A slick, tightly operated machine. That’s the only way to describe the attack of the senses which was G-Dragon’s London stop of the M.O.T.T.E. World Tour. The show was split into three acts, mirroring the structure of his latest EP release, Kwon Ji-Yong.
The first act, “G-Dragon” featured songs in which the Big Bang leader speaks from the perspective of his stage persona. Starting with an explosive rendition of “Heartbreaker” with fire and a brilliant use of the electronic backdrop, the rapper makes his presence clear. It’s impossible to not watch him tear up the stage. The live backing band that stayed by his side for the entire two-hour long set really added to this track, making it a unique experience and a world away from the heavily auto-tuned, electro sound it has on CD. It’s also a far cry from the frequent use of backup tracks in the K-Pop world, but with the cheapest Wembley ticket costing £60, G-Dragon has clearly decided to offer fans a fresh, new rendition of his tracks; a value for money experience. “Heartbreaker”’s pyrotechnics, choreography and all-round impressive atmosphere set the bar for the rest of the night; impressive for a track that’s been around for over eight years. The first act of the show also featured the tracks “Breathe” and “A Boy”, the first really causing a stir with the audience, who had watched the music video on the on-screen stage just a few minutes ago. Aside from certain sections, the crowd are unwilling to sing along, leaving G-Dragon to do the work, and he does so with great confidence and passion. It’s only fair, seeing as the UK has missed his other solo tours as well as the Big Bang MADE World Tour.
The show seamlessly rolls into Act Two: “G-Dragon vs Kwon Ji-Yong”, which featured many Coup D’Etat era songs, including R.O.D. with a pre-recorded chorus by label-mate CL. It’s swiftly followed by a re-invented version of “That XX”, which has a far more haunting atmosphere than the original. The funky bass line on “Who You?” pulls it back, keeping the atmosphere positive and the pace upbeat. The line “Baby, I love you” causes the crowd to go wild; it’s been half a decade since Big Bang sold out Wembley for their Alive Galaxy Tour. The vocals in “I Love It” which follow are some of the best of the night, and the back-up dancers keep the otherwise empty stage interesting with their powerful performance.
Although the energy levels were starting to decline by the end of the second act, the start of the third act altered that. Lining up all of the “Kwon Ji Yong” songs in one final act with the same name was a breath of fresh air. The bright lights were spinning and flashing freely; a contrast to the gridded lights in the first act and the restrictive lights in the second act, reflecting how he felt trapped when only allowed to perform in his stage persona. He speaks freely, touching on subjects such as internal turmoil and vulnerability, a side Ji-Yong rarely lets his audience see. “Bullshit” receives a strong reception from the audience. But with “Super Star” and “Divina Commedia”, the audience listen to what G-Dragon has to say, and in this tender state, G-Dragon pulls out some of the best vocal performances of the night, producing several long, sustained notes and earnest raps.
The encore summarises the two main atmospheres which surrounded the night; encore opener Crooked packed a heavy punch, and really had the crowd moving; unsurprising seeing as the music video is set in London, whereas closing the night was an incredibly sincere rendition of “Untitled, 2014”. G-Dragon walked around the bottom of the stage, singing directly at the fans in the front standing rows. He playfully accepted gifts and letters, keeping it interesting for the rest of the arena, who watched him from the big screen in the middle of the stage. He teases leaving the stage several times, re-singing the chorus of the title song for “Kwon Ji Yong” before taking his final bow and saying goodbye to the UK.
What really differentiates G-Dragon from other idols is the fact that he does not strive to be the best vocalist or rapper, as he has some moments with vocal instabilities. But, that’s not to say that he is bad at what he does, as he showed moments which demonstrated great capability, particularly the performances of “Divina Commedia” and “Super Star”. G-Dragon packs more of a punch as an artist in his own right. Everything has been thought of, and everything has a meaning, from the lighting and set list order to the stage outfits. . He has proved himself a world leader in music and fashion, and this night at Wembley was no exception. The credits at the end of the concert really display his appreciation for the extensive crew which have made the M.O.T.T.E. World Tour what it is; the largest world tour ever by a Korean artist. Since mid-June, he’s been seen by over 560,000 fans, in venues across the globe. It’s obvious why he’s stayed on top of his game for the last decade, and he will stay there for many more if he keeps improving himself.
Buy tickets for the remaining European shows here!