When the six alien warriors of B.A.P first arrived last year, these rookies transformed the competition with their fresh edge and nonstop promotions, and left fan hearts slayed across the globe. So of course, when TS announced the B.A.P Live On Earth Pacific Tour, we were all over it! From the skinny on “Sexy Clap” to our unashamed noona feels and of course some hardcore critique, Miyoko, Lindsay, and I lay out plain and simple our experiences from B.A.P Live On Earth.
Just to put it into perspective, I (Nabeela) attended the San Francisco tour stop and was seated in the lower balcony. Miyoko (Row AA on the floor aka as close as you can get) and Lindsay (Row D) hit up the show in Washington D.C. and were lucky enough to get up close and personal in the floor section!
So, how does BAP live compare to BAP on screen?
Lindsay: I was actually expecting them to be LESS perfect in person, because stereotypes about pop stars being photoshopped for pictures, don’t sing live, and are fake, etc. Boy, was I wrong. I have never seen anything as perfect as the members of B.A.P. From looks to talent to infectious personalities, they’ve got it all. Overall, they have a ridiculous amount of charisma in person that simply doesn’t get done justice over a computer screen. And how are their faces so beautiful? They don’t even look real in person.
The only thing I was disappointed in was the live sound-system. It wasn’t even the boy’s fault, its just the fact that a screaming audience overpowers even the strongest vocalist. Daehyun’s voice could have been more consistent, as well. Not to say he wasn’t amazing at hitting his signature high notes, he was, but his overall performance live (probably because he was tired and strained from previous shows) wasn’t as powerful as I expected it to be.
Miyoko: I’d have to agree. All the members have a lot of stage presence, and can make a giant concert hall feel personal. That was the best part of the concert for me, actually, feeling like I got to “know” them in person. I’ve been to a few K-pop concerts, so I’m familiar with the let down afterwards, but when B.A.P left the stage their absence was noticeable.
I think that they (and other K-pop stars) are very aware of cameras and play to them in a certain way. There were definite moments when the members decided to go into “camera mode” for whoever was recording. But playing to a live audience is different, and allowed them to have freer expression.
Lindsay, you have a point — when they’re live, you can hear the difference in projection. But all that tells me is which members voices pick up a mic easier.
Nabeela: So I need to do my best and suffocate my inner fangirl for a minute because if I don’t then this entire article is going to be me crying everywhere about B.A.P perfection. But Miyoko and Lindsay pretty much say it all when they mention talent: these kids have got it. I mean, I’ve watched enough recorded music shows and been to enough concerts to know what an energetic performance looks like, and B.A.P really blew me away with their non-stop enthusiasm from start to finish.
On-screen, their choreography is airtight and heart-stopping (thanks to of course the added drama of the stage and precision of camera angles) but they are definitely still on-point live. I suppose their aggressive conceptual style warrants that kind of stage presence, but I had no idea they could bring it for two straight hours. Overall, I was very impressed.
What do we think of the fictional premise of the concert/PSA? (That the Matoki came to earth to cheer up people through song and dance.)
Lindsay: The message about suffering makes sense in the context of Yongguk’s charitable works, but honestly it doesn’t seem like concert material. The Matokis originally wanted to take over the world, so I’m not sure where things switched to them wanting to solve world hunger and poverty instead.
Miyoko: Fictional premise is fine. I thought the depressing video in the middle was a little odd, because I didn’t understand the point. Yes, there is a lot of suffering in this world, but what was the point of the video? If it was to raise awareness, I don’t think it was specific enough or strong enough. It was this little — hey, this is happening, now let’s gear back up for “One Shot,” with it’s video game-esque projection background. If there was a real message to get through, it should have been more substantial. But I’d be interested to hear more people’s perspectives on it, what it made them think about, etc.
I know Yongguk’s philanthropy thing, but how much of it was his input? It was done through video, which I mostly saw as an interlude to give the poor boys a break.
Nabeela: I mean, I love the Matoki concept inside and out–I think it’s cute and interactive and original. It didn’t surprise me either that the ‘alien’ backstory would come through in the tour because it was basically the premise of their entire debut. But the actual PSA was a depressing interlude. Not to say I think they should’ve done without it, because we all know Yongguk’s real dream is to be a philanthropist instead of a rapper, but I was kind of hoping we would see the bunny Mato’s more in some like animated short or something instead.
Lindsay: I’m with Nabeela on this one, I would have loved to see some of the cute Matoki cartoons from B.A.P’s debut period in lieu of the space travel clips and grammatically terrible English captions.
Miyoko: +1 to the Matoki comments.
Given the 16+ rating for the concert, what can we say about the fans that showed up and their reactions?
Lindsay: There were a good amount of people being dropped off by their parents, or actually being accompanied by their parents to the show, in DC. I actually sat next to a daughter and her mom during the concert itself. Considering the age of B.A.P’s members, and the age of the group itself, a young crowd isn’t as surprising as it would be at a JYJ concert, for example.
It was hard to tell what age a lot of people were, though, since I wasn’t actually going around asking.
As for the 16+rating, I’d say the crowd certainly acted mature, if you get my meaning. The actions of the B.A.P members were also more sexual than I often feel like they are on Korean programs, so perhaps they took the supposedly older audience into account.
I do agree that B.A.P has heavy lyrics, but there is something about their image that is very young as well. A lot of their videos to me read like a fantasy rather than reality, which can appeal to a younger crowd. Well… all K-pop is fantasy, but it’s true too for B.A.P’s songs that are more rebellious and fight the power.
