between the individual shows, there were short performances by some of the top names in K-Pop.
As stated, Tiger JK and Bizzy opened the show, followed by a fashion show from Style Nanda and Tomonari. During the runway shows, there were special guest models. Some were talents from television, others were k-pop singers, or super models. For Style Nanda, Eunjeong from Jewellery and An Yeongmi were the guest models. Yeo Jingu was the guest for Tomonari. After two runway shows, Secret performed. Their songs were cute and catchy, and they were fun to watch live, as usual. There was one more runway show from Naingirl, with special guest Choi Yunsu, before Infinite closed Stage One of the fashion show. The boys were fantastic, singing both their older songs like “Before the Dawn” as well as their most recent releases. Stage Two followed quickly after, giving just enough of a break for the models to change into their next outfit. Toe was the first runway show, with guest model Choi Yeojin. They were followed by V-Company, their guest models being Gong Hyeonju and Kim Hyojin. After the two fashion shows, there was another k-pop performance. The ladies from Nine Muses showed off that they belonged on a
fashion stage by looking like the super models they are while also singing. Quickly following them was a fashion show from 2PLACEBO. Seonhwa from Secret and Yu Hyeyeong were the guest models for 2PLACEBO. BZUAN followed up, with Hwang Inyeong as their guest model. Already, we were at the end of the second stage. The girls from T-Ara performed a few of their songs, pleasing their fans in the crowd. After Stage two ended, there was a very long lull in the show. A radio show, “Kim Changryeol’s Old School” was broadcast live during the fashion concert, so there were many live performances during the intermission. Despite the fact that there were performances throughout the radio show, the KCollection Fashion Concert really seemed to drag during this time. It was not very clearly marked in the programme how long the intermission would be, so what we thought might have been 15 or 20 minutes ended up being an hour long. The highlight performances during the radio show were Mighty Mouth, who were fantastic at waking the crowd back up and re-energizing the audience, and Girls Generation, whom many had come to this concert to see. Mighty Mouth are experts at working the crowd, and kept taking cameras from members in the audience and taking amazing video and photo footage. Despite having two members missing from their performance, Girls Generation closed the radio show with a solid performance of their biggest hits.
Once Kim Changryeol’s Old School was cleared off the stage, it was time to begin the second half of the show. Pinkage, a wig and extensions shop, opened stage three, with Kim Jeongmin and Rarisa as the guest models. They threw sample ponytail extensions out as samples, much to the pleasure of the crowd. Next up was Jogunshop, who had Leejoon from MBLAQ and Jeong Juri as their guest models. The crowd went nuts for Leejoon, since his performance would be coming up soon. However, the the next group to perform were Miss A. The girls broke with the routine of starting on the main stage and snuck up onto the end of the catwalk to perform “Touch”. Since the song had only just been released, the crowd went nuts. They also sang some of their other hits as the audience sang along. Following the performance from Miss A was the runway show from Ippngirl. Hyomin from T-Ara was the guest model for this show. Lastly, Gumzzi finished the runway shows for the third stage, with Gaeun and Subin from Dal Shabet as their guest models. MBLAQ closed the third stage with a powerful performance of “This is War”, their latest single, along with their other latest work.
After a quick change for the models, we finally got into the final stage. For some odd reason, Skinfood had a runway show. Throwing samples in the crowd was a good way to cover up any confusion, however most were baffled by the fact that all they did was walk up and down with baskets of fruit and honey, showing off the ingredients in this season’s promoted items. Also, the fact that Fei from Miss A and super model Kim Rana helped cover up the strangeness of this promotion. Following Skinfood was Suen, who had Yumin and Park Dulseon as the guest models. The performances were getting bigger as the show got closer to an end. After Suen, IU took to the stage and sang her songs. Korea’s little sister didn’t disappoint, pleasing the audience from the stage, never straying from the main stage. Following IU was Kappa, the athletic-wear designer. This stage show went all out, with DJ Koo performing as the models took to the runway. Since 2AM are the spokespeople for Kappa, Seulong was one of the guest models, along with U Jiwon and Pae Jihyeon. People went nuts for this performance, with all the men dressed for a soccer match, while the women all were dressed for jogging and dancing. It was one of the best runway shows of the night.
