Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

REVIEW AND PHOTOS: Bang Yong Guk Brings Successful Tour “The Colors Of Bang Yong Guk” To A Close

On July 26th, Bang Yong Guk (the legendary B.A.P leader and now soloist) held the final stop of his “The Colors Of Bang Yong Guk” tour in Thailand!

Going from New York, London, Warsaw, Manila, Singapore, Paris, and more, the tour took Bang Yong Guk around the world to meet his faithful fans who have been eagerly awaiting his concerts.

In fact, What The Kpop (WTK) was at the Atlanta stop of the tour on June 8th at Buckhead Theatre to see this amazing artist and to watch the show in all its glory! Read on to see our full review of the night!

The Countdown

Looking out over the crowd that evening, one could spot many loyal B.A.P and Bangsters with their Matoki light sticks.

People were decked out in red and black in honor of Bang Yong Guk, green in honor of B.A.P, and silver as per the requested dress code for that stop of the tour. Many also sported merchandise from the tour such as caps, bandanas, crop tops, and even fake tattoos which Yong Guk later sheepishly and playfully asked the fans to buy by lifting up his shirt to display his own real tattoos.

For many, this was the first time they were seeing Bang Yong Guk. For others, it was a very long-awaited reunion.

The Pre-Show

At about 6 p.m., fans were let into the hall and those on the lower level made their way to the front of the stage.

Fans of B.A.P (known as BABYz) have always known that Yong Guk was instrumental in the concepts for B.A.P such as lyrics, composition, outfits, and music videos. Therefore, newer fans were surprised by the dramatic music which welcomed them like an action movie and later giggled when the music shifted in tone, playing “Everything is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie.”

Around 7 p.m., DJ Samuel Ku came out and played some tunes to warm up the crowd. Samuel Ku worked with Yong Guk on the title track for his newest EP, The Colors of Love. He has also worked with artists such as Victoria, JIA, Park Jihoon, and Kep1er

Although he wasn’t given much time to hype up the crowd, Samuel Ku later served as an MC and translator for Yong Guk. It was evident that he was very in sync with the main act as the two displayed matching energy levels and vibes throughout the concert. You could tell they were playing together on stage and having fun which resonated with the audience as well!

It Begins

The concert started off in full blast with Samuel Ku bathed in red lights and announcing Bang Yong Guk to the stage around 7:15 p.m. I don’t blame the countless fans, myself included, for recording the moment he appeared with steady, powerful strides. Holding a microphone in his hand and flashing a big smile, the crowd went wild with happy screams! For at least ten minutes, I couldn’t believe he was actually there in front of us.

Blue and green lights pierced through the red room as he yelled, “Wassup, ATL!” He greeted us dressed in simple, baggy jeans and a white, button-up shirt which emphasized his good looks before he began his song “G.M.T,” the first song from his mini-album 2, as the lights painted everyone in B.A.P green. The concert had finally started!

We Missed You

Throughout the concert, Yong Guk appeared impressed with how well the crowd knew the fan chants for his new songs and how they would sing along in Korean. When the words became muddled and quiet, he would pick up the slack with a grateful grin and go full throttle back into his song.

Never in my life have I heard a deeper voice. When he speaks, feels like can hear him speaking from the depths of the Mariana Trench so it’s a little jolting when you hear that voice coming from such an angelic face. He knows that his unique voice is his major strength and what sets him apart from most vocalists!

Next up on the setlist was “Up,” the title track from the E, 2. This is a song which he produced an artistic and dark MV. I highly recommend that you check it out! He moved up close to the fans as the music got louder and mouthed the first lines to coax fans to sing with him. In the first verse, he showed off charming confidence that required no body rolls or hip thrusts to make it sexy. This man owned the stage, not even breaking a sweat yet.

After “Up”, Yong Guk shyly greeted the fans with improved English. “I’m excited to be back in Atlanta. Hey guys, how are you feeling tonight?” As fans screamed wildly, he then grinned and said, “Oh? Are you guys ready? Are you ready to get crazy? Let’s go!”

“Race” started ramping up in the background with the familiar electric guitar and pounding drums. The stage looked like it was on fire with red, orange, and yellow lights dancing around the hall. It was one of the most anticipated songs for me to see live as it was his first digital single after finishing his time in the military. For a more detailed review on “Race”, click here!

If you’ve been at a K-pop concert lately, you may have noticed something happening recently when fans get overcome with passion and excitement for the artist that they began chanting “hoo hoo hoo hoo” Arsenio Hall-style.

If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, the chant was originally spelled out “woof woof woof woof” and first popularized on the hit 90s late-night talk show “The Arsenio Hall Show.” His fans, known as the Dog Pound, would welcome him to the stage by pounding their fists in the air and barking or woofing like dogs. Although a similar sound was made in the movie 300 and sports fans also make a sound as well, the Dog Pound chant has been resurrected over the past couple of years among the American K-pop crowds!

