B.A.P. Still “Best, Absolute, Perfect” In Chicago

May 2, 2016 | 2021 Visits

After Time Away, B.A.P Still “Best, Absolute, Perfect” in Chicago

In 2014, B.A.P came to Star Plaza in Merrillville, Indiana for their Chicago leg of their Attack! world tour. Back then, they put on a great show that was lively and energetic. While it was expected they would come back in 2015, a lawsuit between them and their company– TS Entertainment– over poor treatment, pay, and contract issues put a halt to those hopes for a year while the two parties worked out their issues. During this time, some fans left the fandom while the faithful held their breath. This past November, B.A.P stepped back into the industry with Matrix before following up with Carnival and their Japanese release, Best Absolute Perfect, in February and March of this year.

Fast forward to April 23, 2016: B.A.P were back in Chicago at Rosemont Theatre for the fifth stop of their Live on Earth (LOE) 2016 Awake world tour. Armed with a live drummer, their music mixer, and several confetti cannons, B.A.P managed to top their Attack! tour in amazing fashion.

Walking into the theatre, fans were greeted by a graphic asking “Where are you now?” The simple saying appears to reference their last song prior to the lawsuit “Where Are You? What Are You Doing?” alluding to how Awake is a symbol of their rebirth.

The Show

As the show opened, the rebirth theme became clear as the text graphic gave way to a child and a child’s voice asking “who are we?” and “why are we here?” before introducing Awake and welcoming fans to the fun party atmosphere they were about to experience.

After the intro, B.A.P opened the show with their debut single, “Warrior.” As they appeared out of the rainbow of strobe lights, the crowd exploded with cheers and dance, so much so that the floor in the pit area shook; so much so that many needed to grab the chairs in front in order to remain steady. Even pit security had to take a seat due to the small quake fans caused.

Then came fan-favorites “What the Hell” and the rock-heavy head-banger “BangX2.” Both songs helped amp the crowd. While “What the Hell” helped introduce more of B.A.P’s rock and hip-hop fusion, “BangX2” served as the shot of adrenaline fans needed to boost the boys up higher as they thrived on the cheers. There were a few times when Daehyun’s voice sounded strained, but he quickly recovered, while Himchan’s grittiness came alive. It’s apparent how much B.A.P enjoy performing “BangX2” as plenty of passion shown through before heading into “No Mercy.”

bap1The arrangement for “No Mercy” was an interesting one. The remix felt slightly off and didn’t match the tempo of the lyrics as well as it could have due to excessive guitar riffs. The chorus portion was on-point before the remixed arrangement came back to almost drown out B.A.P’s singing in the remaining verses. However, incorporating some of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” added a unique flavor toward the end.

Next, it was time for a solo; it should be noted that each tour stop had a different solo set. For the Chicago show, Himchan performed his solo, S.N.S.” Dressed in a suit, Himchan sang well while showing his classy side. Yongguk backed him up beautifully, but this was Himchan’s time to shine. Even with slippery confetti, he held his own and won over the Chicago crowd.

The other soloists, Daehyun and Jongup, showed off their signature smoothness. Daehyun performed a soulful version of “Shady Lady,” while Jongup performed “Now.” Daehyun did well getting fans to calm down, sit, and listen, while Jongup had an opportunity to let his sweet voice be heard while impressing with his slick dance moves. Both provided lovely moments for fans.

From Himchan’s solo, fans were greeted by an introduction featuring the boys as spies before leading to “Spy.” “Spy” always gets fans pumped, and this time wasn’t any different. Like with Attack, Awake’s “Spy” featured the dance battle that made everyone excited. Seeing it up close this time made it even better.

One of the highlight songs was definitely the cheery, goofy anthem hit “Be Happy.” Once again, fans managed to make the floor shake to the point where one of the security personnel looked queasy. He remained seated for the majority of the show following this point.

bap2“Be Happy” was greeted with plenty of loud singing from the fans, which the boys fed off of as the performance moved forward. The colorful images on the screen were enhanced by the goofy dance that still looks like drunk dads at wedding but with slightly more finesse. It’s hard not to feel happy with the song’s effervescent quirkiness radiating throughout the theatre. Given the fan response, there was no surprise when it was the encore song later in the evening.

Continuing with the joyous theme, “Feel So Good” and “Carnival” kept the fun alive. Like with “Be Happy,” “Feel So Good” was greeted with plenty of joyous singing, while B.A.P used “Carnival” to garner more fan involvement by getting the crowd to sing the first few lines to open the song. The ground never stopped moving.

