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“Oh Joon-Sung Drama Concert” – with performances by Bobby Kim, Mario& and SHINee! [01.02.2010]

Have been missing in action for a while, since it’s kind of hard to juggle eight dramas a week, on top of work, dance, Korean and Japanese classes, but I’m finally back – and mostly because today has been the BEST NIGHT of my life so I couldn’t possibly go to bed without letting everyone know!

This is old news on the K-entertainment sites like Omona by now, but just a short recap – The Esplanade (Singapore) brought in Oh Joon-Sung (Korea’s most sough-after composer/lyricist) to perform pieces that he has written for the soundtracks of several famous dramas, including: Boys Before Flowers, My Girl, Great Inheritance, My Love, Witch Amusement, The King and I, Get Karl! Oh Soo Jung, Dream, The Queen Returns, and Heading for the Ground.

This is what the blurb from the official SISTIC site says:

The Korean wave sweeps to Esplanade in February for two special evenings of songs and instrumental pieces from soundtracks of some of the most popular Korean drama series written by composer, arranger and lyricist, Joon-Sung Oh.

Considered one of Korea’s most sought-after composer/lyricist, Joon-Sung Oh, will direct his 9-piece band, Green Cacao and a 23-piece orchestra specially put together for the concert. Some of these songs will be accompanied by music videos from the dramas. Joining them will be Korean popstars Bobby Kim, Mario& and Shinee who will perform their signature tunes from the dramas, Dream, My Girl and Boys Over Flowers respectively.

So it’s not too hard to guess what I was doing tonight – I’m still on an adrendaline high from coming back from the concert.

I loved all the songs – Mario& was fantastic, Bobby Kim was great especially since he could actually speak English and we actually understood him, Oh Joon-Sung was hilarious, and if I hadn’t mentioned it by now, I’m also an absolute fangirl of SHINee, who performed two songs (Countdown in Dream, and Stand By Me in Boys Over Flowers). I’ll give a quick review of the concert (I’ll try to do the quick account on another post), which I thoroughly enjoyed and was worth the $130 I had to fork out for a Circle 1 AA row seat. The view from there was pretty good (I highly recommend either Circle 1 or Stall seats for those trying to figure out the best view for Esplanade’s Concert hall) and the acoustics were excellent. Not to mention Mario& were really strong live performers – their voices were brilliant, and basically held us spellbound. They did most of the singing – Bobby Kim came out for one song called Live or Die in Dream.

I didn’t have high expectations for the concert originally – I mean, I liked all the dramas that were highlighted in the programme, but I hardly expected to be entertained by all the “instrumental” pieces, yet I was. It also helped that they had a projection screen at the back that flashed drama scenes of whichever drama they were performing to – although there were two dramas in there that I’d never watched (amazing, considering my appetite for dramas), I determined to watch them as soon as possible. (In case you were wondering which dramas I was referring to, it’s “The King and I” and “The Queen Returns” – I’ve watched everything else.)

Oh Joon-Sung was also highly entertaining, although he spoke almost zilch English…perhaps, because he spoke almost zilch English and could only keep saying, “I love Singapore! I love Singaporeans”, to which we all cheered like mad. He also kept saying, “Thank you!” and “Music start!”, and when it came to Heading to the Ground (a drama led by DBSK’s leader, U-know Yunho), he asked us, “You know Yunho?”. Obviously, the immediate screams that accompanied that question answered it for him (I think it’s adorable how fangirl/boy-ing is internationally recognised). Upon hearing our response, he continued throwing out, “Dong Bang Shin Ki? [cue: fan screaming] Sunny? [repeat fan screaming] Yuri? [ditto the screams] SHINee? [cue: volume of fan screaming trebles! …including my own. Here, he actually had to pause for quite a while for us to calm down] Bobby Kim? [seriously I thought he said barbeque, and I bet that’s what half the crowd thought too cos there was an immediate drop in screaming…everyone was just going, huh? Why’s he talking about Korean food?]”

