World Tour Poster

Where to even begin? The anticipation that built up over an entire week in Seoul? The feeling of imminent awe on the cab ride over to the venue? The torturous wait in line to buy concert goods?

The sensory impact of going to see Girls’ Generation with your own eyes is overwhelming – the sights, the sounds, the overflowing tides of emotions cascading in all sorts of directions. You might imagine the challenge of attempting to convey two days’ worth of the Girls’ Generation experience, but if you’ll bear with me, I’ll try my best. For your reference, the setlist of the concerts can be found here.

Pre-Concert

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Personally, and perhaps for any other international SONE I imagine, there’s something magical about being in Seoul. As one might expect from all the endorsement pictures that appear across the internet, images of the girls litter the streets – walking through any of Seoul’s busiest districts guarantees that you will be greeted by a familiar face. On a more subtle level, you might even feel the irrational sensation in the back of your mind that however improbable, you might just randomly bump into one of the girls if your luck is up for it.

It was in this kind of atmosphere that I spent my time in Seoul leading up to the concert weekend. D-3… D-2… D-1… D-day.

Nestled away in Seoul’s Olympic Park, the Olympic Park Gymnastics arena is a great venue for any concert. The building itself is surrounded by both ample space and greenery, and it was the courtyard outside the front entrance of the arena that served as both the location of concert goods sales and a meeting place for SONEs. Over the course of two days, you might start to see some faces you recognize, and even get to meet other fans you’ve only met over Twitter/other internet portals.

As a concert space, the inside of the venue was simultaneously spacious and intimate. Unlike the Honda Centers and Madison Square Garden arenas of the world, the upper levels of seating still offered enough proximity to feel like part of things; meanwhile, the floor level was offered a degree of order by being arranged into assigned seating as opposed to standing room only (some more on this later).

The stage itself extended into the crowd in a Y-shape, with a square platform in the center of the Y, while the front stage itself featured a moving/elevated section in the rear.

Concert

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As everyone was getting seated, various texts from the audience appeared on the screen, along with the typically ever-present SM Entertainment Global Audition advertisements. But not too soon after the shows were supposed to begin, the multilingual PA welcomed the audience, informing us that we would be removed from the venue if we took pictures, and then boom. Darkness.

Perhaps more so than the SMTOWN concerts, where you don’t necessarily know who’s going to appear when, at a Girls’ Generation solo concert, this one moment set off a wave of pure thrill. “Oh my god it’s time,” “Holy crap I can’t believe I’m here,” “This is happening, it’s actually real,” and a million of other thoughts go off all in one instant, then as quickly as the moment comes, it’s whisked away – the screens light back up.

The introductory video tells the story of how the girls bring life to a barren world. With booming bass lines and the beat increasing intensity as the video goes on, we see the girls arriving on a desolate planet by way of glowing flower comets. As they emerge from their flower bed slumber, the girls spin forth life from their fingers, and spreading bright/colorful nature all across the world… Pretty much what you would expect for a concert intro video.

As the world completes its fruition, the introductions begin. Yoona… Yuri… Sooyoung… Sunny… Seohyun… Taeyeon… Jessica… Tiffany… Hyoyeon. Each member appears on the screen as the pink ocean waves in unison and cries out with every passing name. The anticipation grows and grows until finally, a metallic bubble structure appears onstage. The opening music stops, and just a few second the speakers go silent as the crowd roars. A familiar twang of a guitar then sounds.

The first song is “Hoot”.

Set 1 – Pink Power

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As the song begins and the bubble structure parts, the stage is populated not by the girls, but holograms – similar to those of the Naver “V Concert” in Gangnam this past winter. As the song makes its way through the first verse, the girls start to burst into flower petals, and just as the bridge begins, the girls themselves slowly rise from the center stage.

