To say I was underwhelmed is – well – an understatement.
I truly had great expectations from the top-billed artist at KCON 2103, the young man everyone was buzzing about. There were omens during KCON that might have foreshadowed a somewhat less-than-stellar performance: An artist engagement that was supposed to include an autograph session for VIP fans holding special tickets and hand-shakes or ‘high-fives’ with a few more VIP fans with tickets, that was reduced to a 20 minute canned Q & A session with such probing questions as “What is your favorite American food?” (In-N-Out burgers) and “What is your favorite Korean food?” (Mom’s cooking.) He also ditched the press conference held before the concert, (with no explanation) much to the surprise and discomfiture of the hostess managing the conference, who nearly misidentified the blond Henry of Super Junior as he stood behind the curtain.
But then, a big star like GD doesn’t really need to deal with a pesky old press conference anyway, right?
The press was mildly, but not overly surprised at his absence, especially given the debacle at the artist engagement. Most were looking forward to the promised epic performance with Missy Elliot, the much-tweeted-about, highly sensationalized collaboration that was sure to be a show stopper.
The concert opened with well-received opening acts followed by a parade of Korean celebrities, as every act in the star-studded line-up crossed the stage to wave to cheering fans. Except G Dragon and Missy Elliot. At which point I began to wonder if perhaps everything was a marketing ploy, tactics meant to build drama and increase the hype. In some respects, the maneuverings were having an effect, because I was definitely becoming anxious to see G Dragon and hear the music so highly anticipated by all.
So when the man himself was finally lowered, in all his glory, onto the stage amidst a dazzling light show, anticipation in the crowd had reached a fevered pitch. I waited hopefully as the first bars of the highly narcissistic “One of a Kind”1 resounded throughout the stadium. Although the song itself is fine, the choreography and showmanship was a definite step down from the previous acts. Dressed like a little-boy gangster, G Dragon strutted back and forth along the same few feet of stage using the same moves, occasionally jumping in to bust a move with his background dancers for a step or two, and then back to the strutting or standing. I guess if I was a hormonal teenager, madly in love with G Dragon, this might have been more interesting and exciting.
The song with Missy Elliot was equally disappointing, in my humble opinion. Lacking in originality and variety, it employed an uninspired rap rhythm and beat with no variation. If G Dragon and Missy Elliot had not performed it, I seriously doubt this song would be recorded, nor would it receive airtime.
But maybe I’m wrong? Perhaps someone can explain to me what I missed? But I challenge listeners to hear with with a critical ear and judge for yourself.
1 “One of a Kind”. I double-checked numerous translations to assure myself that I understood the Korean correctly. Egoism is taken to completely new levels in this piece of writing. A very appropriate song for G Dragon’s persona.