photo credit: YG Entertainment

     Outside the Wiltern Theatre, a line stretched around the block with Taeyang fans eagerly awaiting entry. As people filled into every pocket of space on the GA floor, an announcer echoed that the show would start momentarily, easing the apprehension of the late start.  As the lights dimmed, the hollers of approval grew louder as beautiful visuals of thunder, clouds, and rain images accompanied the instrumental soundtrack of Taeyang’s White Night single “Wake Me Up”. As the sun burst on the screen, the anointed “sun” of K-POP took the stage front and center.

     “How y'all feeling tonight, y'all ready?” Taeyang swaggered down the platform stairs draped in all-white. From his frosted tips, to the platinum chain and down to the snow-white sneakers, Taeyang shimmered and shined. The collective roar of the crowd quickly fell into song as Taeyang initiated a call-and-response riff.

     The opening chords to “Ringa Linga” had everyone bouncing and mimicking the famous choreography along with Taeyang and his dancers. The first 3 songs melded seamlessly as Taeyang transitioned from “Ringa Linga”, to the Prince-esque slow jam “Body”, featuring seductive dancers and a quick-teasing floor routine that only Taeyang could deliver.  The band kept the melodies flowing as they merged into the intro of the anthemic track “Superstar” from his debut album Solar.

     Taeyang’s vocals came alive when he launched into “Wake Me Up”, a track that doesn’t lose an ounce of its ephemeral, dream like seduction in a live setting. As Taeyang sang “Don’t Wake Me Up”, and the solar flare burst in time with the beat drop, the collective chills hit the audience in waves.

     “Only Look At Me” was stripped down to simple lighting and acoustics, while Taeyang and the audience traded lyrics back and forth. The arguably all-time favorite “Wedding Dress” brought back all the nostalgia of the golden age of K-POP boom. Taeyang kept the delivery simple but powerful, executing his signature vocals and moves with such polish and effortlessness, it’s no wonder he is crowned the prince of K-POP.

     "Did you miss me?" Taeyang asked the audience, as he took his 1st official break to chat between the set. "What did you guys think of my new album? Was it alright?” As he spoke, I wondered if this humble man was the same bold and powerful showman we all just witnessed slaying the stage for an hour?

     "Personally, out of all the albums, I had the most fun making this one", Taeyang proclaimed proudly. The fun certainly shows  in the live renditions, as Taeyang channeled classic 90’s, club and R&B vibes with his White Night tracks  “Amazing”, “Naked”, “Ride” and “Tonight”.  Taeyang sprinkled in some more tracks from his 2nd album Rise, including the effervescent “1am” and moody “Love You To Death”.

     Some of the best highlights for me, came from the first half of his set-list, which included the full audience participation in singing “I Need A Girl” and the solo highlights of his live band members. The track “Empty Road” stood out for its unplugged, acoustics and Taeyang’s tender yet full-bodied vocals.  Taeyang’s heartfelt piano performance of BigBang’s ballad “Last Dance” showcased his prowess once again, highlighting his mastery of give and take with his audience.   Despite the size of the venue, Taeyang’s performances felt intimate and personal. For every crowd- favorite, if Taeyang stopped singing, the audience immediately picked-up the melody and carried it on.

     Taeyang took another well-deserved break to talk about how meaningful the support from the fans has been, for Big Bang and his solo career. He gave a special shout-out to the dedicated fans who have followed his North American tour from city to city.  His heartfelt speech was gradually interrupted by unintelligible shouts from the crowd, which almost sounded like “Take it off”.  Only kpop fans can make one feel so warm and cringey all at once.

     There were so many great hits in the 1st half of the show but some of the best were still to come! Connie’s got you covered for even more memorable moments in part 2 of Taeyang’s White Night, Los Angeles concert review!

photo credit: YG Entertainment

     Thanks Cecee! After finally being able to finish his heartfelt speech, of which my favorite part was when he said that even though there has been technically difficulties and hardships during the long tour the part that was always perfect at all his shows was the fans love and support for him (heart eyes!!!), he beautifully sang “Darling” and then said that the show was over but kpop fans know that even when the show is over the show isn’t over.  Fans shouted for an encore and to definitely not disappoint Taeyang started the encore with an oldie but goodie “Break Down”!

     At this point the crowd was already dancing and super hype and ready for the slew of Big Bangs song we weren’t expecting.  At least I wasn’t expecting them.  He threw in “Good Boy”, “Fantastic Baby” (during which he kissed a bear and threw it out into the crowd!  I know, we all wish we caught it), and “Bang Bang Bang”.  During this time he had another “the show is over” moment and I was totally convinced that the show was over this time.  I was very sad because he hadn’t sang “Eyes, Nose, Lips” yet but luckily he was just messing with us again and the show continued on!

     Taeyang came back on the stage to talk to the crowd and introduce us all to the lovely Ysabelle Cuevas!  She sang her English cover of his song “Wake Me Up” and boy did she sing it. She did an amazing job and even Taeyang said that he was a fan of hers and that he really wanted to make an acoustic version of the song.  Check out her cover here!

     Last but not least, the moment I had been waiting for arrived. Taeyang came back on stage to sing “Eye, Nose, Lips” and sadly close out the show. Overall the show was really great! The singing was on point, the band was on point, and the lighting and camera work was super on point!! Thank you KpopMe for the opportunity to attend the show and be sure to check out Taeyang’s Facebook page for an album of photos from the event!

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