Unlike previous Music Experiment events with only a brief 2 week promotion period, Taeyang fans had 2 months of anticipation leading to the Nov 26 concert in San Francisco. Weeks of planning travel arrangements, meet-ups, outfits and the announcement of a new song all added to the excitement of seeing Taeyang up close in his first international solo performance outside of Asia.
Everyone was crazy excited and some came really early to wait in line. (Some hardcore fans even decided to camp out at the venue the day before.) While waiting, the line eventually became a big meet-up area for YB fans who were putting faces to some long-time internet friends. As part of a fandom that has developed largely online, one of the best parts of the whole experience in San Francisco was meeting all these friends who had become a big part of my life for the first time. Especially since it was a relatively small audience (made up of some of the most determined YB fans), there was more opportunity to find “familiar” names in the crowd.
Venue was gorgeous and perfect for him – a 1950’s supper club and prominent San Francisco music space. It was a rare opportunity to meet Taeyang in such an intimate venue. (And hopefully it won’t be the last time.) MTV and Intel had an interesting tech set-up in the back of the main room which allowed people to share photos on their social networks plus were offering some special bandanas to commemorate the event. The sound system was great – such a treat after years of less than stellar sound equipment and engineering on various music shows (fans will know the ones.) “Bigbang Band” rocked the house and looked amazing – it’s no wonder they’ve been winning hearts of their own all throughout last year’s Alive Tour. (Curious lack of backup singers though. YG couldn’t have splurged a bit to bring a couple of them along?) Bias aside, Taeyang sounded fantastic in person and looked even better than the videos. Completely not prepared for how good he looked up close and in his element. Even the best video can’t do him justice.
What everyone is wondering is why he only prepared for a 30 min set. (The most likely reason though is the lack of time for the amazing Bigbang band to learn more of his backlist since they were also doing the Japan Tour. Also probably why he had to include 2 Bigbang songs as an encore since they were already part of the band repertoire.) You could tell he totally wanted to do more songs but lack of prep time or lack of song clearance for broadcast limited him to the prepared set list. Pity also that he seemingly doesn’t have more DJ-friendly songs since Choice37 did an overlong 2 hours going through GD’s recent discography with a little Top and 2ne1 and BigBang mixed in. It was a strange choice of songs considering it was supposed to be a warmup for Taeyang’s performance, which has nothing to do with club music. Not only did it set an odd sort of vibe and just sort of tired out the crowd, considering how short TY’s set was, it did seem that Choice 37 could have played more Taeyang songs especially the ones that weren’t part of TY’s set-list. All in all, there was way too little of Taeyang at the whole event given that it was supposed to be his solo. Then again, when is there ever enough Taeyang for his devoted fans?
But inspite of having way fewer songs than we would have liked, the show was a special milestone in his career and was a “can’t miss” opportunity as a fan. While 2008’s HOT was more exciting for breaking new ground and kicking off so many future possibilities and Solar was a more emotional experience for fans and Taeyang alike, ME 2.0 is his first solo step outside of Asia – an acknowledgement of his international fans on the other side of the world. It would have been great if he could have more prep time, but as it is, it was a dream come true for him to even stand on that stage. And for us as fans, it was a milestone for us as well. Aside from seeing him up close for the first time, I could really feel his great love for his fans and his desire to reach out to the whole audience in that moment. I know that it strengthened my own resolve to support him even more since you could see his whole heart out there trying to do the best he could for us. I know everyone who left the event certainly wanted to help him liberate all those songs YG is curiously keeping hostage for some unknown future release date.
Really grateful that MTV Iggy and Intel made this happen – especially since so many fans were able to share in the experience virtually through the livestream. Thankfully, MTV will also be sharing the livestream of the full show (along with photos) on its musicexperiment.com channel (and on the special Windows 8 app) beginning Dec 2 so fans can relive the experience there, as well as in the many press and official photos and fancams.
I’m going to add my voice in a quick roundup to what many fans have already said before: YB is an absolute sweetheart, generous with fans, so charming in person, tremendously good looking, super sexy, sounds better live. 1am gets better every time I listen to it. Big hugs to all the Korean fansite members at the concert – I am forever grateful for what you do for Taeyang and us international fans. (Special thanks to the lovely ladies of YB Mania for gifting us with Taeyang magazines and memorabilia in what must have been the heaviest luggage ever for a 2 day trip.) And I’m already saving up for his next solo concert wherever in the world that is going to be (hopefully with all the rest of the ATY team!)