Castelbajac followed after, with Son Hoyeong as the guest model. Closing the fashion part of the K-Collection was 8ight Seconds, who had all of Nine Muses as their models. The girls looked fantastic showing the fashions. Seo Jiseok also joined as a guest model. After 8ight Seconds and Nine Muses were finished on the runway, the yellow lights of VIPs lit up the audience. Many of the people who attended the K-Collection performance were here for one thing: To see Big Bang. The boys didn’t disappoint, opening with Blue, then following with Bad Boy. To close the show, they performed Fantastic Baby, which was able to bring the audience jumping to their feet, despite the security’s best attempts to keep everyone seated. Having just come off their own concert in the same stadium the weekend before, Big bang was filled with fantastic energy to close the show.
obviously intensive study, the guys were comfortably conversational on stage, hosting their own concert to a Japanese audience without the need of a translator. I was so impressed (and jealous my Japanese is nowhere near as good.) They were adorable and charming with their Japanese, the crowd constantly squealing their approval of every little thing said and done.
Sometimes, to be a k-pop fan, you need to be willing to travel. Even if you live in Seoul. And especially if the word “international” is in your group’s name. Through March 2012, U-Kiss had their first tour through Japan, visiting all of the Zepp clubs (otherwise known as a Zepp tour). I was able to go to the March 24th performance at Zepp Tokyo, getting to finally see U-Kiss have their own full concert. The hall was PACKED, which was surreal as a Korea based Kiss Me. Hundreds upon hundreds of fans packed Zepp Tokyo, the air buzzing with discussions of their favourite members. As the lights dimmed, the crowd went crazy, and pink lights speckled the darkened crowd. The opening notes of “Forbidden Love”, U-Kiss’ second Japanese single played, the heavy dance beat setting the concert to a pulsing rhythm that everyone could get into. Immediately, the boys went from “Forbidden Love” into “Neverland”, their then last Korean single. The song was performed in Korean, and despite being in Japan (where fan chants aren’t common), the crowd chanted along happily. After Neverland, the guys took a break to speak, and my jaw dropped. As a fan who’s been into U-Kiss for well over a year, I can remember a time when U-Kiss’ Japanese ability didn’t go much beyond a self introduction and asking if people were hot. However, months of what was
After self introductions were done, U-Kiss began performing “Bingeul Bingeul”. This was the first time where I was caught off guard, since they performed it in Japanese. Of course they performed it in Japanese, since it was Japan, but since I didn’t know the Japanese lyrics, I was stuck just humming the Korean along to myself, singing along to the few lines that didn’t translate (like the English!) Continuing with the Japanese translated songs, “Shikkeuro” was performed immediately after, with everything but the chorus and the English now in Japanese. There was another MC moment, leading into “Show Me Your Smile”, which is a very cute, upbeat song from the Japanese album. The choreography for the song was borderline ridiculous with the cuteness, and the audience were eating it up eagerly. It was great to see the guys goofing about with the song, really bringing out the message of just wanting to make the audience smile. U-Kiss then left the stage, and a video came up. “Take Me Away” played in the background, with Kevin and Hoon singing in suits. It then transitioned to “Obsession”, with AJ and Kiseop singing in suits as well. The songs then began switching faster, using their Japanese songs such as “Believe”, “Eenie Meenie Minie Mo” and the Japanese release of “0330”.
