Review: G-Dragon’s “One of a Kind” concert in Seoul

The rain began drizzling down at about 5pm, an hour before G Dragon’s first world tour, the One of a Kind Concert, was about to officially begin. It didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the thousands waiting in line outside. Olympic Park was filled with fans from all around the world; a growing standard for k-pop concerts, especially those put on by YG entertainment.

While this wasn’t G-Dragon’s first solo concert, it was heading off the beginning of his first world tour. With eight countries currently lined up (Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Taiwan) and more anticipated, it is a huge undertaking for G Dragon. Especially after just wrapping up the massive Alive tour with Big Bang, which managed to have 48 different concerts in 13 different countries. With a new single being set to released in days, the amount of work G Dragon must have been doing lately preparing for both is unimaginable.

The audience right before the show started

The audience right before the show started


As VIPs ushered into the hall, videos of previous singles performed on the screens. The room was a buzz with energy as 6 ticked closer. Starting about 6:15, a video came on with G Dragon driving a car through a CGI universe in a high speed chase. His car seemed to run out of control, and that’s when he burst out onto the stage in a futuristic car prop and began singing MichiGo, the brand new song set to release on Monday. Wasting no time, G Dragon went right into his very first single, “Heartbreaker”, which I personally was really excited to hear because it was one of the few G Dragon solo songs I hadn’t heard performed, followed immediately by “One of a Kind”.

The first 20 minutes were jammed packed with songs, with only a brief pause to introduce himself and thank his fans for coming out tonight. One of the highlights for many fans might have been the collaboration stages that took place. With collaboration stages, it’s always difficult to know who will be able to guest at a concert, but the fans in Seoul were very lucky, because there were three guest singers. The first collaboration song was “Light It Up” with Tablo. The audience went nuts, because Tablo doesn’t perform often in Korea any more, due to his unfortunate Stanford controversy with insane netizens. Straight away was the next guest performance, CL from 2ne1. Now, I won’t claim to be a fan of 2ne1 or CL  (something about her eyes scares me) but I thought she looked INCREDIBLE tonight. Her hair was gorgeous, and the outfit she was wearing was beautiful and hip – a short off white dress with a slit up to the hip, with a cool jacket over it. They sang “The Leaders”, a song I wasn’t too familiar with but quite liked. G Dragon and CL’s style mesh really well, and I’d love to see them work together more.

2013-03-30 17.31.54 copyThe next song up was “Obsession (악뭉)” from the GD&TOP colab album. This song had him climbing all over the stage, climbing up way over the audience and the band  and running about. He did the entire song without a problem, but the way he went around the stage seemed exhaustive, and it showed later in the show. The next song was “She’s Gone”, which also had G-Dragon running around the stage a lot with the dramatic music. By the end of the two songs, there was a well deserved video interlude.

From the 200 section, I could see rumblings from the sides of the stage of what looked like props for the next song, and the mix for the interlude had me excited well before G-Dragon came back out on stage in a white button down shirt and white pants for “Butterfly”. All along the stage, huge silk butterflies suspended on wires being held up by the back up dancers made their way around the side of the stage, filling the standing the area with huge butterflies. It was a gorgeous site, and was really relaxing to see. Butterfly is one of my favourite songs by G Dragon, so seeing it done so well was fantastic.

As the butterflies flew away, the whistling introduction of “Missing You” from the latest album began, and the really peaceful atmosphere continued. Kim Yuna from Jaurim wasn’t on stage with G-Dragon, however there was a video of her singing along.

While the peaceful tone continued with the next song, it didn’t keep the happy feeling with the song “That XX”. A large throne rolled out onto the stage, and G-Dragon sprawled out across the chair as his guitarist plucked at the acoustic guitar and the audience sang along with the entire song. The seems to be a song that so many people seem to relate to, and you could really feel the emotion as the thousands of people sang every word to the song.

