When it comes to highly-entertaining K-pop performer Psy, there are some things you just can’t do: You just do not sit down at a Psy concert or leave seat in the middle of the show.
Friday’s “2017 Summer Swag” concert (“Soaking Wet Show” in Korean) was over three hours of pure madness and fun that had the 25,000 fans soaked to the skin and jumping with excitement. The show was part one of a two-day extravaganza at Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul, in which the crowd was sprayed with water during highlights of the concert to beat the sweltering summer heat and humidity.
“Everyone back stage was telling me. Unbelievable crowd tonight, they’re totally crazy. Thank you so much,” Psy told the delighted, screaming fans during the concert.
He was not exaggerating. The “Gangnam Style” star blew them away, deploying 150 tons of water, 1,600 LED tiles and 1,500 fireworks to keep the crowd buzzing. Sprinklers that were all over stadium were intense enough to make reporters in the press seats, who were told that they would be safe from a soaking, move backwards to save their laptops.
Psy kicked off the night with his 2017 release “I Luv It,” and fans immediately got on their feet, bouncing along to at the electro-house hit. He followed with a rock remix version of his old classics “Champion” and “Entertainer.”
“My dear if you want it, anywhere in the world is a stage,” sang Psy as sprinklers showered the fans with water.
He then gave the audience a chance to calm down with ballad “In My Eye,” or so it seemed.
Psy performs during 2017 Summer Swag concert at Jamsil Olympic Stadium in southern Seoul on Friday. (YG Entertainment)
“I’ve noticed that the people in the second floor sat down as soon as the ballad song started. What was that about?” the pop star said jokingly, as the eager fans on the seating areas once again complied with his tacit command by immediately jumping to their feet.
Catering to his old fans, there was also time to go retro as he performed “Bird” -- a title track of his 2001 debut album that earned him his reputation as a “bizarre singer” -- with his trademark bird dance. After singing “Gentleman,” he announced that he would do something he normally doesn’t do: Sing a song for couples at his concert.
Instead of galloping on stage, Psy calmly sit down on a chair and began to sing “What Would It Have Been Like” -- a bittersweet ballad about a couple reminiscing on their time together -- when suddenly IU appeared on the stage to complete the duet. She added sweetness on top of the heated show by singing melancholy ballad “Through the Night” and upbeat dance pop “Good Day.”
After claiming the stage for himself once again, Psy presented hits like “Right Now,” teary “Father” and “It’s Art,” giving the audience no time to dry themselves and soaking them in water.
Zion.T, another guest of the show, briefly broke the parade of high-energy tunes by soothing the audience with his sweet vocals in “Eat” and “Yanghwa BRDG.”
But it was during “Dream” when something truly special happened after the singer rolled out “New Face,” “Daddy” and “We Are the One.”
The sprinklers sprayed water -- this time not at the audience but on stage -- in a circular form on which image of late veteran rocker Shin Hae-chul appeared. Shin’s face and his words “Maybe life is just a long dream” acted as a tribute for the Korean’s legendary musician, who was Psy’s longtime friend.
The intro for Psy’s last song of the concert got the audience pumped up even before the famous line “Oppan Gangnam Style” was leashed out. Although the 2012 smash hit’s music video is no longer the most-watched video on YouTube, the song was never too old for fans, as they head-banged and horse-danced to the tunes with the “Gangnam Style” star.
Night had wrapped up, but nobody seemed eager to leave.
Psy, of course, teased crowds there was more to come and urged the screaming fans to crank up to volume. Amid their deafening screams, “DJ Psy” appeared on the stage to play and perform a medley of fan favorite dance songs of the ’90s.
“Someday, we will meet again,” Psy sang in a 1993 Korean pop classic “Someday,” but the fans were not ready to say goodbye yet.
“Out of all the concerts I’ve done, this is the lowest rate of fans going home!” Psy said with relish as he prepared for the final run.
After a medley of old-school Korean rock and 1980 classic “As Time Goes By,” Psy saluted the crowd one last time with a full version of “Champion” that ended the night on a high note.
Psy first introduced “Swag Show,” which later became one of his must-see-shows, in 2011 and performed it again in 2012, but hadn’t revived it until this year.
Psy opened the 2017 “Swag Show” tour with a Busan concert on July 29, and will continue with concerts on Aug. 11 in Daejeon, Aug. 19 in Daegu and Aug. 26 in Gwangju.
By Hong Dam-young (firstname.lastname@example.org