The last time we at JaK were able to see B.A.P in concert, it was in 2014 at the Brixton Academy in London. I had a side view of the entire show where it was all bells and whistles with massive LCD screens. However, a few weeks later their much publicised fallout with with TS Entertainment occured and there was silence from them for about a year… Only for them to come back towards the end of 2015 with ‘Young, Wild and Free’, seemingly making a statement about who they are and what they have been through.
Fast forward to May 2016 and I am seeing them again for the second time in nearly two years in London. This time it was in the smaller, but more intimate feeling, Coronet in Elephant & Castle. I walked past the line feeling the buzz of the fans who were excited to see them, a lot for the first time. I set myself in a position right at the back as I didn’t want to be involved in the masses of the crowd (and I knew I wouldn’t enjoy myself as much if I did anyway) and proceeded to watch the show from the back. And after the beginning chords of ‘Warrior’ rang out throughout the theatre (started off by a really good instrumental via a very passionate drummer who was a hero the entire night) the concert began.
In comparison to the spectacle that was the previous “Attack” Tour in London, “Live on Earth: Awake” was much less flashy – and it was much more enjoyable for it. It gave more of an intimate feel with the group and I was actually closer being at the very back of the venue than I was at Brixton. B.A.P themselves seemed to enjoy the more cosy atmosphere and spoke to the crowd of their memories from the last time being in London (where they filmed the ‘Where Are You? Who Are You?’ MV and prompted the crowd to sing the chorus to – and they did with much aplomb) and talked about how they loved being in the city and have good memories here. Something that they probably said in several cities but it still, for that moment in time, made the UK audience feel special.
With only two mini albums worth of new material, the onus was up to them to not be repetitive to the last concert’s setlist that they had so a lot of material was remixed to give it a different sound, whether more rocky or having an EDM sound which gave the concert more of a club feel for about three minutes. The newer material was incredibly popular; their most recent single ‘Feel So Good easily had the biggest cheers of the night and the biggest singalong factor. In contrast, the solo stages were a bit hit and miss at times with Jongup surely impressing the audience with his dance and singing but Youngjae somewhat missing the mark with his English cover of ‘Slow Motion’ by Trey Songz that may have worked better if the English pronunciation was worked on more.
Out of all the members though, Daehyun stood out the most. Whist not a seasoned B.A.P fan I am someone who admires great live vocal control and Daehyun is definitely one of the most underrated vocalists in K-Pop. His tone, colour and control is no joke and it is only seeing him perform live that you get to appreciate that fully. He really impressed me last time around and even more so this time. Good to see that the quality has not waned.
The encore consisted of a combination of ‘Young, Wild and Free’ and a reprise of’ Bangx2′ which included four of the members (I couldn’t clearly see who all were but two were definitely Zelo and a shirtless Yongguk) launching themselves into the belly of audience and partying with hundreds of screaming and teary fangirls. In actuality it looked like the boys were having a riot of a time and didn’t want to leave the stage. In the end, time constraints prevented them from continuing any longer and they had to leave the stage but they did so with the intense roar from fans and massive grins on their faces
Pros: A more relaxed atmosphere where they felt like they had a point to prove and only had to be themselves, performances of ‘Feel So Good’, ‘Bangx2’ and ‘Carnival’ were ridiculously fun.
Cons: No ‘Body and Soul’ (my favourite B.A.P song) this time around, solo stages a bit hit and miss and no Zelo solo dance stage which I saw snippets of from fan cams from other cities.
Summary: A welcome return for a group who were deemed as super rookies for their powerful debut and strong international fandom who were, ultimately, marred by controversies on home soil. Hopefully this tour is a sign of things are now better for them as artists and they are on the up and up!