Concert Review: Taeyang sizzles even without BigBang

Review: Concert

TAEYANG WORLD TOUR: RISE IN SINGAPORE

Singapore Expo/Sunday

Halfway through Taeyang's two-hour set, the introduction of a special guest threatened to overshadow the South Korean pop star, who is on his first solo world tour.

As he was about to launch into Stay With Me, the 26-year-old introduced his BigBang colleague G-Dragon, who wrote the track and rapped on it. The 4,000-strong crowd went wild, excited that it would be a BigBang outing after all.

But Taeyang was merely pulling their leg.

G-Dragon, the swaggering leader of the five-piece K-pop megaband, made only a pre-recorded appearance on the giant screens, decked out in a floral shirt and Pharrell-style hat, while spitting his verses about holding on to a reluctant lover.

With none of the other four members to shield - or outshine - him in the flesh, the stage was Taeyang's for the taking.

And dominate, he did.

In gold lame pants and his current wet-looking floppy mop-top look, he burst onto stage with Body, a high-octane dance track he worked on with fellow YG Entertainment label mate, CL of 2NE1 - it was the start of a high-energy set that showed off his vocal prowess and sex appeal.

He never let up, working the stage with his hip-hop style dance moves on fast paced songs such as Ringa Linga and Good Boy. At other times, he free-styled his way through songs, showing off why he is often crowned the dancing king of K-pop.

His voice was another gold star. Backed by a credible four-piece band, he often hit the high notes perfectly on songs such as You're My, where he played the keyboard, and the heart-rending Eyes, Nose, Lips.

Performance aside, he scored major brownie points for shedding the manufactured K-pop veneer.

Instead of sticking to customary greetings and telling his fans he loved them, he shared, in English, how he had arrived in Singapore that morning, by bus, as he did not like flying, and got a stomachache eating junk food.

He told fans about his four-year journey making his second solo album Rise and how he thought about the album constantly while he was "taking a shower and eating rice" and even doing his "business in the toilet".

It might have been over-sharing, but the fans - from teenagers to middle-aged women, and even the odd sighting of blond-haired male fans - cheered and whooped at his every word.

The baby-faced singer bantered with the crowd when he picked tickets out of a box to give away the Nike Air Force 1 sneakers he was wearing and his snapback.

Of course, he drove the crowd insane when he ripped off his top after Wedding Dress, revealing his hot body, complete with six well-toned abs. One lucky fan got to see his physique up close, when Taeyang brought her on stage to serenade her with I Need A Girl. Cue jealous sighs from the audience.

The concert's organisers also scored plus points for not manhandling fans for taking pictures and video. It is a common and distracting sight at K-pop concerts to see overzealous security block fans from creating their own memories.

Taeyang satiated VIPs (the official name of BigBang fans) when he sang their hits Bad Boy and Fantastic Baby during his first encore.

But, on the evidence of this show, Taeyang will be all right on his own if BigBang were ever to disband.

As fans streamed out of the arena on a dazed high after his rousing performance, it was clear they had only Taeyang on their mind.