The next song was “Without You”. When the song was originally released, the female featured was just listed as question marks. Turns out it was Lee Hi, the new YG artist. I won’t use this review as my platform to talk about how much I dislike Lee Hi, but… she’s emotionless and I’m not a fan. So she came out on stage and sang from a balcony and never smiled or did anything. Her hair was nice though so I guess that’s okay. Then she came down on the stage and walked away from G-Dragon and once again never seemed to smile and the song was over. This is the nicest I can be about Lee Hi, lets move on. 😀

By this point, D-Gragon looked and sounded exhausted. There were moments where he didn’t seem to sing lines, and he was using his towel a lot. I was quite worried, because he really hadn’t had much of a break at all in the whole concert, and must have been exhausted. The next song was “Today”, and a huge DJ set was brought out. G-Dragon climbed into it, and he DJed while the huge set was brought to the centre stage. It was lifted up, and it really lifted the energy of the crowd again. It led into “A Boy (소년이여)” right away. The song after was “This Love”, which is a cover of the Maroon 5 song. It was really interesting to see the different reactions to this song. The vast majority of G-Dragon’s fans know this song, however newer fans, and some of the foreign fans, might not be familiar with the older work, so some people looked a little confused for a moment when the incredibly familiar opening notes of “This Love” began.

“One Year Station (1년 정거장)” performed next, and G-Dragon seemed to have regained all of the energy that he seemed to have lost mid show as we neared the end of the concert. He ran back stage as another video interlude happened, and then ziplined down across the stage with a TV on his head as the open notes of his most latest single, “Crayon” began. The crowd leapt to its feet and sung and danced along, but in the middle of the song, everyone on the stage stopped, and suddenly the music changed to… “Fantastic Baby.” Despite it being a solo song, G-Dragon was performing Big Bang’s mega hit of 2012, either singing all of the parts or letting the fans cover certain parts. The audience was really into it, screaming the words along and dancing along with their lightsticks. The mix was like the one on the 2012 MAMAs, but without the dumb monster stuff. With a blast of lights and sound and fireworks, the song finished, and G-Dragon and his backup dancers walked off stage, leaving the arena in darkness.

VIPs wait for G-Dragon to return to the stage

VIPs wait for G-Dragon to return to the stage

We sat for a moment and waited, but then some realised that the show was technically “over” and began to chant encore. After a few minutes, G-Dragon came back out through the standing section and made a lap around the outside of the barricades as he sang “Breathe”. I personally found it ironic that he sung Breathe in a situation where he was being mobbed and could be crushed at any second, but he seemed to be enjoying himself, so it’s all cool.

After talking for a second (literally, it was just a few seconds) he led into “Bad Boy”, another one of the singles by Big Bang this year. There was a hilarious moment in the song where G-Dragon impersonated TOP’s voice in one verse, and it sounded both very accurate and also badly done. Clearly, it was done with the accuracy and caring that only a very good friend could do. Once he finished Bad Boy, G-Dragon FINALLY had a moment to stop and properly talk. He spoke to the fans about the tour, and gave his thanks to everyone involved. Literally, everyone. He named everyone in the band, he named the two dance crews involved as backup dancers, he thanked the camera people, the lighting people, the directors, the producers, his parents, YG family, his fans, and a bunch of other people I missed because I might have been trying to take notes and missed stuff. He spoke quickly at  times. There was a big wind up and they all did their bows, and everyone was leaving the stage, and as they left the stage, G-Dragon kept looking back… and would walk a bit. Then he’d stop, and look back at the audience, and look at the backup dancers. They’d tell him to come on, and he’d take another step. He’d stop, turn back, and then he tried to run back to the stage. The backup dancers tried to stop him, but he broke free, and burst out from the stage as the band began to play “MichiGo” again – a friendly reminder of what the new song is like so we all would go get the single next week. Once that song was finished, he finally left the stage for some much deserved rest, and the fans left.

From what I’ve heard, there have been some changes to the line up on the Sunday night schedule. Due to the fact that G-Dragon was, in fact, pretty exhausted half way through the show, he recruited 2ne1 to step in and do a bit of a half time show so he could take a break. The Sunday fans are going to be in for a treat then. I don’t know what the lineup will be like when he travels to other countries, but I think there will be guest performers for the next shows as well.

If G-Dragon announces that he is coming to your country, and you are able to go, I highly recommend going. G-Dragon is an incredible showman, and put on a great show.