April 28th, Hongdae Subway Station– With the fastest Internet in the world and a population open to new cellphone technology, many of the world’s wired mobile advancements are first launched in South Korea. The country’s largest cellphone carrier, SK Telecom, recently announced its phones will now offer the largest LTE (4G) data service in the country. SK’s LTE service also allows its members to stream free music from Korea’s largest online streamer, Melon, directly into their phones without using up data. SK teamed with Tiger JK to garner fans to their website, offering free concert tickets to select fans who partake in one of their online promotions.
In an effort to continuously stand out above its competitors, SK held its promotional concert in no ordinary venue. Korea is well known for its timely and convenient subway, but commuters often complain its service is not 24 hours. SK used this to their advantage, holding JK’s show at Hongdae subway station after hours. Of course, fans invited were oblivious as to how the company would pull this off. How and where would you pull off a concert in an ordinary subway station?
Outside the turnstile exits of Hongdae’s airport subway line stood a group of fans and random signage with JK’s face. The exits are wide, but still fans were left in the dark where the actual show would be. Around the ticket tables are pseudo red carpets where concert goers could take pictures with a life size JK cut out.
Fans are distracted by the cutout until 12:00pm, when the subway shuts down for the public. They are then instructed to line up near the East bound train turnstiles. At 12:30pm, the crowd is directed downstairs into an empty train, which a few minutes later suddenly closes its doors and takes surprised passengers to the next station (Digital Media City).
As the train pulls into Digital Media City, fans anticipate getting off and going to a secret location for the concert. However, the doors remain close and the lights suddenly shut off, throwing some into a panic. Dance music starts to play and SK staff walks through the train cars announcing everyone is going to a concert/party soon. Still, fans are left questioning if the concert where the venue actually is.
The train suddenly moves back west to Hongdae station, this time arriving on the West bound side of the train tracks. The doors open and a shrill of screams lets out as concert goers realize the show is on the actual platform. A mad dash to the stage occurs, passing through a now JK branded subway platform.
Fans are treated to promos featuring JK and a DJ building anticipation with recent dance hits. Around 1:30pm, JK’s DJ, DJ Juice, appears on stage and hardcore fans scream knowing the show is starting.
As usual, Bizzy starts the set and builds the energy. Bizzy’s set usually starts with “Run,” a track from Yang Dong Geun’s 4th album which him, JK, and Tasha featured. Veteran fans know the sight of Bizzy at a show surely means JK will follow, and then after wife, Tasha/Yoon MiRae.
JK doesn’t disappoint as his joins Bizzy to perform a DT’s classic, “Do You Know Hip Hop?” As JK comes out, the barrier holding the fans back shakes. JK is the first to fully step out to the crowd, causing a panic for his bodyguards. After performing “Monster,” and entertaining the crowd with jokes, Tasha joins the crew for True Romance.
The husband/wife duo always treat the crowd to a small dance in the middle of the set.
With its peaceful melody, True Romance calms the nerves of the crowd, but gets them ready to start jumping as the trio starts the hyped “Pay Day.“
However, the highlight of Tasha’s set is her online single, “Get it In.” Regardless of the crowd, “Get It In” guarantees the crowd will be jumping along with the crew mid song. (Warning: I was close to the stage, almost too close. As a result, the lights affected my camera’s focus and there are parts where it’s hard to see. I apologize!)
“Get It In,” is the apparent show closer, but fans demand the crew come back to the stage for an encore.
Soon after, the crew comes back to close with another Drunken Tiger classic, “I Want You.” Seeing the crowd enamored in the performance, JK takes the opportunity to step off stage and embed himself into the crowd. Midway through, his adrenaline tells him to take a fan’s cellphone with him, leaving her in uneasy excitement. (Again, light warning.)
Fans are always happy that JK is willing to mingle.
The crew leaves the crowd in high spirits. One fan’s love for JK is reignited to the point she wants to kiss his lifesize cut out.
And as the show ends, the subway station empties, but remnants of JK’s presence and a unique concert remain. Kudos, SK Telecom, I definitely will remain a loyal customer after this show.