Review: Big Bang’s “Big Show 2012: Alive World Tour”
When it comes to shows in South Korea, none are more anticipated than Big Bang’s yearly “Big Show”. The concerts, which have run annually since 2008, sell out in minutes, and are without a doubt one of the best large venue concerts in South Korea.
This year’s show was even more anticipated than normal, due to the events of 2011 surrounding Daesung and G-Dragon. The fans that filled Olympic Park Gymnasium on the first weekend of March were there, not only to see their favourite group, but to show they still supported the group.
The show opened this year following the concept of the Alive album, with the five idols being frozen and brought back to life to bring epic music to the people all while looking for some power source. After a short video, Big Bang emerged from five capsules on stage, and began to sing “Tonight”. The audience went absolutely nuts, and were jumping and singing along. They immediately performed “Hands Up” right after. After the two songs, there was a short break as the live band played, and the members of Big Bang spoke to the audience, thanking them for coming and introducing themselves.
After the brief introduction, the members sang “Fantastic Baby”, one of the more popular songs from their new album. Even though the video hadn’t been released at the time of the concert, the audience was going crazy, knowing all the fan chants and lines. After “Fantastic Baby”, the members disappeared off stage. The band (which was live and on stage, an excellent addition) played as the members had a quick costume change, and played “How Gee”. When they reappeared, the members were on bikes and segways (return of the segways from G.Dragon and Top’s 2010 videos!!) The backup dancers were having a dance battle on stage during this song, and there was a really cool street feeling to the performance, which was fun.
They then immediately went into “Stupid Liar”, from the 2011 album. Since there isn’t as much choreography for this song, the stage did the work, with the guys getting onto individual platforms that raised them up over the stage. As the song ended, G.Dragon and Top snuck off the stage, indicating the start of the solo performance. Daesung, Seungri and Taeyang had a little MC moment, where they spoke to the audience as the other two got ready for their next song. They talked about how the 2012 concert was going to be a world tour, and listed off some of the countries they would be going to. To lead into the next song, Taeyang began singing “Bugigayo”, which cued the band to start.
The second “Bugigayo” started, the entire audience was on their feet, dancing and singing along. After a quick introduction, G Dragon and Top started with “High High”, keeping the audience on their feet again. A huge Korean flag unfurled from the stage, and two Chinese New Year style dragons came out on stage. The guys seemed to be having an amazing time on stage, and the atmosphere of the whole arena then was a huge party.
The stage was then cleared, and a video started of a helicopter and a rough war scene. Seungri came out on stage, wearing military style clothes, with just a vest and no shirt on underneath, and holding a gun. Then, he surprised everyone by performing a military style remix of “Strong Baby” instead of his last single “VVIP” from last year. He then began singing “What Can I Do” as the audience chanted and sang along.
After Seungri’s solo piece, all five of the members were on stage again, and sung the Japanese version of “Gara gara Go!”, which remixed into the English version of ‘Number One”, which was really cool. After the two group songs, the five stopped and had another talk moment, where they asked the audience different things, like what they thought of their new looks and the new album. On the night that I went to, they sang a bit of “Bad Boy”, and then taught the audience the dance to “Fantastic Baby” (which was useless to the audience since that song had been performed in the first 5 songs, but we can look over that fact.) After they spoke for a bit with the audience, five microphones came out from the extended stage, and they broke into “Cafe”. The song seemed to have had the choreography changed from the year before. The song then transitioned into “Bad Boy”, which by the end turned into a bit of a reggae remix, which was fun.
There was another short video, which led into “Blue” really nicely. The entire audience sang along loudly, and it was really cute to hear all the VIPs singing with Big Bang. The song then switched into “재미없어 (Ain’t No Fun)” which is a really fun song to see performed, despite the lyrics being a pretty vicious sounding breakup. Right after, they went into “사랑먼지 (Love Dust)”. A single drum ushered the songs from “Love Dust” to “Love Song”, which seemed similar to the video, where everyone just seemed to appear out of nowhere and then they all were on stage.
