2012 is coming to an end and what better way for Kpop fans to start the Winter’s festivities than with concerts from one of South Korea’s biggest groups, BigBang. On the 14th and 15th of December, Wembley Arena was packed to the rafters with fans of all descriptions from not only the UK, but from Europe and beyond. The two nights saw hours of queuing from dedicated fans standing in the not so amazing London weather, hundreds of intricate fan signs, some amazing fashions, excitement levels over 9000 and the huge Arena lit up with a sea of yellow crowns, and that was before the concerts even begun!
As soon as the lights went down and the intro started, the Arena erupted. The moment that fans had been waiting for for years was finally beginning. For many, this concert marked the moment when it was finally their turn to see their favourite idols in the flesh, and not through their computer screens and TVs. BigBang landed on stage and started the night with the very appropriate “Tonight”, it was time to get those light sticks waving and sing, or scream, along!
The performances on both nights from BigBang were spectacular. The energy they managed to maintain throughout the two nights was incredible. Even when Taeyang had a nose bleed on the first night, he didn’t run off stage but made sticking tissue up your nose totally swag. In fact, for a while, we thought the tissue paper had been an intentional fashion choice! So fashionable and trendy, Taeyang. He then proceeded to sing a song with tissue up his nose. RESPECT. Even when they did a run of about three or four songs, they were still hitting all the high notes while busting out their moves. TOP and G.D even managed to sing and rap whilst zooming around in pimped out MCM segways! It makes us all feel horribly unfit and uncoordinated. The changes from song to song were slick, and whilst the many costume changes were happening, the amazing back up dancers entertained the crowds with some hot moves. Props to the female back up dancers at the beginning of Saturday’s concert dancing on the slippery stages after the epic smoke machines. Particularly impressive were some of the ad libs by BigBang in between songs. We loved the collective beatboxing acoustic version to GD’s Crayon and One of a kind!
We were also treated to solo stages from G.D, Taeyang, Daesung and Seungri who performed their solo tracks, and a duo stage from G.D & TOP. The special stages highlighted each member’s individuality, and treated the audience to some one on one time with their bias’. Each solo stage showcased a different side of BigBang, G.D and TOP brought swag, Taeyang seduced us all with his smooth moves and shirt ripping, Daesung went cute and energetic and is the human embodiment of the XD emoticon, and Seungri reminded us of macho pilot Rain from R2B and shuffled like there was no tomorrow with some 90s rave moves (love it!).
The BigBang member’s stage presence was immense. They had some hilarious banter going on throughout the concerts, and in particular Seungri and Taeyang really stood out with their English and MC-ing skills; essentially a hilarious duo for the two nights. We loved Seungri’s chimney sweep/cockney voice (“Are you alriiighht?”), and fully support him living in Chelsea or Notting Hill. The back and forths between the two guys had the audience in hysterics and G.D holding his head in embarrassment. We loved and fully support their talk about moving to the UK or leaving Seungri here, we promise to take care of him! We wonder if Taeyang is still pondering how Seungri knows that the UK’s gentlemen are gentle….
BigBang’s fan interaction during the concerts was always good, and they always made sure to visit and include every area of the Arena. When teaching the audience Fantastic Baby dance moves, they made each area of the audience danced one at a time. They also took notice of just how excited (and squashed) the audience in the standing pits were and kept reminding them to back up a little so the fans at the front wouldn’t die (Taeyang’s words). Such care for their fans, making VIPs feel like true VIPs!
One of the best moments of the concerts was when BigBang performed Haru Haru, not because it’s one of their greatest hits ever, but because we saw the whole arena sway their crown sticks in synchronicity and sing along. To see so many people from all over the world sing a song together in Korean was breathtaking and emotional. It reflects just how unifying Kpop can be; bringing people from all different backgrounds, ethnicity and language together. It was IMMENSE!
The live band really took the songs to a new level. Listening to Crayon with booming drums and an electric guitar was outstanding. We even witnessed the guitarist playing the guitar behind his head! That’s just showing off! Having this new element made the live experience even more epic and memorable. The live band gave the whole concert a different dimension and added to the explosive atmosphere. And BigBang made sure that no one were taken for granted as they introduced and applauded everyone from the amazing dancers to the band and DJ, who have some amazing moves themselves!
The production values of the concerts were huge. From the lighting, sound, and the stage sets, everything was top notch. The way the stage was set up was particularly efficient in allowing us all some eye contact time with the idols *thumbs up*. As expected, running up from the main stage was a catwalk so they could interact better with the fans in the standing areas. There were also some pretty amusing accessories used during the concert, and the MCM clad segways were a particular favourite of ours. Where can we get our hands on some of these?! (Just so we know when we finally win the lotto). We enjoyed the random plot line set up for BigBang’s ‘Alive’ tour and the epic video build up at the beginning of the concert. BigBang WILL save the planet though the power of song (we think…), and are taking no prisoners! We’re sure Taeyang’s abs would be an effective weapon, mesmerising enemies into submission, it sure worked on us! We also loved the appearance of Kris the dragon in the build up for Taeyang’s solo
There was the expected encore at the end of each concert, which gave the BigBang members a chance to let their hair down and have fun with the audience. This meant running around the standing crowd collecting an eclectic mix of headgear from cowboy hats and reindeer antlers, to Santa hats, throwing water on people, writhing around in glitter (topless) and general fun mayhem. There were a few problems on one night when a jacket was thrown into the crowd from Daesung, but security swiftly stepped in to sort it out, in fact we think we spotted quite a few posh jackets being thrown into the audiences! The concerts were rounded off by Seungri and Taeyang wishing everyone ‘Merry Christmas’ via song and some sexual thrusting, but the real finale was TOP’s dancing, which would put all our fathers and their terrible dad dancing to shame. Truly magical.
BigBang’s London concerts were FANTASTIC (baby). The set list, the staging, the performances, the atmosphere, all brilliant. With both nights seeing a packed stadium, hopefully this shows South Korean entertainment companies that the UK is a viable and lucrative market and consider holding Kpop concerts here more frequently.
Last but not least, we would like to thank BigBang for traveling 6000 miles to give us not one, but two unforgettable nights. Our arms and shoulders ache from waving light sticks, our backs and legs hurt from all the dancing and jumping, our throats ache from the screaming and our ears ache from other people’s screaming. But it was all WORTH IT. We would also like to thank the audience for making each night unforgettable, it was magical dancing and singing Haru Haru with all you guys, let’s hope we can do it all again soon!