Saturday the 12th of October 2013 will forever be etched in the collective memories of Singapore’s SONEs for a long time to come, for it was on that fateful day that the 9 ladies of SNSD deigned fit to grace our beautiful island shores once again to perform.
Yes, the Singapore leg of SNSD’s “Girls and Peace” World Tour was finally to be staged here. This will be the second time that the ladies of Girls’ Generation will be performing here, a fact not lost to their legion of fans (also known as SONEs).
Proof of this was reflected in the fact that tickets for the concert event sold out within a few hours of its release for public sales, a feat rarely repeated at other concert events held here in Singapore.
As the concert date approached, the excitement level for the fans slowly reached fever pitch, with some even deciding to begin queuing for priority into the mosh pits 3 days before the actual date of the concert.
Finally the day arrived. Despite a wet start to the morning, with heavy scattered showers drenching the fans present outside the Singapore Indoor Stadium, venue of the event, not a single SONE present was deterred and it showed in the fact that the queues did not even disperse inspite of the rain.
To hype up the event and make this one-day concert a memorable one for both the Girls and fans, a few of the local SONEs decided to organize a series of fan events (five to be exact) to be carried out during the concert itself. These ranged from the usual banner events to an unprecedented flashlight event during one of the song performances by the Girls during the concert, all the way to an acapella rendition of “Into the New World” by the concert audience just prior to the encore performance by the 9 ladies. Of course, with an increased number of planned fan events comes the increased possibility of event failure occurring, a fact not lost to the local SONE organizers. Nevertheless, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so everyone involved pressed on regardless.
What was most encouraging was the fact that, on the actual day itself, a fair number of foreign SONEs (in addition to the ad-hoc help from the local SONEs) actually stepped up to volunteer to help hand out the banners and spread the word about the planned fan events to all those present. Most commendable were the Japanese SONEs, who insisted on helping even though they were our “guests” for the upcoming concert. This clearly shows that a SONE will be a SONE wherever he or she may be, in which ever part of the world, ever ready to help our 9 talented Soshi ladies in their quest for world music domination.
As the day wore on, the weather significantly improved and even became mildly pleasant towards the evening. The gates to the indoor stadium were finally opened at around 4.30 pm and the crowd started streaming in shortly thereafter.
The mosh pens and stadium terrace/balcony seats slowly, but surely began to fill-up and the excitement level in the entire concert vicinity started to reach a fever pitch.
Whenever the slightest change occurred in the venue lighting or background music level, the entire building erupted in a loud roar of approval.
Finally, 6 pm arrived and the entire stadium was suddenly cloaked in darkness, eliciting the loudest roar of all from the SONEs present. The show has begun!
The concert started with an awesomely filmed fantasy-styled video that featured the 9 ladies of Girls’ Generation as heroines of our dark and dreary world, bringing light, peace and hope to all that they touch and survey, ending, as always, with an artistically rendered introduction for each of the 9 ladies.
At that point, the focus was suddenly shifted to the main stage itself, with the magical appearance of 9 ball-like structures. Wonder of wonders, the Girls suddenly appeared on them, in life-like 3D, singing their ultra-popular hit single “Hoot”. The crowd went wild at that point. But more was to come, for like magic, they suddenly disappeared, only to re-appear in a cloud of smoke and pyrotechnics (one of many) from the centre of the main stage. The crowd just lost it then, turning the entire stadium into one big rave party.
The Girls kept the “heat” up with “Animal” next, earning even louder cheers from the fans present. With the energy of the fans at such a high level so early on in the concert, Tiffany, the de facto spokesperson for the night, decided to bring forward the usual mid-concert intro and talk session. With her mesmerizing “eye-smiles” (one of many, too, that night), she encouraged the crowd to do an impromptu acapella rendition of “The Boys”, something which all the SONEs present gladly acceded to. This earned everyone present lots of thumbs-up and cries of “Daebak” from our 9 favourite ladies.
“Say Yes” came on next, and that was when the dorky natures of the 9 ladies started appearing on stage, to the absolute delight of all the fans present. OTPs of all permutations were gladly put on display by the 9 ladies, making the performance a memorable one indeed.
Of course, what Singapore Soshi concert would be complete without the almost legendary “GG” by the local SONEs during “The Boys”? When they came on, the fans not only rocked the entire stadium with their combined “GG” chant, they went one better and echoed the entire song, to the absolute delight of the Girls.
Not to be outdone, “I Got a Boy” received similar vocal treatment from the SONEs present, earning the most adorable eye-smiles from Tiffany and huge grins and fan service from the rest of the Soshi ladies.
