CL also known as Chae Lin Lee, or the ‘Baddest Female,’ stopped in Dallas this past Sunday as part of her 9 city North America Tour. CL is maybe better known to some as the leader and rapper in the mega popular girl group 2NE1, but she is well on her way to becoming a superstar in her own right as a solo performer. The concert was at the Bomb Factory in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas and even in the occasionally heavy rain fans lined up for hours before the doors were due to open.
In homage to her roots the pre-show warm up consisted of big screen videos of some of 2NE1’s most popular and iconic songs, plus some of CL’s solo work. The crowd got into the spirit and sang along to their favorites, cheering loudly as their individual biases sang their solo parts. It was heartwarming to see that all the members of 2NE1 received loud cheers and love from the audience even if we were only seeing them on video.
The audience was all ready and primed when CL appeared on stage to a loud roar and screams from the crowd. She performed an explosive intro medley of Fire and Can’t Nobody, all the while encouraging the fans to jump and build up the excitement and energy level.
She followed with Scream, and then as just a few notes began to play she asked “do you know this song?” It was of course I Am The Best, and we did indeed know it. CL encouraged us to singalong and let us sing some parts ourselves. This was a trend throughout the whole show which made us all feel involved while also having the side benefit of her being able to slightly rest her voice. Other fan favorites followed including I Don’t Care, Gotta Be You, and Come Back Home all of which were received well and enjoyed by the audience.
The show could be roughly broken down into 3 segments and 3 outfits. The first part was 2NE1’s mostly up tempo songs, the second was ballads and slower songs, before the last segment which was pure CL.
For me the highlight of the middle part was Lonely. Considering her beginnings as 2 NE1’s rapper she did remarkably well as a vocalist, with me noticing only a couple of times when her voice wasn’t quite perfect, which can be said of many artists while performing live. She has a lovely voice as a singer, as well as a powerful one, which the audience appreciated. I think it can safely be said that she proved the naysayers wrong with the performance I witnessed. She was perfectly capable of holding a 90 minute performance by herself, although I will add that she had excellent backup dancers and musicians to accompany her.
The third part of the show was all CL and she slipped into her ‘Baddest Female‘ role with ease. The crowd was pumped up and screaming and singing along with gusto. Red light sticks kept the beat with red waves crashing throughout the crowd. The only downer in the whole concert for me was Dr. Pepper which I consider a sub par song, although many in the crowd seemed to enjoy it. I’ll be glad when she has a bigger repertoire of songs so that one can be relegated to her B list.
After the ‘main’ show, the encore was Hello Bitches and Lifted which nicely rounded out the night on a high point. It took a while for the audience to disperse as many called out hopefully for another encore or stood around chatting with their friends about the concert. This is when I noticed that this concert had ‘credits’running on the big screen behind the stage. I thought this was a cool idea and that it should be done more often. It does, after all, take many people working together to put on a successful performance.
While I didn’t particularly like CL’s outfits, what I did like is that she looked like a fit and healthy young woman, not a stick thin waif. She was beautiful and had an amazingly expressive face, being able to change it to suit the mood, and to shoot sexy looks to the audience at will. But she was at her most lovely when she was having fun, which seemed to be throughout most of the concert. Her easy going smile and the way she engaged the audience was natural and effortless. She was a joy to watch.
It was a great concert and enjoyed almost every moment of it but my favorite part of the night was the Meet & Greet that took place before the show. CL spoke with everyone, hugged almost everyone, and had a smile for everyone. She spoke a few words to me about my jacket, but she spoke personally to almost everyone of the 200 people at the Meet & Greet, and that takes class.
I was also lucky to meet and hang out with some great people, from my SXSW line buddy and friend ‘Sangheili19’, to new friends made over a delicious meal the night before the concert, to new friends made through the group that gave CL the bag of Texas goodies, to random people in line who shared umbrellas, pizza, and friendship. Thank you all.
Have a great day everyone.
Photo credits mostly to ‘Sangheili19’ (check out his youtube channel ) and me, with the photo of CL in cowboy hat being from her Instagram. Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation.