When nine-member female pop group Girls’ Generation had their first solo concert in Korea in December 2009, the members on stage felt somewhat nervous and awkward with each other’s moves.
A year and a half later, the group’s international fame has helped them learn how to manage a big stage through numerous concerts around the world and members of the group have reached a point where they enjoy themselves on stage, said TaeYeon, leader of the group.
Girls’ Generation, also known as SNSD, held its second solo concert in Seoul on Saturday and Sunday, almost immediately after performing on 14 stages in six cities in Japan from May 31 to July 18 under the concert title “Girls’ Generation Arena Tour 2011.”
“After showcasing 14 concerts during the Arena Tour, we have come to enjoy the stage. As we’re enjoying the stage, the response of the fans has become more intense,” TaeYeon said at a press conference, just before the Sunday concert at Olympic Park’s Gymnasium. Reporters included those from Taiwan, China, Singapore and Hong Kong.
“We also noticed that many audience members were from other countries and it felt really fresh and new,” said another member Sunny.
K-pop’s global popularity took a new turn when Korean idol groups extended their “SM Town World Tour in Paris” schedule to two days from one in June, after hundreds of French fans of K-pop rallied in Paris doing a flash mob to call for an extra concert.
The flash mobs by K-pop fans quickly spread to other parts of the world including the recent one in New York.
“When we see those flash mobs, we feel that only music is universal language,” SooYoung said.
“The only way to repay them for their enthusiasm is to directly visit them through a concert. I hope all SM Town artists could adjust schedules (to have a concert together).”
While 20,000 fans were anxiously waiting for the act to appear, Girls’ Generation opened the stage with a special intro visual effect.
A diamond-shaped box at the center of the stage in the first floor suddenly opened and the group start singing “Tell Me Your Wish (Genie),” the title song of their second mini album.
The fans reacted explosively to the scene of the nine divas, who reached a peak with flamboyant group dancing on stage.
S.M. Entertainment said Girls’ Generation will continue holding concerts in “various cities in Asia” but declined to elaborate on which ones, saying “it does not want to disappoint Asian fans.”
With the surging international popularity of the girl group, a group of 100 fans from the U.S. flew from Los Angeles to see the concert.
The fan community asked for help from the Korea Tourism Organization to reserve tickets for the fans for the Sunday concert.
“Among the 100-member group, there are only two Korean-Americans and the rest is all American fans … Most of them are workers, not students,” CJ Kim, who helped the U.S. fan community organize the trip, told The Korea Herald on the phone.
“I think K-pop has become so trendy that many Americans like it too,” said Kim, who wanted to be identified only as an Internet industry official.
She added that some Korean fans of Girls’ Generation might feel that the KTO’s help in reserving concert tickets of K-pop groups for overseas fans was unfair but asked for their understanding, saying “the U.S. fans can see K-pop idols on computer screens only.”
As well as the fans from the U.S., about 300 fans from other countries, such as Taiwan, enjoyed the Sunday concert by Girls’ Generation.
By Kim Yoon-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org