AU ABROAD

Hello Asia! Live Review: B.A.P Live on Earth, Australia Attack - Festival Hall (08.05.14)

After touring South Korea, Europe, and finishing up their final shows in the United States just last week, the six handsome boys from South Korea's B.A.P finally touched down in Australia on Friday.

The March announcement of B.A.P’s Australian concerts was definitely an exciting surprise; despite hundreds of petitions to get a number of popular Korean bands to perform in Australia – a commonly ignored destination - it is indeed a rare occurrence that Australian Korean Pop fans have the opportunity to see big artists like this, particularly in Melbourne. Thousands of incredibly eager and excited fans from across Australia and even overseas had begun lining up from as early as 5am. Yet, by lunchtime the queue had found itself wrapped around the building and up the street. Camps of B.A.P fans, or BABYZ as they are called, were found to be passionately singing all day, ears pressed up against the brick walls as sound checks took place sporadically throughout the day. And, in a moment of perfect delirium, a few lucky, keen-eyed individuals waiting at the back of the performance hall were treated to a small glimpse of a white van - inside, they could see the six brightly shining smiles that everyone had come to see!

To make this concert even more momentous was that the majority of the audience was made up of first time K-Pop concert goers; in their first opportunity to see their idols, everyone was armed with an artillery of fan-chants, light sticks, and banners, ready to storm Melbourne’s famous Festival Hall.
The opening sequence created a sense of mounting hysteria in a true test of patience for Australian BABYZ; a myriad of fan-chants for Yongguk, Himchan, Jongup, Daehyun, Youngjae, and maknae Zelo almost silenced out the audio that led up to the opening song.

Like a bang, all six men powerfully and passionately stormed the stage in what may only be wonderfully described as a truly strong and dynamic performance, opening with their smash hit "One Shot". Punchy, perfectly in-sync, and well-executed choreography matched with the hypnotic beat, sublime vocals, and a joined chorus of "wooh ooh ooh ooh's" set a very high standard for the rest of the two hour show - a standard that fans of the entirely talented Korean sextet have come to expect of the boys since their debut just a mere two years ago. From the start, it was undeniably clear that B.A.P were out to differentiate themselves as an entirely versatile group.

Intensity prevailed, with the high-octane 'Bad Man' and powerful 'Power' featuring next. In a matter of a mere fifteen minutes, everyone had been worked up in a state of B.A.P fever. "It's time to make things right," they exclaimed to a mass of screaming fans, "Together, we got the power. We are B.A.P, yessir!"

The show was off to a truly magnificent start.

In a matter of mere moments B.A.P took a small departure from the magnitude of their strength; taking a one hundred and eighty degree turn, we were all transported to Starbaby's Coffee Shop. All six boys were pulling out all stops to charm the audience, making an impressive and considerable effort to communicate to their audience in English. "Like my show?" they asked, charming the audience with their big, beautiful smiles and cheeky winks. "Let's have a break time! Do you want to drink a coffee?"

Like that, some of the members treated a few lucky fans to orange juice, before sweetly serenading the audience with their recent pop-hit 'Coffee Shop'.

Just as we had all thought we had regained some level of acceptable composure, our six handsome men brought an all-consuming fiery heat to the stage; screaming for mercy, fans were sent into hysteria once again as B.A.P boomed and clapped their way through an electric 'No Mercy'. Once again, B.A.P's incredibly versatile repertoire took center stage; with echoing an "BOOM CLAP, BOOM BOOM CLAP" still ringing in the air, the boys delivered a more emotional performance after a brief costume change, sending fans of all ages reaching for their tissues. However, everyone was soon grabbing their umbrellas as the boys, draped in beautiful white shirts, with the beautiful "Rain Sound".

Just when things could not be more provocative, Jongup treated everybody to a solo dance performance, showing the best of his sweet, sweet moves before ripping his muslin white shirt and exposing his famous, perfectly sculptured torso. "Hey... Do you like my six-pack?" he asked later during the show, evoking a wave of giggles, sighs, and high-pitched squeals.

Yes, Jongup. Yes we do.

His stunning performance was the prelude to an evocative performance of ‘Save Me’, eliciting frenzied screams as all six members appeared back on stage in perfectly unblemished white shirts. This song, featuring on their first album 'First Sensibility' which was released earlier this year, showed off the best of their combined vocal ability. Fans were mesmerised, green Matoki light sticks swaying in the air as the boys belted out this beautiful ballad.

Overwhelmed by emotion, fan girls were saved by a special service announcement from planet Mato. Claiming to manipulate human hormones, we were all introduced to a brand new dance; together, as the B.A.P boys joined in on stage, everyone within the Hall was joyfully dancing and laughing to ‘Check On’.

The talents of each member were increasingly evident as the concert progressed. It continues to be so blatantly clear that these men were truly artists in their field; their stamina was truly remarkable, as they sang and stomped their way through the night, never missing a beat. Despite strenuous movement, requiring peak physicality and endurance, B.A.P remained at the top of their game, showing no signs of slowing down at any point of the show. With only a few songs to go, the boys just as enthusiastically and passionately performed such hits as the fast-paced ‘Spy’, the grungy ‘Bang X2’, and at the peak of the concert the roof was on fire with a rousing performance of ‘Hurricane’.

Yet, once the boys had left the stage, the fans had not quite had enough. After a montage of twitter messages from each band member appearing on screen, the B.A.P made an encore performance, angelically appearing side-by-side in strikingly dazzling white suits. Without any more encouragement, they sweetly sang their latest award-winning hit – the dramatic and heart-breaking love song ‘1004 (Angel)’.

Just before everyone thought it was all over, everyone was gifted with one last performance – their debut single, the dark, foot-stomping thriller ‘Warrior’, creating the loudest reaction from the audience of the night. Right up until the very end, B.A.P truly lived up to expectations; as any fan would attest, they did not let anyone forget that they were, indeed the 'best', 'absolute', and entirely 'perfect'. B.A.P.'s LIVE ON EARTH TOUR was nothing short of out of this world.

Earth needs justice, love, passion, happiness, and emotion. Most of all, "Earth needs... You!" What is for sure is that Earth definitely needs B.A.P, in all of their bare-armed, body-curling, hip shimmying, butt-shaking, crouch thrusting glory.

Urgently, we were reminded, "Don't forget us!" And I am sure that for everyone who holds Korean Pop close to their hearts, it will be impossible to not remember B.A.P and the way that their first Aussie concerts have continued to pave the way for the future of Korean music in Melbourne and Australia.

Limited General Standing Tickets are still available for B.A.P.'s Sydney concert at Luna Park's Big Top, this coming Saturday. Be quick, as tickets are selling fast and you do not want to miss out!