By now, we all know full well how huge K-pop stars are and how they rule the regional music scene. With several K-Pop groups already making their presence felt in the US and Europe, it will not be long before they reign supreme around the world.
So when K-pop band BtoB was in town for a concert recently, the venue of its meet-the-fans session, MySpace Ballroom at Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (Mitec) was packed with more than 1,000 fans.
Despite the pricey ticket (RM450), their fans, nicknamed Melody, thronged the ballroom last Sunday to catch up with the six members of the band — Lee Min-hyuk, Lee Chang-sub, Im Hyun-sik, Peniel Shin, Jung Il-hoon and Yook Sung-jae.
Besides fans from Malaysia, fans from the Philippines, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore also travelled to Kuala Lumpur to meet their favourite South Korean performers.
There were even those from South Korea itself, but perhaps these are their fellow countrymen who are residing here.
This trip marked the band’s fourth performance in Malaysia but was the first solo show held here.
The band was especially brought here to meet and entertain their fans by WE Entertainment.
The band made their debut in the K-Pop world with their single Insane back in 2012 and had been enjoying moderate fame until they had their breakthrough single It’s Okay in 2015.
The band was originally made up of seven members, until its leader Seo Eun-kwang took a break from showbusiness last August to begin his mandatory national service in the army.
It was reported that the performance last weekend will also be their last performance before another two members — Chang-sub and Hyun-sik — enlist in the army next year as well.
The performance on Sunday, which was especially designed for Malaysia, saw the band perform nine songs, including Missing You, Only One For Me, It’s Okay, Movie and Blowin’ Up.
BtoB also performed its new single Beautiful Pain, a number from the band’s special album released last month, Hour Moment. It was also an album which was recorded without Eun-kwang.
For an encore, the boys performed Our Concert.
The boys also interacted with fans by engaging in games and having a “conversation” with the audience with the help of an emcee and an interpreter.
Although the presence of the interpreter was handy to some, some of the members in the audience could obviously understand Korean, responding to the boys when they addressed them in their mother tongue. It helped that some of the boys spoke English too.
The emcee also took the opportunity to teach the boys to use some Malay phrases like the usual “Saya Cinta Awak” and Malaysian street-speak phrases like “Lek Lu” (literally “please chill”).
The games played that day included them fulfilling Melody’s Wishes, like singing certain songs and doing some dance routines, as requested by fans who wrote their wishes on Post-it notes on a board prior to the event.
The other game was guessing the song title, which was a “battle” between fans and the band members.
Both the boys and their fans obviously enjoyed the games very much. Before they knew it, it was time to bid farewell.
“It’s been a long time since we last came here and we don’t know when we’ll be back again. But we will be back and hopefully with all the seven members,” said one them towards the end of the session.
The entire afternoon went well without much untoward incident, until the boys came out for the encore performance, armed with red Baccarat roses.
When the members started throwing the roses at the audience, some of the girls pushed forward, trying to catch the rose stalks, upturning a few chairs in the front, causing security personnel to try to restore order and reminding the girls to control themselves.
The session ended with the boys lining up in front of the stage. Everyone in the audience was given the chance to say goodbye to the them.
Mind you, considering this was a K-Pop event, it wasn’t a normal goodbye to your acquaintances when your’re parting ways after a meet-up.
The audience walked in a line and when they passed the boys, they could wave all they want but were reminded to do it quickly and without any attempt to touch or throw any gifts towards them.
What an experience for a non-K-Pop diehard fan!