Since their debut in 2012, B.A.P have been almost consistently active. Since the start, they have been backed by their dedicated BABYz from all over the world. UK fans’ desire to see their favourite group live in their home country was finally within reaching distance back in March when London was announced as one of the B.A.P LIVE ON EARTH 2014 tour stops. True to many previous K-Pop concerts’ form, prices were indeed steep, but that didn’t stop a great turnout on the 27th April at the O2 Academy in Brixton. We hope that this coverage of the event will bring back some good memories for all that attended, and fill in those who unfortunately could not.
During the morning of the 27th, word quickly spread through social networking sites that some fans had been waiting outside the venue from as early as 4AM in order to secure a good spot in the standing sections. Fast forward to around 5:30pm and the large line of fans was stretching along two sides of the building. Fans chatted excitedly, some eating fast food, some playing B.A.P tracks from their phones to get themselves ready for the event ahead. Typically for the UK, it began to rain lightly on and off, the umbrellas came out but luckily the spirits weren’t dampened. As with every live event, persistent sellers of unofficial merchandise were walking up and down and many gained quite a few sales from fans who wanted something a little cheaper to mark the night. The merchants were attempting to convince the fans that there was no merchandise available indoors, but of course, the K-Pop fan is far too clued up to be tricked so easily. (Plus, an official merchandise distributor’s lorry was parked right next to the line!)
The doors opened at 7pm as planned, and fans began to filter in slowly as bags and tickets were checked. Fans were also able to give any gifts they might have for the group to a venue worker that would pass them on. The singular, large official goods stand became overly crowded in a heartbeat and many began queuing to collect their pre-ordered ‘First Sensibility’ albums at the nearby table. Fans ripped opened the packaging, some screamed in delight and jumped around whilst others exhaled disappointedly after the breath they held in anticipation was released. Only one hundred albums had that lucrative golden ticket to the Hi-Five event after all.
The concert hall filled slowly, and lime green Matoki light sticks illuminated the very smoky atmosphere. Time ticked by and fans became a little impatient as 8pm approached, chants of “B.A.P! B.A.P! B.A.P!” began, repeatedly fading and picking up volume again. The large side screen of the venue came to life and fans’ screams of excitement were deafening…but it turns out it was only an advert! With sounds of exasperation as the very same advert was repeated for the third time, it seemed like it was best for the B.A.P members to get out as quickly as possible!
Finally, the main screen switched on, and fans were shown what appeared to be news coverage of a UFO sighting. Fans became louder as they screamed in anticipation. The video footage became static and the signal was interrupted. B.A.P have come down to Earth!
As fans will know, teaser posters were released in anticipation of the LOE Tour. Each member’s photo included the sentence: “EARTH NEEDS [ ]” and fans were encouraged to guess what the missing words were. It was slowly revealed, in fact, that these words are: Justice, Love, Passion, Emotion, Happiness and You.
The entire concert has been split into these respective sections, corresponding songs from B.A.P’s already extensive back catalogue were placed in order to create a coherent story continued from the groups’ image. B.A.P are aliens from the planet Mato, they have come to learn about the human race and explore their emotions. Being aliens, they have an outsider’s perspective of Earth and believe that these different qualities are what this planet needs in order to be a better place.
Here is the London concert setlist:
- Opening VCR; UFO sightings were discovered and with it six aliens have landed on Earth
- One Shot
- VCR (Youngjae & Zelo: What is Love?)
- Coffee Shop
- Body & Soul
- VCR: Earth Needs Passion
- No Mercy
- VCR: Earth Needs Emotion
- Rain Sound
- Jongup Solo Dance Stage
- Save Me
- VCR: Learn the Dance from Mato Planet
- Check On
- Excuse Me
- Dancing in the Rain
- Stop it
- VCR: Earth Needs You
- Talk & Countdown
B.A.P performed each song with near perfect choreography and vocals, continuing without even talking until just before performing ‘Coffee Shop’. The boys expressed that they needed a little break after such a powerful opening, a special B.A.P coffee stand was wheeled out and everyone sipped coffees whilst dabbing themselves with towels. Some lucky fans standing near the front of the stage were even lucky enough to be given some cups of coffee and orange juice from a few of the members. (THAT’S why people arrived at 4am!) Zelo sweetly asked a fan “Do you know O.J? Orange Juice?”
The videos at the start of each section were thoughtfully created to mould the audiences emotions in accordance with what songs were next. Some were cute Matoki cartoons voiced by the members, whilst others were understandably more serious. In between the songs, fans were also treated to a dance solo by the very talented JongUp. As if fans weren’t riled up enough by this alone, he ripped his shirt open at the end – ah, a sure-fire way to get the loudest of fans’ screams, eh JongUp?
The member’s English during the talks was not the clearest, as they did not have the luxury of a translator as Super Junior did during their London stop. However, the members tried hard and fans were able to feel very connected despite that slight communication barrier. The members were seemingly happy with the reactions they got as they ‘tested their popularity’ by the volume of noise each member received. DaeHyun gave fans a couple of chances to scream for him just to be sure, whereas leader Yong Guk seemed to not want to chance the possibility of a quieter reaction, so quickly moved on after his turn.
Conversation of what each member loves about London soon began. Yong Guk predictably showed appreciation for the history of the city, whilst YongJae was happy to talk about the Queen and Prince George (DaeHyun ensured that he got the name pronunciation right). Of course, football was also discussed briefly and the boys soon moved onto Harry Potter. Each member began to try and cast the summoning spell to get what they wanted: “Accio water!” “Accio London BABYz!” and JongUp’s “Accio….um…ummm.” Don’t worry about it, Jong Up we all get stuck for words sometimes.
