MELD’s very own ‘Jaywalker’, Carene Chong, witnessed history in the making as Jay Park took to the Dallas Brooks stage – the first major K-Pop act to headline a show in Melbourne. Missed the gig? Then get to know the man himself in our exclusive video interview.
September 27 was a historic night for K-pop fans in Melbourne. American-born entertainer Jay Park took to the stage at the Dallas Brooks Hall - the first major Korean pop act to headline a show in the city.
The timing of the concert was nothing short of perfect. It was held on the warmest day of the month, and fans dressed in shorts and T-shirts were seen standing in line outside the venue in high spirits despite the lengthy queue.
Not surprisingly, the majority of the crowd were young ladies in their teens or early 20s, with the occasional sighting of a boyfriend or two, wearing slightly unamused expressions. No one could blame them. For the next two hours, they’d be losing the attention of their partners to a certain Korean pop sensation by the name of Jay Park.
Jay landed on our shores in late September for his 2012 Australian tour. It was his very first visit to the Land Down Under and it was a trip the man himself said he’d been looking forward to for some time.
Needless to say, fans of Jay, otherwise known as Jaywalkers, were ecstatic when they found out about his visit to town.
“I was super excited when I found out,” says one Jaywalker, Lynette.
“I was waiting on the ticketing website hours before the tickets started selling.”
So what exactly is it about the man that had these girls going gaga for him?
“He’s talented, he’s cute, he’s got mad dance skills, just everything. It’s Jay Park!” says Cynthia, who scored herself VIP tickets.
The concert commenced a little later than scheduled, to a crowd surprisingly thinner than expected. Rows of empty seats could be seen, especially in the second and third tiers of the hall.
The host of the night, MyChonny of Youtube fame, warmed up the crowd with some laughs and a Gangnam Style dance-off among concert goers before introducing the opening acts, Melbourne-based, K-Pop style boy band CHILL.
Members D, K.E.N and B.SHOCK performed a string of both original and cover songs such as dance track “I Like That” and Ne-Yo’s “So Sick”. In true Korean pop style, the boys were dressed in matching outfits as they belted out tunes in both Korean and English, busting a few synchronized moves every now and again to their catchy tunes.
For a debut stage, their efforts were certainly laudable but not without room for improvement. But if the cheers of the audience were anything to go by, they had certainly earned themselves some fans that night. The fact that member D, or Darren, is a popular Youtuber with a large fan base probably helped too.
After some CHILL time and an impressive performance by Jay’s backup dance group Prepix, the man of the hour finally took to the stage to deafening screams and blinding camera flashes.
Donned in a simple black singlet and jeans, Jay kick-started his concert with his hit remake of B.O.B’s “Nothin on you”, titled “Count On Me”, complete with self-composed lyrics and rap verses in Korean. By then, the venue had filled up from a mere 70 per cent to a 97 per cent – perhaps a result of the Jay effect. Or maybe fans were trying to be “fashionably late”.
From the head bopping entree, Jay moved on to RnB-flavored track “Abandoned” from his first solo album, Take A Deeper Look. The crowd went wild once again, with Jay breaking into his signature smooth dance moves without compromising his vocals.
Throughout the night, Jay wisely wove songs of varying intensity together to allow time for both himself and his Jaywalkers to take a breather. It was impressive watching the multi-talented performer go from executing a powerful dance routine to serenading his fans with his silky vocals and self-penned love ballads.
But one simply cannot talk about Jay without giving his sensational rapping skills a mention. This was clearly on display as he performed “AOM & 1illionaire”, a hip hop track off his latest album, New Breed.
Other tracks of the night included earlier releases such as “Girlfriend”and “I Got Your Back” , as well as less promoted tunes like “Carefree”, “Up and Down”, and “I Love You”.
A memorable moment was when he performed a crowd favorite, another RnB number “Star”, as fans held up a sea of paper stars with the initials J.P written on it as a surprise gesture for the singer.
It was a sight to behold but nothing could quite beat the real highlight of the night – the ab flashes and shirt rips which have become a ritual of sorts at Jay’s shows.
It goes without saying that this man certainly knows how to provide exceptional fan service. Being able to take in the full view of his chocolate abs and toned upper torso is probably worth having to put up with the piercing squeals from the crowd.
But if that wasn’t enough to spike up the temperature, Jay proceeded to tease the crowd with steamy songs such as “Do What We Do” and “Turn Off Your Phone”. With lyrics like “Let’s go into the room in the bed” and “Do a sexy dance for me in your bare body”, the kids in the room may have been left slightly confused.
In addition to original tracks, Jay threw in a few covers into the mix including Jay Sean’s hit song “Down” and a sexy rendition of Usher’s “You Got It Bad”. Screams of “Take your shirt off” could be heard every now and again, causing Jay to exclaim in mock disgust: “Why are you guys such perverts?!”
As the night drew to a close, Jay presented fans with a remixed version of “Know Your Name”, the title track of New Breed. Knowing most of his fans present were not old enough to enter clubs just yet, he turned the venue into his very own “underage night club” – partying with them one last time to a dance number off his mix tape Fresh Air Breathe It called “Body2Body”.
After just over an hour of song and dance, Jay bid the Melbourne crowd goodbye with a high pitched “Cheers!” in true Aussie style.
Fans seemed satisfied as they left the venue in a buzz of excited chatter. But some felt the concert did not go as long as they’d like.
“I think it was dragged out a little bit at the start and the concert started later than expected, causing it to look somewhat rushed,” says one fan, Hannah.
“But overall Jay put on a great show and it was definitely worth the $159 I spent!”
AnotherVIP ticket holder, Paige, thought the concert was everything she expected and more. But she felt Jay wasn’t the only one deserving of a pat on the back that night.
“Prepix was such a great group of dancers,” she exclaims.
“They complemented Jay’s performances so well…they really deserve some recognition. Kudos to them!”
Were you at Jay Park’s concerts in Australia? What did you think of the event? Share your thoughts below.