CNBLUE Brings A One Of A Kind Performance To New York City Amid Terrible Winter Weather
By Annie | January 23, 2014 01:25 PM EST
If a person thinks that K-Pop is all about cutesy singers with matching outfits and perfect hair displaying a series of synchronized dance moves, they have obviously never seen CNBLUE.
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A definite standout act among the crowd, CNBLUE has distinguished themselves from many others in the genre first and foremost for being an actual band who play real instruments and give K-Pop some much needed rock 'n' roll flair.
Comprised of drummer Min Hyuk, bassist Jung Shin, lead guitarist Jong Hyun, and lead singer Yong Hwa who jumps between rhythm guitar and keyboard, CNBLUE started out their careers in mid-2009 by debuting in Japan first before releasing their first album in their native South Korea early the following year.
On January 21 the four-member group hit the Best Buy Theater in Times Square for their first ever live performance in New York City as part of their Blue Moon World Tour, and any notions Americans may have had about K-Pop were thrown out the window.
Despite a particularly nasty snowstorm that hit the city in the morning, fans began lining up outside the venue early on, spending upwards of seven hours in the frigid elements in order to claim their ideal spots on the general admission floor.
Asante Andrich, a 24-year-old fan from Detroit, Michigan was among the first to enter the venue. After spending 20 hours on a bus to New York and waiting in line all day long, she was in high spirits and eager to finally have had the chance to see CNBLUE live.
"It was hard waiting in the cold," she explained. "I was able to wait under the awning of the venue because I came at noon, but the cold still swept through and chilled me to the bone. I'm surprised I didn't lose any limbs!"
Like so many other US fans of K-Pop, Andrich jumped on the opportunity to see the rare showing of a Korean act stateside.
"I was willing to do that because I wanted to see CNBlue and I wanted to experience their strong stage presence and see live what I have only been able to watch on my laptop via YouTube performances for several months. I really wanted to see them and I was not going to let that snowstorm stop me!"
The weather may have caused a lot of frozen extremities, but it also seemed to create a bond among the fans who all filed into the venue with new found respect for one another and the exact same goal in mind - to spend an awesome night with their favorite Korean rockstars.
After a twenty minute delay due to the inclement weather and the ensuing slowed process of ushering ticket holders into the arena, CNBLUE finally took to the stage where they were met by a screaming audience of nearly 1,500.
For the next two hours, the band played near non-stop, moving through both old and new favorites in an impressive seventeen-song set followed by a lengthy encore of five more songs.
Amid screams from fans, Yong Hwa, Jong Hyun, Jung Shin, and Min Hyuk displayed incredible proficiency with their respective instruments, each bringing something unique to the table and helping CNBLUE fully engage the audience from start to finish.
Taking the lead as liaison between band and crowd, Yong Hwa embodied everything a great front man should. With incredible energy, it was hard to take attention away his dynamic stage presence. Whether he was flirting with the crowd or dancing about the stage with his Jagger-esque moves, Yong Hwa's versatile voice effortlessly transitioned through sweet pop harmonies, commanding rock verses, heavy metal screams, and even the occasional rap or beatbox.
Equally impressive, lead guitarist Jong Hyun's control of his instrument was nothing to scoff at. Taking creative license for the live performance, he communicated to the audience by upgrading many of the group's studio tracks for the live show adding in extra riffs and keeping the energy level up.
Jung Shin delivered thumping bass while drummer Min Hyuk kept things going from the back, with both occasionally lending their voices to harmonies or song verses.
The staging incorporated a full-on light show so precise that at times felt like it was being directly controlled by the members' instruments, lending to an overall unforgettable experience for those in the crowd.
CNBLUE had more stage presence and showmanship than most seasoned rockers twice their age and encouraged participation from the crowd from start to finish - whether clapping, singing along, or dancing, the New York audience never stopped moving and the entire experience was anything but lackluster.
All four members showed competency in the English language as between sets of songs they spoke directly to the fans expressing both their gratitude and excitement to have the opportunity to play in New York. Because the language barrier is often seen as a setback for many Korean groups attempting to break into the US market, this proved to be an added bonus helping the band connect to the audience and lending to an overall inclusive show.
When asked about her overall impressions of CNBLUE's concert, 21-year-old New York resident Cynthia Alicea was all smiles when she responded, "Amazing!"
"I loved every second of it. It was so fun and CNBLUE has such a great stage presence - they had so much energy which made you want to watch them all night. They rocked that stage! I couldn't take my eyes off of them and totally didn't want the concert to end."
Andrich agreed wholeheartedly. "CNBlue is something to definitely experience live. They will not disappoint the fans and you will be sucked into the performance before you know it. They know how to give a good show and leave a lasting impression. I hope they gain even more American fans because they deserve more attention!"
CNBLUE will continue on to the west coast for a concert on January 24 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California. The show begins at 8pm PST and tickets are still available through AXS.com.
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