Speaking of words, many fans were very aware of the alleged past happenings surrounding Himchan’s line in ‘Hurricane’ “the roof is on fire”. It was actually rather upsetting that when this line actually came around in the song during this particular concert, Himchan offered the microphone to the crowd and did not sing the line himself. One hopes that he is aware that his English pronunciation is not terrible, and that fans respect him for learning another language. I think I was not the only one who wanted to grab him for a hug at that point (aside from wanting to do that anyway…ahem! Excuse me).
Learning the dance from Planet Mato was a very enjoyable experience. The video played and two dancers came out wearing giant horse heads – very surreal. Once you saw the members on-screen dancing away and encouraging fans to dance along with them, it was hard to resist and is a great way to get fans involved and smiling. The comedy within this video was also great, making you wonder why B.A.P do not go on variety shows more often. YongJae’s self-five when he had no one else to do it with was priceless.
Towards the end of the concert, the members mentioned how very grateful they are for all the support they receive from UK fans and how much they love London. Yong Guk said that it was his dream to perform there and the members’ sincerity in their words was very much apparent. Before performing their debut song ‘Warrior’ to end the night, YongJae told fans that they needed only 100 seconds to change their costume and that fans could countdown. A YouTube-like video strip appeared with 100 seconds on the clock. The guys rushed off and time ticked, however, as around 13 seconds were left, the timeline began to ‘buffer’! Fans were prompted to make noise in order to get it going again. The audience screamed and shouted until the timer resumed the countdown. Not quite 100 seconds to change an outfit, but then again I don’t think I could do that either!
Another nice touch near the end of the night was that the members’ respective Twitter accounts were shown, and the members each ‘tweeted’ a grateful message to fans. These temporary tweets were probably to compensate for the members’ recent inactivity on the social networking site. This is presumably and understandably out of respect for the victims of the recent Sewol Ferry disaster.
Overall, the night was wonderful and seemed far too short. This was probably a bittersweet fact for those fans that were required to rise early the next day for school, college, university or work though.
We hope that everyone who attended had a great time and also hope that B.A.P will soon return to the UK to perform once more. The UK fans’ support for the group was almost tangible, so hopefully the member’s are aware of how much UK BABYz love them.
HI FIVE EVENT: Personal account by UKP Designer Lisa Griggs.
So the concert ends and new nerves are flowing through me. Having bought 4 signed albums at 3 separate times, I was lucky to get one of the hundred high-five event tickets. I was ecstatic. Exiting the main doors and into the lobby, a mass of people were bundled up to buy merchandise there was a sign to the left about the high-five event meeting point. I stood there with some of my friends who were as lucky as me to get a ticket, and then be ushered through the side door like a secret getaway from the mass crowd.
Up some stairs and into a long room with a bar on the side with some windows where you could see the stage. A long queue of eager girls waits and I join the near end of the queue with my friends, just outside a bathroom where we snuck in and quickly polished ourselves up as best as possible from the concert heat and rabble. Next thing we know after rejoining the line, a man tells us, “No photos allowed and once you’ve high-fived the boys, you leave”.
Now, I thought we were about to enter another room where the BAP members were, but no, they stood at the end of the hall where we had arrived from the stairs, they stood there behind a table and a stool since the table wasn’t long enough to protect them from possible grabby fans. They stood there in their after-concert haze which didn’t seem to affect them as they were smiley and dressed in t-shirts and presumably jeans from what it looked like.
The line was getting smaller and my time was coming, and so many things were going through my head on what to say or what to do, but I couldn’t deliberate fast enough as it was soon my turn and Jongup was there in front of me with the stool in front of him. Now I’m a tall girl at 5”9′ and expected some of the members to be smaller but Jongup was the only one smaller at about an inch. So, I raised my hand, smiled (probably like a psychopath since I think my mind just went into inner O.M.G mode) and met his hand that was raised with a smile on his face as well. Then to my embarrassment, I lowered my hand and hit the stool. I looked down and must have done a weird noise as Zelo was next and he laughed at me cutely, I felt the redness flow over my cheeks from the embarrassment and to see the young Zelo notice my mistake.
For his age, Zelo was taller than me and being the youngest from his hyungs, it was pleasantly surprising. fived. I was at the barrier during the concert on the left side and Youngjae had looked at our side throughout the concert which he pointed and sung to me and friends a lot, so when Youngjae seemingly recognised me, I was so happy and nodded to him.
Last but not least was Himchan, smiling and happy as always as we highfived. I wish time had slowed down through this event as soon as it was over, I wished I couldn’t have done it again as I was waiting at the stairs for my friend who were behind my in the line. I had also immediately regretted not saying thank you to the members for coming and giving us an amazing show but one of my friends said thank you to himchan and he replied to her with a thank you as well.
So, back down the stairs and out the side doors on the side of the building, it all seemed like it didn’t happen, it all went too fast and like a dream. It was an amazing experience that I feel incredibly lucky to have gone through since it is a one in a million chance and ever touching a K-pop idol in the UK. All I can say now it that I am so thankful to the organisers, staff and crew, promoters and the venue for the LIVE ON EARTH 2014 tour to ever visit us here in the UK and hope that in the future, we have given them a just and desirable experience to come and visit us again for another tour date or event.
What was your favourite part of the concert?
Did we miss anything?
Any songs you would have liked to be included?
Let us know!