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Posts Tagged ‘Star Struck’

Another day, another free concert. Life is just too good sometimes!

I went up to Seoul with a few friends to attend the Asia Song Festival at Jamsil Olympic Stadium. It’s a huge venue suitable for hosting a concert of that scale. But, the festival didn’t run very smoothly. The ticket booths were disorganized and there weren’t enough signs to indicate where people should wait in line. There was too much cutting and pushing and shoving that could have been better regulated. Maybe they lacked volunteers or didn’t have enough money for signs. I think a lot of things can be improved for future years.

Program and ticket

Our seats weren’t bad. We had seats in the stands more toward the right side of the stage. They opened the doors around 3:30 even though the concert didn’t start until around 7. We just sat in the stands and had snacks.

Setting up the stage

Here’s a list of the performers:

  • 이승철 Lee Seung-chul (Korea)
  • 비 Rain (Korea)
  • 보아 BoA (Korea)
  • 카라 KARA (Korea)
  • 투에이엠 2AM (Korea)
  • AKB48 (Japan)
  • Jane Zhang (China)
  • Joe Cheng (China)
  • Michael Wong (Malaysia)
  • Bie The Star (Thailand)
  • 포미닛 4Minute (Korea)
  • 비스트 Beast (Korea)

Not a big fan of their songs but their performance wasn’t bad.

4 minute

At first, I made fun of their name as a ripoff of 2PM. But these guys really can sing.

2AM

Beautiful staging to showcase her sweet voice.

Jane Zhang

I assumed Jackie Chan would be there as the Chairperson of the Asia Song Festival. I hoped he would jump out of a helicopter and land on stage. But this is all we got. A 10 second video of Jackie Chan dubbed in Korean. To be fair, he reminded us that one of the reasons of hosting the festival is to to support UNICEF’s programs around the world.

Jackie's "appearance"

The strangest performance I’ve ever seen. Mega idol group AKB48 from Japan consists of 48 girls. I thought my head was going to explode from the combined assault of super pop music, pirate-y costumes, high-pitched voices and the spectacle of 48 dancing girls.

AKB48

KARA performed two of the catchiest songs of the year, “Mister” and “Lupin.”

KARA

Beast, once again. Though this performance seemed better than the one they gave at the Hallyu Dream Festival.

Every night I shock...

And finally…

It's hard to tell, but it's Rain!

It's really him!

Sorry I didn’t really take any good photos. I was too busy having fun! It was really touching to see Michael Wong perform one of the most famous Mandarin songs ever. It brought back memories of my EAP days! And, of course, I was so excited to FINALLY see Rain!!

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K-Pop Checklist

I’ve become more and more familiar with K-Pop music and “idols” over the past few months. Since I’ll be going to the Asia Song Festival, my second (third counting Usher) concert in Korea, I wanted to make a list of K-Pop idols that I’ve seen or plan to see:

  • Rain (Asia Song Festival)
    BoA (Asia Song Festival)
    Super Junior
    Big Bang (YG Family Concert)
    2PM
    Jaebom/Jay Park
    2AM (Asia Song Festival)
    SNSD
    T-ara
    KARA (Asia Song Festival)
    2NE1 (YG Family Concert)
    FT Island
    4minute
    Se7en (YG Family Concert)
    SHINee
    Beast
    After School
    miss A
    Flower
    MBLAQ
    Seo In-Guk
    U-Kiss

Looks like the only idols I won’t have a chance to see will be Super Junior and Girl’s Generation. At least I got to see Heechul at the Hallyu Dream Festival. And I don’t care for SNSD so it’s all good. When I leave Korea, at least I can say that I saw what their best entertainers have to offer.

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I did it. My first Korean concert! Thanks to some eagle-eyed friends of mine, I was able to sign up for free tickets to the Hallyu Dream Concert in Gyeongju. They offered a limited number of FREE tickets for foreigners through the festival website. Stick FREE on anything and I’ll take it.

The ever-reaching Hallyu influence

And all the big names were there:

  • Super Junior
  • 2PM and 2AM
  • SE7EN
  • KARA
  • T-ara
  • 2NE1
  • as well as others I wasn’t too familiar with: FT Island, 4minute, SHINee, Davichi, Cho Shin Sung, Beast, Son DamBi, After School, miss A, Flower, MBLAQ, Seo In-Guk, U-Kiss, Secret, Eru, Nine Muses

taken from the Hallyu Festival site

Here’s how the ticket voucher system works:

  1. Sign up for a ticket voucher on the festival website. Passport number is required!
  2. Print the voucher.
  3. Bring the voucher and passport to the ticket exchange booths.
  4. Get a ticket and wristband.
  5. Wait in line with screaming fans.

Pretty simple and little effort so it was definitely a worthwhile experience! Also, I’m still convinced that K-Pop is a political tool used to distract the population from domestic and international social and economic issues. With that said, here are some blurry photos from the concert!

The stage

The lovely and talented hosts who kept messing up and had to do over their entrance for the televised version.

U-Kiss

Miss A. Careful not to stare too much at this photo. One of the girls is only 15.

4 Minute

T-ara

And then my camera battery died :(. We had to leave before Super Junior, KARA, 2NE1 and 2AM unfortunately. But I hope I’ll have another opportunity to see them in the future. For free.

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Usher’s concert in Seoul on Saturday at Olympic Park was really good. Considering he’s not nearly as hugely popular in Korea as he is in the States, he performed at a smaller venue but was able to draw a pretty large crowd. His voice and his dancing and his body – STILL GOT IT.

 

The stage set up was pretty simple with like a staircase and the band sitting around the back. Usher started out with some old stuff like “You Make Me Wanna” and “Nice and Slow” then his bigger hits like “Confessions” and all that good stuff. I never realized how many Usher songs I know. The guy is prolific. Actually, more like he’s been around for like 15 years. He sang a lot of old hits, nothing wrong with that. It was like a trip down memory lane!

