The main hall at the Carnegie Hall was packed to the hilt, all five levels, and they all witnessed something completely unimagined until tonight. Kim Bum Soo half way through his heart-throbbing performance was back on the stage in a bright red suit dancing Psy’s “Gangnam Style” horse dance to the music of Steve Wonder’s “Superstition”, and subsequently launched into the lyrics of TaeTiSeo’s “Twinkle”, all at the same time. This was mind-bending musical creativity at it’s best.
Kim Bum Soo seemingly came out of obscurity in 2011 after appearing on the popular Korean reality show “I am a Singer” or “Naneun Gasuda” in Korean. Unknown to most at the time was that Kim Bum Soo had released his debut album back in 1999, and in 2001 was the very first Korean artist to be ranked on Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart with the release of “Goodbye Hello Goodbye”. Listening to “Hello Goodbye Hello” and then listening to his latest release called “Rock Star” is a testament of how Kim Bum Soo and especially the music world has transformed, quite dramatically over the past decade. Kim Bum Soo appeared on stage to commence his 18 song and a little over 2hours performance, by starting with a solemn rendition of the popular “I Miss You” which was the theme song for the tear-jerking Korean drama “Stairway To Heaven”. After his self-introduction interspersed with several jokes, at the third song he sprang into a goose-bump inducing delivery of “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge, in English.
After the rousing applause died down, Kim Bum Soo decided to give a tutorial on his next song, “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King also in English. Each level of the hall had a role in the song. For the second level, he instructed them to clap a certain beat, but then joked that they were so stiff they sounded like they were in North Korea. For the highest level, they were told to make a click with their mouths when he raised his leg in the air. After a quick practice, Kim Bum Soo with active crowd participation did Mr. Ben King really proud. Following Kim Bum Soo’s performance of his latest single “Rock Star”, in which the crowd jumped up and stood throughout the song, a stool was brought out for him to sit on. He joked “him-duel-royo” in Korean, which translates in English to “it’s a little hard” He then requested questions from the audience while he caught his breath. A question rang out from one of the many female fans, “do you have a girlfriend?” “No more questions!” Kim Bum Soo responded quickly to crowd laughter. Kim Bum Soo then slowed things down a little with “As Time Goes By” in Korean.
Throughout the concert a full orchestra accompanied Kim Bum Soo, along with his own band who’ve been with him for eight years. The orchestra was the KRB orchestra, which belongs to the event host, KRB Radio NY. When Kim Bum introduced his band, his drummer wowed the crowd by singing in an olive oil-like voice. He’s singing ability was almost as good as Kim Bum’s. Following the band introduction, a string quartet began to wail a mournful melody, to which Kim Bum Soo joins in to sing a sad tune called “Promise” in which a girl promises she’ll come back and he tells her he’ll wait, even if forever. Following this he gave an exceptionally moving performance of “Last Love” another of the ballads from his recent albums Solista 1 and 2.
Kim Bum Soo enlivened the audience once more, with operatic numbers. He started with “Memory” from the 1981 musical “Cats” by Andre Lloyd Webber. Ensuing, a vision of angelic aura glides unto the stage, as famous Korean Soprano Sun Woo in a flowing white gown joins Kim Bum Soo to sing another musical number from “Phantom of the Opera”. Kim Bum Soo by now is dressed in a large black cape draped over his shoulders, and a mask that partially conceals his face to complete the picture of the character Erik the Opera-Ghost. “Sing for me!” Yells Kim Bum Soo over and over, and each time Sun Woo climbs and climbs the musical scale, sonorous and loud, in a higher and higher pitch until quite certainly she ran out of notes in whatever octave she was in. Sun Woo then completed the angelic delivery by singing “Nella Fantasia” in Italian from the 1986 movie “The Mission”.
To memorialize this special moment in his career of singing at one of the epitomes in the vocation of any musician, playing at Carnegie Hall, Kim Bum Soo crooned the very inspirational “This is The Moment” in English. Before the show began one of the knowledgeable Carnegie Hall attendants explained that “anybody who is anybody” has performed or spoken at the Carnegie Hall from presidents, classical musicians to even rappers. Earlier in the concert, Kim Bum Soo expressed how significant it was for him to be performing at the Hall. After a brief musical interlude, it was at this time that Kim Bum Soo decided to bend time and genres a little, with his enactment and superposition of “Gangnam Style”, “Superstition” and “Twinkle”. In his really bright red and ankle-baring suit, it was a three-in-one, a hat trick, ménage a trois, and any other triple platitudes out there. Definitely a performance to remember.
Kim Bum Soo can be said to have performed two encores. In most concerts, the performers give a little break at the end to see if the crowd wants more. If the crowd is still antsy for more, then a planned encore occurs. In this case Kim Bum did his planned encore, but it happened so fast that the crowd did not want to leave. With a second round of chanting “Kim Bum Soo”, this time a lot more intense than the one that preceded the planned encore, the orchestra commenced a desolate tune and everyone quieted down. Kim Bum then returned partially undressed with just the red suit-pants and the white shirt that was underneath the suit-coat, to give another moving performance of “Haru” and “Po Go Ship Da”. The crowd sang half the songs for him. To say Kim Bum Soo is a talented singer is an understatement. To say Kim Bum Soo has a great singing voice is an understatement. To say Kim Bum Soo … well you get the message. The depth and texture of his vocals is rare, raw and fresh, and was undeniably worthy of the walls within the Carnegie Hall. Kim Bum Soo will be taking his “Get Alright” concert and orchestra” next to Las Vegas’s Caesar’s Palace, Atlanta, and Virginia.