It's been a long time coming: over two years after re-emerging as a solo artist with a YouTube cover of "Nothing on You", Jay Park has finally launched his first-ever concert series in North America with the 'Verizon APAHM Tour' this week!
Fresh after kicking the tour off the night before at the Fillmore in Maryland, Jay Park was welcomed by a packed house at the Best Buy Theater, located next to Times Square in the heart of Manhattan. The East Coast leg of the tour also showcased opening acts Viennie V and Dumbfoundead.
Check out allkpop's exclusive recap of the New York City show for Jay Park's 'Verizon APAHM Tour' below!
It's normal for Times Square, the so-called 'Crossroads of the World', to be bustling with locals and throngs of tourists during the summer, but this day was different. There was more people than usual, even by Times Square standards, and a throng of Jaywalkerz winded around the block. The anticipation crackling in the air at the Best Buy Theater was enough to turn heads this afternoon. When curious passerbys paused to ask what the buzz was about, they were given a concise answer: Jay mothereffin' Park.
Diehard fans who had lined up since dusk the evening before were blessed with a warm evening and a perfect summer-like afternoon leading up to the show. One fan in line shared, "Even if waiting outside for two days seems weird, I've been waiting to see Jay perform live for two years, so this is nothing!" Once the doors opened, the crowd streamed into an expansive ballroom, a high-roofed venue jazzed up with large chandeliers.
Cheers erupted as the DJ took his place at his equipment table on a raised platform at the back of the stage.
Immediately after, the night's MC, comedian Joey Guila emerged from stage left to greet the audience with a huge grin and an even bigger personality. From jokes that bordered between hilarious and offensive, he warmed up the stage for the first opening act of the night.
A pop singer based in Southern California, Viennie V kicked off the evening with a bang, performing her original pop tracks including "For You". With the heavy bass instrumentals and Top 40-esque melodies, the singer smoothly transitioned into a myriad of covers, from the danceable "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 to Far*East Movement's 2010 party hit, "Like a G6".
Dumbfoundead, who had headlined at District 36 (a new club in Manhattan's K-town) just nights before, assumed the stage to begin with "Bubba Kush", a Diplo beat that was also used for GD&TOP's "Knock Out". To slow things down, the rapper continued with "Liquor Store Blues", an acoustic cover of Bruno Mars' original release, and "Shit Don't Care". As if to match the mood, tongues of red-tinted fog lazily licked across the stage and into the dark of the audience.
"This next track is dedicated to my ex-girlfriend," Dumbfoundead shared, cuing a series of aw's from the audience. After a sentimental pause, an energetic beat blasted through the speakers and the rapper quipped, "The chorus is really easy to follow. This song's called 'Bitch."
The audience was also treated to the surprise appearance of a number of other East Coast based rappers. For a remix of the bass-heavy track "Cellphone", Dumbfoundead invited Decipher and Lyricks to the stage, and after a performance of his 2011 titular hit, "Are We There Yet," Dumfoundead concluded with a live collaboration with even more rappers including Manifest and JL.
After Dumbfoundead and his five fellow artists closed their last song, the MC returned to the stage to welcome the biggest name of the night. A haze of fog smoked up the blue hues cast upon the venue. The audience, a sea of bobbing red Verizon glowsticks, turned into a frenzy as everybody began to scream and wave their signs and red sticks even harder. The fans were rewarded when Jay Park emerged from the right side of the stage.
Jay kicked off his setlist with a popular track off his 'New Breed' album, "Know Your Name", a clear fan favorite as the audience sang along at the top of their lungs at every chorus. Dressed in a brown leather jacket, a white wifebeater and jeans, the dancer showed off the slick choreography to the crowd's delight, immediately joined by two suited-up back-up dancers and a sexy dance partner dressed in a blazer and black fringe.
The last notes of the song faded, and silence was filled with screams as Jay took off his shades and thanked everyone for supporting him and attending his tour. He immediately apologize for being tired and jetlagged from a rigorous travel schedule.
Jay dipped down to grab a bottle and take a swig of water, and without missing a beat, snapped into the groove of "I Got Your Back" and "Star", a feel-good melody and ballad both off of the 'New Breed' album.
The screams grew deafening as the song ended and Jay tossed aside his jacket to reveal a cut-up top over his wifebeater. "I'm a little sick alright… let's just have a good time, alright?" the singer shared. He grinned sheepishly and admitted, "I don't know what the next song is… let's just play the beat and see!" The instrumental of "Turn Off Your Phone" bumped through speakers, and Jay openly smiled in recognition and began to sing.
Watching Jay Park dance ten feet in front of you teasingly pulling at his shirt, doing body waves and gyrating his pelvis cannot be healthy for the average fangirl. As for watching the steamy slow jams "Star", "Turn Off Your Phone", then finally "Do What We Do" for nine full minutes with an entire venue of Jaywalkerz… cue the fangirl heart attacks and seizures.
Before the entire audience could pass out from the overflow of sexiness, Jay sped up the tempo with the swagtastic tracks "Up & Down", "Clap" & "Enjoy the Show" from 'New Breed'. Oozing with confidence, Jay completely commanded the stage, feeding off the energetic environment as raps sped off his tongue into the screaming swarm of fans below.
No show starring Jay Park is complete without the Art of Movement crew, and sure enough, AOM's Tony & Junior made a surprise appearance for a bboying session. After showcasing Jay's latest album, the night continued with some of the singer's most popular covers, including his viral 'comeback' cover of Bruno Mars' "Nothing On You" as well as "Count On Me".
As he took another drink from his water bottle, Jay reminded the audience, "If you haven't downloaded the mix tape, go download it... it's free music baby." He took another sip and glanced offstage. "Is he ready? Well this next song is featuring Dumbfoundead--" Jay continued then paused as deafening cheers blocked out his voice. "It's off my mix tape, it's called... You Know How We Dooo!" Sure enough, Dumbfoundead reemerged on the stage as the cheers grew louder. Ever since the mixtape release earlier this month, it's pretty much universally agreed that the duo completely beasted the track, and they totally killed the live performance as well.
"I hope you all enjoyed the show. I tried my best, performed my best... Now tomorrow's Monday and a lot of you've gotta go to school," he said, then joked, "We gotta party afterwards, so you know... our schedules are conflicted. Sorry!"
"But since this is the last song... I need y'all to go CRAZY, alright? If you know the words just sing along and if you don't, just dance and have a good time alright? Be wild with me! Love you all, drop that beaattt!" Jay exclaimed. The bass-heavy "Body2Body" thrummed through the stage and floorboards, and Jay wrapped up to end the show with a blast.
With the East Coast tour stops complete, Jay Park will be heading to San Francisco with a performance on May 25th and then Los Angeles on May 27th to wrap up his national tour this week with AJ Rafael and Blush. If you haven't already, make sure to purchase your tickets ASAP -- judging from the success of the NYC concert, the West Coast shows are guaranteed to be amazing!
Stay tuned for further coverage of Jay Park's 'Verizon APAHM Tour' and an exclusive interview with Jay when he stopped by the 6Theory office.
Photography by Matt Marasigan