2014 CNBLUE LIVE - CAN'T STOP IN SINGAPORE
Singapore Indoor Stadium/Last Saturday
One year after South Korean rock band CNBlue enthralled their fans in Singapore with a full-length concert, the quartet returned with a bigger, brighter and better show as part of their Can't Stop concert tour.
Their expanding fan-base took them to the United States earlier this year, where they performed at venues such as Best Buy Theatre in New York City.
The year or so they spent touring has certainly boosted the confidence of the group, especially that of lead vocalist Jung Yong Hwa, 24. The pretty boy has clearly grown into his front-man role, as he worked the 7,000-strong crowd throughout the two-hour show like it was second nature to him.
Switching easily between strumming his guitar and plonking away on the keyboard, he would find time to look up into the camera, his well-timed electrifying gazes or cheeky looks broadcast on the big screen for the benefit of screaming female fans.
He also took every opportunity to mention Singapore in the songs, screaming "Singapore Lady" during the upbeat song Lady, and stringing together random sounds and "Singapore" on a whim.
At this rate, the Singapore Tourism Board could well be knocking on his management's door to recruit him to front an advertisement. All of these acts of spontaneous showmanship added to his showcase of powerhouse vocals, accompanied by high- pitched howls.
Although fans could hardly take their eyes off Jung the Energizer bunny, he graciously faded into the background to give band mate Lee Jong Hyun, 23, his time in the spotlight.
The low-key guitarist had more airtime to show off his rich, soulful vocals at this concert.
Strumming his acoustic guitar with perpetually closed peepers, he also evoked melancholy with his solo performance of the band's English song, Teardrops In The Rain.
Some fans, including this reviewer, would have liked to see bassist Lee Jung Shin and drummer Kang Min Hyuk, both 22, take centre stage a little more.
A group of them screamed whenever the fresh-faced Kang spoke English in his fumbling yet endearing manner. The band powered through a 23-song set-list with a mix of fresh songs and old hits, such as breakout song I'm A Loner and rock number Intuition.
From their recently released mini album, Can't Stop, they performed the title track and retrolicious Diamond Girl. The production crew upped their game, too, with snazzier stage effects, turning the concert into a visual spectacle featuring plumes of fire, confetti rain and dazzling pyrotechnics.
The Boices, the official name of CNBlue's fans, added their own special effects when they united to transform the stadium into a sea of coloured lights using their mobile phones.
At the curtain call, the high-octane concert took a sombre turn as the band dedicated their final song for the night, the ballad Love Light, to the victims and families of the recent Sewol ferry sinking tragedy.
Surrounded by a "rainbow sea" of lights, front-man Jung said: "We hope our music becomes a light for them and for you."
This article was published on May 12 in The Straits Times.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.