Wednesday, 15 June 2011

SMTOWN Concert in Paris 11/6/2011

Holy Christ. I really don't know where to begin with this one. I hear the beginning is a very good place to start (thank you for these wise words Julie Andrews) but even after 5 days I'm still sort of overwhelmed by the whole experience.

For those unaware (WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?) the Korean agency SMEntertainment held not one, but TWO concerts in Paris, France. Confirmed artists were f(x), Super Junior, Girls' Generation, SHINee and TVXQ.

Needless to say when I discovered the lineup I almost peed myself from excitement. I mean flippin' heck, my favourite Korean artists were going to be in my continent! At the same time! Lord knows when or if they'll ever come to London, so I knew right then that I was going to go to Paris no matter how much it was going to cost. This is an opportunity far too good to miss! Tickets were bought (trust me, it was a nightmare. They sold out in 10 minutes), hotel was booked and so was the coach.

I only found out about this concert in May, so I only had to wait less than a month before the concert finally came round. Before I barely had time to blink, I was on my way to Paris with my sister, who kindly accompanied me despite the fact she never really knew who these people were!

One thing that greatly angered me was the touts; there were so many of them and they had so many tickets. Both dates were completely sold out so it annoyed me that there were a couple of empty seats due to the touts getting the tickets before genuine fans. It's a nasty business.

The Le Zenith venue has a capacity of 6000, although it didn't actually look that large inside. It's a great venue in my opinion - it didn't matter where you sat because you always had a great view. They had the normal stage, but then they attached a catwalk to it which then branched out in two ways so everyone got to see everyone! And although I was quite near the back, I was still able to see a lot so I was a happy bunny!

First on were f(x), the band I was least familiar with. I have googled them since and they are so young! The youngest member is only 16, but at the time I thought that they must have been in their early 20's like the other band members are. I have to say, despite their young age they were really good and energetic live, not to mention they got the crowd going! At first I wasn't sure if it was the type of music I'd listen to on a regular basis, but it was definitely good party/concert music. As the concert went on and even as the days have gone by I have discovered that their songs have been circulating my head, so I think I'm definitely a fan now!

Super Junior were exceptional live. They were so energetic, so much fun and above all, they looked so bloody happy to be there as well. They were also really good to their fans in the front row as they really interacted with them. When they weren't dancing they were running around the stage like little boys high on E Numbers! They were great fun to watch and such good entertainers; it really was a pleasure to see them live!

I don't consider this next song to be one of their more well known songs (well, it was my first time hearing it at the concert!) but I absolutely love it. So energetic and happy! I love how this video really showcases their personalities and enthusiasm - especially towards the end!

Girls' Generation were, of course, also just as good. The crowd went absolutely wild when their big hits "Run Devil Run", "Oh!", "Gee" and "Genie" came on. Everyone sang along at the top of their voices and really stuck their teeth into their performances. They performed perfectly and their timing was excellent - although the dances aren't the most technical they are very effective and you can make any dance look good if everyone moves as one, which is what Girls' Generation do. Check out their exceptional performance of Run Devil Run here:

Can't forget SHINee!! What an adorable bunch of lads!! Just like Super Junior, they were energetic and enthusiastic, really an absolute delight to watch. They have great chemistry on stage as well! Their songs were really popular - especially Ring Ding Dong and Lucifer! Onew sang a solo as well, singing "Nessun Dorma". Unfortunately his voice cracked at the end but otherwise did a very good job and his pronunciation was really good, too!

Last but not absolute favourite...TVXQ. Oh em gee. This was the first Korean boyband I listened to back in 2008 and here I was in the same room as them, about to watch them perform. Utterly incredible. Of course it was sad that it was only 2 and not 5, but at least I got to see them! They didn't come on until very late which was a bit annoying, as I had absolutely no idea that the concert would be over 3 hours and my video camera battery ran out! So I had to use my picture camera to record instead which means I couldn't zoom in anywhere near as close and the sound quality wasn't as good either. But still...footage is footage!
They really brought a lot to the table. The crowd went nuts when they were announced on stage! It was like everyone had been waiting for them and they were the main act, and boy did they not disappoint! Their live vocals were perfection as was their dancing - sharp, masculine and powerful! They were very serious whilst performing - unlike Super Junior who were game for a laugh - but I quite liked that each group was different.
TVXQ sang new hits such as "Why (Keep Your Head Down)", "Before U Go" (which is a very steamy number, I'd like to add!) and "Maximum", but they also sung old hits like "Mirotic" and "Rising Sun"!!! I really could not believe my ears. Rising Sun was the first song I heard from them so it's really special to me. I never, ever thought I'd hear those songs live simply because it was way back when they were a 5-piece, so it was an absolute treat and a complete surprise!

Here's a video of Maximum, the last song to be recorded on my video camera. Sorry it's a bit shaky in places! The more I zoom in the more shaky the camera becomes, but it stops after a short while! Please enjoy.

If you wish to see anymore of my concert videos (I took over 20 and it took me 3 bloody days to upload...) my channel/playlist is right HERE.

So, was it worth it? Would I go again? Hell to the YES. It really was worth every penny, and considering it was over 3 hours long I really did get my money's worth. I feel absolutely privileged to have seen it with my own eyes and hope that, even though some of my readers may not have attended, you still feel a part of it by watching my videos. I know it's barely any consolation at all, but I do hope all the fans get to see them at some point. Good things come to those who wait!

1 comment:

Michael East said...

It really does looks amazing there, I really hope they will put on a UK show sometime in the future. I want to go!

K-POP is a relatively recent discovery for me, I've listened to a lot of Japanese music over the years, mostly from games, anime and radio stations like Japan-A-Radio, but hadn't really listened to much K-POP until recently.

It all started with a few Super Junior, and Girls' Generation videos on youtube (you can take the credit for that :) )
I'm still only a casual K-POP fan really, but what strikes me about K-POP is just how professional it is. Most of the artists are the full package - very catchy songs, very good singers and their dancing is incredibly precise. I'm hard pressed to think of any UK/USA pop artists that are on the same level.

Hopefully the SHINee meet-up near Abbey Road Studios tomorrow (19th June) will go some way to convincing SMTown that they have sufficient fans in the UK to be able to support a London date of SMTown Live. I'm considering going along to show my support. I might feel a little out of place being only a casual K-POP fan, not to mention quite a bit older than a lot of the other fans, but I guess I shouldn't let that worry me.

I'm curious to see what the line-up will be for the proposed Mayor's Thames Festival K-POP concert, so far it's looking unlikely that any SMTown artists will be involved, but you never know.

Thank you for sharing your experience of SMTown!