[Herald Review] Kendrick Lamar storms Seoul, despite glitches

By Yoon Min-sik
  • Published : Jul 31, 2018 - 13:53
  • Updated : Jul 31, 2018 - 13:53

The first concert in Korea for hip-hop royalty Kendrick Lamar was long overdue, but he showed his mastery in Seoul, despite a short set with a few hiccups.

Performing before the sell-out crowd for the Hyundai Card Super Concert on Monday at Jamsil Sports Complex, Lamar proved his reputation through and through, as he orchestrated the 20,000 crowd.

Opening the action was “DNA,” a wildly-popular song that you hear it in virtually every hip-hop club in Korea. 

Kendrick Lamar performs in a concert held Monday in Seoul. (Hyundai Card)
Kendrick Lamar performs in a concert held Monday in Seoul. (Hyundai Card)

“Korea, are you ready to party!” the rapper from Compton, California, egged on the crowd as he switched gears with “Element” from his latest album “Damn.”

The crowd put their hands up and raved on, succumbing to the pumping adrenaline.

The crowd chanting along to the words of “Lust,” “Pride,” was a testament to how big Lamar is in Korea. They were relentless despite the merciless heat that has been scorching the peninsula.

As much as the winner of 12 Grammy awards is known for his groove, flow and rhymes, Lamar is also a storyteller who touches on social issues. In 2018, his album “Damn” became the first nonclassical, nonjazz album to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. 

Kendrick Lamar performs in a concert held Monday in Seoul. (Hyundai Card)
Kendrick Lamar performs in a concert held Monday in Seoul. (Hyundai Card)

Monday night’s entertainment in southern Seoul was packed as “Buzzin,” “King Kunta,” “Big Shot,” “Goosebumps,” “Collard Greens,” “Backseat Freestyle” were only some of the songs performed by the living legend.

Despite the party fever, there were some hiccups along the way, including a shortage of staff in some areas.

The audience members were sorted according to sections and were to wait in line to enter the arena. At one point, the line broke and people started flooding to the entrances with no staff members present to maintain order.

The biggest issue were the technical difficulties that struck twice during the songs. The first occurred in the middle of “Swimming Pools” when vocals were suddenly cut off. Lamar remained calm and kept rapping the words until the sound came back on.

But some of the crowd lost patience when it happened again during “Loyalty,” at which point the party was in full gear. Boos were heard from some, and Lamar had to work to fire up the crowd again.

Despite a brief moment of bewilderment, the veteran musician maintained his composure and wrapped up the performance with the Grammy-winning song “Humble.”

By that point, just an hour had passed and the crowd demanded an encore, after which Lamar came back up onstage to perform “All the Stars.”

It was a pleasant experience for Korean fans who longed to see Lamar up front, but many complained about the length of the show, which was not much longer than the opening performance by SiR.

The outdoor concert also suffered from the record heat, and making the crowd wait under the scorching sun ahead of the concert was not a good idea.

Super Concert is an event held since 2007 that features top musicians. Past performers include Coldplay, Eminem, Lady Gaga and legends like Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Metallica.

By Yoon Min-sik