Current condition: My feet are dead, my wallet is near-empty, but my spirit is soaring high. Reason for such condition: Big Bang and their Big Show.
This is something that we had wanted to do, but tickets got sold out (or so they said) and are only available through sellers who jacked up the prices. But some friends told us to try our luck at the venue, so we did. Charity, Lou and I, together with our Korea-based friend Cris braved the non-stop rain to see the last night of Big Bang’s Big Show concert at the Seoul Olympic Gymnasium. I can’t say I’m a fan of Big Bang; I only know two songs in its entirety, while the rest, I just know that they’re Big Bang songs but I don’t even know the titles. But I’ve wanted to catch this concert because I’ve seen their past Big Shows on DVD and I was impressed. Besides, if I am to rank the idol groups based on my preference, Big Bang is No. 1 on my list.
Another thing is, eversince we arrived here and we tell people that we wanted to watch Big Bang’s concert, they automatically assume we’re Big Bang fans. Here at the hostel, at Muju Resort, they always end up playing Big Bang’s latest mini-album for us as soon as we mention the concert. And then there’s the fact that their latest single is blasting everywhere in Seoul, and I mean EVERYWHERE. To say that Big Bang is HUGE here is an understatement. Behold, the evidence:
That seething mass of humanity is just a small part of the entire crowd that lined up under the cold rain. And mind you, the population is not just limited to teenaged fangirls. There were quite a number of ‘matured’ ones (mostly from Japan) and quite a number of males, too.
We checked the ticket counter to see if they still have VIP or S tickets left and surprisingly, they still do. We got our tickets and then looked for our line. Can I just say, I’m suuuuper impressed at the logistics that they employed for this? They brought in the crowd one section at a time. Since there are no seat numbers in the VIP area, you have to look for your section based on your ticket number, line up there and wait for your section to be called. There were lots of ushers and security staff who guided the crowd to where they should go.
Now here’s the thing: photo and video taking was strictly prohibited once the show has started. Cameras were allowed in, but you won’t be allowed to use it. Charity got apprehended once when she used her phone to take footage. One guard approached her and told her to delete the files. At first she thought she was being asked to step out of the venue, so she was like, “please don’t ask me to leave, I came all the way from the Philippines for this!” Well, not really, but you get the drift. Needless to say, I never even dared to touch my camera after that. It was only during the final moments when everyone was already taking footage that I managed to take a couple of shots, but with the seething mass of humanity pushing, shoving and trying to get near to where any Big Bang member is, there is no way anyone could take a decent photo. Cris was able to take some better shots, though. I’ll just upload them later once he sends them to me.
Here’s an important note: If you’re going to watch a Big Bang concert, try to avoid the standing area if you can. It’s one thing to be in the middle of people who are taller than you. Add to that the fact that (1) the Big Show stage wasn’t too high, unlike, say, Super Junior’s Super Show; and (2) the Big Bang boys aren’t exactly tall themselves. And then there’s the fact that these taller audience members were carrying lightsticks, which, by the way, could be a deadly weapon. I almost got impaled in the face by a VIP crown lightstick courtesy of the girl in front of me who waved it as if she was all alone in the moshpit, not caring if she’s going to hit the person behind her. For the most part of the show, particularly when the group was performing on the main stage, I couldn’t see a single thing. Park Bom of 2NE1 had a guest appearance but I only saw her in the flesh for about two seconds because that was the only time she went to the extension stage. I just contented myself with listening to the crisp audio and watching them through the super-clear LED screens. So every time all or anyone of them would go to the extension stages – which were just a good 8-10 feet away from us – we would try to absorb everything of Big Bang that we can.
Also, we realized that it pays to have come from a humid tropical country like the Philippines. We are so used to heat and humidity that we were able to stand almost 3 hours being stuck in the middle of a moshpit crowd. One of the reasons why we ended up so near to the stage even if we didn’t arrive early at the venue is that a lot of the fans in front were not able to stand the heat and went out of the concert hall as early as the 4th song. We who are experts when it comes to heat were even wearing our coats. I took off my scarf and coat at around the middle of the concert.
