2amGoing to a 2AM concert is unlike going to many other k-pop concerts in South Korea. It’s calmer, quieter, and manages to mix the feeling of going to see some kind of classical music with getting to see an idol group as well. There are no random screams and shouts from the standing section, because instead, the ground level is seated, and made up of older fans than your normal pit of teenage hormones at a concert. For an added touch of class, Chopin’s “Nocturne” played in the background as people shuffled to their seats, adding a touch of class along with a nice tie-in to the title of the current album.

Finally, the curtains pulled back to reveal the members of 2AM dressed in well-fitting suits as they began to sing the title track to their latest album, “Regret/후회할거야”. Immediately, the audience transformed into a sea of stars as they turned on their fan lights and swayed to the music. Changmin caught a lot of attention from fans for his choice to wear glasses during the Sunday performance, very much giving a “more than meets the eye” impression with his styled hair and unsuspecting suit and glasses.  The song went immediately into “Just Stay / 그냥 있어줘”, which had a much different feeling with the live band. While the instruments are subdued in the album recording, the strong bass really drove the soul of the song, while the drum carried the emotions of the song to almost give it a jazz feeling.

Once the four made their way to the front of the stage, they paused for a brief MC moment. They introduced themselves, Jinwoon and JoKwon introducing themselves normally, but then Changmin poked fun at his own appearance that night by introducing himself as the member who apparently fixes computers.

Wasting no time on keeping things upbeat, 2AM broke out “You Wouldn’t Answer My Calls  /전활받지 않는 너에게”, a song that even the most unsuspecting listener would be rendered useless to by the power of the emotions used. Since the song was promoted, it did have a very basic fan chant, however there always seems to be a small laugh when fans would try to do it because it seems to ill fitting. Seeing that this song is three years old now, it’s very interesting to see how the members have grown. While JoKwon’s voice still had the power it always did, there was a feeling of softness to his lines, singing more with the emotion of the words than the power of it.

201312071821582910_1Jinwoon and Jokwon quickly exited the stage after the song, leaving Seulong and Changmin on stage to perform “Summer Night /여름, 밤” This was originally a solo piece that Seulong did with Epitome Project, but Changmin joined in on. The song sounded gorgeous between the two of them, and the change of the lineup helped break up what could have been a lot of songs back to back with the members simply sitting and singing their hearts out.

The next song was actually a medley of songs remixed together. The songs were performed as a slower version of the songs, making them infused with even more emotion. First one to be tackled was “Like Crazy / 미친듯이” and was absolutely stunning sounding. Next, they performed “Reading you / 너를 읽어보다” and “Consolation /위로” from the album earlier this year. The slow medley ended as they performed the title track from the album earlier this year, “One Spring Day / 어느 봄날” Much like spring is in Korea, this song helped thaw out any sad emotions from the fans, the boys beginning to relax as they swayed along in their seats as they sung.

Keeping with the “One Spring day” album, 2AM were out of their seats to sing “Back Then / 그 때”. The song became a lot more up-tempo than the album release sounds. There was a lot of energy with the guys, with Jinwoon singing directly to members of the audience.  It wasn’t until they went back to the current album with “To an Angel / 천사에게” to make use of the thrust stage, bringing energy to the soft rock track by involving the audience as much as they could. All of the members seemed really relaxed, and there was even some awkward dancing. However, with Changmin suited up and decked out in his IT glasses, he looked a lot more like someone’s awkward friend dancing along with a song, not an idol. However, that is part of Changmin’s charm. Unfortunately, the audience didn’t get to see the full energy of 2AM’s youngest member, because Jinwoon seemed to have injured his leg.

Once the members were out on the thrust stage, there was another MC moment. A common occurrence now at 2AM concerts, this MC moment turned to one speaking to couples in the audience. Since 2AM’s shows are one of the more date-friendly concerts, being around Christmas and them not dancing around in a way that would make boyfriends jealous, it’s quite easy to find couples in the audience. During the MC moment, Changmin took his leave to prepare for the solo stages, using some generous English with an “Enjoy yourselves, babies~”. Perhaps preparing himself for the LA show on December 15th?

