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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

[Review] 2NE1’s New Evolution Global Tour in Los Angeles

via L.A. Weekly by Timothy Morris

“Fine. I’ll fix it,” I said as I took my T-shirt off, turned it inside out and put it back on at the entrance of the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles, CA. The usher at the entrance gasped and tried to tell me not to do it, as if she had never seen a woman in her bra before. Not only had I arrived to the first ever 2NE1 concert in the West Coast on Aug. 24th thirty minutes late and could hear them singing “Pretty Boy,” but my friends and I were being stalled at the metal detectors for wearing a certain SSUR T-shirt. I had to take matters into my own hands and fix such insignificant “problem.”

And yet still, the manager (?), after being called in and had taken forever to get there, still wouldn’t let us in. I mean, really, Mr. You-Probably-Hate-Your-Job-And-That’s-Why-You’re-Such-An-A**hole? I’m not trying to make a statement, I only want to find my $170 seat and enjoy the South Korean girl band I came to see, geez. But after our “last warning” and being threatened to be kicked out, I finally ran to disturb many, many attendees enjoying Dara’s “Kiss” performance. I reached my seat just in time to see the backup dancers holding some guy’s hands and seating him in a chair, which lead Dara to prance around and give him a kiss on the cheek. After watching countless K-Dramas and variety shows, that’s a big deal! The crowd cheered.

Although the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live was pretty packed and it’s been reported that it was a sold out show, it wasn’t. Whole rows were suspiciously empty at the orchestra section, which lead my friends and I (who had bought separate tickets) to occupy them so we could sit together. Other people followed.
Ironically, the first full song we heard was “It Hurts,” a ballad, to which my friends and I just stood there, sulking at the news that 2NE1 had opened the show with “I Am the Best” (a.k.a. one of the best K-pop songs ever!) and we missed it. Great. I tried to smile and sing to  “Lonely,” but it I was still kind of sad and pissed off. My friends and I were trying to get out of the slump throughout “In the Club” and “Stay Together,” but then the next best thing happened.

The stage lights went out and a dim red light fell over them. “When you feel like there’s no way out, love is the only way,” sang CL. It was “I Love You,” their most recent hit and current obsession. Our inner fan girl instantly came out (did I mention my two friends are gay? Duh, right?), and we danced the *insert curse word for which we were almost denied access to the show here* out of the song. Especially during, “I love you every day, don’t get away, take me away. I love you every day, in every way, neor sa ranghae,” which sounds extra pretty in my fancam because of my lovely, untrained voice.  

After “I Love You,” everything went uphill. “Ugly” was a surprisingly emotional but fun experience for me, even though I always make fun of my friend Javi who “belts” out the song when driving all the time (no, you don’t sing well, Javier). I truly believed he would cry; kudos for not doing so. I especially liked their slightly disfigured faces on the LED screens while they sang. “Ugly” was one of the loudest songs sung by the attendees (maybe because the whole chorus is in English). But if I thought I had danced my cute little ass derrière off with anything played before “Scream,” their Japanese single, I was wrong. I think this is the time to point out what a superstar CL is. I’ll trade you any Western pop star (excluding Britney and Gaga because, well, I love them) for CL. Seriously, that girl is ridiculously cool on stage. She didn’t sing the chorus but, well, screamed, as a fan blew her fabulously dyed blond-ish hair. I can’t really say “Scream” was their best performance since I missed the first half of the show, but I can assure you it was mind-blowing and a highlight.

CL’s energy and charisma on stage was superior to the other members, with Minzy at a close second. Dara, in my opinion, looked frail (I know she’s really thin but, oh my god!) and didn’t measure up to the others. The big surprise for me was Bom. I used to find her annoying after hearing G.D. and T.O.P.’s “Oh Yeah,” but she was vindicated in my book by her overall performance that night. Reviews describe her as distant or not-really-there, but she seemed playful and kind of dumb in a cute way to me. I will say she did appear nervous at first, but I didn’t mind it that much. I especially liked how she couldn’t get on the giant, blow-out pearl necklace while singing her “I Don’t Care” part during the encore.

During “Can’t Nobody,” CL forgot a few verses and Bom sang the first chorus like their Korean version. However, I’m not bashing on them, singing a whole song in a language that is not your first? Mistakes are bound to happen. Nevertheless, I channeled my inner CL and sang and rapped the whole song. Other songs performed include “Don’t Stop the Music,” “I Hate You,” and “FIRE.” Furthermore, each girl had their solos, including CL’s DJ act.   

But before I get to the grand finale, I have to talk about the outfits. It’s no secret that American designer Jeremy Scott is friends with the girls and has collaborated with them in the past (he was actually in the audience that night). So naturally, when 2NE1 announced their first global tour (first Korean girl group to do so), their dear friend signed up to design their ensembles (another first for Korean girl groups). My favorites, by far, were the next to last ensembles. 
Given that Minzy is underage, I guess her company covers her up more than the other members. I mean, when she wore the lilac dress with the crazy stuffed animal-head crop bolero, leggings covered her legs. Even in their metallic pink outfits, Minzy had pants while the rest of the members showed some skin. Nonetheless, the bolero was awesome. I wish I could pull it off. Speaking of animal heads, I need CL’s lime green monster’s mouth crop top in my life. Dara’s fur dress also yearned to get in my closet but I can’t pull that off either. I mean, no silhouette and head-to-toe fur? Only on Dara’s iny bitty body. As for the neon chains dangling from the dress –now those I can pull off. Lastly, Bom’s jumpsuit was pretty blah. It was puffy and blue, but not as cool as the others.

Now, back to the show. I can’t remember during which song this conversation took place, but while my friend Javi and I were still upset about missing the first song, he told me they would probably play it again at the end. Yeah, right, when has that happened? Well, it happened… A remix of “I Am the Best” pounded through the speakers and the LED screens displayed a simulation of a YouTube video with the title of the song along with The Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am’s name. And then he came out and rapped and danced along with the girls. And then apl.de.ap also crashed the stage. Although kind of expected (since will.i.am’s collaboration with 2NE1 not being a secret), his appearance was surprising and exciting. I was mesmerized. It completely made up for not being there for the opening.
Once the song ended, the girls bowed down, thanked everyone and left the stage. The fans chanted for another encore, but it never came. And one by one, the sea of white spade light sticks in the audience went off, leaving the fans craving more shows in the near future and eager for Big Bang’s upcoming concert in November. Or at least I was.

What do you think about 2NE1; love ‘em, hate ‘em or don’t mind ‘em? What?! You don’t know them?! No problem. Here’s their “I Am the Best” video:


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