“Junsu”, “Junsu”, “Junsu”, chanted the crowd, at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. Xia, also known as Junsu, sat silently upon his throne at the top of the stage observing the crowd. It was about halfway through the concert on the first stop of his 1st Solo World Tour. The crowd continued to chant and scream for more. Xia who had just performed about 10 songs, many from his new album Tarantallegra, was calmly taking it all. The crowd had fallen in love.
At the start of the show, Xia who had been lifted unto the stage on a moving platform was dressed in a blue suit with long black boots. He started off strong, with the first track on his new album, called Breath. Breath is a song with an urban pop theme and strong beats, to which Xia and his dancing crew seemed to move with in unison, effortlessly.
Following Breathe, Junsu mellowed the crowd a bit with No Gain, Lullaby, and Intoxication, all songs from his new album Tarantallegra. Most of the lyrics and music of the album were composed and arranged by Junsu. Junsu showed some of his brilliant creativity with a prop not seen often on a concert stage. A three-paneled mirror was placed on the stage during his performance of Intoxication, multiplying the amount of Junsu’s on stage by 4. The mirror may have helped a bit, but the crowd was already intoxicated with Junsu’s singing and dancing, before the mirror made it’s way unto stage.
A little over an hour saw Junsu display his wide musical range and talents. Singing and dancing to urban pop themed songs, grooving to R&B inspired tracks, and wooing the crowd with ballads that hug heavy with emotion. Junsu also gave the audience a little taste of the musical Elisabeth, which was the inspiration for his new solo album.
“You had me at hello!” Okay, the crowd didn’t actually respond that way when Xia introduced himself by first saying “hi”. But with the screams that filled the air it sure felt that way. The concert took on an air of intimacy and personal interaction between Xia and the crowd. “Pogoshipoyo” screamed a fan near the stage. Xia looked directly at her and said, “I miss you, too.” If responding directly to the affectionate screams of fans wasn’t enough to make the concert seem like a gathering of friends, Xia decided to grant three wishes to the crowd.
One of the wishes came from a girl called Brittany, and she asked him to sing to her. “What song do you want me to sing to you?” Xia asked. “Any song of your choice” Brittany responded, teasing him. At this Xia proceeded to serenade his audience with a cappella rendition of Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All”. No instruments, just vocals. The crowd fell silent in awe. After one verse, Xia shared with the audience that he sang that song a lot in middle school.
Undisputed throughout the night was the vigor and strength of Junsu’s vocals. Before the concert, fan after fan when asked what stands out the most for you about Junsu, answered strong vocals or awesome vocals. And during the concert Xia did not disappoint his devoted fans who came from as far as Japan and Texas. He sang throughout the concert with such heart pounding vocals, just like one of his Texas fans had proclaimed before the start of the concert.
The range of Xia’s appeal is remarkable. The age range of the audience featured young teenagers all the way through grandmothers. Even further remarkable was looking around to see the more seasoned fans singing along with him, especially to the ballads. Many of these seasoned ladies were from China and Japan. And they have known Xia since his early days with Tong Vfang Xien Qi or Tohoshinki, depending on if you are Chinese or Japanese, respectively. Although they were saddened when their split happened, they have remained fans of Xia because of his outstanding talents as an artist, dancer and songwriter.
As Junsu’s first solo concert outside Asia moved closer to it’s conclusion, he gave the audience a special look at the music video for his new single Uncommitted. Then he took the stage to give the crowd a very memorable moment. Xia, for the first time performed Uncommitted to a live audience. The crowd hung unto every word and musical note.
A day earlier, after the Xia press conference at the DoubleTree Suites, one of the individuals who reportedly was involved in the production for Uncommitted and goes by the name Niddy, expressed his admiration of Xia. He articulated that one thing that stood out in working with Xia was his work ethic and dedication to excellence. He added further how much he appreciated the Korean culture, especially with regard to their interaction and devotion to each other.
“See you, soon”. Xia said to his beloved fans, with a little ting of sadness in his voice. All too soon it seemed two hours had come and gone. Xia had left a little piece of his heart on stage tonight. He will continue his 1stSolo World Tour with stops in Los Angeles California on 09-02-12 at the Hollywood Palladium. And then Mexico on the 6th of September, Brazil on the 8th of September, and finally Chile on the 10th of September