The first set was seven songs long – the longest of the night. Performing in bright pink outfits with which Tiffany undoubtedly must have been pleased, the girls blazed through “Hoot” with the same flair and arrow shooting vigor to which SONEs across the world have all become accustomed. Right after “Hoot”’s conclusion, the girls swiftly transitioned right into “Animal”, with all of its leg popping and stage crawling glory. The girls then followed up with a performance of “Talk Talk” before swiftly going backstage while another video appeared on the screens.

The video, merely a brief interlude, featured the girls in a model runway type of setting, allowing the crowd to roar along with the shot of each individual member. This time, as the video ended, we were greeted by another hallmark phrase: “t-t-t-the boys the boys the boys – stop.”

Still clad in the same pink outfits, but now in sneakers with silver Girls’ Generation letterman jackets on, the girls burst into “The Boys”, and the crowd responded. You could feel the intensity of the concert kick up a notch as the arena roared with “GG” and some of the fan chants that have become all too familiar since the song first came out.

Right after the song’s conclusion, the girls rearranged formation and shot straight into “I Got A Boy”, barely missing a beat. A bonus to this performance – the song was performed in its entirety, including the Taeyeon and Tiffany solo verses that were typically cut from the renditions that were performed on TV after the comeback stages this past winter.

Finally, after this five song bombardment, the girls were given a chance to breathe, as they stood center stage and introduced themselves to the audience. With each member introduction came of a roar of the crowd – two years of pent up energy bursting forth in appreciation of each girl on stage.

Following the introductions and some brief talking, the letterman jackets came back off and the girls moved into “Say Yes”. Although the song began with the girls playing around on stage with a bunch of inflatable makeup accessories, the performance quickly turned into the first fan service song of the night, with the cute melody of the song masterfully accompanying the girls roaming from end to end of the concert stage, waving to fans and causing screams wherever they went. As the song transitioned into its final third, the girls returned to the center stage and brought out feather fans for a cute piece of choreography that included some playful member abuse. To end the first set, the girls then transitioned into another cute song – “Dancing Queen”. All in all, the first set was a whirlwind of activity – so many songs in quick succession, ranging from powerful to cute, all performed in an unforgettable set of neon pink outfits.

Notes and Thoughts

  • — While the choreography of “Animal” itself is visually stunning on its own, the performance in particular was punctuated by some good lighting, the powerful blaring of the music in a concert setting, and some creative holographic work towards the song’s conclusion.
  • — Both in the moment, and looking back in hindsight, I really liked the placement of “The Boys” this early in the setlist. It’s unquestionably a powerful song, boosted by the choreography formations doing a solid job of giving each member a moment in the spotlight, and most importantly, the roar of “GG” has become as good of a rallying cry for the SONE fandom as any other cheer in existence for any other entity.
  • — During “The Boys”, there was this random portion of the song where the staff brought out a metal cage onto the stage that Yoona and two other members sliced through with knives as they sang “’cause the girls bring the boys out”… … I honestly don’t know what the purpose or thought was there.
  • — I was super surprised by the fact that “I Got A Boy” made its appearance this early (I hadn’t paid attention to the Japan arena tour setlists so I was unaware that they performed it this early at those concerts as well); even the friend I went to the concert with turned to me and questioned: “Already!?” as the song came on (more on this later).
  • — On Sunday’s concert, Tiffany did a jumping buing buing during her usual aegyo portion of “I Got A Boy”, and I nearly died. I really hope it makes it into the DVD.
  • — Before the girls introduced themselves and spoke to the audience, they needed a solid minute or two to catch their breath. If you think about it, they performed “Animal”, “The Boys”, and “I Got A Boy” as part of a five song string in which only a minute or two of rest – that can’t have been easy, given how great a performance they were putting on.
  • — Yuri rode an inflatable mascara brush as if it were a toy horse on Saturday; on Sunday, Tiffany played it as if it were a guitar. Other inflatable accessory interactions pretty much included waving and hitting.
  • — The fan dance portion of “Say Yes” was a cute little number that featured the girls turning their back to the audience and wiggling their hips/fans. When Sunny and Jessica had their solos towards the end of the song, the other members assaulted them with their fans. On Sunday, Jessica tried to run away from the other members… to no avail.

