Though PSY has had a reputation for late-night parties that continue until sunrise, it wasn’t exactly a “hangover” show that South Korean fans got at 6 a.m. Wednesday in Seoul’s now-famous Gangnam district.
Korean fans looked forward to seeing the stage premiere of “Hangover,” his latest track featuring Snoop Dogg, during a street concert commemorating the 2014 World Cup Games — but the 36-year-old instead opted to perform “Gangnam Style” in Gangnam for the first time.
“I won’t be singing my recently released song today. I can’t sing about hangovers when cheering for our national team,” he said, though adding, “I feel a great responsibility, though, because ‘Hangover’ has been so loved despite its early release.” The video has amassed over 66 million views on YouTube since being released last week.
The YouTube star may be best known around the world for the horse dance, but he has long been associated with the World Cup back home and made sure to build the hype for Korea’s first match in the Brazil games. Korea tied 1:1 against Russia in the round that began at 7 a.m. (Korea Standard Time).
Korea’s rowdy, red-clad soccer fans began convening Tuesday evening at signature venues around Seoul, including the City Hall square. Nearly 30,000 gathered for overnight street performances near Coex Mall in Gangnam that peaked with Psy’s show that began at 6 a.m. Wednesday.
“I appear before you doing what I need to do where I need to be,” said the rapper, donning his signature tuxedo look, comprised of red slacks and a matching bow tie in honor of the national team’s color. “I’ve been cheering for the World Cup since 2002, but it’s so early in the morning. You are the most innocent looking audiences I’ve ever had,” he said with a chuckle.
He went on to sing eight songs, including “Champion,” which became a nationwide sensation during the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup Games and helped catapult Psy’s career in the K-pop scene.
“The impassioned cheering of citizens inspired me to write ‘Champion.’ It’s also a song that helped me continue my music career, which would have ended after a short run [if it weren’t for ‘Champion’]. So even though ‘Gangnam Style’ was such a success, it can’t be as dear to me as ‘Champion,'” he said.
“As I’ve already announced, I will be returning this hot summer with new tracks that are even hotter than the weather,” he said, wrapping the 45-minute concert with “Gangnam Style.”
“It’s my first time performing ‘Gangnam Style’ in Gangnam,” he said, adding that he may make additional stage appearances if Korea proceeds to the round of 16. Korea is next up against Algeria on Monday.
- This article originally appeared in THR.com.