Following Daehyun’s “Shady Lady,” the party atmosphere became alive once more with the remixed versions of “Hurricane,” “Badman,” “Dancing in the Rain,” and “Crash.” The way the songs were remixed enhanced the flow and kept energy high. However, when “Dancing in the Rain” comes on, it’s clear the halfway point of the show arrived and saying “goodbye” comes sooner rather than later.

After Jongup’s solo, B.A.P, being the socially conscientious souls they are, provided the audience with some sobering information regarding war, and it’s scary to think how volatile and violent the world truly is. Prior to heading into “One Shot,” a plea to end war was greeted with cheers. “One Shot” provided a spirited performance by both B.A.P and the crowd. Looking at Yongguk, it was clear he was pleased by the reaction.

Another highlight of the night was the Korean version of their latest single “Kingdom.” While it was a bummer the narration was provided by the backtrack, the actual performance was solid and hard-hitting. Seeing the dance for “Kingdom” live was spectacular, and Daehyun was feeling it! The stage didn’t need lights due to his mega-watt smile, and it was hard to not feel the song. Even the two blasé gentleman alongside me managed to crack a smile or two, breaking the stoicism they maintained all night.

bap3Then, Jongup emerged and peered into the crowd before striking his iconic pose to begin “1004.” Once again, the crowd erupted, the floor moved, and the fans’ singing—a cross between yelling, shouting, and actual singing—lifted the boys, especially Himchan who allowed the crowd to sing a few of his lines before taking over. For fans, “1004” has special significance since it was the boys’ first win on a music program.

Following “1004,” there was a brief talk session where Daehyun assured fans they didn’t have to worry any longer and that they [B.A.P] and the fans should be happy before he led everyone in a heartfelt, moving rendition of “With You.” There were plenty of teary-eyed fans with some commenting that even Daehyun cried. Out of the whole night, this was the most beautiful, memorable moment.

Finally, after a brief break, it was time for the finale. “Young, Wild, & Free” was performed with full energy. The following ment brought many laughs with Daehyun running across the stage with a slice of pizza before leading into the bombastic, in-your-face “Excuse Me” and wrapping up with the encore of “Be Happy.” As the boys said goodbye, “BABY” piped through the theatre as a perfect evening came to an end.

Pros

Similarly, the stage crew did well keeping the stage free of debris (i.e., tons of confetti), picking up speakers (Yongguk knocked over a few), and keeping the show flowing. All of these people are really the unsung heroes of any concert regardless of who is performing, but they really make a difference. Given how much confetti fell; one wrong move could have been disastrous.

Cons

Speaking of Hi-Touch…

Hi-Touch is a magical experience. If you go to a K-Pop concert and you’re lucky to get a Hi-Touch pass, you realize how special it really is. Standing in line waiting to meet the group brings on some anxious feelings.

“Are they who I imagined?”

“Are they nice?”

“How do I look?”

bap6These are questions that do come up when the magical moment arrives. Then, as you turn a corner, there they are! It’s almost overwhelming.

B.A.P are as nice as they appear to be. They come across as truly grateful for their fans. Youngjae was the first in line, and he is definitely handsome. He comes across as shy and reserved, but he’s welcoming.

Daehyun was second in line. He never stopped smiling! He thanked fans for coming and didn’t mind some hand-holding. Daehyun, like Youngjae, is quite handsome with flawless skin, but his kindness and warmth were the most noticeable aspects about him.

Yongguk was third. He was more reserved and stoic as he thanked fans in Korean. When I came up to him, I lingered and held his hand a little, causing him to grin his gummy smile. He is really sweet. While he comes across as a tough guy on stage for some of the numbers, he is a loveable softy.

The moment I waited for arrived when I met Himchan. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t awe-struck because I was. I literally froze before holding his hand and telling him he was my favorite. I would be lying if I said I didn’t turn beet red when he smiled at me and thanked me—my hand still in his—before I had to move to Jongup. Those few seconds with my ultimate bias will live within me forever. I was so giddy I almost missed my hi-five with Jongup—he being quiet and polite—and Zelo, who complimented my Himchan shirt before smiling and gently shaking my hand.

Even Hi-Touch exceeded expectations, but it ended too soon.

Overall

LOE 2016 Chicago Awake was a night to remember. While there were a few low points, B.A.P’s energy and the magic of the night made everything worthwhile. Awake is definitely a tour to remember.

—-Joelle Halon

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