ENTERTAINMENT

[Herald Review] Seo Taiji induces ’90s nostalgia with lavish ‘Christmalowin’ return

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Oct 19, 2014 - 20:38
  • Updated : Oct 19, 2014 - 20:38
Seo Taiji, one of the country’s most influential musical figures and ’90s icons, finally made his long-awaited return to the music scene with his extravagant live production of “Christmalowin,” the singer’s first concert performance in five years. 
A view of the lavish stage for Seo Taiji’s “Christmalowin” solo comeback concert held at Jamsil Sports Complex’s Olympic Stadium in Seoul on Saturday. (Seo Taiji Co.)

In commemoration of his upcoming ninth full-length album, “Quiet Night,” Seo’s comeback show at the Jamil Sports Complex’s Olympic Stadium was anything but quiet on Saturday evening. Under the hybrid theme of both Christmas and Halloween, the concert venue offered the rare spectacle of people dressed up in Santa outfits mingling with those who chose the dark side of the spectrum, dressed like not-so-bedazzling witches and bloody creatures that looked to be inspired by “The Walking Dead.”

Although the show got off to a bit of a rough beginning, with Seo not taking the stage until an hour after the concert was originally scheduled to start, as soon as the singer hit the stage and opened with the past hit single “Moai,” the crowd seemed to lose all track of time and simply reveled in his presence.

After his opening song, K-pop starlet IU took to the stage for a performance of their recently released collaboration track “Sogyeokdong.” Seo followed this with a performance of another of his new singles, “Chirstmalo.win.” Including the aforementioned two new tracks, Seo performed six songs off his latest nine-track album, which is scheduled to be released in its entirety on Monday.

As soon as the show began, there was no denying that the music icon kept his promise of creating a blockbuster-like concert atmosphere. Decked out with a giant Jack-o’-lantern and with candy cane-shaped figurines riddled about, the extravagant stage looked like something straight out of Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

It was evident that Seo spared no expenses for his highly anticipated comeback in a show that had no shortage of visual effects, flashing lights, beautifully timed fireworks, blazing flames and a booming sound system like none other ― the vibrations from the subwoofers actually tickled one’s skin throughout the night.

In order to ensure the best sound quality for the large-scale concert performance, representatives of Seo Taiji Co. had previously revealed that they sought the expertise of famed audio technician Paul Bauman, who has worked on live shows for renowned artists such as Bob Dylan, Madonna, Radiohead, David Bowie and others.

From hip-hop to hardcore rock to ballads, the 42-year-old former Seo Taiji and Boys’ leader is arguably one of the industry’s most eclectic singers, often credited as the most influential figure in the development of Korean popular culture and the K-pop genre.

Aside from Seo’s new singles, the ’90s icon also took the audience back more than two decades to his Seo Taiji and Boys days, bringing back nostalgic memories of the young superstar with his baggy pants and beanie cap producing songs going up against “the man” and calling out for political and social reform.

On Saturday he sang the group’s popular single “My Everything” ― the first time he has performed the song in 22 years. Near the end of the show, up-and-coming local rap stars Swings and Vasco joined Seo on stage, where the trio performed Seo Taiji and Boys’ most iconic hit singles: “Come Back Home,” “Class Idea” and “Hayeoga.”

The singer capped off his epic 90-minute comeback concert with a picturesque display of fireworks and an encore performance of “Take Five.”
By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)