New York - Korea K-Pop Festival 2011
K-pop hits New York!
Actually, to be more exact, it hit New Jersey, but it's close enough. On October 8-9, there was a Korean festival celebrating the 20 years since Korea was formally admitted to the United Nations. Food, Korean products, cars, and even a ssireum match were all present at the fair. But the real draw was the K-pop concert on the evening of October 9, and believe me, there was quite a mixed crowd. Young and old, Asian and non-Asian alike were all singing along, clapping, and holding up signs supporting their favorite artists. It's cuter watching the older folks clapping and dancing to the folk songs while the young 'uns sat there, bored.
The concert took a while to set up, of which I'm not surprised - apparently, mobs of people rushed the stage every time they tried to do a sound check, which led to a proper sound check at around 6:45, forty-five minutes past when the concert was supposed to start. Yay. Talk about being on-time. Once the concert got going (with a few technical glitches for the Village People - poor guys), the fun started. Of course the pop idol groups got louder cheers than the trot singers and operatic singers. Don't get me wrong - those classically trained singers were talented, but they put me right to sleep.
Insooni was probably one of the most impressive acts. At 54, that woman can shimmy down and rock her body as good as her backup dancers. The girls of Sistar did the craaaaaaziest body rolls for "Ma Boy," riling up the boys in the crowd and giving Shakira and Beyonce a run for their money. 2PM elicited a huge amount of cheers, and with "Put Your Hands Up," they got people jumping up and down. Amazingly, for most of the concert, the crowds stayed sitting on their seats. I had never seen such a well-behaved crowd before; I felt like a jerk standing up to sneak in some pictures of the stage.
Biggest fail? All the guys getting together to sing "New York, New York." It failed mainly for the reason that I don't think the guys knew what they were singing. After the first verse and chorus, everyone pretty much stopped singing properly, and either mouthed out "New York, New York," or just repeated it again and again. Really funny. Really awkward. The girls did a better job singing "Single Ladies;" I think it helped that they followed Beyonce's choreography and the cameras gave gratuitous closeups on their legs.
Frankly, I also wasn't a fan of any of these groups, except for maybe a song from 2PM here and there, and a bit of G.NA. This concert helped make me a fan of SHINee, be awed by Maya (when I had only seen her in Dandelion Family), and squee at Insooni's song "A Goose's Dream," because the first time I heard that song was in the first episode of Dream High.
But on to the pictures! Here's the full lineup of artists present at the concert:
Kim Tae Woo
Soprano Hong Hye Kyung
Baritone Jang Sa Ik
Musician Kim Young Im with Students
Baritone Ryeo Hyun Goo
Trot singers Tae Jin Ah and Sul Woon Do