Rain can still create a storm

South Korean pop singer Rain sizzled in body-hugging outfits during his Squall concert last Friday.
South Korean pop singer Rain sizzled in body-hugging outfits during his Squall concert last Friday.PHOTO: STARSPEED ENTERTAINMENT

The K-pop pioneer - a singer, dance-machine and consummate entertainer - shows he has what it takes to stay on top of the game

REVIEW / CONCERT

RAIN TOUR IN SINGAPORE THE SQUALL

Resorts World Ballroom, Resorts World Convention Centre

Last Friday

K-pop legend Rain hit Singapore's shores with The Squall concert last Friday.

This is the singer Jung Ji Hoon, who goes by the stage name Rain and made a weather phenomenon synonymous with the Korean wave in the 2000s.

The South Korean pop star has scored multiple chart-topping hits on music shows and even an interview with American television news outlet CNN and such moments from his glorious past were shown as video snippets during his two-hour concert at Resorts World Convention Centre.

The playback of his illustrious achievements, however, did nothing to chase away doubts about his King of K-pop status.

Is Rain still in season?

Talk has been swirling in the entertainment industry that the 34- year-old's singing and acting career is going downhill.

After all, reception to the K-wave pioneer's last album Rain Effect (2014) was lukewarm, and as the dreamy leading man in K-dramas such as My Lovely Girl (2014) and Please Come Back, Mister (2016), he failed to re-create the stellar TV rating of the well-loved romantic comedy Full House (2004), which he starred in.

But at the concert, he proved he still has what it takes to stay on top of the game.

He was a dance-machine, singer and consummate entertainer all rolled into one.

The concert started an hour late and he apologised to the 4,000- strong crowd for it after bursting onto the austere stage set, but the energy level remained high throughout his performance.

There was no sign of the gloomy and lethargic star who met with the media last Thursday at a press conference. He had said then that he was nursing a cold.

Regardless of the tempo of the songs, he kept the fancy footwork of the dances clean and sharp and hit all the high notes.

There were times, however, when the moves seemed contrived, such as when he performed sexy body rolls while belting out the lovestruck ballad The Song That Will Get You.

The choreography for the fast- paced tunes fared better. He impressed with his hip thrusts during the Hip Song and showed off his robot popping moves in I'm Coming.

For the groovy dance tune It's Raining, he threw in a gravity-defying lean reminiscent of that by his idol, the late pop king Michael Jackson.

The singer also banked on his sculpted physique to heat things up.

His outfits consisted of body-hugging T-shirts and suits, as well as a bejewelled cap and vest that he wore in the 2010 music video for The Song That Will Get You.

At one point, he even ripped off a black T-shirt to bare his chiselled chest.

The show was a crowd-pleaser, even if it stuck to Rain's tried-and- tested formula, but in the ever- changing K-pop landscape populated by new and younger acts, it remains to be seen how he will fare.

If anything, the concert has left fans keyed up about his new album, set to be released later this month. Perhaps it will be a chance for him to reinvent himself, with the help of K-pop maverick Psy as the album's producer.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2017, with the headline 'Rain can still create a storm'. Print Edition | Subscribe