On the 8th of February 2013 the super talented and uber-popular boys of TEEN TOP graced the cold and wet city of London for the third stop on their first European tour. I was lucky enough to be an attendance at the show, a show that would be full of surprises and that would out do even the likes of the legendary BIGBANG in terms of excitement, performance value and audience interaction.
The Tour didn’t exactly start off on a high though. With ticket prices being much higher than expected the number of people expected to attend the concert dwindled. I personally put it down to the majority of UK based K-Pop fans still suffering from BIGBANG related poverty since the tickets were on sale barely a month after BIGBANG’s massive sell out concert at the famous Wembley Stadium. After numerous complaints were made by the UK based Angels to TOP MEDIA themselves a lower priced balcony ticket was released helping a lot more of us less fortunate fans afford tickets.
Still, those who love TEEN TOP wouldn’t let the price or the weather deter them from getting the most out of their favorite K-Pop idols finally visiting the UK. Despite the harsh weather conditions the UK had been facing in the weeks preceding the tour (heavy snow fall, rain and high winds) hundreds of fans braved the cold to queue up early in order to catch a glimpse of the boys arriving and of course to get the best view in the house.
We arrived at the venue The HMV Forum, Kentish Town, at around 11AM after spending a fortune on tickets I was determined not to be cursed with a terrible view and wanted to be as close to the boys as physically possible (because that matters, you know?) and surprisingly when we arrived there wasn’t that many people there. About 50 (if that) Angel’s of all ethnicity were sat on blankets, newspapers or standing about patiently waiting for 7PM to come around.
Determined to keep peoples spirits up we came prepared with our iPod’s packed with K-Pop goodies and a set of portable speakers, sadly our batteries were low so the music only lasted a couple of hours but the music managed to get a couple of groups of freezing cold fans dancing to keep warm. Then after the initial tour hours, around 1PM TEEN TOP’s tour bus arrived. Caught up in a frenzy 90% of the people waiting ran to the back of the venue to watch the boys arrive – something I’d never experienced before and I tell you now, it was an amazing experience.
It was my first time deciding to queue all day so I had my concerns. This was England after all and it was bound to rain which after a couple of hours lo and behold the heavens opened. Bad times for all the fans without umbrellas luckily we managed to break free of the queue to rush to purchase an umbrella and still managed to get back to our space in the queue which was held by the lovely fans we met that day. It was all worth it though, I managed to to score being interviewed by Hallyu UK and TEEN TOP’s manager which is always going to be an unforgettable experience for myself as I was able to leave a personal message to the boys themselves. In spite of the negatives (mainly the weather) I would recommend doing this at least once if you’re a huge fan of someone as joining in with the community and experiencing all of this is definitely worth the pain you put yourself through!
After what felt like a lifetime (seriously) it was finally 7PM and we were able to get inside (get warm) and get as far to the front of the venue as we could (unfortunately for us standard ticket holders there was a bout 200 VIP ticket holders in before us – sucks I know) and we were ready to see TEEN TOP live for what would be for most of us, the first time. I was beyond excited, words cannot describe. Sweaty palms clenching my CAP fan sign, heart racing and legs shaking I waited with bated breath for that moment. The moment the lights go out.
It was just after 8PM and you could just to say make out the boys of TEEN TOP themselves walking casually onto the stage in their dapper white suits ready to perform their opening song “Supa Luv” which I had a feeling would be their choice of opener. The feeling is still indescribable days later. We were pretty damn close to the front and seeing them in the flesh is something you have to see to believe. They just look so perfect, from top to toe, their hair, their costume everything was spot on. “Supa Luv” was followed by an energetic performance of “Be Ma Girl” and a short talk segment in which L.Joe exclaimed “I can smell something, what is that!?” (to which I yelled fanboy-ishly PERFUME!) and yeah, you guessed it the amazing “No More Perfume” kicked in. Everything about their performance value was electric, Niel’s vocals especially were superb and the dancing was flawless.
There was a couple of little slip ups with the groups translator during the talking segments but it was all in good fun as both the audience and the boys themselves seemed to find it funny. Up next was a personal favorite of mine “Beautiful Girl”, the aegyo filled “Baby U” from the aRtisT mini album and what is possibly my favorite TEEN TOP track to date, the very sexy “First Kiss” which was vocally perfect performed live. First Kiss was followed by an adorable ballad interlude featuring “Back of My Hand Brushes Against” and the ode to fans “Angel” even though they were ballads and yes the boys stood still through the majority of each of these songs one thing definitely stood out (and through the remainder of the concert) was L.Joe’s eye smile. I don’t quite think I’ve ever witnessed someone as happy as L.Joe that night, waving to fans whenever he could and beginning the “slow ballad arm sway” that you just HAVE to do when a pop group performs a ballad (even if it did compromise my fan cams!)