The concert rapidly proceeded to become one huge fan party, with popular SNSD hits like “Run Devil Run”, “Oh!”, “Mr.Taxi” and “Gee” being performed, interspersed with the newer Japanese hits like “Diamond”, “T.O.P.” and some awesome re-mixes and renditions like “Dancing Queen” (my personal favourite) and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (a classical oldie brought to life by our beautiful “earthly angels”).
As this time around all the 9 ladies are involved in the concert performances, with no guest stars or solo stages, the various musical segments in the concert per se were interspersed with beautifully filmed filler videos, each denoting a particular theme for the concert at that point.
These videos ranged from futuristic (the intro to Mr. Taxi) to the hilarious (the faux war between Ned and Flanders).
My personal favourite, though, was the video that showcased a well-loved, but recently departed school teacher, featuring none other than our dear maknae Seohyun in the starring role. Though it was an unexpected item to show during a concert such as this, it really helped to set the mood, in my opinion, for the first song of that musical set, “Promise”.
Thus began the first of the planned fan events by the Singapore SONEs, a flashlight event, using an app downloaded onto the fans’ smart phones. As the song began, with the lights dimmed, the entire stadium was suddenly transformed into a twinkling universe of bright lights. The overall effect was really amazing to behold, such that it brought tears of joy to eyes of the Girls themselves. In fact, so touched were they that they actually mentioned, during their subsequent “talk” session with fans, how impressed they were with the effect created and how it fitted the song perfectly.
The other fan events that also caught the eyes of our 9 favourite ladies were the banner events during “Baby, Baby” and “Forever”. You could actually see the joy reflected on the Girls’ faces as they surveyed the scenes of raised paper all around them.
Personally, though, it was the sudden appearance of the signed beach balls thrown towards the stage during “Himnae” that was a sweet moment for me. Somehow, it spoke of the co-operation between SONEs, relative strangers before this concert, which allowed this fan event to succeed. This was validated by the fact that the Girls immediately started playing with the signed balls, Sooyoung and Yuri even tossing the balls back to the mosh pit audience members to toss back to them, before flinging them towards the opposite direction.
All too soon, the time came to the end of the planned music sets, leaving just the encore to be performed. This time around, the local SONEs decided on something a little more ambitious, an acapella rendition of the chorus for “Into the New World”, the debut song for SNSD. Tensions were high all around as the possibility of failure was great indeed, Singapore SONEs being well-known to be a reticent lot.
But the fears of the organizers turned out to be unfounded, as the entire stadium gave a relatively rousing recital of the chorus, a rare feat indeed considering almost everyone present do not speak or read Korean as a routine. Although we did not manage to persist until the Girls re-appeared again onstage (unlike the Taiwanese SONEs during the Girls’ concert there), it still nicely complimented the song when they finally performed it, to ear-splitting cheers all around. This fact was nicely alluded to by Sooyoung during their final “talk” session on-stage. In fact, someone actually commented that the impromptu “ITNW” fan performance could even be heard outside the stadium itself, by itself no mean feat.
Finally, the last song, “Twinkle” was performed and, with it, the throwing of the autographed plastic balls. Expecting a stampede, the entire event turned out to be rather civilized in nature, with everyone present having loads of fun during the song performance.
Tiffany next initiated the traditional “Pink Ocean” light stick event for every one present, even getting our reticent maknae Seohyun to start the proverbial ball-rolling. The end result was a beautifully synchronized pink light-up of the entire stadium.
The Girls soon bid all present a heartfelt “Thank You” and a reluctant farewell, although Sooyoung put it across best by declaring “never say goodbye”, promising to come back to Singapore “pretty soon”. Before leaving the stage though, Tiffany did elicit a promise from the SONEs present to support Yuri in her upcoming movie debut “No Breathing”, to be screened in Singapore in early December 2013.
The night event finally ended on a high note when the Girls got all present to repeat the Soshi/SONE pledge: “Now is Girls’ Generation”, “Always is Girls’ Generation”, “Forever is Girls’ Generation”.
The final tribute from the Girls, though, to attest to the success of the concert and the amount of fun that they had whilst performing for us fans: a handwritten message on an IPad screen held aloft by Yoona through their van’s window as they drove away from the Indoor Stadium towards Changi airport and their flight home. The message: “Sone Ya”.
Yes, indeed, Taeyeon, Tiffany, Sooyoung, Yuri, Yoona, Seohyun, Sunny, Jessica, Hyoyeon, we SONEs hear you and wish you all the very best in your career in the K-Pop music scene. Soshi Daebak!