I also thought the sexualization was surprising. It was a weird juxtaposition to see Zelo and Jongup in school uniforms, then switch to Yongguk and Himchan in “Sexy Clap.”
Nabeela: So I was in San Francisco at the Warfield (shoutout to the Bay Area!) and I was shocked to see how many young kids showed up to the show. And not just to watch, but who were standing in line all morning and all day and all evening! Like, young kids, maybe like twelve or thirteen, in huge groups and of course with their parents. I guess maybe I’m just getting old but for a group like B.A.P, with like such heavy lyrics and hyper-masculine concepts, I had never imagined to see so many kids. But hey, it’s cool to see what demographics they appeal to other than rabid fangirl.
What about BAP is the most endearing: the Engrish or their capacity to elicit rampant noona feels?
Lindsay: Their English made me want to pinch their cheeks. Not sure how it was at other shows, but Daehyun and Himchan mostly spoke Korean in DC (with Jongup barely speaking at all). Yongguk, on the other hand, throws out the most hilariously random English phrases constantly. He obviously enjoys speaking the language but isn’t quite there with the grammar yet. Youngjae and Zelo seemed to have the best grasp on English as a language, with Youngjae coming out on top as far as pronunciation goes. At one point he said “listen carefully,” and it was perfectly understandable.
When it comes to noona feels, nothing beats seeing a 17 year old boy’s abs and wanting to touch them. It is an experience that really makes you reconsider your life choices.
But as far as pure cuteness goes, Zelo is just precious and you can’t help but stare at him, even if he isn’t your favorite member. And I’m pretty sure he ruined Miyoko’s bias list.
For me, though, Youngjae was the highlight of my noona feels. He is much sexier and more confident in person than on screen, which is an important trait in a performer. Between his effortless dancing, excellent vocals, and constant fan-service, he shone like a star.
Miyoko: From the beginning, they have elicited noona feels in me. I didn’t understand what noona feels were until B.A.P. They are all younger than me, so anything is noona feels. This went doubly true seeing them in person, again because of their charisma. They’re 100% youth and energy, and that is so magnetic. Youngjae touched my hand and I stood in shock, not understanding what was happening. Also his hand was surprisingly soft. Have to say it.
Zelo’s the noona-magnet. I will say that boy knows exactly what he’s doing in terms of facial expression and audience interaction, which is scary in someone so young. Yes, he did ruin my bias list. Forever. Though I’d say everyone in that theater was having noona feels for either Jongup or Zelo during their dual-stage.
I’d say Yongguk definitely took the most pleasure in speaking English, though I was surprised at Youngjae’s ability. For the members that don’t speak English, they were still doing a good job of interacting, so it didn’t feel like there was a huge language gap.
Nabeela: Oh my God, Zelo is actually too tall and too precious for real life. He like can’t stand next to the other members (except maybe Himchan or Yongguk) for too long without making everyone else look dwarfed. So if I had to choose it’s definitely the noona feels from Zelo and Jong Up (though in my defense, I’m not that much older than them). Jong Up is really sweet too–he was all smiles the whole time, like a little kid in a candy store. And Jesus, can that boy dougie. But if my heart was anywhere, it was devouring Yongguk with my eyes as he did those infinite body rolls.
What’s next for our six warrior aliens? (hopefully not any more hair bleach)
Lindsay: I can’t wait for their full album. Yes, I’d like them to have a break (their voices sound like they could use one) but that doesn’t stop me from also hungering for the next big music release from these six impeccable warriors.
That being said, a “world” tour is a big deal, and they should certainly recoup after such a momentous event in their personal and professional lives. Traveling is extremely draining, much more so than just heavily promoting in Korea, so their managers need to take the boys health into consideration at this juncture to prevent any unfortunate illnesses, etc.
Can I just say I want “Sexy Clap” to be on that album so much?
Miyoko: A break? Do they get those? Because I definitely think that should be next. If they go too fast, I think burnout and/or fast downward spiral is inevitable.However, full album is logical. Maybe one where all the members participate more in producing/concept.
Nabeela: Overall, like I’ve said a million times over by now, I’ve been so impressed with B.A.P since the minute they showed up on the scene. And their onslaught of activities and promotions aren’t giving my heart any breaks, but I will say these kids need to slow down. I know TS is trying to milk the name while it’s still hot, but if they boys are going to have any longevity they need to know when to put the vocal chords on break for a while. Miyoko, you really hit the nail on the head when you say the pitfall is inevitable, because you only fall from the heights you reach. While I’m so glad B.A.P is becoming so explosive so fast, it may be worth investing in them rather than, I don’t know, overworking them.
But naturally, like the point we’re all reaching here, the full album needs to come next if B.A.P is ever going to break the big leagues, and honestly, it has to be good. For all the hype this pacific tour has created, not to mention all the hype rack up back home, now more than ever is an opportunity to be heavily criticized for their quality. So they have got to deliver on the goods. If I’m not crying after one whole go at the full album, I don’t know I might be disappointed.
Miyoko: Nabeela, I agree it’s going to be hard to deliver on a full album when they have so much hype behind them. They’re name is “Best Absolute Perfect,” for crying out loud. As much as we love them, there are things to criticize about their music, and that’s going to be magnified in a full album.
I wouldn’t mind “Sexy Clap,” but they have to change the name. It’s an unfortunate one.
And that’s a wrap for this concert review! We’d love to hear from those of you who made it to Live On Earth, so let us know what you loved, what you hated, and what you cried over!
(Images via Verizon APAHM Tour Facebook, Cover photo by Nabeela)