Concert Review: Powerhouse vocalist Jung Yong Hwa delivers at first solo concert

Korean rock band CNBlue frontman Jung Yong Hwa put up a one man show on May 31.

He did a fine job at his first solo concert here, sans his three bandmates - bassist Lee Jung Shin, drummer Kang Min Hyuk and guitarist Lee Jong Hyun. The pop-rock quartet CNBlue had previously staged full-length concerts here last year (2014) and in 2013.

At the One Fine Day concert at The Star Theatre, the 25-year-old Jung was the powerhouse vocalist, the entertaining emcee and his own keyboardist.

The charismatic showman captivated the over 4,000 strong crowd with songs from the CNBlue repertoire and his first solo album, One Fine Day, which was released in January.

Two songs into the 17-song setlist, he managed to rouse the enthusiastic audience to their feet, while waving the official concert light stick.

The crowd was spontaneous throughout the two-hour show and I found myself having to stand to get a view of the stage for a good part of the concert.

There was a good mix of quiet and high-octane moments.

The chameleon performer transitioned effortlessly from fired-up rocker with uplifting cheer song Ryu Can Do It, to emotive balladeer with the stirring ballad Last Leaf, while plonking away on the keyboard.

The singer-songwriter took the trouble to inject fresh arrangements into songs with a mash-up medley of CNBlue hits such as I'm Sorry and Can't Stop.

He also transformed CNBlue's light-hearted romantic song, Love Light, into a breezy beach tune which evolved into a heartpumping rock number.

Nevermind that there were no guest stars. The versatile singer filled in for his duet partners, which include the likes of Singapore's pop prince JJ Lin, and Korean rapper Verbal Jint.

Lin and Jung worked on the Korean- Mandarin-English pop-rock tune Checkmate that was featured on album One Fine Day. They wrote the lyrics together and Jung penned the melody.

He powered through the dynamic Checkmate, belting out his Korean lyrics and Lin's part in Mandarin.

Another duet, titled Energy, was interspersed with rap that was originally performed by Verbal Jint. At the concert, Jung took on double duty - switching between soulful crooning and busting out the rap.

Ironically, there's a line in the song that goes "I'm out of energy". Far from letting his battery go flat, he wiggled and grooved throughout the entire show.

He obliterated any chance of an awkward pauses, filling almost every moment with random antics. For instance, he playfully cajoled an unsuspecting crew member who fixed his "trouble" (he meant microphone) onstage into dancing.

He declared his appreciation Singapore style, saying "Thank you lah", and ad libbed, singing "Oh Singapore, are you having fun? Oh Baby." into lively song Mileage.

Sometimes, he would even stop dead in his tracks to elicit deafening cheers from the crowd.

Ending off with the title track to his album One Fine Day, he declared: "Today is one fine day because of you."

I'm sure the audience thought so too.

nggwen@sph.com