On Thursday August 31st, 2012 I took the LIRR into Penn Station to attend Junsu’s NYC tour date on his solo World Tour. The heat trapped between all the concrete skyscrapers of the city made it feel like I was walking in the jungle. I only had to walk a block before reaching the Manhattan Center which houses the Hammerstein Ballroom. As I waited for the traffic light to signal that I could cross the street, I spotted a woman taking pictures of the crowd. “Oh, so you’re going to the Junsu concert too?” I asked her.
As it turned out she was taking pictures of the crowd gathered in front of the Manhattan Center and wondering why all these girls had been outside for three hours already. I ended up having a pleasant conversation about KPOP, Junsu, and Xiaholics. I crossed the street and joined the mass of excited femininity. One of the nice aspects of attending KPOP events in my opinion is socializing with other KPOP fans. That night was no exception and I passed the remaining four hours before the concert mingling and chit chatting about Junsu, JYJ, and all kinds of KPOP related things. The crowd was excited and at one point there was a Junsu backup dancer that was spotted going into a nearby bistro and there were several fans that crossed the street to take pictures. One of the fans even shook his hand.
Around 7:30pm, the crowd started to squish in together in anticipation of the opening of the doors. The doors were opened and the security guards started yelling that there should be no pushing that the concert wouldn’t start until everyone was inside so there was no rush. Eventually I made it through the doors after having my purse searched. I had the urge to skip to the very front of the stage. I double checked that my camera had batteries and my cellphone was charged.
The standing fans quickly squished up as close as they could against the barricades. The stage remained dark and a voice came over the loudspeakers apologizing for the delay. About fifteen minutes passed by and the MV for Tarantallegra was shown on the big stage screen causing the crowd to started screaming. For the first two songs I was allowed right up in front of the stage to review and photograph Junsu’s performance. The lights completely darkened afterwards and the crowd quieted down because everyone knew that Junsu was about to hit the stage. There were these stairs on the stage and suddenly I spotted a shadowed profile at the top holding something in their hands.
The opening bars of Breath began and the spotlight shone on Junsu in his fitted blue suit and black deep V-neck shirt. The outfit was completed by a sparkly pimp stick which he wielded like a pro. His male back up dancers were dressed in burgundy suits that complemented Junsu’s. His performance was polished. The following song was No Gain and Junsu’s beautiful curvy female back up dancers came onto the scene to work it. The girls wore black corsets, sparkly fishnets, and had on killer black boots. I loved their wavy mermaid tresses. I will confess that if I had the curves to pull that outfit off, I would do so in a NY minute! I give kudos to their stylists.
During the concert Junsu’s setlist included (I was enjoying myself so much I didn’t keep track of the order or the titles of all the songs!):
• Set Me Free
• Love Means Nothing To Me
• You Are So Beautiful
• I Am Music
• The Last Dance
• Fallen Leaves
Throughout the concert, Junsu showcased his beautiful voice. He really proved that he is an in demand musical theater singer because he has the vocal chops for it. My favorite song he performed was Tarantallegra because I remember boogeying to it in my seat and having a moment of singing along with the rest of the people on the balcony at the top of my lungs. I also realized how comfortable he is on stage during the breaks in the concert when his female translator would show up on stage and he would banter with the crowd. There was a moment where Junsu said he would grant his audience 3 Wishes. The words DUCK BUTT immediately came to my mind. Someone in the crowd wanted him to serenade her and he busted out Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of All. Someone else wanted an angel pose and before he did it he warned the males in the audience to close their eyes (This is where the guy seated to the left of me in the balcony seating shouted, “No Way, I paid good money to see THIS!” Gotta love Junsu fanboys!). Was my wish not to be granted, I wondered. Finally someone was on my wavelength because the third wish was for him to do a sexy pose……………oh yeah. Operation Duck Butt = SUCCESS.
Once Junsu started singing Fallen Leaves and all the dancers came on stage, I became sad because it signaled the end of the night. Was the venue packed to capacity? No, there were empty seats and there was room on the floor. Does this mean the concert was not a success? Absolutely not, the enthusiasm and animation of the crowd ………Junsu felt the love of his American fans that night. Nothing can beat being able to see a favorite KPOP idol live. KPOP in the United States has come a long way and I was proud that he picked NYC for his first ever solo concert in the United States. I can only hope that Junsu comes back and hopefully along with the rest of JYJ! ENCORE!
Junsu’s next stop is in Los Angeles and our very own 24-7 KPOP Founder, Kim, along with team member Christan and media team member Brittanie will be attending. Be on the lookout for it on the website.
*The reason why some pictures are super up close and others are from far away is because I was allowed to photograph from up close for the first two songs ONLY! Afterwards media was asked to go and enjoy the show from their ticketed seats.