The fans stole the show at K-idol group TWICE’s recent performance in Singapore. Filling out almost all 5,000 seats in The Star Theatre last Saturday evening, fans of all nationalities and races came together to speak one united language – Korean.
Singing, screaming and chanting in Korean, the predominantly male crowd is a testament to TWICE’s meteoric rise as Korea’s next big thing. Debuting in late 2015, the nine-member all-girl group shot to fame with hits “Like OOH-AHH” (2015), “Cheer Up” (2016) and “TT” (2016) and is poised to dominate the pop charts again with their next release come May 2017.
Though the girls didn’t know how to speak English and required a translator throughout the concert, the fans understood their heart – TWICE was going to give everything they had to make the show an amazing one. And how they entertained.
Before the girls came onstage, a video playback teased the crowd, cajoling them to scream louder each time the lights went out. This built up to the moment the large video screens split apart and the girls appeared on winding staircases, sending the obediently-seated crowd into a mad frenzy of waving lightsticks, banners and yes, even louder screams. TWICE immediately launched into “Touchdown”, “I’m Gonna Be A Star” and “Cheer Up”, ending off their fabulous start by shooting streamers into the air.
Here, the girls took their first break and introduced themselves to everyone. Leader and main vocalist Jihyo (Park Ji Soo, 박지수) also took the opportunity to apologise for hurting her knee several months ago, saying that though she could not dance with the group, she would continue to give her best while seated on a barstool. Her explanation was almost drowned out by the fans’ chants of “gwaenchanh-a” (“It’s alright” in Korean).
TWICE swiftly moved into “Going Crazy” and “Like OOH-AHH”, after which they shared how surprised they felt, hearing their Singaporean fans sing along to everything. Taking things down a notch, the girls then did several quieter numbers while seated on barstools, performing “1 to 10” and “My Headphones On”.
Leaving the stage for a costume change, they screened a behind-the-scenes video clip featuring the girls discussing how they could best display their “different” sides during the concert. The crowd burst into laughter at Tzuyu’s sulky expressions, Jeongyeon’s imaginary instrumental performance and Mina’s ballet routine. This was when the lights went out and TWICE moved into the first of their covers segment.
To showcase their different styles and abilities, TWICE performed a somewhat sexy dance routine to Madonna’s “4 Minutes”, and covered pop diva Beyoncé’s “Yoncé”. While Madonna and Beyoncé are very tough acts to follow, it was a brave attempt by TWICE and the fans loved it. Backed by excellently styled video graphics interspersed with coordinated camera work, TWICE then moved back into more familiar territory with a cover of fellow K-pop group Turbo’s “Black Cat Nero”. They even dressed up in Sailor Moon outfits to perform the Sailor Moon theme song.
The girls’ energy continued to rise with their performance of “Pit-a-Pat”, and by the time it came to their most recent hit “TT”, it was hard to hear their voices above the fans’ choruses. After another video clip, they continued with an unexpected cover of EXO’s “Overdose” and Pretty U’s “Seventeen”, ‘closing’ their night off with “Jelly Jelly” and “Knock Knock”.
But they left the best for last.
Probably one of the more interesting encore concepts I have seen, an interactive video game was launched on screen. Fans were told that they had to complete several missions before TWICE could come out on stage again. Fans had to dance, take pictures, answer quizzes and finally, scream. Ardent male fans shouted and yelled till they collapsed in their seats, only to get up again when TWICE reappeared with “Once In A Million”, a song specially dedicated to all their fans, who are also known as Once.
Throughout their almost 3-hour concert, TWICE was professional, committed and charming, interacting with the crowd at every opportunity they had. The video clips, costume changes and moving stage props added to the vibrant theme park atmosphere, providing for where the girls might have lacked in endurance and energy.
It was a highly slick JYP production and I grew in respect for the hard work TWICE and their production team clearly poured into staging Twiceland. While I may not be an ardent fan, I have to admit… I just might start speaking Korean too.
Photo credits: ONE Production