Usher really is a quality performer. He can sing his ass off and he’s a freakin dance machine.  He wore a blazer, what was he thinking? His shirt was soaked all the way through. I think he should’ve just gone shirtless.

I was most impressed by the man’s voice. Usher has eliminated all doubt in my mind that he’s quit being a singer. His voice was on it that night. He’s also very charming. He made the little heart over his head that all my students love to do and he said 사랑해요 how sweet. We love you too Usher.

And he made us do the thunderclap at the end haha.

The biggest disappointment of the night was not seeing Rain. alskdfjalskdf my Raindar was off on that one. Rain had better make it up to me by coming to Daegu. And it better not be during a weekend that I’m traveling.

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I went to the R-16 international bboy competition in at Olympic Park in Seoul this past Sunday. Definitely worth staying late in Seoul. Being from Socal around the hip hop scene back home, I felt a little pang of homesickness. I have to admit, before I came to Korea I thought I’d see bboys all over the place haha.

bboy competition in Seoul

Saturday was the individual competition but I couldn’t go to that since I was at the Usher concert haha. Sunday was the crew show and battle. There were 8 crews from Korea, Vietnam, China, Philippines, Germany, France, Spain, and Puerto Rico.  I’m not a judge or anything, but they could’ve been cleaner. Overall, pretty good competition and variety of styles.

I was happy to see a crew from the Philippines! Project P-Noise (ha clever!) from Manila. A lot of bboys back home are Pil-Ams so it’s nice to see some bboys from the motherland competing internationally. I read on their bio that they’re the first crew from the Philippines to compete on an international level. Not the first bboys to do it, but the first bboy crew.

Their routine was really creative and told a story. There were 3 nerdy guys trying to learn how to dance so they looked on the internet and downloaded some moves. Kudos for the geek factor. They wore some nice Philippine flag hoodies and tees, too. Way to represent! Here are a couple videos:

They beat Puerto Rico in the battle by just a few points. Anyone else find that interesting? Philippines v Puerto Rico?

.

In the next round, they were up against Jinjo Crew from Korea. Seeing them live just confirms that Korean bboys are damn good. Jinjo Crew won the competition at the end of the night. Would’ve been cool to see Gamblerz too :P. Here’s Jinjo Crew’s routine. I wonder where they kept those hats…

During the competition, one of my friends pointed out that a bunch of girls were taking pictures of someone behind the stage. I had no clue why. She said it was someone from a boy band. So I asked her who and which one? She said it was Jaebeom! I recognized his name from the 2PM controversy since he suddenly and mysteriously left the band earlier this year. I didn’t know what he looked like so I had to trust all the girls there that it was really him.

So I decided to check online to confirm and yeah it was Jaebeom! I’ve only been in Korea for 5 months and I’ve already seen a (well, former) boy band member!

Jaebeom... from 2PM leader to bboy?

Now, if I could only see Rain!

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Maybe it’s the other way around, but I’m in Korea and I’m a fan of Rain so in this case Usher can be introduced like that. Why am I even talking about Usher???

Well, one of my many hobbies is watching TV in Korea because I love pop culture. One day I suddenly saw a familiar sight. A sultry-faced Usher wearing an unbottoned shirt in front of a wind machine. I thought OMG what is this, cologne? And it turns out Usher is having a concert in Korea! One of my friends messaged me about it this week and I was like WE GOTTA GO!

Urshurr in Seoul

This knocks off about 4 things on my To Do List in Korea: Attend a concert, see Olympic Park, see a big celebrity, and MEET RAIN. How, do you ask?? Well, I have a RAINdar and it tells me that Rain will be there.

Okay I actually have evidence to support my RAINdar senses. A few years back Usher made an appearance at one of Rain’s concerts. He came up on stage and he and Rain did some kind of secret handshake. So Rain and Usher know each other. Since this is Usher’s first concert in Korea, I think it’s the perfect opportunity for Rain to return the favor.

Look, here’s a video if you still don’t believe me. Usher shows up at 1:50.

It seems the stars have aligned for me to have another chance to see Rain.

P.S. I would totally die if Usher wears that white silky jacket to his concert LOL!

____________________________________________________

Oh yeah. Rain recently won the Most Baddass Award at the MTV Movie Awards and I knew it would rekindle his rivalry with Stephen Colbert. Check out the video at the link.

Stephen Colbert has a rivalry with Rain because Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people listed Rain as the number one most influential person, with Stephen Colbert ranked second. So Stephen Colbert made a K-Pop video in an attempt to beat Rain at his own game. He also had a dance-off with Rain lol. I can’t find the videos on youtube but check the links to watch on Colbert’s website.

WordPress sucks at embedding videos.

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What is Sports Day? I’m not quite sure. But, most elementary and middle schools have one every year. Classes compete against one another in various games and relays. Each class selects a costume or theme for Sports Day. We had about 3 Superman classes.

Students in class costumes

I walked around and talked to every class and took pictures of students cheering and competing in the sports events.

You better run.. run.. run..

Jump over the stick

Scooter ..?

Run on top of your classmates!

I was asked to participate in the teacher’s run. I didn’t know it was a race and a team relay! So, I actually had to run. Luckily, our team won and we each got a 10,000won gift certificate!

After Sports Day at my school, I went over to Daegu Stadium to watch the IAAF Pre-Championships Meet. Track and Field competition. Daegu is hosting the World Championships next year, so this is a pre-championship competition. The main attraction of the event was none other than Usain Bolt!

Look at him go!

Even faster in person!

100m in 9.86 seconds

Great way to spend the day and start a long weekend!

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