On October 23rd, 2011, the Seoulbeats crew were chillin’ like villains with SHINee, Dong Bang Shin Ki, and BoA, Super Junior, f(x) and So Nyeo Shi Dae.

While mere words cannot even begin to describe how fantastically elastic I thought the entire experience was, here is what made us laugh, cry, and in traditional Seoulbeats fashion.


  • I now have an appreciation for SHINee—I was put off by their rainbow-tight skinnies and never gave them a proper chance, but seeing them live makes me understand why they have a pretty big fan base.  The boys really know how to enjoy the stage and they are pretty good live as well.
  • I never understood the Amber craze and still don’t. The girl sings about 10 seconds per song and every time she started her lines, the girls were screaming louder than they were for Dong Bang Shin Ki.  Mystery.  Also, I was curious: what kind of value f(x) is providing SM?  With music sales where it is now and f(x) not really having all those CF deals, are they really profitable?
  • BoA was fierce live—the best performer out of the entire concert.
  • The ladies of Girls’ Generation aren’t synchronized and their performances were boring.  “The Boys” is better live than listening to MV.
  • Super Junior—I did not see all 13 but really couldn’t tell what I was missing other than Siwon‘s face and Heechul‘s pretentiousness. Perhaps that was the intention.  Leeteuk can’t sing—good thing he’s exploring other options, Eunhyuk is a good dancer and I can’t take Shindong seriously no matter what he does.  They also engaged with the fans the most.  Also, what’s the name of the angst looking member?  He was good but way too angsty.
  • Kangta was pretty awesome—it would have been better if he sang one of the H.O.T. songs.
  • Dong Bang Shin Ki appeared as if they were like Jesus hanging on wires and all.  Impressed with the powerful performance but nothing that different from what I saw on YouTube. You would think concert performances would be better.
  • In total, I expected the concert to be a little bit more dynamic and innovative, in terms of collaboration and the performances.  It seemed like a Music Bank special of only SM artists and the dialogue between the acts and songs was very awkward — need to hone up on english skills, you SM Artists. The ending was a bit disappointing with H.O.T.’s “Hope” as the last song. Expected an encore stage with the amount of fans present.
  • In attendance, it was an interesting mix of fans, families, and dudes who drank during the boy band performances and roared only during Girls’ Generation.  Overall, SM Town in NYC was a pretty good experience and allowed me to appreciate some SM acts that I have ignored without too much thought.


  • I agree with Young-ji on almost everything, particularly with your comment about the concert being really ordinary, especially considering the fact that it’s effing Madison Square Garden and you would think that considering how much they like talking up the Hallyu thing, they’d be able to show for it in a Hallyu-defining concert performance. (On that note, you’d also think that they’d be able to hire a better translator for the concert. Seriously, what was up with that?)
  • The high wire thing seriously needs to stop. There was actually a technical difficulty when SHINee was performing “Lucifer” – they couldn’t attach Onew‘s harness on time so the lift was delayed by about 10 seconds, but I think the wires were on a timer so the boys were stuck up in the air until the very last beat of the song, at which time they just kind of plummeted back down to the ground at breakneck speed. Made me a liiiiitle nervous.
  • I had originally thought the opposite about SNSD and found them to be really show-stopping…but upon reconsideration, I’m beginning to think that that has more to do with the fact that I was standing next to a super loud SONE fanman throughout the whole concert. Conversely, I didn’t think SHINee was all that great. Their performance material/remixes were recycled from their Asia tour concert, which is a given, but so were their performance expressions….the fist-pumping, the jumping around stage, the random head-banging. It looked good the first time around when I saw them in Taipei, but after seeing it a second time, it seemed a bit disingenuous to me. Then again, maybe that’s just what happens when you’re forced to perform the same songs over and over again. “Ready Or Not” was really great, though.
  • BoA…no words. She was fantastic. Everything was live, choreography was flawless and sharp, and just so energetic. Definitely one of the best (if not THE best) live performers I’ve ever seen.
  • Super Junior was cute, but pretty bleh. Needed more Zhou Mi/Henry. They were onstage for 1.5 songs!  Injustice, for reals.