 

Set 2 – Neon Green Techno Japan Fun Time

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The second major video feature of the night was highlighted by Jessica, Sunny, Tiffany, Yuri, and Sooyoung at a bar, and a guy playing a racing video game (Girls’ Generation Kart?!) with the five members as driver characters. As if the theme and the heavily repeated appearance of the phrase “Are u ready to drive?” on screen were not enough foreshadowing, the transformation of the Girls’s Generation car into a yellow cab signaled the first song of the next set – “MR. TAXI”.

As the song began this time, the girls slowly appeared on the rear elevated portion of the front stage, clad in neon and holding green Christmas lights. As part of an extended introduction sequence, fireworks went off with a bang as the girls discarded the green lights and made their way down to the floor level of the front stage.

Continuing with the whole green theme, the girls were quick to pick up their lit-up green batons and start their performance of “T.O.P” after “MR. TAXI” concluded. Along with the special baton-based choreography associated with “T.O.P” to begin with, the performance of the song was highlighted by the setting off of a cannon as the girls made their way from front to center stage. Fittingly, the second set ended with “FLOWER POWER”, the song and choreography meshing masterfully with the futuristic neon green outfits the girls donned for this set. The girls performed the song in its entirety on the center stage, before the lights faded, and it was onto the next video and set.

Notes and Thoughts

  • — Although I think “FLOWER POWER” appeared earlier in the setlist for the Japan arena tour, this set in very easily could have fit into a Japan concert – likely because all three songs have Japanese versions, haha. This set was the only time all night that two Japanese singles (three if you count “MR. TAXI”’s origin) occurred in direct succession.
  • — “T.O.P” ended with a nifty V formation on the extended stage, I think it particularly worked well with all the baton raising/waving.
  • — The whole neon green outfit theme worked out rather well with the use of lights, the batons, and the jumpsuit look from “FLOWER POWER”. I’m pretty sure they wore the same getup during the Japan arena tour as well, now that I think about it.

 

Set 3 – Flirtatious Red Marionettes

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The next major video featured Taeyeon, Jessica, Sunny, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona, and Seohyun as various fairy tale princesses. This was the point in the night where these videos started taking a turn for the dramatic. There was a lot of doom and gloom in the first half of the video involving Snow White apple imagery, the cutting of hair, and the general falling of the members into various evil-induced comas – comas that were cured in the matter of seconds I might add. I found it kind of comical, but the crowd enjoyed it.

As the video ended and focus shifted back to the stage, the boom and “ooh-la-la la” of “PAPARAZZI” echoed across the arena as the girls appeared, each in one of nine booths that had been set up as the fairy tale video had been playing. The concept actually worked quite well, with the girls dressed up in red and black outfits reminiscent of their clothes in the “PAPARAZZI” music video. I’d get more into a whole meta-analysis of each girl being on display performing “PAPARAZZI” in a box, but I’ll leave that kind of subjective long-winded talk for the notes.

As the girls finished up “PAPARAZZI”, still in their booths, they moved on to “Run Devil Run”. Given the linear nature of “Run Devil Run”’s formations, keeping the members in their separate sections worked quite well visually; nevertheless, it was a welcome change when they made their way back onto the front stage.

To close out the set, the girls moved onto “Reflection”. Performing the entirety of the song on the front stage. I liked this set a lot just because it was very high energy from front to end. All three songs are pretty up-tempo, so it did a good job of carrying over the energy from the neon set.