Random observations and whatnot:
1. I’ve always had this impression that Big Bang’s latest songs are too electronica for my taste. But during the concert, I didn’t mind at all. In fact, I found them to be really good. Tonight and Hands Up are still ringing in my ears until now.
2. The big surprise to me is how handsome Seungri is. When they went to the extension stage to make their opening greetings, the one nearest to me was TOP, and beside him was Seungri. I first looked at TOP (naturally) but then Seungri caught my eye and I completely forgot about TOP after that. Really, with TOP’s massive sex appeal, it would take a lot for anyone to overshadow him. But Seungri did. Looks-wise, that is.
3. TOP’s sex appeal comes out once he starts performing. Especially during the GD-TOP segment where he was wearing a green suit and glasses. He’s super bad-ass there. Side note: TOP was the one whom we saw up close the most. At some point, I got too tired of seeing his face that I wished the ones who hardly go to our section – Daesung and Taeyang – would switch places with him. Such wish came true because during the encore, Daesung and Taeyang stayed at the ramp nearest to us and we saw them REALLY up close.
4. I think the even bigger surprise is… Daesung is actually handsome in person. Photos and videos do not give justice to his real facial features. His face is not as wide and ‘cornered’ as it is in person. And of course, he’s such an awesome vocalist. He only had one solo number but he kicked butt there.
5. WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE G-DRAGON. ‘Nuff said. Side note: You know how he looks so feminine in photos and videos? In person, he’s as masculine as TOP. Maybe even more masculine. Side note 2: When the group went to the S and R areas to be closer with the fans, GD even let the fans touch his face. I think someone was even able to kiss him.
6. Surprisingly (again), Taeyang is so… flat. It’s actually a bit disappointing as we were expecting so much from him because… well, he’s Taeyang. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a very good performer (all of them are, actually). But unlike his co-Big Bang members, he didn’t look larger than life on stage. No, I don’t mean literally and no pun intended.
7. Superb stage set-up, superb light show, superb effects, superb choice of songs, superb gimmicks (that thing where they went all the way to the R section to be up close and personal with the fans there was a nice touch), superb audience interaction. Obviously, I have nothing bad to say.
8. The Secret Garden parody was soooo hilarious even without subtitles. Of course, we all saw the drama so we could relate. The kissing scene between Seungri (who parodied Oska) and TOP (parodying Gil Ra Im in Kim Joo Won’s body) elicited loud screams from everyone because it wasn’t a lame smack. TOP really kissed Seungri. It should be on YouTube any moment now because this portion was shown at SBS during the Big Bang special that they aired after the concert. (Edit) I saw the version shown at SBS and the kissing scene was censored by putting a heart over their lips. In the concert, it was shown in its full glory on the LED screens.
9. Special shout-out to their back-up dancers who were not only really good, they also LOOK REALLY GOOD (“walang tapon”, as we would say it in PH). The lead female dancer has a strong resemblance to Sung Yuri, while one of the male dancers look like SG’s Han Tae Sun. This particular dancer had us under his spell that we totally didn’t realize that Big Bang was already at the extension stage.
Basically, the only thing that ruined the experience for me was the fact that I did not see most of what happened at the main stage. But that didn’t in any way affect how good the show was, overall.
Here are a couple of photos that I managed to take. I will upload Cris’ photos later. PLEASE CREDIT THIS BLOG IF YOU’RE GOING TO RE-POST AND DO NOT HOTLINK THE FILE. THANK YOU!
Tomorrow – make that later – we shall be attending the Seoul Arts and Culture Awards where we would hopefully see Rain, SNSD and a host of other names that were listed on the ticket.
Edited, March 5, 2011:
I have uploaded additional photos from our friend Cris Ventura who went with us to the concert. Again, please keep full credits when re-posting and PLEASE DO NOT HOTLINK. Thank you!