BigBang did it again! They rocked the USA! How was the concert you ask? It was wow, Fantastic Baby! The boys were all We Like 2 Party, do you? And the crowd went wild. While they tried to convince us they were just a bunch of Bad Boys—we weren’t fooled—we know every single one of them is a Good Boy (except for maybe Seungri). As the concert came to an end, we were all Sober, as we decided to Let’s Not Fall In Love because it will be a very long time before they return. Now If You missed the concert I’m sure you’re very Blue, so here are some concert pictures and stories that may cheer you up.
My friend Kate and I dolled up in our concert wear and hit the town (Newark) at 2:00 p.m. Why so early, when the concert started at 8:00 p.m.? Floor seats baby! Floor seats with sound check! We were bound and determined to make up for the last concert where, due to a certain hurricane’s aftermath, we completely missed the sound check. Or were let in just as it was ending—which is somehow even worse. So we got there early—not as early as some—apparently there were people there at 7:00 a.m.! I guess they are just a better VIP than I am.
Despite worries of rain, the sun was bright, and there was not a cloud in the sky. We stood in line next to a girl and her friend who was Korean—but wasn’t a BigBang fan. The line was quiet, with the exception that, from around the corner, there was a girl with cell phone speakers playing a playlist of BigBang songs. Periodically, our group would burst out in a quiet sing-a-long, the type you do when you know what the words are supposed to sound like, but you don’t actually speak the language, and you don’t want anyone to actually does speak it to hear you. It’s a hard balance, but who can resist singing along? The girl’s friend, who was not familiar with any of BigBang’s newer stuff (though the girl kept lecturing him, “I sent you these YouTube links to watch, you mean you didn’t watch any of them?”) said he actually couldn’t understand what they were saying because they were singing so fast. Periodically he’d also try (try) to teach us how to pronounce things properly, such as Seungri’s name and Zutter.
We were at the Sunday show and from what I heard, Saturday was a different story, there was a DJ playing BigBang mixes and a flash mob from the I Love Dance, Kpop dance group doing a mashup performance. Check it out! (Actually, check out the girl in the sunglasses and gray hat with red letters, that’s my friend Alexis, she’ll come in to play later in the story.)
So, during our line up we had nothing to do but to chat with those around us, gossip about how the girls in the really high heels were going to make it through the entire concert, and wonder about when they were finally going to let us get in. And for me? I had the added stress of 1) how best to get the camera past security, 2) whether the batteries Alexis had found were going to work in my light stick, and 3) if I were going to make it through the concert myself. Ugh, standing ticket plus a double knee injury does not make for a relaxing time.
Seemingly just before sound check, they finally allowed us to go in. This was it! The time was nigh! We were moments away from seeing our boys live! Not so fast. We got in there to stand in another line to get in to sound check. Luckily, this hallway was filled with outlets where there was a race to put as much charge on phones as possible before the event started. Finally, it was really time! Sound check!
As we got in, we took the first look at the stage with it’s bright red MADE lights. It may have been just me, but it seemed smaller than their last foray into NJ, three years ago, for their Alive tour. There was a good amount of people hanging about, but not as many as I had anticipated. Seeing the band up close was going to be a snap! The music started, and we went crazy, thinking THE GUYS ARE COMING OUT! Again, not so fast. The band played a bunch of regular instrumental songs (not BigBang) to warm up. We could hear the band out back, testing their mics but couldn’t actually see them. We’d heard that you could hear them practice during sound check, but we’d never actually confirmed with anyone that they were going to come out on stage. A fairly big oversight on our part. At this point, we wondered if sound check tickets were worth it, if this was all it was going to be.
Then suddenly Taeyang came over the loudspeakers, talking to the crowd, about how excited he was to be there, how he couldn’t wait to perform, but how he couldn’t come out until the rest of the band came out too—and those losers were late. LAUGH. I love a good heckling. He tried to fill the time before the rest of the band got their act together by chatting, and the main thing I remember is him saying how Seungri was trying to dress sexy for us. Then suddenly, the small crowd went WILD. There were our boys!