Notes and Thoughts

  • — As I kind of mentioned, I thought the way “PAPARAZZI” was presented was a nice touch. The music video and song are thematically all about the girls being on display – what better way to represent this in performance than to have each girl in her own marionette box, dancing the song individually?
  • — Funny moment in “PAPARAZZI” – the cascading portion of the choreography (when the girls do an eight-person wave) was all out of sync because the girls weren’t lined up in the same order they appear during that part of the song. So instead of one wave, you had the girls randomly doing the choreography all over the place. …well, I thought it was funny.
  • — Camerawork during “PAPARAZZI” was kind of a mess – on the main screen they kept cutting to the wrong girl during solos and the focus was blurry. I wonder what they’re going to do when they’re preparing the DVD for release.
  • — I can’t for the life of me figure out the fanchants to “Run Devil Run”. I should go look them up. I feel like it’s the most complex of all the title songs to fanchant.
  • — “Reflection” to me is one of those songs that just works really well in a concert setting. It’s loud, high paced, high energy, techno-y, with ample opportunity for the girls to ad-lib.

 

Set 4a – Beauty of the Ballad

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If the Fairy Tale video wasn’t dramatic enough, the next video certainly took the cake. This vignette featured only Seohyun and told the story of a teacher and her students. The video begins with a reunion of an elderly teacher and her class at a reunion, before transitioning into a set of flashbacks containing her fond memories of Seohyun and other students when they were younger. Afterwards, the film shows Seohyun bidding a teary eyed farewell in an empty classroom after the teacher has passed away.

The imagery of the memorial flowers in the video immediately transitioned into some visual artwork on the stage holograph screen, and the start of “Promise”, with the girls emerging in white, almost bridal dresses. The song was the first real ballad of the night, and the girls delivered.

As “Promise” concluded, seating was brought out onto the stage for the girls for the next song and one of the biggest highlights of both nights – a beautifully arranged new rendition of “Baby Baby”. This was when the fan events occurred, on both nights.

Notes and Thoughts

  • — I do think “Promise” was beautifully done; however, the performance was marred on both nights by some microphone feedback – it’s too bad, the girls sang it very well.
  • — Before I get into my account of the fan events, I just think it has to be said – the performance of “Baby Baby” was an absolute wonder to behold even without the fan aspect. Coming from the first album, “Baby Baby”’s just one of those songs that takes on a special meaning for SONEs who have been fans since the beginning. To be able to see them perform this song in and of itself was truly, truly special.

 

Set 4b Saturday – Seohyun’s Yellow Ocean

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The organized fan event for the Saturday concert was a yellow glow stick, placed in the seat of every concert attendee to be activated after the second chorus of the song as Seohyun begins her verse. The idea here was to do this in appreciation of Seohyun’s upcoming birthday by turning the typical pink ocean into a wave of yellow – her favorite color. The execution was unfortunately a bit off (the new arrangement of the song seems to have caused some confusion); however, the effect remained profound. Seeing the pink ocean in full action is always special, but to see it turn to yellow was an interesting experience.

As special as Saturday’s event was, however, it paled in comparison to Sunday’s.
Set 4b Sunday – Let’s Go On for a Long Time

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It’s amazing how the most simple of phrases in one dramatic flourish can be turn into the most profound motto of a fandom – and that’s exactly what happened on Sunday. “우리오래가자” – “let’s go on for a long time.”

On Sunday, instead of yellow glow sticks, placed in each seat instead was a small banner that read “우리오래가자!” or, “let’s go on for a long time”. Instead of during Seohyun’s portion, the audience was this time instructed to wait until the climax of the song – right after Taeyeon’s high note in the final bridge – to hold up the banners.

There was no mistake in execution this time. The girls reached the bridge, Taeyeon sang her verse, then boom: the music went silent and all the lights in the arena came on to reveal every person in the arena holding up their sign as we cried out in one flush wave of pure adoration.

“우리오래가자!” – let’s go on together for a long time. Girls’ Generation as a group, and we as a fandom have had the opportunity to experience so much in the near six years since the nine members who are so dear to us brought us into a new world. The journey has been so meaningful, so rewarding. Every moment we’ve had to appreciate the girls has been a gift, each new song, new interaction, a source of wonder. For some of us, we have been there every step of the way; for others, the ride has been shorter but no less teeming to the brim with joy.

“우리오래가자!” It was as if the crowd was telling the girls: “We’ve come so far together, but we’re nowhere near ready for the ride to be over. Let’s keep going for a long time, together.” In one pure moment, a whole arena expressed their love for their idols, and it was a moment nobody in attendance will ever forget.

