Posted by AKP STAFF Saturday, June 12, 2010

It's an Empire State of Mind with the Wonder Girls and 2PM


Most New Yorkers sought air-conditioned refuge from the scorching heat and hair-frizzing humidity as temperatures climbed into the 90s this past Sunday. Wonder Girls and 2PM fans, however, bravely lined 34th Street for blocks as they awaited the 8:00 p.m. concert as early as 9 o'clock that morning. If you can't call that dedication, I don't know what is. A bad sunburn and 11 hours later, wilted (but quickly re-energized) fans were finally ushered into the Hammerstein Ballroom by groups of 10 or so. With many tours under its belt, JYPE obviously knew crowd control would be on red alert with a "first come first serve" standing room concert that day. But as soon as fans reached the entrance doors, I felt like Simba, who watched in terror as Pride Land's entire population of wildebeest charged towards his little body in the gorge. But replace wildebeest with fan girls and Simba with older/slower bystander (me) and you get the picture. Fast forward another hour, a small sound or lighting change sent antsy fans screaming at the top of their lungs, only to be left disappointed by a simple power glitch. At that point, even passing stage security officers could have sent fan girls fainting to the floor. Finally, a spotlight captured JYP walking on stage. A sea of LCD screens illuminated the floor, as JYP exhilerated the crowd with welcoming words. He also informed long awaiting fans that a tornado warning delayed the artists' flight to New York until only two hours before. After JYP made his exit off stage, the swift change in lighting meant only one thing. Screams of "What time is it?!" came from every corner and crevice. And there they were, 2PM in all of their eye-candy glory. Standing between the barricade and the stage, I felt both the intensity of the die-hard fans pushing behind me (literally), and 2PM's gravitating presence in almost close enough reach. Even with Junsu missing in action, the boys put on a dynamic show with crowd favorites 10 Out of 10, Again & Again and more recent hits, Heartbeat, Without U and I Hate You. Obviously these performances were complete with professionally mastered and absolutely amazing facial expressions that only front row fans would have been able to appreciate. Aside from their impeccable performances and contagiously high energy, the most memorable moment of the night award, hands down, went to Taecyeon for man-handling Junho's butt while smirking devilishly at the audience. They know how to have fun on stage, I dig it. Of course I've seen their music videos and may or may not have attempted the Again & Again dance moves in the privacy of my own home (TMI? ...probably). But seeing them perform up close and in person raised their wow-factor in my book, ten-fold. I honestly can't say that their good looks and radiant star quality have nothing to do with my previous statement because lying is bad kids. And well, I'm 100 percent sure that every concert attendee would agree with me, especially the nameless fan girl out there who brought the "Taec it Off!" sign. Kudos. Now with the audience at supreme energy levels, the anticipation for the Wonder Girls was even greater. Although I've had the pleasure of interviewing the girls once before, this was my first live Wonder Girls concert with newest addition, Lim. A year later and they were even more lovely, energetic and full of personality than I had remembered. On stage, a white curtain lit up to reveal five female silhouettes. Boisterous fans still on a 2PM high retreated their ogling screams to more endearing ones. These were mixed with "oohs" and "ahhs" as the moving shadows gave drama and sass to their introduction. Finally the curtain fell, unveiling the Wonder Girls as never seen before. The ladies traded in their sparkly dresses for more "good girl gone bad" studded leather selections that Rihanna would approve. Basically, the girls looked smokin' hot, while still keeping the group's defining wholesome character well intact. As soon as the Wonder Girls began their performances it was as if everyone was magically transported into the world's largest NRB. Fans happily sang and danced along with Sun, Yenny, Yubin, Sohee and Lim to kpop staples Tell me, So Hot, Nobody and their latest release Two Different Tears. All that was needed was a big 100 to flash at the end of every song and my night would have been complete! The girls also amazed the audience with solo performances showcasing the members' personalities and individual talents. Though not a rapper by trade, Lim busted out Lil' Mama's Lipgloss, which was unexpected but received by the audience well all the more. Yubin, always so fierce, delivered an impressive cover of Black Eyed Peas' Boom Boom Pow with a body popping routine for an extra bonus. Yenny, with her powerful vocals, blew the crowd away with her rendition of Duffy's Mercy. Sun paid homage to the House of Gaga beautifully with her cover of Paparazzi, and Sohee worked the stage with Beyonce's Single Ladies dance. The solo performances were followed by additional covers including, Pussycat Dolls' Don't Cha and Stickwitu by all five ladies. As the night nearly came to a close, the Wonder Girls took the pop down a few notches with Yenny's original song Saying I Love You, which Yenny herself sat down to play on a grand piano. At the end of the night, allkpop sat down with the Wonder Girls. Although they had a very long day singing, dancing and meeting hundreds of fans, the ladies still remained gracious and enthusiastic. Their smiles and laughter were so genuine and they welcomed us warmly to speak with them. Check out our interview and photos from the Sunday night NYC show! Stay tuned fans, we'll be bringing you more exclusives along the tour! [gallery columns="8"] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQoUM96Dj34 Photography: Tina Chou Videography: Matt Marasigan

  1. JYP
  5. NYC
  6. 2PM
  7. JYPE
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