SEOUL (The Korea Herald/Asia News Network) - "B, to the I, to the?" "Bang! Bang!"
YG Entertainment's iconic boy group Big Bang lit up the Olympic Gymnastics Arena at Seoul Olympic Park on Sunday, the second day of the Seoul concert that kicks off their long-awaited group comeback. The 13,000 seats were packed strong with VIPs (as Big Bang's fans are called) as the five members dominated the stage, freely moving around onstage and relocating ramps to interact with the audience.
"I'm not as nervous as I was yesterday," rapper T.O.P said, referring to the first day of the two-day concert Big Bang 2015 World Tour Made In Seoul With Naver. "It's been a while since I've met our Korean fans. You know that awkward feeling when you see your family after a long time? It was a little like that yesterday, but today I'm just so happy to see you all."
The 21-song concert was all about reconnecting with the group's Korean fans. The members of Big Bang had been pursuing individual promotions for the past few years, some spending most of their time abroad. This is their first comeback in three years.
The concert was their chance to come back and meet the fans who had catapulted them to superstar status nearly a decade ago, before setting off on their world tour titled MADE. The first half of the concert was a nostalgic performance, kicking off with Fantastic Baby and blazing through hits like Tonight, Bad Boy, Haru Haru and Lies, all rearranged for a live band.
"Soon, it'll be 10 years since we debuted," said Taeyang. "They say that 10 years can change rivers and mountains, but your love for us hasn't changed, and that's so amazing for us."
The second half of the concert was devoted to each member's individual work. Seungri was the first up with Strong Baby, followed up by Daesung's Wings, T.O.P's DOOMDADA, Taeyang's Eyes, Nose, Lips, and G-Dragon's Crooked. The members also performed in smaller groups. Seungri, G-Dragon and Taeyang performed Let's Talk About Love, and Taeyang and G-Dragon performed their recent hit Good Boy.
As promised, Big Bang also revealed two new songs at the concert from their upcoming album MADE. The first was Loser, a ballad rap song about feeling like a loser in today's harsh world. The chorus repeats words like "loser, loner, coward pretending to be tough." The music video showed each of the Big Bang members struggling with different demons.
The second song unveiled was Bae Bae, a flirty medium-tempo love song that focused more on groove than melody. "The chapssaltteok (chewy rice cake) in the lyrics is like the relationship between us and our fans," Daesung joked. "If you chew on a rice cake, the dough becomes one with the red bean paste in the middle, like we become one."
Big Bang's energy throughout the concert was amplified by the impressive stage equipment. To ensure a clear view of the stage from all angles, the concert used steel truss (stage frame) instead of an aluminium truss. Moving ramps on both sides of the stage slid over the standing crowd to the centre, creating a bridge to the central walkway when needed.
The concert also featured impressive lighting and video effects. The big screens were used not only to give fans a closer look at the Big Bang members, but were also used for projections that added a touch of illusion to the performances onstage. A total of 106 lasers were set up for the show in various colours, flushing the stage green, red and blue for different songs.
"We've never considered ourselves extraordinary," said leader G-Dragon toward the end of the show, looking out at a sea of fans holding up Big Bang's signature yellow crown light sticks. "We just worked hard, and luckily we met you, who gave us so much support."
G-Dragon, who said that he went through a down period last year, also told the crowd about Big Bang's upcoming album MADE. "We were thinking about how we could give our Korean fans a big gift that would stay with them for a long time, and we decided to release two songs a month," he said.
Starting May 1, the group will release one or more tracks on the first of each month for four months. A full, new album MADE will be released on Sept 1. Loser and Bae Bae, the two tracks revealed at the concert, will be part of the first project album, M, which drops on May 1.
"We knew you would be disappointed with single albums without title tracks," G-Dragon continued with a sly grin. "So we decided to make them all title tracks. Enjoy each song. I hope I'll be able to see you back here again after the album comes out."
The last song was, appropriately, Last Farewell.
After the concert, YG Entertainment head Yang Hyun Suk gave reporters more details about the upcoming album. "Like G-Dragon said at the concert, he hit a slump for a while, but a flood of great songs came after that," he said. "We have a lot of great tracks, and the album in September will have completely new tracks, different from the songs released from May to August."
Yang also expressed confidence in Big Bang's future. "When I created Big Bang, I wanted to create a long-lasting group. It's been nine years, so we've kept that promise. I'd like to go nine more years," he said, saying that the team could continue through solo promotions even if some of the members enlisted in the military.
Big Bang's MADE world tour will hit 15 countries in Asia, the Americas, and other regions for a total of 70 concerts, and will extend into 2016. They perform in Singapore on July 18 and 19 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.