I know this all sounds kind of corny, but even so, I’m not even sure I did the moment justice. These were just all the things that ran through my head as we raised those banners into the air.

 

Set 5 – Golden Goddesses

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Whew. How do you move on from a moment like that, right?

The next video featured the quartet of Taeyeon, Hyoyeon, Sooyoung, and Yoona as various goddesses smiting a mass of infidels that resembled something coming out of the walking dead. I know that’s kind of a blunt description but the video was honestly kind of nonsensical to me. The girls looked amazing though!

The whole goddess-theme transitioned right into “I’m a Diamond”, with the girls appearing on a stage now decorated with columns and various Greek/Egyptian imagery flashing on the screens in the background. The performance featured some use of the elevated front stage ascending and descending.

“I’m a Diamond” gave way to “Express 999”, during which the girls eventually made their way to the center stage. The outfits the girls were wearing for this set were slightly militaristic gold and white tops, with short black shorts – with that kind of get-up, the set really screamed one song and one song only…

Once “Express 999” had ended, the lights went off, the girls rearranged their formation, and with the all too familiar sound of a car engine’s ignition, the girls launched into “Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)”. From a logistical perspective, I suppose there wasn’t anything unique about the performance of “Genie” this time around (it was the full, original version of the song – no remix or Tiffany rap), but I’ll delve into why the song was a highlight later.

To wrap up the set, the girls next performed “THE GREAT ESCAPE/Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” song mix from the Japan tour – the second major fan service song of the night. As the girls launched into the “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” portion of the song, so too did they launch all over the show floor, covering every edge of the stage, dancing to the song, waving to the crowd, sending people delirious.

Notes and Thoughts

  • — The goddesses video had a shot of Taeyeon that was virtually straight out of Kanye West’s “Power” music video. She was sitting on a throne with all this action around her and the shot ends with two dudes with swords jumping towards her.
  • — Seohyun fell down during the Sunday night performance of “I’m a Diamond”. She got back up quickly though – no harm no foul.
  • — During “Express 999” on Saturday, I leaned over all mysterious-like to the non-SONE friend I attended the concert with and was like, “The next song is gonna be ‘Genie’.” It was. She was like, “whoaaa.” I am awesome. The outfits definitely thematically screamed “Genie” though, as I mentioned.
  • — If you’ll indulge me for a moment – I really do think “Genie” is like, the best song in K-Pop as an all-around package. The outfits, the choreography, the synchronization, the visuals, the distribution of vocal parts, the fan-freaking-tastic musique concrète Taeyeon has in the end. Most importantly, at least one of the top highlights of any Girls’ Generation concert has to be when Tiffany screams at your city to PUT IT BACK ON!
  • — On Saturday, Tiffany hollered “Seoul, put it back on!” as opposed to Sunday, when she went back to “Dae Han Min Guk [South Korea], put it back on!”
  • — During “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, I had the fortune of being pretty close to Seohyun. She was rather adorable – she was both earnestly doing the song’s choreography and taking the time/effort to put on her best aegyo face and wave to as many fans as she could.
  • — Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, and Seohyun also had a moment where they came over to the side of the stage closest to me and got everyone jumping.
  • — So I was sitting in the B side floor section (right side of the arena), and I’d say on Saturday, security had a pretty good handle on things, but on Sunday, when the Tiffany/Hyoyeon/Yuri/Seohyun quartet made its way over to our area, people just left their seats and rushed over as close as possible. This was the start of a lot of that kind of behavior for the rest of the concert. I’d like to say I wasn’t guilty of leaving my seat either, but when in Seoul…

 

Set 6 – The Cake is a Lie

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The video that followed took a turn away from the dramatic and towards the comical by telling the story of Alps and Flanders. I guess I don’t want to spoil the fun here in case you want to see the video for yourself, but it involves fighting pantomime animals and a funny cameo by another SM artist.