It’s quite hilarious because after he realised that about eighty percent of the crowd were here for SHINee, he kept telling us, “SHINee my best friend! Bobby Kim my best friend!” which was all sorts of win since everyone got worked up every time he threw out their names. (Poor Mario& just got sidelined. I honestly didn’t recognise them until I went home and pored over the programme.) There was a short interview in between, with the effectively bilingual host Li Yi, asking Oh Sung-Joon how he came up with his pieces (he told her that it was basically through experience and inspiration) and why he tries to intertwine classical pieces into his compositions (he said it was because he wanted to engage everyone faster by using something that they were already familiar with).

By this point in time, I was also really impressed by Mario& (I need to mention them, since I really do love their voices, and their live performance was just mindblowing) and Bobby Kim. Li Yi also came out to interview Bobby Kim (probably because he was the only one in there who could speak English) and the first thing she asked was, “Are you enjoying yourself in Singapore?” and he replied, “I love Singapore! [cue: fan screaming] Oh, and I love chilli crab! [cue: volume of fan screaming doubles…honestly, I was extremely pleased as well since it’s a dish we pride ourselves on.]” Apparently, Bobby Kim also realised that about eighty percent of the audience were SHINee fans because he then yelled out, “All the SHINee fans, hello!” […or something to that effect. The minute he mentioned SHINee, we lost our minds and yelled like mad, so I could hardly hear him over the noise]

After his song, before SHINee came on, Li Yi came out to introduce them. It was a bit of a joke because she barely said two words before the fans started screaming down the roof, and she was all like, “But…I haven’t even introduced them!” She then said, “For all the nunas in the crowd – I’m sure you know their song Nuna nomu yeppeo!” [Please just assume there’s consistently massive screaming going on everytime anyone even says SHINee]

Now, technically there’s supposed to be no photography or videography in the Esplanade – but c’mon. You kidding me? These are fangirls. They’re like, a right unto their own. I’d like to see the Esplanade staff try to stop a hundred people whipping out their cameras for SHINee’s performance (I think they only let us get away with it because we only did it during the last song, which was Stand by Me). Unfortunately they didn’t let us take photos (although I still did secretly…the photos came out quite badly though because I was trying to take without looking at my camera since I was afraid the Esplanade staff would confiscate my camera or something if she found out).

Picture of Onew, Taem, Jong, Minho (Key got cut, because I obviously wasn't aiming)

From right to left: Onew, Taem, Jong, Minho (Key got cut off because I wasn't aiming this properly since I was afraid the Esplanade lady would confiscate my camera)

But apparently even my camera realises that I have a Key bias, so even though I was snapping randomly without checking, it got me this beautiful shot of Key

But apparently even my camera realises that I have a Key bias, so even though I was snapping randomly without checking, it got me this beautiful shot of Key

I felt a little terrible because right after SHINee performed their last song, there was a mass exodus of people – because there was an autograph session with all the performers after the concert that was to last for about 30 minutes. Obviously all the SHINee fans left, and I struggled with myself for one whole song whether I wanted to leave…and made up my mind to go just as the song ended (there was only one other song left, which was Paradise and I hate that song). It was a good thing though, because I managed to rush down in time to join the queue for the autograph session – and got to meet ALL OF THEM UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL. My only regret was that Bobby Kim wasn’t there but I guess I shouldn’t be too greedy, since it was good enough I got SHINee’s autographs on my program (it has now been laminated and will be kept forever and ever).

For a good while I was really worried I wouldn’t make it, since the Esplanade shortened the autograph-ing session to 25 minutes, for the sake of the celebrities (I do think they were exhausted, poor things). Fortunately, I made it past the screen so I knew I had a damn good chance of getting the signatures, and I basically started having silent panic attacks when it was my turn to get the program signed. I wanted to say a lot to them, but my brain shut down when I saw the boys smiling in my direction (their grins are lethal). I did manage to thank Oh Joon-Sung for the concert, and said his music was brilliant (which it was, no regrets about the $130 – would’ve been worth it even without the autograph session, although the autograph-ing just made it 10,000 times better).

