Note: Review article about Kim Jaejoong’s ” The Rebirth of J” Thailand concert in The Star Malaysia Newspaper
[REVIEW] When K-pop star Kim Jae-joong thrilled fans in Bangkok
BY DZIREENA MAHADZIR
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, South Korean superstar Kim Jae-joong emerged on stage to wild screaming from 5,000 fans in Bangkok, Thailand on March 18.
Aptly called The Rebirth Of J, the concert was the latest stop in the singer’s Asia Tour series. The 31-year-old singer, who is a member of JYJ, is currently in the middle of his first solo concert tour after a two-year military hiatus.
Kim started off in January with concerts in Seoul, South Korea and Japan before heading to Hong Kong. Bangkok is a highly-anticipated stop as it’s a city that holds a special place in the singer’s heart.
Jaejoong, as he’s popularly known, was last in Bangkok three years ago, and this was a long awaited reunion for his fans. Well known for his exceptional fan interaction, he’s one of the few stars who maintains an almost personal relationship with his fans and takes note of meaningful things connected to them.
In Thailand, he wore a black ribbon and wristband in rememberance of Thailand’s late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. His arrival sparked an outpouring of support from fans and the concert saw more than 100 media covering the event.
Held at the Huamark Indoor Stadium, it was a sheer extravaganza of powerhouse vocals, performances and fan service. Starting the evening off with One Kiss from his first solo mini album I, he was in full form following up with range of songs from the album WWW like Luvholic, Kiss B, Rotten Love and Let The Rhythm Flow.
This was rockstar Jaejoong in his element slinking about on stage in wild, almost untamed movements yet perfectly controlling the crowd and whipping them up into a frenzy.
The crowd was in near-hysteria mode when he took off his shirt on stage to change into a glittering, fringed gold jacket. He has this jacket in several different colours and he wears a different colour at every concert.
Jaejoong’s concerts also have a recurring dress theme for fans and this time around it was “introducing your city”. During the dress code segment, he picks out selected fans and asks them about their outfits.
For this concert, photos of fans in costumes were taken in advance and shown on screen. There were fans dressed in Thai traditional outfits and one fan even came in an elephant costume!
Elephants happen to be Jaejoong’s favourite animal and to the delight of fans, he took the costume and tried to put it on, but due to time constraint, the singer promised to take a photo of himself in it and post it on social media.
You can’t be at a Jaejoong concert without feeling the depth of emotion and love his fans have for him. During the second segment – when he sang the song Drawer from his latest album No. X which was released during his military service – this was the cue for the fan project.
They raised place cards spelling out “Welcome Back KJJ” in red against a white background and suffice to say, it was quite a moment between the star and his fans.
In between the segments were talks or “ments” where Jaejoong spoke to the fans on how happy he was to be back in Thailand and thanking them for their support. There were also videos sharing his thoughts on coming back and future plans.
One thing about Jaejoong is that he doesn’t need any form of back-up support (except for musicians) like dancers or guest singers because his vocals and charismatic presence alone is enough to fill the stage.
Much has been said about his exceptional vocals, and the term “swallowing a CD” would best describe him as his live performance is as good, if not better than the recorded version.
The song Run Away has a different tone than Jaejoong’s normal singing voice and it only serves to show his versatility. Other songs from the No. X album – which is by far, the most diverse range in his repertoire though WWW is considered a more exceptional album – saw him singing favourites like Love You To Death, All I Desire, All That Glitters, Breathing, Welcome To My Wild World, Good Luck and Good Morning Night, which are a mix between catchy and mellow numbers. Another tradition during this concert series is when he belts out Good Morning Night.
There is a part where he sings the bridge numerous times and Bangkok’s count was nine times! Jaejoong was sitting on the floor by the time it was over!
He went back into rockstar mode with 9+1 and Mine and came back out for an encore with Butterfly. This was the first time the singer chose to sing this track in this concert series.
Butterfly is a difficult song to perform live, with all the vocal acrobatics and high notes, but he pulled it off in perfect pitch, before launching into Just Another Girl.
Jaejoong has always picked the self-penned I’ll Protect You as the song to end his show. Taken from the 2012 drama series, Protect The Boss – which he also starred in – this song has come to represent the relationship between Jaejoong and his adoring fans.
Fans started off singing it first. Then, Jaejoong came out to do an a capella rendition which the fans joined in. This was probably the highlight of the concert as fans also held up a banner saying, “I will always be here”, to which Jaejoong responded, “I will believe in you.”
What you take away from a Jaejoong concert is not just a remarkable live performance of a singer who holds an audience captive with his voice and presence, but also the overwhelming amount of love, devotion and support that go both ways between Jaejoong and his fans.
It was a high-octave performance on an emotionally-charged night, and Jaejoong proved once again why he is considered one of the best singers in South Korea.