When the music came on again, the girls emerged center stage riding on a cake, in sequined party dresses with bows in their hair singing “My J”. They spent the most of the song seated on the cake, coming off briefly to do some choreography once it had made its way all the way center stage. As the song went into the latter half, the girls hopped back on and rode their cake back to the front stage, and were back where they started by the song’s conclusion.

The next song was an abbreviated version of “Kissing You” mixed in with “Himnae”. For those of you who have read about or attended any concert recently, you’ll know that the “Kissing You” portion of the song was another fan-service portion, which did not disappoint. “Kissing You” quickly gave way to “Himnae”, and “Himnae” gave way to “Gee”.

And with that, the girls gave their “final” talk of the night, informing us the next song would be the last. The song of choice turned out to be “Forever”, which the girls sang beautifully before waved their “goodbyes”… for the time being.

Notes and Thoughts

  • — “Kissing You” is like my favorite song, man. I was sad they cut it short.
  • — I had the blessing of being in the Tiffany corner during “Kissing You” on Saturday. If you haven’t been able to tell by now, she’s my bias. I was pretty pumped.
  • — On Sunday, it was Jessica; lazysic was true to form though, haha.
  • — Sunday during “Kissing You”, my area of the arena continued to be a zone of chaos whenever anyone came close. There was pretty much nothing security could do at that point.
  • — Per usual, the girls picked a “victim” for the “Himnae” performance. On Saturday it was Seohyun, and on Sunday it was Yoona. Sucks to be maknae, I guess. Jessica sat on Yoona when it was her turn, which was pretty funny.
  • — I kind of don’t know what to say about “Gee” at this point. You know what it is, I know what it is, they’re going to perform it pretty much no matter what, we all know the dance. Yeah. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t good, I just have no additional insight for you guys, haha.
  • — I really wish my Korean were better so that I could understand/better remember everything that happened in the talk here on both days.
  • — Had this been the actual end of the concert, I’m not so sure how I would have felt about “Forever” as the final song.

 

Encore – Girls and Peace

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On Saturday I have to admit, they nearly had me going for a while. The lights kind of came on after the girls left the stage and nothing was happening; security wasn’t forcing us out, but the stage showed no signs of any movement either.

Then came the probably the most powerful song of the night. The lights went out and then for brief moment, all you could hear was Taeyeon’s voice until the spotlight came on and the girls slowly rose out of the center stage, singing a totally new harmonization of “Into the New World”. The new a cappella intro was brief but impactful, the addition of a higher harmony at the end in tandem with the visual of the girls rising out of the stage made you seriously feel like you were sitting in the halls of heaven itself.

For many of the same reasons “Baby Baby” was so moving as a song selection, so too was the way “Into the New World” was placed here just absolutely perfect. Back in Seoul, the first solo concert in two years, there was no way they couldn’t perform this song, and they just absolutely killed it on both days.

The girls didn’t let us sit and contemplate what we had just witnessed for very long though – they followed up immediately with the first performance of “LOVE&GIRLS”, turning the arena into a party, whistles blowing and shampoo dancing everywhere. From “LOVE&GIRLS”, the girls busted out another colorful/perky song in “Oh!” The fact that they were wearing the white concert t-shirts and pink shorts was a nice touch that went well conceptually with the songs.

The girls then regrouped center stage to talk with the audience some more, before announcing (for real this time) that the next songs would be the last. The girls then spread back out all over the stage floor and sang “How Great Is Your Love”, regrouping center stage only when the song was about to end.

Finally, as the last song in the planned setlist, all nine members performed “Twinkle” together. While we didn’t get much in the ways of organized choreography, the girls made up for it with tons of energy, and by tossing signed plastic balls into the audience. At one point, the main stage elevated Taeyeon, Tiffany, and Seohyun as they were singing the chorus. Not that I advocate elevating members above the rest, but it was a nice touch.