  • F(x): Of all the groups, they were definitely the most underwhelming. While their vocals and their dances were decent, nothing about it was particularly MSG worthy. It got the job done but the excitement wasn’t really there for me. And I did notice that Amber got a lot of lovin’ in NY. But you know what? Good for her. And out of all of them, she knew how to work the stage and the crowd the best so she deserved it. But their red scheme outfits were horrendous. Amber is not from the Scottish Highlands and Sulli is not the token Asian extra in Grease.
  • Kangta: For better or for worse, this guy is pretty irrelevant in KPOP these days. Harsh, but true. And unfortunately, I didn’t feel particularly excited by his performances either. Don’t get me wrong; he can sing like any other mofo out there but I just couldn’t bring myself to care for him. And his duet with Sulli? I was very impressed with Sulli. While it was nothing AMAZING, she sounded quite lovely. But for realz, she’s like 5,000,000 years younger than you, dude. Go pedo elsewhere. And his dancing is funny but I guess that’s the least of the FBI our problems.
  • Super Junior: KRY performing the Sorry, Sorry Answer song was beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. But hey, is it me or does Kyuhyun look mad different in real life? His jaw looked less pointy. Speaking of, Wookie baby, I know I called you an evil, garden gnome once but you were a doll and a half. As a whole however, I thought Super Junior were the weakest performers. Even their best vocalists were making noticeable mistakes all over the place. They did however, make up for it with charisma. What I would have given to have been that girl whose camera was consenually molested by Leeteuk and Sungmin.
  • SHINee: These boys are always great live. No doubt. But I was really disappointed with Minho and Taemin. Taemin, as always your dancing was phenomenal. But after having seen evidence of your vocals improving, I was hoping that I would hear it. And I didn’t. Work on that stamina, energizer bunny. And Minho, banging your head and running around the stage like you’ve taken horse tranquilizers does not make up for anything. Just saying. And why oh why did they have to perform Get Down and Ready or Not? These boys have so many better songs I would have loved to have rather heard. So many singles, I would have rather heard. Oh well. Oh and Key, what a sport. Though I think your First Kiss duet with Krystal was obnoxious (the dancing and your duet partner. How can you expect me not to gag?), you did a very good job during all your performances, including holding your own against BoA. And Onew, pure perfection.
  • SNSD: Oh my ladies. Hyoyeon, I screamed hardcore for you. I hoped you heard. But anyway, I think all of you did a decent job. While I think your group is just inherently lacking talent, you did better than I expected. And you guys are great performers. But Jessica needs to GTFO. She’s a very pretty, talented girl but I just don’t understand why she was getting so much up and center time. And why oh why did you have to perform THAT version of Genie? Blargh. But nice job.
  • BoA: I want your career; give it to me now. Though I can’t stand the aesthetic quality of your voice, you’re an amazing performer and I cannot help but enjoy your performances. And your black hair and black sparkly outfit, 10 out of 10.
  • DBSK: Maybe I’m impatient but I thought it was BULLSHIT that every artist got to perform at least one song before their chunk came along and DBSK was left for the last 45 mins. Like really? And I know the wire thing was overplayed but let me tell you a little story: As soon as I knew that it was “U-Know Time,” I stood on my chair  and started jumping up and down. Yunho saw me, smirked, and pointed at me like the Rising Sex God of the East that he is. My life is complete. And they were amazing. It made me sad when Changmin did Yoochun‘s Mirotic rap. Chamingminnie, babe, you’re not as smooth. And also, no worries on that one note during Before U Go. But kudos for having the balls to tell fans to shut the duck up so you can finish your intro and carry on with the performing. But legit, even if they are just two of the original five, they are an indicator of how amazeballs Dong Bang Shin Ki is. Their performance was right off the track. It was amazing.
  • Other notes: What was up with those informercial-esque breaks? Not gonna lie, they were freaking me out. They sounded like those Christian infomercials and brainwashing psychological experiment videos had a baby. The translator? So ineffective. Be louder, you silly duck. And as for the lack of difference of MSG, in SM‘s defense, I think their main goal was to test the American water and bring American fans what they’ve been asking for. And we’re not necessarily looking for something interesting. While we may have access to these performances via Youtube but there is NOTHING like seeing them in person. NOTHING. And that’s what we’re looking for. I got interviewed by the SM Town staff a couple of times and the one thing they asked me was “Did you ever think you would be able to meet them here?” And I essentially said that I never dreamed of it. I expected my love of Korean entertainment to stay in Korea. But now, I can see them in person, hear them in person. It may have functioned like an SM only Music Bank but I just wanted to hear some of my favorite artists perform my favorite songs. SO SURREAL. Damn, people, I was in the same room with my future husband, Jung Yunho. We made eye contact. He pointed on me. I can die happy now.

Regardless of whether we loved or hated a certain moment, we thought it was a pretty great experience. These are people we watch on YouTube, people I listen to on my iPod. But here they were in the flesh, before us doing what they love to do and what we love to see and hear.

What did you guys think? Were any of you there?

(Images coutesy of SM Entertainment)