SINGAPORE - G-Dragon, Taeyang and Seungri of popular K-pop boy band Big Bang are returning here for their first fan meet in Singapore. But some avid fans of the A-list idol group are finding the hefty ticket prices a little hard to swallow.
It was announced on Tuesday evening that the event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on March 15 will cost fans between $98 and $258.
A sellout would see 8,000 fans filling up the stadium.
The $258 ticket, to date, is believed to be the most expensive for a K-pop fan meet here.
Big Bang's concerts tickets have gone up to $288. Their other two members, T.O.P and Daesung, will not be at the meet due to conflicting schedules.
All five members of the group last performed here on the first night of the 2013 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.
Group leader G-Dragon performed here twice last year - for two nights of concerts at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in June and a showcase at the Fide Fashion Week 2013 in October.
A K-pop fan meet is usually a more intimate affair lasting, on average, about an hour on average, while a full-fledged concert would go on for more than two hours.
At fan meets, selected fans get to go on stage to interact with their idols. This includes playing games, hugging and taking photos with them.
Advertising executive Ng Wan Hui, who had bought top-tier tickets to Big Bang gigs here in the past few years, feels that a fan meet would not be worth the high ticket price.
The 29-year-old said: "It sounds like I would get a shorter concert at the price of a full concert. The members will most probably sing fewer songs and not the entire group will be present.
"I think the organisers are expecting a big crowd, which means I won't get an intimate interaction with Big Bang.
"I might go, but I most probably will not buy the most expensive ticket. The fan meet feels like it's a chance for them to earn more money from us."
Graphic designer Camilia Dai agreed.
The 25-year-old, who attended two Big Bang concerts here, will skip next month's event because her favourite member T.O.P won't be there.
"Even though I am a working adult, I find $258 quite expensive," she said.
"Can you imagine how the students will feel? But to be fair, K-pop gigs these days are all quite costly.
"If I were to pay that amount, I would rather watch a full concert with all five members present to get my money's worth. Moreover, I don't think I'll be able to get the members' attention easily even though it's a fan meet as I think many fans will be there."
But Mr Amos Boon, managing director of Launch Entertainment, which is co-organising the fan meet here, justified the pricing.
He told The New Paper: "This is a 90-minute gig with lots of songs, similar to a mini concert.
"Fans can expect solo as well as group performances. What's most interesting is that fans can expect to see another side of these boys.
"Quite a number of lucky fans will be on stage during the numerous interactive stage segments."
Explaining why a top K-pop group like Big Bang needs to hold a fan meet out of the blue, he said: "Individually, the members have launched their successful solo albums. I'm sure fans will be excited to hear some of their new songs like Taeyang's Ringa Linga performed live."
Taeyang released his debut solo album Solar International in 2010, and his next album, Rise, is due out this year.
Seungri released his first full-length album Let's Talk About Love last year, but previously released the EP V.V.I.P in 2011.
G-Dragon's latest album, Coup D'Etat, was released last year, following his solo debut Heartbreaker in 2009, and an EP, One of a Kind, released in 2012.
Mr Boon said: "As they have not toured as a group since 2012 (except for specific shows like F1), they would like to stay connected to their fans in Singapore. They love our country."
Big Bang fan Cindy Yeo is looking forward to it as she feels that it is rare for A-list superstars like Big Bang to hold a fan meet.
The 24-year-old teacher said: "Big Bang has established its status as the top K-pop boy band in Asia and they almost never do fan meets outside of Korea, so I think paying more than $200 is worth it.
"Even though I think they are milking the fans now before they get replaced by rising new groups, I don't mind paying to see them up close and personal."
WHAT: G-Dragon/Taeyang/Seungri Thinking Of You Fan Meeting
WHEN: March 15, 2014, 6pm
WHERE: Singapore Indoor Stadium
TICKETS: $98, $148, $188, $228, $258. To book, call 63335000 or go to www.sportshubtix.sg
5 priciest K-pop fan meets
(2010) Jang Geun Suk at Rock Auditorium
There was "priority seating" and the actor sang and danced for fans.
(2013) Running Man at Singapore Expo
Three hours of lovey-dovey onstage antics from the reality show "couple" Song Ji Hyo and Gary. Co-host Kim Jong Kook also participated in games.
(2013) Lee Seung Gi at Resorts World Sentosa
Over two hours, fans were put through physical challenges and enjoyed re-enactments by the singer-actor. One lucky fan received a "backhug".
(2012) Kim Hyun Joong at Singapore Indoor Stadium
All the 3,000 fans who were there got to high-five the actor-singer.
(2009) Lee Min Ho at Singapore Expo
The actor entertained fans with two hours of singing, playing games and answering questions about his dream girl.
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