Dream Concert has, and always will be, more like a sports event or a festival than a concert. Yes, there is music, and it’s an opportunity to see your favourite idols in a venue bigger than anything they’ve ever performed before. However, it’s also the only time that the entire k-pop community in Korea gets together in such volume to share their love for music. The seats are assigned in sections by group, and the fan clubs all sit in their fandom colours, their faces painted as they wave signs and pen lights in the massive stadium.
It’s definitely easy to see where the trends in k-pop lie when looking at the seating at Dream Concert. World Cup Stadium was able to hold up to 45,000 people, and it was as full as it could be. The third floor was made up almost entirely of fans of SM artists – SHINee, SNSD and Exo.
Infinite fans, known as Inspirits, also took up three sections in the third floor. The surprisingly huge section was on the second floor, the five sections taken up by Beauties, which are Beast fans. Also on the second floor were Banas (B1A4), Kamilas (KARA), Kiss Mes (U-Kiss), IAMs (2AM) and most of the other artists that were performing. The ground floor was made up of people who were willing to pay much more than the normal 5,000 won a ticket that the fans pay for the fan club seats.
For many of the fans, Dream Concert is an all day event. Half of the fun is lining up and waiting with your fan club, getting to talk about your favourites while waiting for the doors to open to get your seats. The grounds of World Cup Stadium are near chaos, especially for those who dare go near the Homeplus to try get something to drink or eat.
Finally, at 6:30, the show opened. The MCs for the evening, SHINee’s Onew, KARA’s Hara and Beast’s Doojoon opened the show and introduced the first act, Rainbow. Their cute spring song, “Tell Me” helped get the audience dancing along. They then performed one of their more popular pieces, “A”.
Next up were the incredibly popular rookie group, Exo. Both Exo-K and Exo-M performed together through Mama and History, with intricate dancing, helping get the entire audience excited for a comeback that would be announced a few days later. Following Exo was B1A4, another newer group that had seen incredible success since their debut. They performed their newest song, “What’s Happening?” and then performed their incredibly popular “Sleep Well, Good Night”.
Huh Gak was next. Thought of as “Korea’s Paul Potts” because of his unassuming job as a repairman before entering Superstar K, he is very popular across the board now for his ballads. He performed “1440” and “Running in the Sky” while the entire audience sang along.
The ballads were just a brief intermission between the up-tempo music, as Girls Day came on next to perform their latest single, “Expectation” with the famous suspenders dance. They also performed one of their most famous songs, “Twinkle Twinkle”, which got the entire audience of 45,000 dancing and singing along. Boyfriend were then up with their latest songs, “Janus” and “I Ya”. Another newer group, BtoB, followed Boyfriend, with “Second Confession” and “Wow”.
Dream Concert veterans U-Kiss took to the stage next, with their subunit uBeat performing their single “Should Have Treated You Better”. The rest of the members joined uBeat on stage for their second song, their latest single “Standing Still”.
After a long run of up tempo music, another ballad group took to the stage with 2am. Performing “One Spring Day” and “Can’t Let You Go, Even if I Die”, the audience once again was able to sing along with every line, both songs well loved by the general public.
Another very popular group, Secret, took to the stage next. Performing their current single, “Yoohoo”, they showed their cute side compared to their single before. They paired that song with “Shy Boy”, a song that is still incredibly popular despite the fact it came out a few years ago.
Up next were the infinitely popular Infinite. Inspirits, their fan club, went wild as the group came out on the stage and sang their very popular current song, “Man In Love”. Keeping with the theme of using their happier love songs, Infinite went back almost two years in their releases to perform “Nothing’s Over”, which brought cheers from the entire crowd as everyone sung along. Kara, another incredibly popular group, followed up with their songs “Pandora” and “Step”, both which had the fans going mad.
Around this time, the sun was beginning to set, and the audience was beginning to show signs of just how long the day had been. The show switched over from high profile acts to some of the newer or lesser known groups. Z:EA, who have a strong fandom but don’t promote as regularly as other groups, came out and performed “Aftermath”. Then, their sub unit, ZE:A5 performed “The Day We Broke Up”. They were followed by VIXX, a popular group that debuted last year, and they performed two of their singles, “On and On” and “Super Hero”. New group Evol followed with their unique sounding “Get Up”, catching many people’s attention. Speed then performed their singles “It’s Over” and “Pain”.
After a break from the big names, the audience was ready to get back on their feet. One of the special stages was brought out, which was a combination of two of the most talented power vocals in k-pop: Changmin from 2AM and Hyorin from Sistar. The two performed “When I First Saw You”, originally a duet between Jamie Foxx and Beyonce. At this point, the audience knew we were at the final stretch of the concert, with a lot of big names coming up.
T-Ara’s subuit, T-ARA N4, performed their current single, “Jeonwon Diary”, to an energized crowd. The sound is quite different from T-Ara’s regular image, and they were really able to bring some energy into the crowd. Keeping the powerful girl group image vibe going, Four Minute were up next. Despite Hyuna being absent, the girls powerfully performed “What’s Your Name” and “Hot Issue”. “What’s Your Name” has been hugely popular, and the chorus boomed around the stadium as the audience sang along. Last but not least in the girl power section, Sistar took the stage. After an incredibly successful 2012, the girls owned the stage, performing their insanely successful singles “Lonely” and “Loving U”. With the warm early summer mixing with the cool summer air, it was really easy to get back into the summer vibe that “Loving U” was able to bring last summer.
After taking a long break from the spotlight as a group, Beast returned to the Dream Concert stage with a massive fan section cheering them on. Singing their own summer anthem, “Beautiful Night”, Beast were able to keep with the warm weather late night party feel that was ringing through the stadium. Then going back through their single collection, Beast performed one of their most popular pieces, “Fiction.”
By this point, there were only a few acts left, and their fan groups were getting impatient. The shawols had been chanting SHINee’s name for the past hour, and finally they got their wish as an extended opening to “Why So Serious” opened. The guys came out, Jonghyun still not returned from his recovery, and brought the house down with their funk rock sound, showing off every bit of vocal talent that the boys have in them. They then went into the equally catchy “Dream Girl”, both that had the crowds on their feet, screaming, dancing, and cheering along.
There was only one group left. And no matter how people may feel about them, boy girl, young or old, like or dislike, there is something about when SNSD take the stage that is impressive. The command they have of the stage, and the confidence they show is admirable. And even if the songs come across as very repetitive when it’s just audio, when performed, they suddenly become incredibly to take in. The girls opened with “The Boys”, which had everyone singing the lyrics along with. Last song of the night was “I Got A Boy”, which is one of those love or hate songs. However, with the energy in the crowd, and the way the girls performed, there was no way someone could sit there and dislike the song at that moment. It was too easy to be swept in.
For one last song, all of the artists returned to the stage to sing the classic Korean song “Bon Voyage (여행을떠나요)” and say goodbye to their fans while fireworks went off and the 45,000 fans went to struggle to deal with the last few trains that could take them home.