After the couples MC moment, there was a video leading into the solo stages for the concert. Each member likes to use these solo performances to indulge in their interests that lay beyond ballads. It’s great to see the diversity that the members can pull off. The video was of Changmin refusing to wake up, turning on the TV to check the weather, only to find… himself… playing the weather girl. Changmin makes a VERY cute weather girl. Changmin’s solo piece was a song that he had composed himself, called “I’m Not a Bad Man /나쁜 사람 아니야”. The song was a far cry from the ballads before. Dressed casually in an oversized tanktop, Changmin showed off an impressive body despite not needing to pull his shirt off. The song was upbeat and fun, showing that while he certainly can be sexy, Changmin’s charm is also in the fact he’ll always be a bit of a dork at heart.

IE001652965_STDThe next solo was actually a duet. Jinwoon and JoKwon sang “Something ‘Bout You” which was on JoKwon’s solo album. The two looked fantastic in their suits. Jinwoon was wearing well-fitting leather pants with a dark red jacket, making him look very rockstar, while JoKwon was wearing a white suit. It was a really interesting performance because JoKwon wasn’t actually wearing a shirt under his blazer, so often there would be moments where his entire chest would be exposed, reminding fans that JoKwon can keep up with any other idol in terms of physical appeal.

JoKwon left the stage after “Something ‘Bout You” was finished, leave Jinwoon on stage as the band transitioned into a driving rock beat, turning into the timeless three beat introduction to “We Will Rock You” by Queen. Jinwoon’s solo performances have always involved him getting right into rock music, so using such an iconic song was a great choice. Despite his injury (Jinwoon was involved in a car accident a few weeks back) he still owned the stage with his excellent stage presence and his command of the song. Much like how the songs feed into each other in the original live performances and the albums, Jinwoon led from “We Will Rock You” into “We Are the Champions”. While the fan reaction in Korea was quiet respect as Jinwoon played the piano, the LA concert should be a thunderous response if the lineup remains the same. These two classics are beloved in English speaking countries, so there definitely should be resounding response that Jinwoon is looking for.

20131208021459_9563The next solo was JoKwon, and he once again brought another show stopper. Using the solo section to indulge in his more creative dancing side, and to pay tribute to some of the goddesses of music, JoKwon’s solo pieces have always been a treat. This year was no exception, with the opening slow chords of a synthesizer introducing his choice for this year: Madonna’s “Vogue”. While JoKwon may not have sung with the song, he still completely owned the stage, singing along with the parts he could while he danced and worked it. Complete with a platform being carried by incredibly fit young men wearing varying amounts of leather with their outfit, JoKwon recreated the 80’s feeling of the song, and owned it in a way that only JoKwon could.

After a solo piece like that, the audience needed a bit of a mental break. A change of pace. So out came the intermission performer: K-Will! Performing his latest hit, “You Don’t Know Love / 촌스럽게 왜 이래” the audience immediately got into the song, singing along. Since 2AM and K-Will have similar sounds, it’s no surprise that these fans would know K-Will’s work as well. Speaking with the fans for bit, he seemed genuinely surprised at how well the audience knew his work, even though he was only the guest for the show. Then, he performed one of his most popular songs, “My Heart Beating /가슴이 뛴다” The audience sang along, obviously really pleased to see the song, complete with K-Will’s awkward dance at the end of the song which is wonderfully endearing.