I have witnessed it and joined in at ATEEZ, NCT Dream, and NCT 127 concerts. It is a silly and fun action of camaraderie to welcome the artists to the stage, cheer them on after an especially excellent song, and serves to bind fans to each other and to the performer as well.

Since these chants appear to be specific to American fans, K-pop artists have often made mention of them at their concerts once they hear them. Bang Yong Guk was no exception, so when he heard the chants after “Race,” he tried hard not to spill his water when he was surprised and then began smiling widely. He then turned to the crowd and said, “You guys are the best!” Proud screams promptly erupted in the hall.

Next up was the song “Rain on Me.” It was less rock and roll and more electro, deep bass, and club music. The stage lights morphed into smooth purple and blue colors with green hues, giving off club vibes. The track featured artist COE’s high and melodic voice and complemented Yong Guk’s rap.

As a matter of fact, had I not known it was a different artist, I would have assumed COE was fellow B.A.P member’s Moon Jongup as they would often be paired as a high-low combo for some music compositions in B.A.P’s songs like “Fire Flame” and “Dystopia.”

Another song I was looking forward to was “U.F.O.” It’s an amazing song to perform at a concert! It starts off with him singing in a sweet and soothing manner— uncharacteristic of Yong Guk’s usual discography. As a BABY, I love that he named one of his songs “U.F.O.” There is no doubt in my mind that it is a nod to the B.A.P Matoki, a beloved icon that gives comfort to BABYz everywhere on Earth, in Space, and Beyond.

Tissue Time

The lights turned into a somber red, as Yongguk transitioned into his more emotional songs with “HIKIKOMORI” being the first one.

For those who don’t know, “HIKIKOMORI” is a Japanese word that refers both to the person and the condition where one withdraws completely from society for confinement or social isolation. The word “hikikomori” can be translated as “pulling inward” or “being confined.” This withdrawal from society is often accompanied by feelings of anxiety, fear, depression, or a sense of overwhelming social pressure.

For those who followed B.A.P’s career, fans are familiar with the members speaking out about mental illness and the pressures they faced day to day. An extremely poignant reminder of this was their groundbreaking song “Wake Me Up,” a song released in 2017, which Yong Guk chose to perform. You could hear the frustration, anger, and sadness in his voice.

After the sadness that Yong Guk put fans through with these two songs, he then proceeded to absolutely shatter their hearts when the first piano notes of “I Remember” rang out from the dark. You could literally see and hear fans crying and singing along to the much-loved, pre-debut song duet originally sung by Bang Yong Guk and fellow B.A.P member Jung Daehyun.

I’ll admit that I was one of them, especially when I could hear Daehyun’s legendary vocals ring out via the recorded music and watched as Yong Guk sang along with his voice.

I may have been imagining it, but during this song, Yong Guk would often turn his face upward while looking bittersweet and emotional. He obviously misses his team. We all do! It was the one song in the entire concert where Bang Yong Guk didn’t move around much onstage, for once not owning its vastness.

To lighten the mood, he next performed, “Screwed Up,” a bouncy and smooth R&B track with soft backing vocals that echoed in the chorus. He rapped in legato and sheepishly grinned while he played cupid on stage by letting an arrow fly.

We Are His Green

After that guilty pleasure of a song, Yong Guk asked a fan in the front for their Matoki. Fans screamed with happiness as they saw the leader of B.A.P smile and hold his own group’s lightstick with love. He asked the crowd, “What color is this?” “GREEN!” they shouted. He almost purred, “All my ladies, put your hands up. Let’s go.”

The sweet strumming of the guitar began for “Green,” featuring feathery vocals from SOOVI. Bang Yong Guk asked the fans to sway from side to side with their Matoki in hand as all the stage lights turned green. He smiled as he looked out at the field of his green.

“Ride or Die” can easily be a favorite song for long drives through the city night, much like in the music video. He started the song not rapping, but in a somewhat high pitch for him, serenading the audience with his raspy voice. The pre-chorus is melodic and gently ramps up by adding more beats and instruments until the drop which spins the mood into a thumping, lovesick, electro beat.

The song is the title track of his most recent EP, The Colors of Love. It made sense that most people in the crowd were able to sing along and follow the fan chants. Notably, this may be one of his only title tracks that has him singing the lyrics more than rapping. For this song, he was all smiles and started to bounce, throwing in some body rolls and swaying his hips more. He was feeling it!

Turn Up the Heat

Rolling into the second hour, Yong Guk goes “Off” with his fifth song from his EP 2. It is an absolute banger with a catchy chorus, aggressive rapping, a playful ascending and descending synth, and a hypnotic chant. This song does indeed go “off.” It’s a song that is best started with throwing water at the crowd— which is what Yong Guk did naturally.

As if the crowd wasn’t pumped up enough already, after the song ended, there was a silence for a brief second. Suddenly, Yong Guk started to repeatedly yell, “Yama-zaki!” as if possessed. Fans began to catch on and chant with him, and the air buzzed with energy. The first notes of “Yamazaki” crept into the room, and fans lost it once more.

