K-pop’s top groups have travelled to Tokyo, Paris, Bangkok and Sydney as part of the MBC Korean Music Wave shows. But Monday night’s (May 21) concert was not labeled the San Francisco stop, but instead the “Google” stop. South Korean broadcasting network MBC, Google and YouTube held a concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre that was livestreamed through the “YouTube Presents” channel to celebrate their new content sharing partnership.
The concert opened to roars from the crowd with girl group Kara performing their high-energy dance track “Step;” a smart move if the planners were looking to hook new fans as “Step” is one of the more accessible tunes to come out of K-pop this year.
After Kara’s introductory performance, viewers met the night’s hosts Tiffany and Taeyon of Girls’ Generation. The record breaking Girls’ Generation TTS members also host a live music performance show on MBC and Tiffany speaks both fluent English and Korean acting as a translator for the groups making them appropriate MCs.
Five-member male group MBLAQ took the stage soon after with tight choreography throughout tracks like “Y” and “Oh Yeah.” MBC must have sent some cameramen to shoot as the stream had the same calculated camerawork that makes live K-pop performances so enjoyable on television or YouTube being prepared for each intricate dance formation.
In a quick transition, Sistar came next with three of their biggest hits kicking off with “Alone,” which controlled the Korea K-Pop Hot 100 chart for four weeks, with a set focused on strong vocals and their sexy demeanor. Member Bora spoke to the audience in English at one point.
The online viewership hit 100,000 just before the popular f(x) group began. Members Crystal and Amber spoke in English to the crowd, with Amber asking if they wanted to go the beach after the show.
Kara returned after f(x) to finish their set with two more songs followed by male group Beast. The group delivered on both the vocal and choreography ends, showing particularly fancy footwork on the sultry “Fiction.” In a translated moment, one member asked viewers to watch the online content as Google, YouTube, and MBC were coming together to share it in great quality.
The California audience was as loud as ever, but the online viewership possibly spoke it loudest when about 115,000 viewers watched for Girls’ Generation hit the stage; the largest viewership of the night. Beginning with their first English single “The Boys,” the ladies pulled off their performance with just seven members as two were away filming. With a concert hosted by YouTube, it was only appropriate to end with their single that stands as the most watched K-pop video of all time, “Gee.”
Wonder Girls were the final girl group, beginning with the retro-flavored “Be My Baby.” The group has spent time learning English so when they taught the audience how to dance along with their American single “Nobody” it was one of the most genuine interactions of the night despite online viewership down to 105,000 by the time they finished.
Men ended the night with established boy group Super Junior opening with members scattered throughout the arena. The group ended with some of the best choreography of the night on “Mr. Simple” and “Sorry, Sorry.”
By the time the show closers TVXQ hit the stage, the online viewership was down to 97,000. But the joke would be on those who left as the unparalleled duo delivered one of the best sets. Member Changmin screamed to the audience in his signature wail, “Are you guys ready to get crazy?” before they eneded the concert with single “Rising Sun” as 89,200 online viewers ended the broadcast.
Surely not to be the last concert of its kind before officially signing off, with all the groups on stage together, host Tiffany gave a final prophesy for upcoming K-pop concerts, “We promise to return with better performances and better music in the future.”