It’s been a long time coming! Big Bang who debuted more than six years ago and have since released countless hits arrived the shores of the east coast United States to thundering and euphoric applause. As the sold-out Alive Tour concert progressed at the Prudential Center in Newark NJ, not only were each song introduced to screaming cheers from the fans, but the floors shook while the audience danced, stamped, and jumped to the members of Big Bang. No better words describe the night than that of Seungri’s, “I love this place”.
The concert promptly started at pretty much 8 PM, with an introduction that essentially was out of this world. In keeping with the theme of their name, the giant screen above the stage displayed five capsules been shot through outer space and entering our atmosphere in a giant fireball. With the cheering resonating through every seat sit filled with 12,000 fans, “Still Alive” rang out as the capsules made their appearance on the stage abruptly revealing T.O.P., G-Dragon, Taeyang, Daesung, and Seungri outfitted in all white suits with tail coats.
Following their “Still Alive” fiery entrance, Big Bang exited their capsules to sing “Tonight”, as if to alert the crowd that tonight wouldn’t be one to forget easily, if at all. G-Dragon and the members of Big Bang, really didn’t have to gesture hands up high while singing “Hands Up”, because the crowd already had their hands as high as they could, displaying an undulating sea of yellow light sticks. And, hands held up high were where those light sticks stayed all through the night, song after song.
Following the guys giving their individual introductions, during which Taeyang feeling too restricted for his signature dance moves shed his tail coat, the roof-raising lines and stumping beats of the intro for “Fantastic Baby” could not have come any sooner for the enthralled crowd. Riding on the fantastic performance, T.O.P. and G-Dragon zoomed across the stage on tricked-out Segway bikes to perform “How Gee”. With G-Dragonmoving at top speed on stage, T.O.P. put on display his appealing rap skills, and the rest of the guys sang in unison axiomatically “Big Bang’s gonna raise the roof y’all”.
With G-Dragon and T.O.P. leaving their remaining three band mates to entertain the crowd after singing “Stupid Liar”, Seungri gave the crowd an indication of what a down-to-earth and personable guy he is. “I know my English terrible” he said, “but tonight I will kill my English”. The crowd loving his passion gave him a thundering applause. Later on when T.O.P. and G-dragon return to the stage in an explosive duo performing ”Ppeokigayo” and “High High”, the crowd practically lost it and the floor shook from stomping feet.
Notwithstanding the exhilaration and ecstasy of the crowd during the concert, two superlative moments occurred as well. During the euphoric participation of the crowd while Big Bang sat on stools singing “Haru Haru“, Big Bang and their live band were entirely drowned out. At the completion of the first verse, Taeyangthen invites the crowd to sing the entire hook and chorus. The boys may have as well sat this one out, with the audience in their stead. The other memorable moment occurred, when the crowd actually shushed itself as the guys started singing the mellow “Café” using stand up microphones. To be precise, they shushed themselves to hear T.O.P. who has the intro lines to “Café”.
Before the show began two savvy fans who came all the way from the University of Vermont, Lola and Dorian, expressed how the broad and differing nature of the members of Big Bang, essentially a juxtaposition of hard and soft, enables the universal appeal of Big Bang. This they said is because they represent the different types of people you may encounter on a daily basis.
The most regular of them all is Seungri, who powers through his challenges as he attempted, rather successfully, to speak English during the concert. He also displayed the most passion when he took his Samsung 4G phone, who was a co-sponsor of the event, and walked around taking pictures and videos of the crowd and his band mates. For his solo performances he sang “What Can I do” and “Strong Baby”. A true donsaeng and maknae, he says of his hyung G-Dragon “I think he is genius” and calls him his hero. G-Dragon, probably not expecting the effusion of praise gives him a pound and hug.
G-Dragon in a creative streak, recently released a solo project featuring two of the crowds’ favorites, “Crayon” and “One of a Kind”. Some fans before the show agreed he might very well be the Asian male version of Lady Gaga, a title a “crayon” would appreciate. As the official leader of Big Bang, G-Dragon shows measured charisma in his demeanor, but lets loose when performing in his signature mischievous smile and playful persona.
T.O.P. is no doubt the all-time crowd favorite. Although he had no solo performances, T.O.P. had several highlights when he displayed his uncanny ability to beat box. He beat boxed to G-Dragon’s “One of a Kind” and Taeyang’s Wedding Dress”, silencing the live band each time. With his mysterious eyes, icy smile, and gruff voice, T.O.P. had the crowd quite literarily hanging on his every word. When the gregarious Taeyangkept yelling “T.O.P. say something!” the reticent T.O.P. had the crowd swooning when he said “I remember all faces I see”.
Taeyang will always be Taeyang. Big Bang dancer extraordinaire, especially with the slide he did throughout the show, R&B crooner with his endearing Omarion persona, and last to leave the party kind of guy. The term “we shut it down” fits him the best of all the members of Big Bang. He performed two of his solo tracks, “Wedding Dress” with its memorable choreography and “Look Only at Me”.
Daesung does not seem to have lost his nickname “Mr. Smile”. During his solo performance of “Wings”, a tether was lowered from the ceiling in the middle of the song to which the by now white-winged Daesungclimbed unto and subsequently soared over the stage. Daesung’s other moment of complete crowd-inducing bliss happened as the concert was wrapping up and the other Big Bang members led by T.O.P. rips his t-shirt right off his back. T.O.P. then walks to the edge of the stage and tosses it into the crowd.
Other moments of Big Bang’s generosity to the crowd occurred when Taeyang ripped his own shirt off his back, Usher style, to throw into the crowd, Seungri took off his beautiful sports jacket rolled it up and threw into the crowd, T.O.P. uncapped a bottle of water and proceeded to bathe some fans with its content before tossing the bottle into the audience. The most spasm-inducing for some concert goers was probably whenT.O.P. picks up a towel wipes the sweat off his head and neck and tosses it into the crowd.
Since practically every song performed was a crowd pleaser, outstanding songs like “Blue” and “Bad Boy” that were included in the line up may well be described as “roof raisers”. Other roof raisers were “Last Farewell” and “Lies”.
If left to the members of Big Bang, the concert would have continued well past midnight. It literarily tookTaeyang to yell “enough” before the guys decided and acknowledged that even good things must end. As the three-hour concert drew to a close the guys expressed how much fun they had and really want to return again, next time even bigger and better. During the encores that took several impromptu turns, after performing “Fantastic Baby”, and “Bad Boy” among others, T.O.P. finally shed some of his icy-stiffness and danced for the crowd again at the urging of Taeyang. In one of the most memorable concert endings, the endearing Mr. Endorphin that is Seungri begins, and the crowd quickly joins in “na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, good bye”.