Even after over a decade in the notoriously volatile and competitive biz called K-pop, Girls’ Generation leader Taeyeon has still got it. And by “it” we mean, well, pretty much everything you’d think of: mesmerising stage presence, spine-chilling vocals, smooth dance moves, a substantial and supportive fanbase, doll-like looks et cetera.
The singer, who – believe it or not – turns 30 in March, displayed all that at her Saturday (Jan 12) gig at the Singapore Expo, her very first full-scale solo concert on our sunny shores (she was last here in September as part of the HallyuPopFest line-up). For almost three hours, she alternated seamlessly between several different genres and performance styles, an impressively wide gamut for a one-woman show.
“Today’s the last concert of my ‘s… tour,” she shared wistfully about halfway through the programme. “It’s a concert that I put a lot of hard work and sincerity into, more than any other show I’ve done.”
Then, all of a sudden, Taeyeon started delivering very candid thoughts about not liking to “talk too much about the past”. “There are so many things that are waiting for me that there’s no time to think about the past, because what has passed won’t come back again, right?” she mused. “Maybe that’s why I don’t like the past - because it doesn’t come back.”
While she didn’t go into too much detail, she admitted that “there’s bitterness thinking about the past”, so she avoids doing so for “self-preservation”. “I don’t know what I’m saying!” she laughed. “Maybe it’s such an emotional day because it’s the last concert [of the tour].”
What is Taeyeon “fearful” about?
Taeyeon’s heart-and-soul-baring session resumed during the encore. “I wanted my New Year’s resolution to be about experimenting with more things, but now when I think about it, I want to spend more time learning how to control myself better and make a ‘me’ that I’m happier with - everyone wants to become the best version of themselves, right?” she said.
“Although actually,” she continued. “I’m a bit fearful because I feel like I’m just drifting here and there, but I think that is also something I have to overcome.”
She then explained that the reason she was being so straightforward was so she could find out if there was anyone else who feels the same way she does (many lightsticks, hands and cheers went up in solidarity). “I need to cherish the fact that so many of you are here for this one person that is me, so I feel that responsibility and will work hard to become a better version of myself.”
We have to say: it’d be brave for anyone to make such open confessions anywhere, let alone for a top idol to do so in a packed arena full of spectators. It’s also not the kind of emotional depth you’d expect at a showcase, much less a K-pop one where the conversations are usually more on a superficial level, so we have to give Taeyeon some major props for being so unflinchingly honest with her fans.
How an audience member got Taeyeon’s attention
Of course, the showcase had its light-hearted and utterly adorable moments as well. For instance, during Taeyeon’s sultry, jazz lounge-like rendition of unreleased track ‘Do You Love Me?’, the audience responded with an enthusiastic “yes!” right after the line “I want to know if you love me”, and unexpected reaction that put a delighted grin on the singer’s face. “I love you too!” she responded after the song ended. Too cute.
Then, after roaming to every corner of the stage so she could have a closer look at her devotees, she singled out a male concertgoer wearing a mask of No Face from Japanese animated film Spirited Away.
“Doesn’t it feel stuffy?” she asked, chuckling. “I’d feel stuffy if I wore a mask at a concert, but if I could get a reaction from the singer with the mask, that would be fun!” Well, that is precisely what happened to the No Face cosplayer (#missionaccomplished and #worthit).
Before the concert came to an end, Taeyeon made time for the obligatory group photo with the audience, but instead of bringing a DSLR-toting shutterbug on stage, she used her very own personal phone to take a selfie video on stage, which was soon shared on her Instagram. There is no other clip like that from the other tour stops on her page, so Singapore, you should be honoured. Just sayin’.