By popular opinion, “Xie Xie,” “Yamazaki,” and “Ya” are probably the three songs that people most want to see in concert. The ferocious and enticingly dangerous energy of this song is not to be underestimated. It seeps into your skin and the low bass in the background hums in your brain. “Yamazaki” is almost always performed under red lights. So, as it shifted to the fiery color, Yong Guk grabbed another water bottle and sprayed it on himself and the crowd. It was hot in there!

Setting Sun

Still in the glow of the “Yamazaki” lights, Yong Guk spoke to the crowd. “I really want to say, I really hope you all love yourself as much as you love me. Thank you for coming out tonight.”

As the red glow turned into a cozy gold and orange, Yong Guk serenaded with the sweet and jazzy “Orange Drive, his last single before he enlisted in 2019. It evoked special, personal memories for me and had that kind of nostalgic vibe in general. Filled with promises of self-love and a few thoughts of his family, Yong Guk smiled as a friendly lone saxophone played in the background.

Waiting Game (Reprise)

There was a brief intermission, and even though it was planned, it felt like a held breath. Would he come out again? Would we see him again? Thankfully, Samuel Ku came back out and called Yong Guk out once more. To grateful cheers and applause, Bang Yong Guk came soaring back onto the stage with his arms out like an airplane.

The bouncy, hip-hop track of “Xie Xie” began playing and everybody in the building started bopping their heads. At the start of the first verse, Yong Guk mischievously picked up another water bottle. At the drop of the chorus, he threw water everywhere to hype up the crowd. I wouldn’t be surprised if this song is the reason why most B.A.P fans know how to say “thank you,” “I love you,” and “I’m doing very well” in Chinese.

After the track, Yong Guk then stripped off his soaked shirt, put on a shirt from his concert merchandise and rolled up the sleeves before grinning at the DJ— much to the absolute delight of the fans. Without missing a beat, he picked up another water bottle as “Yamazaki” was performed again for the encore (to the complaints of no one)! It’s one of those songs where I have no idea just where he goes to take a breath. He is that fast and furious with his raps.

It became a madhouse at the barrier when Yong Guk sang his final song, “See You Later,” a perfect tune for farewells. He came down to the barrier and, ever the professional, never missed a beat performing while giving fans high-fives, completing their half-hearts, and taking photos.

Finally, he hopped back on stage to give his farewell message. “Hey guys, thank you for coming out tonight. I love you, guys. Tonight, I am truly touched, thank you so much. Your support means the world. Thank you very much.”

Final Thoughts

Even for concert-goers who had never seen him before and were new to his music, they couldn’t help but be impressed. One person who attended said this:

“Even as a solo artist, his dynamic presence on stage is so powerful. You can see the impact he has on the crowd. Even from the back of the venue, you can hear how deafening the cheers are for him. All you can see is everyone moving in harmony to the beats of his songs— lightsticks or not.

His intentions to share his love for Atlanta are received with so much love from the Atlanta crowd. He knows people are having a good time because instead of being on their phones, everyone was screaming, dancing and having fun tonight. He’s so personable interacting with the audience [that] it almost feels intimate no matter where you’re standing in the room.

He mentions his dream of performing these songs onstage with his fans and now it came true. Song after song, his fans are singing loudly with him. No need for flashy stage productions, backup dancers, and fancy effects— just him, his mic, and his love for music. He shines so strong on that stage which is apparent once you see him live. What an incredible solo artist!”

They say time flies when you’re having fun! But at the Bang Yong Guk concert in Atlanta, it was more like time flies when you’ve been transported to another realm! Because that was the feeling I got when I was having the time of my life at that concert.

Attending Yong Guk’s concert was like a meeting of the past, present, and future. A few beloved songs from the past, Yong Guk’s latest hits, and all our hopes for more future meetings were brought together at Buckhead Theatre that night. It was much awaited and much enjoyed, and I’m always looking forward to the next one. There is just something special about Bang Yong Guk.

Bang Yong Guk, congratulations for a successful world tour! Thank you, and we hope to see you again very soon! Many thanks to Live Nation and MyMusicTaste for allowing WTK to attend this concert as press!

What did you think of Bang Yong Guk’s “The Colors of Bang Yong Guk” world tour? Do you have any special memories from the tour? Which stop were you able to attend? Which city or country do you hope he will add on his next tour? Let us know by tweeting to us @whatthekpop1 or leaving us a comment on Facebook or Instagram!

AMP_POWER is an Asian culture enthusiast from the US who enjoys having discussions with fellow fans about the industry and newcomers who are interested in broadening their horizons and expanding their taste in music. Having lived in Asia for a few years, she would be overjoyed to grab a cup of tea and sit down with you to tell of her cherished adventures. Art is her Life.

Media: What The Kpop
Review: Ann Powell, Photography by Solita Delacruz
(Thank you to Live Nation for granting WTK photo access.)