After the intermission, a smaller section of the band came forward and sat with the members of 2AM as they did a series of acoustic medleys. First, they did an acoustic performance of “With or Without You” and “I Did Wrong / 잘못했어”, which had moments of being quick, but mostly was a slower version of the song. After a few words with the audience, the group led into their next acoustic set. This one was made out of mostly English songs. The first one was “Billy Jean” by Michael Jackson. Jinwoon seemed to be really enjoying himself, dancing along and doing all the classic notes that people do when singing Michael Jackson. The next song was “Moves Like Jagger”, which many of the Korean listeners didn’t realize until it got to the chorus due to the fact the acoustic sound changed the song a lot. Lastly, they began to sing a song much more familiar with the audience, which was “Growl” by Exo. JoKwon revealed himself to be quite a fan as he jumped up to do the dance with the song. It nearly turned into a battle of the fanboys, Jinwoon wanting more Michael Jackson, while JoKwon wanted more Exo. Either way, it was a great thing to watch.

There was another MC moment then, where the members talked about their parts and their singing style over the past few years. Just to show how all of them had grown, they decided to sing part of “Never Let You Go /죽어도 못 보내” with the roles switched. Changmin and JoKwon sang Seulong and Jinwoon’s parts, and vice versa. It was great to hear the guys take on the different ranges, and see how they’ve all grown, and how they are all four parts of a bigger puzzle, and that their own individual skills are what makes 2AM such a well rounded group. They can’t replace each other easily.

IE001652957_STDFor the next piece, the chairs were cleared off stage, and a keyboard was brought out. After some tinkering around with it on stage, they finally had it working properly, and Seulong sat down to begin his own solo piece, covering “Senorita” by Justin Timberlake.  It was an incredible choice to perform, because his voice matched it so perfectly. It was clear he was singing live, but he had worked so hard on getting the accent and tone perfected, his voice easily rivaled Justin Timberlake’s himself. Though, there was one small flaw with this performance that should be fixed with the LA concert. At the end of the song, there is a part that includes audience participation with men and women singing parts. However, the lines were in English, so the vast majority of the audience didn’t know how to sing along. However, the response at the LA show should be incredible.

The band played “ABC” by the Jackson 5 while the members were off stage, preparing for their next song. They came out a few moments later in much more casual clothes as they performed “You’re Prettier the More I See You / 볼수록 예뻐”. Indulging in some awkward aegyo which the fans all seemed to love, the members were all able to act really silly on stage, which was a welcome change from the first act being so serious. They then began to sing JoKwon’s solo piece, “I’m Da One” as a group song, turning it into more of a rock song than anything else. It was great to see all four members singing the song.

Taking time between songs, the band was introduced, giving each hard working member a moment of applause and time to show off their own personal skills. Jokwon danced along with all of their solo pieces, letting loose as they went wild on their drums, piano and guitars.

The next song up was “I Did Wrong /잘못했어”. One of the coolest pieces of choreography that 2AM have for their songs, the puppet dance looked fantastic, however it wasn’t the same choreography as usual. Since Jinwoon was injured, he couldn’t do the full choreography. Standing on the stairs behind them as they danced, Jinwoon looked more like the puppetmaster as the others did the puppet dance. It worked quite well. He was able to keep up while everyone sprinted down to the thrust stage, driving the energy of the audience higher and higher. By this point, the audience was out of their seats, dancing along.

 The last song was “I Wonder If You Hurt Like Me / 너도 나처럼”, bringing the audience back down to the original mood with a calm song. However, as the curtains closed, the audience was having none of that. The chants for encore started immediately, and a few moments later, 2AM returned to the stage to perform “Never Let You Go /죽어도 못 보내” again, since it hadn’t been performed fully before. With such an emotional song, the members said their last thanks during the final MC piece, before closing with a song that they sing to their fans, “This Song / 이 노래”.

The December 2AM concert is a fixture of the k-pop concert year. They put on consistently solid performances, and are able to keep fans entertained throughout the evening. Appealing to fans and couples, they’re a solid choice for any concert goer. Those who are in the LA area are in luck, because 2AM will be taking their Nocturne concert to Club Nokia in LA. Tickets can be bought from Powerhouse and AXS.

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