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Notes and Thoughts

  • — The “Into the New World” performance was so so good, it was haunting. In the same way that you get chills sent down your spine when the concert begins, I also was just stunned by the a cappella intro.
  • — Someone mentioned on Twitter that it’s not truly a concert unless the girls perform “Into the New World” – by golly I want to agree. Especially having recently re-watched “Girls Go To School” on the plane ride over to Korea – it’s such an important song in Soshi canon.
  • — “LOVE&GIRLS” is actually such a great concert song – especially since Taeyeon prepped the audience in the days leading up to the concert via Instagram. Those so inclined (a pretty sizeable amount of SONEs) were doing the shampoo dance along with the song, and those who brought whistles were all tweeting along as well.
  • — I actually thought the placement of “Oh!” in this set was kind of weird. I guess it fills in nicely with “LOVE&GIRLS”, but if I’m trying to close out a concert, I wouldn’t exactly consider it a go-to song…
  • — Same thing kind of applies for “How Great Is Your Love”. I kind of would have liked “Complete” here instead, but beggars can’t be choosers!
  • — In the talk on Saturday, the girls talked about how they hadn’t performed “Girls’ Generation” for a long time (you can’t exactly tease them for being young anymore), and sang a bit of the chorus a cappella. They also asked the audience what songs they’d want to hear (my Korean’s very bad, they could have been asking what we thought they were going to sing next, I really don’t know), but a lot of people were yelling “Trick.” I guess I’m not the only one who wishes they had performed that song.
  • — On Sunday during the talk, Jessica’s foot was cramping up and giving her trouble, so she was sitting off to a side of the stage. A few of the girls went over to massage her foot, meowing loudly into their microphones during the process (a cramp is idiomatically referred to as a mouse in Korean – hence the connection). This also resulted in a few members, namely Taeyeon and Tiffany at first, serenading her with Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”. Yoona had a particularly memorable rendition as well, ending her high note with a cute couple moment with Sooyoung.
  • — Tiffany also took some time to thank international fans in English. Sooyoung decided to enhance this with her own… English (It was a lot of gibberish and random phrases). The crowd loved it.
  • — “How Great Is Your Love” has some HARD solo verses, I felt for Jessica here, lol.
  • — OT9 “Twinkle” was everything you might imagine it would be. Yuri and Yoona in particular seemed to be super stoked to be doing the dance emphatically every time the chorus came along.
  • — More on Sunday madness in my seating section – Hyoyeon came over to throw signed balls into the audience, and everyone went bat poop crazy – just a mass of people crowding as close to the stage as they could. I almost caught a ball but it would have involved shoving to secure it. HAVE GOOD MANNERS AT CONCERTS, PEOPLE.
  • — I think I stepped on some girl’s plastic pink star light-up thing at one point and broke it. I felt pretty terrible but couldn’t muster the Korean to apologize and offer to buy her a new one. I don’t think she cared because she just pulled another one out of her bag.
  • — During the Saturday “Twinkle” ball toss, Jessica was actually in my area, and seemed to be throwing a ball almost right at me – based on her wind up. You can guess how this story ends right? She pulled out the old Sica slider and ended up throwing the ball into the crowd immediately in front of her. Jeez, someone fix that girl’s release already.
  • — Both Saturday and Sunday, as the girls were leaving the stage at the end, some of the girls (Sooyoung in particular, and rather relentlessly) sang an adapted version of “Touch The Sky” to the crowd.
  • — Sooyoung was so into it on Sunday that Jessica confiscated her microphone to try and quiet her down.

 

Second Encore (Sunday) – Gee Forever

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As part of the fan event instructions given to us in our seats for the Sunday concert, we were told to stick around and try to force a second encore. Security didn’t seem very happy with the fact that we wouldn’t leave (they were already pretty exasperated from the general madness in my section, I’m pretty sure), but most of the audience stuck around regardless and the girls eventually came back out to perform “Gee” one last time. They did some of the choreography, but at this point it was all fan service and waving at the crowd.

