The general feel of the production of that of a finely tuned theatrical performance with a live band on stage and live music.
Yes folks, you heard me right, the performance was amazingly live.
November 8, 2013, Nokia Theater L.A. LIVE
“Infinite 1st World Tour – One Great Step” was the title of a cohesively produced performance that included not only the majority of Infinite’s globally popular songs, but solo performances, two showcase songs by the rap duo, Hoya and Dongwoo, and a video drama tie-in that opened the show and continued with segments throughout the evening.
But there were a few things that really set Infinite’s performance apart from the norm in Kpop performances.
In a world where perfection is everything, the KPop gurus seem to feel that audiences want to see the stars perform exactly what they see and hear on CD’s and music videos, so lip-syncing is an industry standard. Even when vocals are live, they are usually done over the original track.
If such “cheats” were used at the Infinite concert they were much less apparent as the vocals were truly live, and the band rocked. Gone were the strings and horn section that usually accompany Infinite tracks. The music, while different, was familiar yet subtly changed and exciting. The fans were not disappointed.
In fact, minor changes to the tracks did not stop the largely American demographic from enthusiastically busting out lyrics to all of their favorite songs along with their idols – a fact that was not lost on Infinite, some of whose members were moved to actual tears as they realized these crazy Americans really liked them and avidly followed their music.
There are few Korean pop bands with choreography as clean as Infinite. Their live performance was no exception, and the boys danced their hearts out, not just as the beginning of the performance, but even at the end of a 3-hour show, they danced as if they were fresh on stage. Not all of their moves are incredibly complex, but the dynamic of the seven young men synchronized perfectly is compelling. They dance with gusto. They dance as if they love dancing. They dance with smiles on their faces.
Venue issues aside, it seemed every single act took giving the fans extra attention into account. The boys actively engaged the fans at every opportunity. They were not shy about climbing down into the crowd. Even when fans threw themselves at them, they took it with a smile and politely let security peel them off. During one song, each young man was equipped with a basket filled with little stuffed animals they gleefully tossed to the crowed. Two walked through the crowds personally handing out animals to their fans.
Every opportunity was taken to reach out and touch hands, snap selfies with fan phones, pick up fan gifts. In short, they were everything a fan-girl or fan-boy would want in an idol group at every step.
Most of the boys spoke English or tried very hard. Perhaps some of the lines were rehearsed, but no one cared. Hearing English, even if it was stilted or a little broken, was eminently charming and endearing. The effort made to try and speak in the native language was much appreciated by American fans that were visible moved by Infinite’s efforts.
Upon leaving the theatre we were greeted by crowd of patiently waiting parents. One couple, whose teenage son and daughter had yet to emerge, had been looking forward to this night. They are big Infinite fans. (OK, they like Big Bang, too! Shhhh.) Mom and dad had a date night while they waited. How do they feel about their kids listening to Korean music? “It has a great beat. If the music is good, it doesn’t matter. And there are some English words thrown in.” (laughs) “My daughter has taken it as an opportunity to learn some Korean.”
Before they left the stage, Infinite was already talking about coming back. I think they were pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic welcome they received. Or perhaps by how American the audience was? Regardless, there is a large crowd that will be waiting for them to 다시 돌아와! (“Come back again!”)