After “Love Song”, all the guys left the stage, and there was another video, this time of a dragon flying about. It was really interesting looking. This was the introduction to Taeyang’s solos, where he sung a remixed version of “나만 바라봐 (Look Only at Me)” and “Wedding Dress”. At the end of his performance, he ripped off his shirt, then went off stage, much to the disappointment to all of the VIPs.
Daesung followed Taeyang with his solo song, “Wings”, which was fantastic. The audience was electric as Daesung sang. After 2011 and all of the trouble and stress that Daesung dealt with, he was welcomed back to the stage with open arms. During his song, he gets onto a hanging pole, and ends up flying over the audience while singing. In the middle of the song, the backup dancers surrounded Daesung, and triggered a costume that he was wearing on his shoulder, revealing huge angel wings. It was a really happy moment on the stage, and it was another moment in the arena where everyone seemed to be buzzing with an amazing energy, happy to see Daesung performing.
After Daesung’s solo piece, the band place an instrumental version of Wings while the members all changed their costumes. Big Bang came back out on stage, singing an acoustic version of “Haru Haru”. The entire audience sang along with Big Bang, which was really amazing sounding during the chorus at the end, when Big Bang stopped singing and the audience took over completely. After “Haru Haru”, the guys didn’t seem entirely convinced that it was the best the fans could have done, so the audience had to sing the chorus of the song one more time. After the audience proved they could sing along, Big Bang began performing “Lies”, however on the Saturday night, there was a pause in the song. The audience did the entire opening fan chant before realizing that the band had stopped, and then laughed when they realized everyone stopped singing. Big Bang explained that this was the last song, much to the protest of the audience, and the group talked more about the tour coming up, and their album, thanking the fans for supporting them once again in the past year. Daesung’s message was especially sweet, thanking the fans for the support during the difficult time he had over 2011. After all of the guys said their first set of thank yous, then the music started, and the fans chanted with all their heart as Big Bang sung “Lies”. After, since it was the “last song”, Big Bang appropriately sung “Last Farewell”. The confetti cannons were fired, the lights were going crazy, and the fans were standing and dancing the entire time as they sung and danced along with the group.
Of course, this wasn’t the real ending. As the group left the stage, the fans began chanting again. Normally, fans will chant “Encore!” to bring the group back, the fans began chanting “Thank you!”, which was a really sweet change to the standard chant at the end of a concert. Also, the fans had the energy to keep chanting for ages, which is more than other concerts have been able to say, where the fans chant too quickly, exhaust themselves, and then it fizzles out.
The lights finally dimmed again, and another video played, closing the theme of these five idols who have returned to earth to save the planet. There was a story of having to find an orb that would give them super human powers in the short video. It can be assumed that Big Bang finds these orbs, and they come back to the stage. The first few notes of “Sunset Glow” play, and the audience leapt to their feet once again, screaming and singing. The energy was pulsing as the group performed. quickly going from “Sunset Glow” to “Heaven”, the very last song of the concert. At the end of the show, it was madness on the stage, with the guys running around, Taeyang ripping his shirt off, and everyone dancing and singing along. There was a lot of English used in the last few minutes, with introducing the band (who all seemed to be not Korean, which was an interesting direction to take) and giving their last thanks to the audience before finally leaving the stage.
The Big Show yearly performances are the standard when it comes to high quality concerts in South Korea. Their shows are amazingly executed, high energy, and fun. All five of the members always seem to be having an amazing time, and they make you forget just how long the concert can be. The songs are familiar, and there’s a good mix of old and new songs. Normally, fans outside of Korea don’t get to experience these, but 2012 will be a very special year. The dates in Japan have already been set through May 17th to June 24th, performing two shows in Aichi, Yokokama, Osaka, Saitama, and Fukuoka. This means that over the next few months, another 19 cities will be listed. Anyone who is a fan of good music, and doesn’t mind the fact the English might be limited should go to this concert. Big Bang concerts are not limited to people who just like k-pop, but to people who just like music.
Keep an eye on Big Bang this year. The group that has already dominated Korea and Japan is looking world wide.