The video faded away, and Kevin and Hoon appeared at the top of the stage, performing “Take Me Away”. The audience was suddenly dead silent, listening to every word carefully. Following the video order before, Kiseop and AJ were on stage, performing “Obsession.” It was great to hear some of the songs from the Neverland album being performed, since in Korea we never ever have the opportunity to hear songs that aren’t the promoted singles being performed. I was both really thankful for the opportunity, and jealous on behalf of all my Korean friends who don’t get the same opportunities. Switching back over to the Japanese CD, the “vocal unit” in U-Kiss came out and performed “Orion.” This song is performed by Soohyun, Kevin, Hoon and Kiseop, which was a fantastic mix. In the past, Kiseop didn’t get to do much singing. However, with the addition of Hoon in U-Kiss, his voice helped blend the power in Soohyun’s voice and the emotion of Kevin’s voice, giving more opportunities for a softer voice like Kiseop’s to shine though. The “rap unit” followed up immediately after with a performance of “Eenie Meenie Miny Mo” with Dongho, Eli and AJ. The performance was fantastic, showing all three of their skills, and also showing AJ’s abilities as a vocalist as well, pulling the rap verses together. The unit groups were then explained a little during the next MC moment, each gushing about how the others sounded really cool. After discussing if the members looked “cool” or “cute”, the group then began to perform “0330” in Japanese. Despite the lyrics being in Japanese, it was really cool that the fans kept the opening fan chant the same, with the Korean words. It was pretty easy to switch the fan chant over to Japanese, since they put the lyrics on the screen.
All photography © Avex Japan
The boys made their way off stage again, and we were shown another video of life in the U-Kiss dorm. Since U-Kiss don’t live together in Korea, but do in Japan, it was really funny to see the way the video showed them together. There was excessive cereal eating and members trying to sleep where ever they could. After they had changed into a new outfit, it was time for more Japanese versions of Korean songs, performing “Man Man Ha Ni” in Japanese. Considering this song is performed at almost every performance in Korea, it was so strange but cool to hear the Japanese lyrics being performed, since they translated pretty easily. They then performed “Someday”, and once again the fans stopped their screams, and instead did the fan chant along and waved their light sticks along to the beat. Going from Korean ballad to Japanese ballad, the boys went into “A Shared Dream” as the fans continued to sway along. There was another MC moment, there the guys started mentioning that we might be getting close to the end of the show. Which was not cool, but we all knew that it couldn’t be over yet. “Every Day” was then performed in Japanese. It’s another one of the songs that was rarely performed in Korea, so it was really nice to see it performed live again. They then went right into “Tick Tack”, which apparently had its own fan chant that I didn’t know! I was really impressed to see the Japanese songs were getting their own fan chants too, since that’s not too common with Japanese music.
The first song of the encore was “Believe”, which is a Japanese song aimed towards the Tohoku Earthquake victims (I believe, I could be wrong.) During Soohyun’s part in the song, he got choked up, and the audience began singing along with him to keep him going. Once the song was over, and Soohyun composed himself a bit, the guys did another MC moment. The guys ended up making a few slip ups with their Japanese, cracking up the native speakers and making those of us who have been studying for ages feel a little better about our Japanese ability. They showed photos from throughout the tour, and tried to explain what they were doing then. My favourite part was when Eli was attempting to tell the audience that there was water fountain behind the group in the photo, and had no idea there was a Japanese word for fountain, so just used the English. Cue 2200 fans who had no idea what Eli was talking about, and the few English speakers in the crowd cracking up.Equally as fantastic was the photo from Soohyun’s birthday, where he’s covered in cake and not much else. Naturally, the fans wanted to see below the profile shot of the photo, and Kevin encouraged the fans to start chanting that they wanted to see Soohyun’s abs. Thanks to the other members, Soohyun obliged (even if it was against his will.) The encore seemed to be mostly talk event, because while they have lots of Korean songs, they only have one CD in Japanese, and I think they didn’t want to depend on Korean too much. After quite a long talk moment, they showed the schedule for the July concert tour in Japan. The Japanese fans were really excited, even though this wasn’t new news by the end of the show. Of course, as a Korean based fan, I quickly did the math and realized this meant U-Kiss would only be in Seoul for two months, tops, so I wasn’t quite as happy as the Japanese fans were. However, I was really happy that they could already have a second tour in Japan and be successful.
