BigBang's Taeyang turns on boyish charms in first solo world tour

Concert review: 2015 Taeyang World Tour - Rise in Singapore
Where: Singapore Expo
When: Sunday, Feb 8

He's better known as one of the five members of Korean boyband BigBang, but singer Dong Young-bae, popularly known by his stage name Taeyang, pulled out all the stops Sunday at his first solo world tour here, proving why he's part of Asia's top hip hop group.

One cannot expect any less from the 26-year-old, who has topped charts in 19 countries, including the US, Canada and Russia, with tracks from his latest studio album Rise and numerous music awards under his belt.

Dressed in a plain black singlet with flashy gold pants, the singer-songwriter opened his one-night concert at Singapore Expo with the energetic and upbeat track Body, which immediately had the audience on their feet from the get-go. Not wanting fans to forget his previous solo album too, Taeyang concluded his opening with rock song Superstar from his first solo album Solar (2010), before he slowed things down a notch with Move.

Accompanied by a live band, the award-winning performer showed off his slick and clean dance moves throughout the two-hour concert and of course, his ripped body, much to the delight of his screaming fans.

But it wasn't just about prancing around the stage shirtless, showing off his six-pack abs. The YG Entertainment artiste also managed to hit all the right notes in sentimental ballads You're My and his recent title track Eyes, Nose, Lips.

Meshing songs from his two solo albums with plenty of freestyle dance moves and ad-libbing seemed to be a winning formula for the Korean prince of R&B. While he promised the 4,000-strong audience that we would get to hear all his tracks from his latest album, it was his old tunes such as Wedding Dress and I Need A Girl that captured the hearts of his fans.

But it was one lucky fan who was invited on stage after "capturing" Taeyang's attention during I Need A Girl. Turning on his boyish charms, Taeyang went on bended knee, asked her to "be his girl tonight" and led her into a dance, while holding on to her waist the entire time.

It probably caused a slight outcry among some fans, but hey, at least we got to see a flirtatious Taeyang.

After bringing the enamoured fan backstage, Taeyang returned dressed in full white and upped the tempo with plenty of swag in hip hop dance tracks Ringa Linga and Good Boy, his latest collaboration single with BigBang leader G-Dragon. He then teased the audience into agreeing with him that his performance was good enough without his superstar bandmate.

Not wanting the rest of his fans to feel left out, the singer spent time connecting with the audience by holding a lucky draw to give away his shoes and cap to two lucky fans, as well as spontaneously tossing his soaked singlet, cap and bandana to the orderly and well-behaved BigBang VIP fans.

Taeyang also told his fans because he wasn't keen on flying these days, he decided to take a bus over from Malaysia, where he had held his concert the night before.

"I had a lot of junk food on the bus," said the singer, who added that he ended up suffering from a stomachache that morning.

He also spoke about his latest album: "I was waiting a long time for this. It took me four years. Four years to come up with my new album. Four years for this moment."

He then humoured the audience by revealing that a new album was on his mind each time he was "walking down the streets, eating rice, taking a shower and doing my business in the bathroom".

Although the BigBang member has established a successful solo career over the years, fans still consider him as one-fifth of the boy group, as proven when he performed BigBang anthems Fantastic Baby and Bad Boy, which got the entire hall on their feet in enthusiasm.

Despite the absence of the rest of his bandmates, Taeyang held court with the audience by giving such an exceptional performance that it almost seemed as if the other BigBang members were there in spirit.

If this is the kind of show we get to see after waiting four years, I'm sure many fans will agree it's totally worth the wait.