A Korean Aussie adoptee goes back home for the first time. Hilarity ensues?
When I heard Psy was touring in Korea, I HAD to go. Not seeing one of the most famous Koreans in the world while in Korea would be like not seeing the Eiffel Tower while in Paris. So two other English teacher friends and I checked into the swanky Olympic Parktel in Seoul and walked across the site of the 1988 Olympic Games to see the man. The myth. The legend.
In Korea, Psy is not a novelty. Psy is a legitimate entertainer. Not only can Psy rap and dance, but he can belt out ballads that literally brought tears to the audience’s eyes. One particular song, “Abeoji”, was accompanied by the video clip on the stage of Psy’s hardworking father. Not a dry eye in the house for that one.
Psy’s concert was unlike any Western concert I’d been to before. Instead of each song seamlessly fading into each other, Psy would pause to talk to the audience about his tour, the story behind his next song, crack a few jokes or get the audience to do a Mexican wave. It was like he was MCing his own variety show.
The first “movement” was Psy’s own songs, starting with “Right Now” and fireworks exploding out of the stage. Each song featured incredible visuals displayed on wall-to-wall TV screens and YG’s finest dancers. Just like on Korean TV, song lyrics were displayed on the screen so everyone could sing along. “Gentlemen” was a highlight – dancers with light-up suits performed an indescribably awesome dance and light show.
There was an interval of sorts, and Psy unexpectedly appeared in a tiny red shift dress. The audience screamed with laughter. The TV zoomed into his butt, clad in tiny red shorts as he was grinding against a giant lipstick tube – a homage to Hyuna’s oversexed “Red” music video.
The next “movement” was DJ PSY! Psy appeared behind silver decks to blast Korean dance classics like “Bounce with Me” accompanied by B-boys and neon-clad fan dancers.
The last “movement” seemed to be classic rock covers of Korean songs, complete with a band busting out guitar and drum solos. I recognised a few from TV and snippets from radios – but the Koreans in the audience grew up with these songs, and they sang along to every word.
Psy did about five encores, all of them with mighty finales, fireworks and confetti explosions.
Knowing only a handful of his songs from YouTube, I expected Psy’s show to be fluffy and silly. But I was pleasantly surprised by his versatile musical talent. Psy is one of the most famous Koreans in the world right now for maybe one or two novelty hit songs. But in his home country, Psy shines, glitters and makes rainbows.