After another talk segment Niel introduced that they had prepared a pop song for us and they went on to sing Olly Murs Feat. Flo Rida “Trouble Maker” and Owl City Feat. Carly Rae Jepson “Good Times” and you know what? Their English was pretty good! They were so full of energy during these two songs, you honestly felt like you were partying with the boys especially during the hyper performance of “Good Times”. Next up on the set list, after a quick montage video of “TEEN TOP’s History” they performed “Clap” one stand out moment being Ricky’s attempt to remain serious during his dance solo at the start of the song which failed badly as he was laughing and smiling from ear to ear. Another talk segment followed “Clap” in which each member had to do something “Hip-Hop” surprisingly group leader and rapper CAP appeared to shy and we quickly moved to Niel’s hilarious attempt “Say Heeeeey~ Say hooooooo!” he commanded before saying “Dis is da hip-hop” another stand out moment from the concert. The boys are genuinely as funny in person as they are on reality shows in Korea further adding to their charm and appeal.
Next up were the special stages. Chunji performed a sweet rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Count On Me”, Chango, Ricky and L.Joe performed a rather tantalizing dub step dance stage but the high light of the special stages had to be the infamous N.A.P pairing (Niel and CAP to those of you who aren’t familiar with TEEN TOP) performed their rendition of Young Money’s “Bedrock” causing a lot of fans to question “I wonder if they understand the lyrics!” (they probably do, naughty boys.) A lot of fan service from Niel and CAP in this segment, CAP coming close to the audience and slowly removing his jacket to bare his vest and arms. (Those arms!)
The lights dimmed out for a quick outfit change and could just make out the backstage staff swiftly bringing on those beloved “To You” blocks. To a lot of us Angel’s out there, To You has been one of the groups best performance pieces to date and what a sight to see in person. The choreography was carried out with such precision you’d hardly believe the boys had back to back shows across different countries in the space of just one week. What an amazing feat! Body rolling, Changjo’s across the stage dance bit and Chunji’s solo body roll. All high lights of what was up there with the best performances of the night. “Girlfriend” was up straight after, followed by another Talk segment in which the audience was taught how to join in for “Where’s Ma Girl” which was another of the more hyper performances of the night.
I checked my phone clock, sad to see the show was almost over. Just three songs left and that would be it, another amazing K-Pop concert in the UK done and dusted. “Shake It!” was next, something I’d been looking forward to ever since their first performance of the song on KBS Music Bank back in June for the mid year special. (Much to my dismay I forgot to change memory sources to my memory card to catch the whole thing on camera – as my phone memory was full!) but what a fun performance. The fan service in the choreography was obviously the high light of the song, the boys grinding that tush like their lives depended on it!
Then finally, what we’d all been waiting for, the performance of the boys first number one hit song “Crazy” I don’t know where they get the energy from but it was as full of energy and just as electric as when they opened their show just an hour or so before. The feeling in the audience was unreal, fan chants where being cried out, everyone was singing and dancing it was definitely a euphoric place to be. Once Crazy (sadly) was over, the boys quickly introduced the next song as a song “we can join in with” and they left the stage for the sort of “encore-esque” section of the show, coming back on stage in the official tour tees to perform their rendition of Beatles classic “All You Need is Love” with fan service and aegyo galore. All kinds of shit from left and right was being thrown on stage despite the staffs best efforts to tell the audience “no!” (I even attempted to throw my hat on stage – which ended up behind a speaker. Less said about that disaster the better. Although I did retrieve it and give it to TEEN TOP’s staff to hand to CAP himself. Thank you TEEN TOP staff.) then just like that in what was around 70-80 mins it was over. What a sad feeling knowing it was over and that the boys would be heading off to Paris almost right away.
Still it was an amazing sight to witness the unity of the fans. The smiles on everyone’s faces and the sheer excitement of it all. I sincerely hope the poor ticket sales does not deter TOP MEDIA from arranging another show in the future because it would be a shame for UK Angel’s everywhere to not get another chance to witness such a fresh, fun filled and electrifying show as TEEN TOP’s first live concert in London.
Thanks to TOP MEDIA and TEEN TOP themselves for taking the UK fans into account when organizing an amazing show. Much love!
coming soon: all my fan cams from the show on our youtube page
all pictures taken by the amazing @rynsan with my pretty decent camera (apparently!)
all fan cams taken by myself @kyledesu_ with my Samsung Galaxy S3