Concert review: One woman down midway, but Red Velvet soldiered on

K-pop girl group Red Velvet opening their first solo concert in Singapore at The Star Theatre on Oct 20, 2018.
K-pop girl group Red Velvet opening their first solo concert in Singapore at The Star Theatre on Oct 20, 2018.PHOTO: ONE PRODUCTION

SINGAPORE - Five members in colour-coordinated stagewear dancing in unison was how K-pop girl group Red Velvet opened their first solo concert in Singapore on Saturday (Oct 20).

Unfortunately, that was not how they ended it. One of the members, Joy - whose real name is Park Soo-young - had to drop out of the concert, held at The Star Theatre, about an hour into the show after injuring her right arm.

The remaining four members - Irene, Yeri, Seulgi and Wendy - continued the show without her. And to give credit where it's due, the sudden loss of a member was handled well.

Although there were, understandably, clear holes throughout the rest of the concert's choreography meant for five people, Red Velvet still managed to pull off a high-energy performance.

In fact, I was impressed that the members were not completely floored with exhaustion by the end of the concert, which was two and a half hours long. Almost every single song in their setlist was a dance number packed to the brim with choreography.

But the group never showed signs of being worn out or flustered after Joy's exit, maintaining their bright smiles and demeanour throughout.

If anything, my main gripe with the concert was that it was almost too high-energy. I have nothing against dance numbers, in fact, it is a well-loved K-pop signature. It's just that it was almost every single song. Dance numbers and a mix of ballads and softer hits would have balanced out the concert more and made it less repetitive.

As the concert drew the a close, I also realised that the members would not be performing solo or in smaller groups and felt a little disappointed.

Performing in a group, while powerful, can often bury the talents of individuals.

Wendy, in particular, has a strong singing voice and that would have been better showcased alone. I have also heard several of Seulgi's tie-ups with other artists before and thought she shone in those collaborations in a way a group setting did not always allow her to.

Despite that, I enjoyed most of the performance, especially some portions of the concert which incorporated horror elements. They showed a clip of the members in a haunted house and followed it up with several songs with darker and edgier aesthetics. It was refreshing to see a girl group embrace that image.

Overall, I respect what the group did. Concerts are extensively rehearsed and planned down to the minute detail for every person so the loss of a member is a major setback.

K-pop idols in general are often dismissed as having little talent or depth but no matter one's opinion, there is no doubt that they are well-trained professionals who will pick themselves up and do their jobs, like Red Velvet did this time.