After about two hours of concert, the final song was “Pyeongsaeng (For Kiss Me)”, which was the Christmas digital single released for Korean Kiss Mes in December 2011. I was over the moon that they chose this song as their final song, because it’s a sweet, upbeat song that was released just for the fans, so while the Japanese fans might not have had a way to download the song, it has a really special meaning to me. When I was leaving Zepp Tokyo, I felt happy, but at the same time I could see a lot of room for growth. As U-Kiss continue to do concerts throughout Japan (and hopefully Korea!) they’ll become more and more comfortable speaking in Japanese and hosting their own concerts without having to share the stage with other artists. Hopefully, they will perform their own concerts in Korea in the future, and their Korean album tracks will get to be performed as well. Right now though, it looks like U-Kiss are well on their way to becoming a well established k-pop act in Japan.
Written by Jacqui Simon Photography by Jessica Chan
The first indication that maybe this concert is going to be a lot bigger than you expect is when my photographer and I have to walk around an entire city block to get from the back of the line to the front. Seoul Sonic made a huge splash with their visiting artists and the fans made an even bigger splash with their enthusiasm! I first knew something awesome was happening here when I caught glances of the people lined up. There were boys and girls, men and women from all walks of life waiting, bouncing and even giggling with anticipation. Then I get to the front of the line and wait. Massive bouncers keep the fans at bay at the front entrance. In the hands of these fans are balloons and signs, painted and sparkled, ready to herald their favourite bands into the venue. At this point my anticipation is starting to grow. I’m new to this but clearly there’s something to be excited about. And then a van pulls up, and oh man, do they scream. The seas part, the security personnel put on brave faces and puff out their chests and push back the barriers a little farther for the revealing the crowd has been primarily waiting for. Out of this van steps C.A.P, then Chunji followed by L. Joe and quickly Niel, Ricky, Changjo. All of them ready, all of them calm and cool, all of them
completely ready to “Wow” the audience in Toronto. It had to have been one of the loudest, craziest, frenzied welcome’s I’ve ever witnessed at a concert as the crowd went nuts for these particularly good-looking stars. First up were the lovely ladies of A-Pink, dressed absolutely fantastically, they put on a cute and fun show that had the crowd begging for more. “Wish list” was my favourite song that they performed. It was also SO cute when they were flashing heart signs and waving to the crowd through out their whole performance. And it really endeared the girls to the crowd when they mentioned visiting the C.N. Tower and Niagara Falls. It showed that they didn’t just come for a show, they came and experienced Canada just as much as the fans came to experience them live. The only unfortunate thing was that they didn’t have enough space for their dance moves. None of the bands did. As good
a venue as Kool Haus was, it had much more room to extend it’s stage but didn’t and I think that was a disservice to great bands such as A-Pink. When G.Na stepped onto the stage to the chants of her fans, her outfit was the definition of chic. She is one classy lady! At the beginning she mentioned that she’d only flown into Toronto THAT MORNING! Despite that and a clear fatigue, she blew the crowd away with her talent and smiling face. Talented, effortless even when great effort was needed and a voice like an angel. G.Na’s last song was a slower ballad and I absolutely was floored at how much I felt it in my gut. I felt the emotion in her singing and I can’t wait to see her again when she’s had more than a few hours of prep time! So at this point, I’m starting to think, there’s something to this music. It’s music I’ve had little experience with and judging by the crowd, I’ve been missing out on. I thought the chanting before
the same person! All the groups had a fantastic performance even though the show seemed a little rushed. Whether due to getting that many bands onto
education is very important” then added, “but thank you guys for being here!!” with great enthusiasm.