At some point during the song, the girls pulled a couple of the “우리오래가자!” banners from the crowd and held them up as they performed. As the song ended the girls grouped up for a picture holding the banners, with the entire arena of SONEs behind them. It was a beautiful moment – but just like that, they said their goodbyes and they were gone.

 

Assorted General Thoughts

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Homecoming

  • — I suppose I can’t speak towards the Japan arena tour experience, and I suppose this comes with a grain of salt because this weekend was the first solo concert I attended in person; however, there’s just something special about a Seoul solo concert.
  • — You could feel a certain connection between the girls and the audience in the air; this was the first solo concert on home turf in two years – they wanted to perform, and we wanted to back them up.
  • — The girls definitely expressed this to a degree in the first talk on both days – my Korean isn’t really good enough to give you a fully detailed account, sadly.
  • — The setlist, too, by way of targeting the Seoul audience was just so fulfilling to witness as a long-time fan. There’s a reason I gushed over “Baby Baby” and “Into The New World” as I walked through the concert – just the feeling, the experience of being able to participate in the performance of those songs in the way they were presented was overwhelming.

The SetList

  • — Quibbles with one or two song selections aside (and even then, who am I to complain?) the setlist was amazing, front to end. Virtually each set contained a smooth flow of two or three songs, and the cadence of the concert was a steady stream of everything you could have asked for.
  • — Just to sort of illustrate this – midway through the very first set, when the girls brought out “The Boys” and “I Got A Boy” just FIVE songs into the concert, the thought “WHAT?!” ran across the mind – how could you burn two title tracks that early?
  • — Well apparently the answer is to just follow up with very solidly organized/energetic sets, and blow the pants out of all the SONEs in the audience by turning two first album songs into mega-giant feels generators. As you can tell, I’m pretty much never going to get over those “Baby Baby”/”Into the New World” performances for as long as I live.
  • — Concepts were also right on the money – I loved all the outfits that the girls ended up using for each set.

Saturday or Sunday?

  • — All and all I think if you ask people who were lucky enough to attend both days, they’ll tell you that Saturday was amazing, but Sunday even better.
  • — I was so so impressed and happy when I left the concert on Saturday, but Sunday was just a different level. Maybe it was because of the fan event but the energy in the atmosphere on Sunday just felt more buzzed. The whole experience was breathtaking.

Randomness/Wrap up

  • — It’s surprising to me how difficult it is to remember everything that happened – you spend a whole concert just trying to take in everything you can and then poof – you forget a lot of it. I can’t promise every detail I gave was accurate – but I tried my best, haha.
  • — If I had to pick an absolute favorite set… I guess I would have to say the encore. Something something “Into the New World” was amazing, something something “LOVE&GIRLS”. Am I boring you guys by this point?
  • — There were no solo stages this time around, which may have disappointed some people – but honestly? I feel like everything was so well done that I didn’t miss them at all. We got three solid hours of OT9 in their best form – can’t ask for much more than that.
  • — There were a bunch of other small things that the girls did that I found amusing/thought were amazing, but in the interests of impartiality, and also because my seats were only on one side of the arena both days, I’ll take them to Twitter.
  • — Typically when any SMTOWN Concert/Girls’ Generation appearance ends, I go into a deep state of PTSNSDSD (Post Traumatic So Nyuh Shi Dae Stress Disorder), but oddly, this weekend I emerged unscathed. Maybe it was the fact that I was able to see them twice in a weekend, or maybe I had just witnessed something so special that it didn’t matter that I wouldn’t be seeing them again in person quite some time.
  • — Ultimately though, I consider it such a blessing to have been able to be there this weekend. For me I feel it was the experience of a lifetime. Hopefully the girls will be hitting the States or a country near you all soon!

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Disclaimer: Views expressed are solely those of the author and are not representative of the Soshified community as a whole.

Sources: DWGKD@Twitter.com, smtownglobal@Twitter.com, Segye, Tenasia, SBS, xportsnews, Bestiz, Sina, Sosiz
Written by: gjak1117@soshified
Edited by: bhost909@soshified, MoonSoshi9@soshified, moonrise31@soshified

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