I was in the same room as BigBang. Well, me, BigBang, and a bunch of other people, but they didn’t matter. To me, it was just me and the guys. They came out in their street wear, most of them wearing masks, like they didn’t want to waste their beauty on this precious few. T.O.P was wearing the cowboy hat, which makes me think he really, really likes that hat.
They performed snippets from a bunch of their new songs, and it was amazing! I kept thinking to myself that we were going to be lucky enough to hear these songs twice where everyone else would get them once. (Mean, yes, but I’m competitive like that.)
I was surprised, because before the concert I received an email specifically saying there were to be no photos at sound check, not even cell cameras, and I thought they meant business—but as soon as everyone got in there, the rules went out the door, and the cellphones came out of the pockets, photographing everything. The only time I saw a security guard intervene was when they found someone recording it with their phone, and then they were asked to stop. So, once the coast was clear, out came my phone too. (Not my camera, I was saving that for later!)
Sadly, the set was over fast, and after the band left, we decided to go blow our retirement funds and get chicken fingers at the food counter. Unfortunately, Alexis had to work late, so she missed sound check, but she came well before the concert, bearing lightstick replacement batteries! After some trial and error, we got the stick working and celebrated. Not a big celebration, but a little one, because we wanted to save the energy for what was to come.
15 minutes before the concert, we headed back down to the floor. The now full floor. I guess there were a lot of people out there who missed sound check, so we were going to be a lot further back than originally anticipated. But that’s okay, I’m good at weaving through a crowd. In these standing GA situations, you have to think of the crowd as a giant game of Frogger, and the band (or the front of the stage) is the other side of the road. If you have the skill, and don’t mind dirty looks, you can get yourself forward.
Like their Alive concert, the big screens were filled with BigBang videos that people cheered and sang along too. Everytime a new video started, the crowd would roar as if they expected the band itself to pop out of those screens. The stadium quickly packed full with people. It’s a fairly large stadium, but still nothing compared with the arenas they are able to fill anywhere in Asia. It makes me wonder, do you think they are disappointed when they look out in the crowd? Do they know that for Kpop this is giant? That the rest of the groups try to fill up places a fraction of the size? A bit morose, but it’s what popped up in my head, so I thought I’d share.
With the change of the lights, we knew it was time, we knew that the guys were just beyond that stage doing whatever pre-game ritual they did to pump themselves up for a concert, while fangirls waited in tears. (Yes, yes there were tears.) The 60’s grindhouse-style teaser they did for the MADE album began to play, and this was a running theme throughout the night, anytime they went off stage for a set or costume change, we’d get one of these little vignettes, and if they were focused on just one of the members, we knew it would be their turn for a solo.
When the band finally came out to do their thing, they were awesome. While I didn’t think I would at first, I love the MADE album. Not quite as much as the Alive album, but not too far off. Comparing the two concerts? I think that the Alive tour had a lot more set design to it? And better costumes. This one was a little flat, but I guess it just focuses more on their actual performances than the flotsam and jetsam around it, distracting it. There were lots of laser lights, confetti cannons, and some great pyrotechnics.
One moment that really came together was T.O.P’s Doom Dada. He was wearing a Mondrian suit, which goes along with the contemporary art theme of the song, and with the moving stair case, as it closed shut (it moved from two separate bridges, staircases on either side of the stage to push together to be one big one), he climbed it and at the biggest moment of the song, he popped up at the top to a hail of pyrotechnics? It was freaking AMAZING. His voice is so powerful that the elements mixed together is really one I will never forget.
Of course anything with T.O.P is going to be memorable.
The best moments were when they came together and sang all of the group songs, and you can really tell that they just had a lot of fun with this album. Which is a good thing as, with how… ahem… slowly they work, this may be our last BigBang music for a while, with the looming military services beginning. For solo, Taeyang did “Eyes, Nose, Lips,” which, while I prefer Tablo’s version, was just a pretty song.
I wish I’d had my camera out for this, as the background video was really very pretty. Camera phones can only catch so much. Seungri sang one of his older songs, which surprised me, as his last release was actually not bad, and Daesung sang the same song he sang last time.