Best part of the night: When Brian Joo, super talented, brought out C.A.P. to sing a song together. It seems like Brian and the Teen Top boys probably have an interesting relationship with G.Na walked out was exciting one stage or the fact that some each other. At the end, when and telling me she was going to of the individuals seemed tired C.A.P. left the stage and Brian be the best to see tonight. How- because of the long flights they’d declared, “He is one sexy dude,” ever, when G.Na walked off faced hours before; the feeling the crowd was over the moon the stage and in anticipation of was one of longing. Longing with happiness and excitement. the next group, the crowd near that you could have seen more, doubled in size. A wave of peo- that you could have seen it on a Funniest part of the night: Brian ple edged, surged forward, each bigger stage, that you could have Joo impersonating Teen Top individual vying for a good spot experienced this twenty times making noises like, “Hoo aah close to the stage waiting and the size of what it was. ooh”. It was super cute. Most hoping they’d be close enough. disappointing part of the night: That said, the fans did not disapnot enough stage room for the And then they came, like lightpoint, the venue was packed and groups to move around more and ning spreading across the sky, only grew as the night went on. show off what they are really Teen Top was at last, stage When Brian Joo came on, (ever capable of. bound. the show man!) he delighted the audience with several great So my experience at the Seoul The fantastic thing about Teen songs but also his charisma and Sonic show was, for lack of betTop, (and really all the groups) person-ability. When an auditer words, a lesson in a whole was that their was an effort to ence member was loud enough new world. It also showed that engage an English crowd despite to ask him to English battle with no matter where these groups it not being the first language. G.Na, he had the professionalperform there will always been By this point I’m a little giddy ism, respect and good heartedfans to great them. Canada like the rest of the throngs but ness to say, “She just flew in this LOVES K-Pop, admitted or not, when each member of Teen Top morning, she’s tired, otherwise we love it and we will always introduced themselves, it was the I totally would.” Brian was also want more. cutest, greatest thing they could a hit when he mentioned that have done. And they’d barely the younger audience members performed one song! should “Stay in school, Of course the group played to the fans, whether it was how they said they were going to be “crazy, hot, good and sexy” or the moves of seasoned guys who know how to move; everything and anything Teen Top did was met with a roar of happy fans. “Supa Luv” and “Clap” were the favourites here. It was exciting how each member moved in tandem like they were all
The power of the Hallyu Wave has proven itself once again at the MBC Korean Music Wave in Google Concert held on May 21st in Mountain View, California. The free concert was held at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, which accommodated roughly 25,000 audience members who came to see their favorite idols from KARA, MBLAQ, SISTAR, f(x), B2ST, Girls’ Generation, Wonder Girls, Super Junior, and DBSK.
By Georgina Espinosa
Incredibly, the concert was free, which surprised many k-pop fans able to go. Tickets were made available online at seven o’clock on the evening of May 12th, yet the website suddenly crashed due to the sudden influx of hopeful fans. Some people were successful in getting tickets before the website crashed, but thankfully, thousands of lucky fans were able to grab some tickets via other organizations handing them out. Google employees were given tickets as well. The concert had free seating – it was first come, first serve. Because of this, many fans were camping outside the venue for the entire day, hoping to get good seats. My friends and I had been sitting in line since six in the morning that day, so we were able to get decent spots. However, anyone who arrived after noon would be sitting in nosebleed seats. A security guard even came over to us and commented on his amazement of “this KPOP thing”. Fast forward to around five o’clock in the afternoon, when they began to allow entry into the venue. Long story short: there was a lot of pushing and shoving. If people didn’t get stopped by security, they’d book it from the entry gate to the seating area to try to find the best seats available. In minutes, the entire front section was full. The concert itself finally started at seven, and after a long day, people just wanted it to start. Officials from Google and MBC came out to say a few words, and the show was ready to begin. KARA opened up with their hit song, “Step”. I noticed through out the concert, with an exception of a few performances, that the audience was rather … quiet. The lack of cheering was a bit of a let down, and I feel like some of the artists felt the same way. This, I assume, was probably because a good portion of the audience was made up of Google employees that attended because they were given tickets. I was actually sitting right behind a designated section for Google
employees, and some of them looked like they didn’t care about the concert at all. Either way, KARA finished their song and out came MCs, Tiffany and Taeyeon of Girls’ Generation. After an opening speech by the girls, MBLAQ came out on stage for a powerful performance of “This is War”. MBLAQ was one of the groups that still managed a lot of cheers (probably because of the large percentage of boy-group loving fangirls in the crowd). Each group performed three songs, and MBLAQ finished their time on stage with “Y” and “Oh Yeah”. SISTAR was up next, looking hot as always. They began with their most recent promotion song “Alone” which caught attention all around the venue. “Ma Boy” was next, and witnessing member Hyorin’s power-vocals in real life amazed everyone. The girls wrapped it up with their catchy song, “So Cool”. The lovely f(x) stepped onto the stage with “Pinocchio (Danger)” followed by “Hot Summer”. Their introduction was cute, and Amber made small talk with the audience. The song “Nu ABO” ended f(x)’s part of the show. The following portion of the show was introduced as a time for two female artists from different groups to sing solos. The first one up was Sun from the Wonder Girls singing a cover of “Father” by Insooni, which she dedicated to her own late father. Girls’ Generation’s youngest member Seohyun literally rocked the song “Flying Duck” by Cherry Filter. KARA came out with two songs left (since they had opened the show). I was happy to hear one of my personal favorites, “Lupin”. The audience was then mesmerized by the performance of the classic “Mister”, which of course included the famous “butt dance”. Following a line of girl groups came B2ST, starting up with their hit, “Shock”. The audience was deafening, especially in comparison to the artists before. “Fiction” was next, followed by “Beautiful”. Girls’ Generation seemed to wake up the audience with the English version of “The Boys”. Many fans came to support Girls’ Generation, and even though the group lacked two members that night, they upheld their strong stage presence. The Korean version of their popular track “Mr. Taxi” was next, and the girls finished it up with their famous song, “Gee”.
The always-adorable Wonder Girls followed with their addictive song, “Be My Baby”. I thought it was a bit odd that they decided to do the Korean version of the song, when there is an English version, but either way, the performance was cute. The classic hit, “Tell Me” was up next. To finish their stage in a more unique fashion, the girls told the audience to stand up, and member Yenny began a simple tutorial of the choreography to the chorus in “Nobody”. The girls continued to perform the song and the crowd happily danced along with them. Around the end of the Wonder Girls’ performance, I noticed that people were frantically looking around the sides of the venue and were screaming for whatever reason! I saw a few randomly placed security guards, and made a guess that turned out to be correct: Super Junior was beginning their performance in the aisles. The people around me suddenly went insane. The girl next to me ran past security as fast as she could to try to get to the members standing near our section. Audience members left their seats to sneak off and try to get a better view, and Super Junior began their song “Superman”. The well-known “Mr. Simple” was to follow, and the audience cheered on the boys. After a long introduction, the group concluded with one of their most famous songs, “Sorry Sorry”. DBSK were up last, and as expected, the females in the crowd went insane, screaming their hearts out. The duo started up “Keep Your Head Down”, and I’m pretty sure the audience could be heard from miles away. With the venue’s support, they finished up their time with “Before U Go” and “Rising Sun”. All the artists gathered on stage for the finale of the show, a performance of the traditional Korean folk song Arirang. They said their thanks, and the show was finished. The evening was definitely a great opportunity, and I can’t believe I was able to witness performances from so many of KPOP’s top artists. Despite the lack of audience participation, I, along with the rest of the KPOP fans who were able to attend, enjoyed the show. This concert was another milestone in the Hallyu Wave, and its turnout caught the attention of many people. I genuinely hope that the love for KPOP continues to develop in America as well as in other nations, and that more opportunities like this well be available in the future to KPOP fans around the globe.
The famous concert series, SMTown Live, has kicked off once again! Interestingly enough, SM Entertainment, one of the most successful Korean entertainment companies to date, decided to begin their international tour in Anaheim, California on May 20th, 2012. The series will continue in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and China, and will proceed on to several other countries around the globe. SMTown, the general name for the artists that belong to the company, is known for gathering together and holding this exciting concert series for fans all over the world to enjoy. Some of the most popular Korean artists have been under under the company. This time around, the set list included many recognizable names such as BoA, TVXQ!, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation, SHINee, f(x), and the newest addition to the “SMTown family”, EXO. The concert took place at the Honda Center, which held more than 12,000 fans who came to support their favorite groups. Judging by the way my ears were ringing after the concert, the audience was definitely satisfied. The MCs of the event were none other than Super Junior’s leader, Leeteuk, and Girls’ Generation’s members, Tiffany and Taeyeon. Taeyeon and Leeteuk definitely possess leader-like qualities, and Tiffany’s loveable personality and ability to speak English made the trio a wonderful choice by SM.