When I got to Onew, and he looked up at me and smiled and said, “Thank you.” I swear my heart stopped for a moment. My friends and I did this collaborative polaroid book project for SHINee in commemoration of their trip to Singapore, by building them a ‘trail of photos’ through Singapore. We even made sections specifically for each member, tabbing the colours to what they wore in Nuna nomu yeppeo.

Our book project - I honestly hope the boys get to read it because we spent a week and heaps of money on it, and it's frankly quite amazing, even if I do say so myself

We even prepared a fancy ribbon for it!

So anyway, when Onew smiled at me, I lost my mind and shoved the book at him, to which he politely placed aside since he still had to sign my program (and then a staff took it and gave me this look…like she was frankly amazed at all the various efforts people go to for them). To be honest, the first impression I had of Onew was that…he was actually larger than I thought he would be in real life. (Makes a girl feel oh-so-secure and warm, doesn’t it??!)

When I finally got to Key, my bias, I almost couldn’t breathe – I wanted to reach out to stroke his hair because of the colours. Despite the temptation, I managed to keep my hands to myself, and then he looked up at me and said, “Hi!” in that fabulous voice of his and I seriously almost lost it. I think I was screaming inside.

Taemin was cuter than I thought in real life, and so absolutely precious – he smiled shyly and thanked me after signing my program really quickly (his was probably the fastest signature since Onew had to draw a smiley face on his, and Key, being Key, just took up the biggest space on the program and made his signature really complicated looking).

I got to Jonghyun next – and that boy practically glows. I have to hand it to him – he’s either got a better skincare routine than me…or just damn good genes (or both). As he signed my program lazily, he looked up at me and STUCK HIS TONGUE OUT (in that “Merong” manner he does in Hello Baby). I was honestly a litte star struck. Okay, a lot star struck.

When I got to Minho, I think I couldn’t stop smiling, and he was such a sweet boy he smiled back really brightly. In real life, his eyes are huge, and really, really beautiful, and his voice is quite amazing. I think I couldn’t stop saying, “Thank you very much!” to all of them.

After they signed, Mario& signed and I was a little less star struck by them (considering I didn’t know who they were – I’m sorry!! But they’re actually really fantastic!) so I managed to tell one of the vocalists, “Your voice was really good!” (or something to that effect. I honestly can’t remember after having lost my mind so many times.)

I managed to hold myself in until I left the building…and then I jumped up and down like a wayward teenager (which I haven’t been for years, unfortunately). A few real teenagers gave me this look, especially since I was dressed really inappropriately to be hopping up and down so. I realised I had a really good vantage view of them from the outside, so whipped up my camera to take one last video…which turned out to be really clear and had a really good view of them signing the last few autographs and then leaving. (Thank goodness I lost the struggle with my morals when I did, because if I left any later I wouldn’t have been able to get the signatures! Or seen them in real life!)

If you want the video, leave a comment, because I’m not sure how to load it up on my blog. If I figure it out later, I’ll try to upload the video. It’s seriously quite excellent. I even managed to capture their manager hyung, Yoonduk (I recognised him from the disastrous episode I had trying to catch them at the airport. That didn’t work very well. I didn’t even manage to get to see them at the fansigning…but this concert COMPLETELY made up for it, and was like an extra bonus I didn’t expect! I was almost ready to quit the fandom, but this has completely resuscitated me).

All in all, an excellent night – the music was the rousing, the vocals were fantabulous, the people were hilarious, and I got to meet my favourite K-boyband. I am ready to take on the world!

P.S. Will update soon with more stuff I’ve been thinking of blogging but haven’t gotten around to.

[Edit: Took down the video because I am not pleased with hypocritical fans who get on their high horses and say they will NEVER do these kinds of things due to concert etiquette…my ass. Normally I would never, either, and I’m not proud that I have done, and did, but to hurl judgemental comments like that…all I can say is, that doesn’t reflect very well on their maturity EITHER.

Have closed off all comments. Sorry, this is my world, you can listen to me rant, but you can’t rant back, thanks.]