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Singing in the rain
Publication Date : 26-11-2012
SMTOWN LIVE WORLD TOUR III
The K-pop performers of SMTown call their brand a "nation" united in music, and it is hard to dismiss this as just a cheesy tagline.
After all, their music had close to 22,000 people crowding The Float@Marina Bay, in spite of threatening clouds and, later, torrential rain.
Though water drenched every bit of cloth or skin not covered by the plastic coats thoughtfully provided for the audience, most viewers stoically stayed on for the full four-hour spectacle as singers from Girls' Generation and f(x) showed off cute dance moves in breakneck heels that turned the damp stage into an obstacle course.
After all, many of these ticketholders had queued for up to a week just to get into the moshpit.
The torrents eased on cue for the grand finale - SMTown, like any nation, apparently has its own weather - allowing Super Junior's Shindong to clown around with yellow umbrellas to thunderous applause.
The rain was the best part for audience members such as 17-year-old polytechnic students Tan Jia Wei and Kester Chew, as it made the K-pop stars show off their mettle. "I liked when it started raining and they just had to keep on dancing," said Temasek Polytechnic student Chew. "I've been to other concerts like Big Bang earlier this year but the atmosphere of SMTown was amazing."
The students were unable to secure tickets in Singapore and paid S$330 (US$270) each at Malaysian website TicketCharge for VIP seating for acts such as Super Junior and diva BoA of "Hurricane Venus" fame.
"I'm a bit upset that we paid the same as those in premier seats but they had a better view," said Tan, a student at Singapore Polytechnic, who was seated behind the hindmost of the multiple stages set up across The Float@Marina Bay.
"But we got to see all their faces," added Chew. Indeed, while giant screens projected beaming faces and lithe dance moves to fans further away, the boybands and all-girl groups of Korean music label SM Entertainment also ran across T-bar stages, hopped in and out of buggies transporting them around the concert venue and clambered up and down platforms laid strategically across the arena in order to get closer to distant seats. These gymnastics were the most eye-popping contrivances of the evening, though SMTown laid on its trademark background of laser lighting, strobe shock and fireworks.
These effects were relatively tame, compared to previous shows. K-pop kings Super Junior can usually be relied on to have singers sport X-Men style claws trailing fire or leaping around the stage in aerial harnesses. However, the most unusual thing about numbers such as Superman was the sudden spouting of fountains around the singers. Not that the audience was disappointed, especially once the band stopped singing and tried their hand at Singlish.
"We love you, lah!" they said, also slipping in news of a new album next year. "We're going to come to Singapore a lot more to see you guys," added Henry of branch band Super Junior M.
Such marketing moves dazzled as much as the boneless dancers on stage. Mid-way through the show, popular boy band Shinee also asked the audience to support their next show here on Dec 8.
These requests are hard to resist when the artists are so willing - several songs were performed in English and Mandarin, with performers doing their best to speak to viewers in both languages.
Korean singer Kangta, making his first visit here in 10 years, sang a Mandarin song, as did Zhou Mi from Super Junior and duo TVXQ!
Shinee band leader Onew joined forces with Ryeo Wook of Super Junior and Chen and Baekhyun of new band EXO on Open Arms originally sung by Journey.
Jessica of Girls' Generation did a cover of Katy Perry's California Girls with Krystal from f(x), with the GG star later winning loud screams with her shout-out: "I've missed you, Singapore, it's been too long."
So while fans will continue to scream and steam before, during and after concerts, they can rest easy in the knowledge that their love is not unrequited. K-pop, too, just can't get enough of Singapore.