With a set list of a whopping 50 songs and a crowd that stood at 23,000 strong, the SMTown world tour concert in Singapore proved to be anything but ordinary.
Pyrotechnics, everyone expected them, but what no one expected was the magnitude of visual effects the concert threw out at the appreciative audience. Aside from the water (think water fountain-like jets from the stage), fire, smoke, confetti and streamers that were dispensed onstage at various points of the show, the stage itself had its own bag of tricks to display.
We were constantly surprised by transformer-like features of the set - a rotating circular platform in the middle of the stage that could split into two levels, two “carts” that travelled on the parallel sides of the stage, plus the whole mid-section of the stage could be moved forward and back to suit the performances.
Zhou Mi from Super Junior-M in a duet with Victoria from f(x)
Throw in two buggies that ferried the performers back and forth the three different parts of the stage, we had a non-stop visual feast.
But more important than the stage itself, were the stars of the show that made it all come together.
Here are our some of the most notable highlights for the almost four-and-a-half hours long concert:
Best solo performance: Kangta with “Ai Ping Lu (愛, 頻率)”
Right after his subdued first number, “Pine Tree/Polaris”, where he almost made everyone feel desolate, he burst into this Chinese song - complete with sunglasses - that got the crowd exhilarated once again. In perfect accompaniment to the top-notch laser light show was this very catchy tune and his surprisingly energetic dance steps that we couldn’t get enough of. More of this, less of his down-in-the-dumps tunes please!
Kangta owning the stage in this shades and all-black outfit
Best use of Singlish: Eunhyuk (Super Junior)
During their banter on stage, the Super Junior member decided to up the ante and mentioned that he prepared his greeting in Singlish. He threw in phrases like “I love you lah”, “ I miss you lah” and “Nice to meet you lah” and the crowd lapped it up. A+ for effort.
Most unfortunate tumble: Yunho (TVXQ)
We weren’t sure if it was due to the downpour earlier in the day, but it seemed as if the stage was a little bit too slippery for artistes, there were a couple of falls and near misses, but the award has to go to Yunho, who - during their first song of the night and while running at full speed to one end of the extremely long stage - took a headlong dive into the slick stage floor, and definitely not because he was trying to aim for the mosh pit to crowd surf. He recovered quickly though, while the camera switched its focus onto Changmin, almost as if it was embarassed.
Best leggy display: Girl’s Generation
It was hard to not feel pangs of envy with the way the girls constantly flaunted their mile-long gams in microminis. When TaeTiSeo, that’s Taeyeon, Tiffany and Seohyun, performed “Twinkle”, they were clad in black sequinned hot shorts. Later, during “Gee”, the girl group slipped into denim shorts that showed off their enviable legs to perfection. Consider us completely jealous.
Girl's Generation looking picture-perfect in their short shorts and white t-shirt
Epitome of coolness: BoA
They don’t call her the Queen of K-Pop for nothing. She exuded a super calm and too-cool-for-school exterior the whole time. It was almost as if nothing could faze her, not even as the rain was beating down during her performance of “Only One”. But it’s for good reason. She blew the crowd away with her hits, as if nothing has changed since the day she first performed them. Plus, she looked super hot too, flashing her trademark dimple to many a fan boy screaming her name.
BoA staying cool, calm and collected
Super Junior No. 2 : EXO
The band made up of 12 members reminded us of how Super Junior started out - a band with a whole lot of testosterone and catchy dance tunes. Though we weren’t as familiar with their songs, their nifty footwork and infectious songs made us bob to the beat. They are definitely ones to watch.
EXO in their black-and-white outfits
Best “singing in the rain” moment: f(X)
Almost seconds before f(x) took the stage for their last song “Electric Shock”, it started to drizzle and the very moment they took their spots on the middle platform, the clouds unleashed themselves and it started to pour. But the girl band were such troopers, they continued with their performance in the heavy rain and danced their hearts out for the audience who sat drenched in the bleachers. This got them whopping cheers and rousing applause, and they deserve every single accolade that goes their way. Professionalism at its best.
f(x) dancing their hearts out on stage in the rain
Most tiring dance routines: TVXQ
We surmised that it could be because TVXQ felt “inadequate” on stage with only two members instead of eight (Super Junior) or twelve (EXO), but it seemed as though TVXQ’s dance steps were the most intense and complicated, and requiring the most energy. At one point during “Purple Line”, Yunho was headbanging like there was no tomorrow. There’s no denying how good their dance cheoreography was but we felt exhausted for them just being in the audience.
Best fangirl moment: “Just the way you are” by KyuHyun (Super Junior) and Changmin (TVXQ)
Just when we thought this Bruno Mars song would be a ho-hum one with these two boyish idols each doing a few stanzas, the spotlight suddenly shone on a girl sitting on a chair in the center of the stage. Both Kyuhyun and Changmin ran towards her, and serenaded her, ending it with a group hug, her sandwiched between the both of them. It seems as if the girl was a random member of the audience but we’ll never know for sure. Anyhow, it was hands-down the best part of the entire night for that fangirl.
Fangirl sandwiched between Changmin (in pink) and KyuHyun (in mint)
Most “fleshy” display of skin: Jonghyun (SHINee)
Who knew that hiding underneath that cheeky grin and vocal prowess, was a smokin’ hot body that will put all other boyband members to shame? When Jonghyun first appeared in his black leather vest, we were appreciating his well-defined biceps from afar, but it wasn’t till he appeared topless for his duet with Taemin, that we got a good look at those pecs and abs. All we can say after this is, Siwon had better watch his back (or shall we say abs)!
Best use of stage: SHINee
SHINee proved they knew their way around the stage, even a stage as complicated as last night’s. They added plenty of visual interest to their high-energy performance, with their dance steps blending seamlessly into the split-level circular stage that rose to risky heights while carrying four or more members. At one point in their performance, the Shinee members even danced in the pool of water onstage where the water jets were kicking up droplets of water into the already-wet audience, literally making a splash with their ingenuity.
SHINee splashing about on stage
Most hardworking: Taeyeon (Girl’s Generation)
It’s common knowledge that the leader of the girl band has one of the best voices in the company – her rendition of “Devil’s Cry” was perfection, with her powering through and hitting all the high notes. But that also means that we saw Taeyeon involved in a total of nine songs – including her solo and group numbers (Girl’s Generation and TaeTiSeo). This is compared to BoA’s four songs. Give this girl a pay raise already.