On March 31, eager K-pop fans fill the 13,000 seats in Seoul’s Olympic Gymanastic Hall venue; patiently waiting for G-Dragon--the charismatic, forward-thinking bad boy leader of mammoth K-pop boy band BIGBANG--to hit the stage for the second sold-out night of his world tour.
But G-Dragon is not just a boy band leader: he’s an acclaimed singer/songwriter/producer (who worked on K-Pop Hot 100 No. 1s like BIGBANG’s “Blue” and “Monster”), fashion icon (his wardrobe choices create instant trends), and is pushing the boundaries, again, with his first solo world tour, “2013 G-DRAGON WORLD TOUR: ONE OF A KIND.” In fact, G-Dragon has established himself as a global star that famed choreographers Travis Payne and Stacy Walker (who worked extensively on Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” tour, Payne associate produced the accompanying movie) are on board. The two say GD has elements of both MJ and Lady Gaga.
Before the show, fans--including famous Korean actors, actresses and models--are chanting G-Dragon’s birth name “Kwon Ji Yong! Kwon Ji Yong!” and waving BIGBANG merchandise featuring the band’s symbolic yellow crown. Billboard was backstage for an exclusive intimate interview with the K-pop prince. Watch the video below:
At a little past 3:00 p.m., the curtains rise and G-Dragon emerges in a futuristic glass car, donning a bright red bodysuit and equally flaming red hair. The beat to newly-premiered track, “GO,” echoes through the stadium as the K-pop prince shouts, “Make some noise!” The vibrant, two-hour, Michael Jackson-level affair had begun.
With eye-popping props, numerous outfit changes, multiple LED screens flashing video visuals, and dazzling laser lights, the highly-energetic performer moved through a remixed version of his monster solo debut single “Heartbreaker” and knocking track “One Of a Kind,” (which was No. 17 of 2012 Billboard’s K-Pop Songs of the Year).
With the help of Epik High’s Tablo and 2NE1’s CL on hip-hop tracks “Light It Up” and “The Leaders” respectively.
Slowing things down for a bit, GD was elevated on a rising platform to perform romantic, acoustic guitar track “Butterfly” among giant flying butterfly kites. Next was “That XX,” another acoustic pop-ballad, where G-Dragon brought out guitarist Danny for a tender performance on a jeweled throne.
While he took a break, guest stars 2NE1 performed two songs: their hard-hitting smash “I Am The Best” and latest romantic single “I Love You.” "Isn't G-Dragon great?!" 2NE1 leader CL asked the crowd. "He is the best. We are really honored to be here. G-Dragon is re-energizing so, please, continue to support him throughout the show."
G-Dragon seemed to focus on making the night about personal connection throughout the night; taking time to truly interact with fans. In between the sets, he would run down in a pool of screaming fans sticking his face out in the crowd and letting fans touch him.
G-Dragon winded his show down strong with a hybrid remix version of electro-pop numbers “Crayon” and BIGBANG’s “Fantastic Baby.” He flaunted his fiery rap skills while he and his dancers partied in a storm of confetti. After the encore of BIGBANG’s “Bad Boy” and another performance of “GO.” G-Dragon gave a sincere thanks to the audience.
“This is my first tour as a solo artist in four years,” he told the crowd. "A lot has happen within those years. It’s kind of embarrassing to say this, but I think I’ve matured as a person and artist.
"I don’t know where I’ll be in the next four years, but as long as you guys stay with me, I promise to work hard to release great music. Thank you for always taking out your valuable time to come see me. Today was a blissful day. I hope this concert could last in your hearts and your memories for a long time.”