[Herald Review] G-Dragon reveals ‘true self’ at Seoul concert

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Jun 11, 2017 - 11:19
  • Updated : Jun 11, 2017 - 17:08

From the singer’s outfits to the concert lighting and his microphone, everything on stage was splashed a bloody red, a color that represented the theme of G-Dragon’s Saturday solo performance: going back to the roots of his birth. 

G-Dragon performs during a concert at Sangam World Cup Stadium in Seoul on Saturday. (YG Entertainment)

“Hello, my name is Kwon Ji-yong. You are witnessing the first-ever concert by ‘the human Kwon Ji-yong’,” the frontman of Big Bang screamed at 40,000 fans after opening his set at the “2017 Concert: Act III, M.O.T.T.E” on Saturday at Sangam World Cup Stadium in Seoul with his first solo hit “Heartbreaker” and then moving onto “Breathe” and “A Boy.”

G-Dragon’s approach to his third concert as a solo artist was simple. After spending a majority of his life in the limelight, the Korean superstar wanted to reflect on his true self and show audience a more private side of 30-year-old Kwon Ji-yong, G-Dragon’s non-stage persona. 

G-Dragon performs during a concert at Sangam World Cup Stadium in Seoul on Saturday. (YG Entertainment)

“Standing in front of you as ‘G-Dragon’ for so long made me wonder what my real self would look like. I’ve suffered from so much physical and mental distress preparing for the latest album, but it gave me a chance to look back at myself,” the artist said.

G-Dragon’s new EP, released Thursday, bears his real name as the title as if to explore his persona without his celebrity status. Although G-Dragon did not directly address the marijuana controversy surrounding his fellow member T.O.P, he made a joke that the concert was within an inch from not happening.

A sea of fans welcomed the artist’s honest confession by screaming and waving crown-shaped glow sticks in the group’s signature color yellow.

Before ramping up the audience, G-Dragon didn’t forget to warn fans about the red-soaked stage that portrayed a “mother’s womb,” the early stages of life before being covered in fame, glory and riches. 

G-Dragon performs during a concert at Sangam World Cup Stadium in Seoul on Saturday. (YG Entertainment)

Full of swag and energy, G-Dragon galloped on to show his old hits such as “But I Love You,” “One of a Kind,” “R.O.D,” “The Leaders” and “Black.” During a performance of “Obsession,” a female fan jumped onto the stage and grabbed G-Dragon, but the artist smoothed out the interruption by continuing with his performance until she was escorted out.

There were plenty of other pleasant surprises to the already heated stage. The audience’s cheers grew louder when singer IU took to the stage to perform her hit “Palette” with G-Dragon, who had featured in the song’s rapping. After the performance that marked their first on-stage duet for the song, the audience was able watch them having small talk. 

G-Dragon performs during a concert at Sangam World Cup Stadium in Seoul on Saturday. (YG Entertainment)

G-Dragon shared that he had received a fridge full of bottles of soju wrapped with banners of his face, as a gift from IU after he worked on “Palette.” “It was enough to drink until I enlist in the army. I still feel dizzy,” G-Dragon said. IU wittily replied that he would have to drink them up before he enters the army next year. The two wrapped up the collaboration by singing G-Dragon’s “Missing You” together.

In line with the theme, the concert also featured heartfelt interviews with G-Dragon’s acquaintances about what kind of person he was. A screened video showed band mates Daesung and Taeyang, label mates Psy and CL, his celebrity friends and staff members sharing their thoughts on G-Dragon. The video also showed a rare scene of the artist’s father supporting his son with a message that Kwon was the best son in the world.

After performing tracks from his new EP including “Superstar,” “Intro. Middle Fingers-up” and “Bullshit” in a row, G-Dragon chugged some water, panted for breath, picked up the microphone and finally said, “Now I’m running out of energy.”

But he kept on sharing his earnest thoughts about what this concert truly meant.

“Being a singer has always been a dream from my childhood, but now that I have run toward this goal for so long, I feel like I’m living in a dream. It feels so good, but I sometimes lose track of what is real and what is a dream. So I’m trying to get back to how I was in the beginning,” he said. 

G-Dragon’s concert at Sangam World Cup Stadium in Seoul on Saturday. (YG Entertainment)

He also joked by asking fans if they would still welcome 32-year-old G-Dragon when he returns from his military duty that will begin next year. The crowd gave its answer by cheering even before he finished his words.

With thunderous requests for an encore, he wrapped up the concert with his classic hits “This Love,” “Crooked” and the new album’s lead track “Untitled 2014,” in which he crooned about a past romance.

Saturday’s Seoul concert marked the beginning of his tour across 19 cities around the world, including Macau, Singapore, Bangkok, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, New York, Sydney, Osaka and Tokyo.

By Hong Dam-young (lotus@heraldcorp.com)