SHINee opened the concert with their catchy, well-known tracks, Lucifer, Amigo, and Juliette. Known for their high energy, SHINee were able to get the audience jumping up and down in a mere five minutes into the concert. Next up, we saw Super Junior, who made their entrance with the song, Superman. It was a great experience to see the famous “sapphire-blue ocean” (Super Junior’s official fan-color) in real life when all the fans busted out their light sticks. We also got to see a powerful performance of Don’t Don, Super Junior’s title song from their 2007 album. “The kings” could not be ignored, of course, and thousands were cheering on DBSK as the duo began two of their songs, The Way U Are and Mirotic.
Later on came f(x). After Hot Summer, f(x) was the first of the artists to formally introduce themselves. Personally, The audience seemed be extra excited to be in the presence of Amber, one of the English speaking members of f(x). Throughout the night, Amber’s charm was surely noticeable, and was emphasized by her own cheering fans. Girls’ Generation was up next, and it seemed like it was at an actual Girls’ Generation concert, because majority of the audience seemed to be there supporting them! Tiffany made sure to mention the two absent members (Yuri and Yoona, who were busy shooting dramas), but the seven remaining girls looked stunning and received lots of love all around the venue as they performed a few of their Next up was the group many had been anhits. ticipating all night: EXO. Although they are technically the “fresh meat” of the KPOP scene, EXO-K SM is recognized for their collaboration and EXO-M (they are divided to promote in Korea stages, and many took place during the concert. Suand China, respectively) were able to deliver strong, per Junior and f(x) came out with their song Oops!, professional performances with their songs History followed by Onew of SHINee and Luna of f(x) with and MAMA. EXO seemed to be in sync with each Can I Have This Dance from the High School Musiother at all times, and it was a treat to be able to be cal 3 soundtrack. It was a random choice of song, the first international audience to all twelve membut the performance was sweet nonetheless. The bers at once. Jung sisters (Jessica of Girls’ Generation and Krystal of f(x)) paid tribute to their home state and covered One of the more memorable stages of the California Gurls by Katy Perry. One of the most night was Amber (f(x)), Key (SHINee), and Kris precious moments of the night was when an actual (EXO) performing Like A G6 by Far East Moveaudience member was brought up and seated in a ment. The three well-loved artists did an exceptional chair center-stage. Changmin of DBSK and Kyuhjob with their rendition of the song, and it seemed yun of Super Junior serenaded the lucky girl with to be an audience favorite. Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars, which the audience thought was charming. After a few more songs, the “queen”, BoA, finally made her way to the stage with Look Who’s Talking and Energetic. BoA had a very fierce aura to her, and was definitely the most professional and comfortable on stage that night (literally, she had mentioned something about “doing whatever she wanted”!). It seemed like it didn’t matter if you were a SHINee fan, an f(x) fan, or a fan of anyone else, no matter what, you screamed for BoA. She had great stage presence, and it didn’t go unnoticed.
As the night progressed, even more hits were sang including Gee and The Boys from Girls Generation, Ring Ding Dong and Sherlock by SHINee, Pinocchio from f(x), Super Junior’s Mr. Simple, and Rising Sun by DBSK. The artists may have been worn out at this point, but for the most part, they didn’t let it show at all. Of course, all good things have to come to an end eventually. All the artists threw on the classic pink SMTown tee shirt, and they all stood on stage during their last song, Hope. It was bittersweet to see all of the tired performers standing hand-inhand, waving at audience members and running around collecting gifts thrown on stage. Balloons and confetti fell, and the night was concluded with a respectful bow from each and every idol. SMTown Live: LA was a great experience, and I was left with so many positive thoughts about it. The audience wasn’t disappointed in the slightest, as SM always seems to know how to entertain their fans. The hard work that all the artists put into these types of concerts has to be mentioned. There is so much planning and rehearsing that goes into making SMTown Live such a great event. I hope that one day, SMTown Live will be able to make a stop in more and more locations around the world, as everyone should be able to attend such a unique concert. SMTown family, good luck with the rest of the concert series!
Written by Georgina Espinosa Photography © KPOP on Facebook