This year though, instead of the elaborate staging and wings, which lifted high above the crowd, he danced with a bunch of backup dancers. His 70’s style outfit was adorable, which seemed to be his schtick for the evening.
During the beginning of the concert, he was rocking the bangs over the eyes look, and he made a whole joke about how he wished he could see us and how he bet we wished we could see his big beautiful eyes. He teased us, asking again and again if we wanted to see his eyes, and after a big reveal, he pushed aside his bangs and mugged for the camera. It was ah-dorable.
Then later on, at the end of the night, during the goodbyes, Taeyang egged him into doing a dance while Taeyang sang part of a Michael Jackson song.
I hate to say it, as 1) I hate it to be true, and 2) I know I will get flack for it, but the one downside of the night was GDragon. I just don’t think he was his usual performing self. Usually (I love that I can say that as now I’ve seen him perform three times), he is a magical sparkly performing unicorn, a bundle of balled up energy in an overly-stylized blinged-out wrapper.
This night? Not so much. It’s not that he was bad, he just wasn’t as awesome as I’ve seen him be. With his new hairstyle and lack (in GD standards) of accessories, he looked like, GASP a regular guy. He looked really young. Check it out. KCON-gobs of necklaces, Waiting to Exhale tshirt, scarf around the waist, jazzy specs, colorful jacket, arty hat:
MADE tour sequined bolero jacket and a haircut that Xe asked the next day, “Did GD really have a mullet? I heard he had a mullet.”:
I’m sure with this big touring schedule he’s just really super tired. We also learned that he spent a good part of his time here in NY getting a big neck tattoo, so that explains both the boring turtlenecks and the lack of bling. Check out his last outfit. Y U Hiding GD?
T.O.P though, man, T.O.P., he was dead freaking sexy. He has this cocky, I’m-so-freaking-cool attitude that fans just eat up. But it’s mixed up with this weird, goofy energy, which caused him to just goof off on his own, doing weird awkward gestures and dances.
He’s someone who knows what the crowd wants, but gives it to them on his own terms. When he shouts out “YOU LIKE?” It’s like a short, straight to the ovaries, “Yes T.O.P, yes, we like.”
Couple of funny T.O.P notes. He really does love that cowboy hat. And I think he’s the only person in existence who can rock both a cowboy hat and a pimp cane at the same time. Then, when I saw him coming out in the final outfit, I was all, “Why is T.O.P wearing mardi gras beads?” and after the concert my friend Regina was all, “I fucking loved his Chanel necklace.” Looking closer at my pictures, yep, that was a very expensive necklace he was wearing, not a collection of cheap beads one uses to get girls to show them their boobs.
Besides. He’s T.O.P. If he wanted, he wouldn’t need beads to get girls to show him their boobs.
The one thing I love about BigBang, which it is really showcased in this concert, is the fact that, while they are one band, they are all made up of different people with different styles and personalities. While they do have dance moves, they are allowed to fiddle with them at will. They are allowed to move around the stage and do their own thing while still be a part of a whole ultimately, I think this is what makes them more successful than other bands.
All too soon, the night was over. At the beginning, where I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it through the concert, by the end of it (standing for three whole hours!!!), I was not ready to have them leave. Throughout the concert, we’d lost Kate, she was one of the ones who eventually gave up and moved to the back of the crowd so she could see better. I’d lost Alexis, who had better luck than I moving closer. And I’d managed to Frogger myself to about 10 feet away from the stage. All in all, a pretty successful night. (Much more successful than the girl who passed out and had to be taken away or the two girls who caught the jacket one of the guys threw and couldn’t agree on who would get to keep it and ended up having it taken away.)
After the first concert I saw them in, I was sad. I actually cried, because I knew I would never see them again live. What where the chances? I lived in New Hampshire. They were from Korea and hardly ever came here, they would go to military soon, and who knew if they’d get back together once everyone was out. This time? All those things (except the NH part) are still true. But this time around, I consider myself lucky to have seen them more than once. I love the fact that I was able to be in the same room with this band, these performers, that I love so much—and if it doesn’t happen again? That’s okay. But it’s Kpop. You never know what will happen next.
Here is a collection of fanmade videos of the performances–including my own of the closing remarks: