‘Oppa’ delivers Seoul-style performance

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Oct 4, 2012 - 20:06
  • Updated : Oct 5, 2012 - 09:48

Psy performs at Seoul City Hall on Thursday. The performance was to show gratitude toward Korean fans. (Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)

Psy’s concert draws a crowd too large to contain

On Thursday night, the sight at Seoul City Hall was in one word: chaotic. It appeared as though the whole city was trying to get a taste of the Gangnam phenom.

Four hours before Psy’s concert was even set to begin, the air was filled the whistles of traffic cops trying to redirect traffic; the rooftops of adjacent buildings were all lined with TV cameras; and the front of Seoul Plaza was packed so tightly with shouting fans that the security staff had to physically reinforce the barricades to keep the crowds from knocking them down as they were trying to weave their way through the hordes of people in hopes of finding any spot to catch a live glimpse of the infamous horse dance. The place was so overrun with fans that the staff were forced to push back the crowd barricades which then led to an instant stampede reminiscent of the running of the bulls. 

Around 80,000 fans gather to see Psy's performance at Seoul City Hall on Thursday.(Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)

Because it was a free event open to the general public, there was no way to calculate exactly how many people actually attended the event, but the crowd size was expected to be around 80,000.

Anyone who was skeptical of the Psy fever taking over the world would have without a doubt been made a believer last night. One local fan even held a sign that read “Psy for president.” But the venue not only drew his local fan base, but also grabbed the attention of his many international followers as well.

Theresa Waz, an exchange student from Buffalo, New York, was a “Gangnam Style” fan who said she had to see it for herself. “I need to catch this,” she said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing and I want to catch this phenomenon while it’s big.” Waz came hours early to claim her spot in the crowd, but after seeing how many fans were already there, she remarked, “I can’t believe it.”

Around 80,000 fans gather to see Psy's performance at Seoul City Hall on Thursday.(Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)

Bola Olanusi, a vacationer from Orlando, Florida, said she heard “Gangnam Style” for the first time when she came to Korea three weeks ago and became a fan of both the song and Psy. “I do like the way he’s not so traditional.”

Psy’s performance in front of City Hall had such high expectations right from the get go, and all that hype did not disappoint. Although this much-anticipated concert was hoped by many of Psy’s fans to be a celebration of the singer’s reign at the top of the U.S. Billboard chart, he has yet to conquer that feat. As he stands at second place this week, the world is still left wondering and waiting.

Nevertheless, the night showed off exactly why he became a global sensation. Just by the look on the faces of the thousands in the crowd and the deafening reactions by his hometown and international fans, one could tell that no matter the current Billboard ranking, Psy was still No. 1 in their hearts.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)