Texas has been really lucky this year with quite a few Kpop concert tours stopping in either Dallas or Houston. There has been everything from less popular groups like JJCC at small scale venues, to mega stars like G.Dragon performing at the arena sized Houston Toyota Center. Taeyang chose the Bomb Factory where label mate CL performed late last year. A mid sized venue in the popular Deep Ellum district of Dallas, the Bomb Factory is a great size for a solo artist like Taeyang. Large enough to contain a loud and gloriously vocal crowd, but intimate enough so even those further back could still see him and feel his mesmerizing presence.
But the day began a long time before we ever got into the venue. I arrived a little before 10am and already a long line had begun to form for the platinum ticket holders, with a smaller line for the P1 fans. Some fans had staked out their places in line at 5am, and many fans travelled hundreds of miles to be there for Taeyang. I managed to make a couple of new ‘line buddy’ friends which is one of the cool things about Kpop fans, they always seem to be friendly and welcoming, which meant I was able to go eat lunch etc without worrying about my place in line. While the platinum line was fine there was some organizational problems with the other lines as the signage was unclear except at the very front, but in general there didn’t seem to be too many problems.
Platinum got to go in early for the sound check which meant being in the air conditioning which was wonderful, but what was even better was Taeyang. He came out and sang to us, just us, not to the rest of the empty space behind us. He looked at us, made eye contact with us, and smiled. He teased us and joked with us and sang to us. It really felt personal and that was a marvelous feeling. Of course we hated it when he left to go back stage, but we knew that the concert ahead was going to be amazing. I was fortunate to be second row back, even if over to one side. (Bonus points if you can spot me in the above photo.)
Taeyang spoke his opening remarks in wonderful, barely accented English. He teased the fans a little and exhorted them to louder and louder screams as he said it was his first time in Dallas and that he had heard that they were passionate and ‘loved our music’. He then asked ‘is it true’ and the fans went really wild in their reply. He asked everyone to show him ‘love and passion’ and I can truly say that is what he received. The Dallas fans were loud, happy, and decidedly passionate.
During the course of the evening he sang most of his popular songs, with classic bops like Ringa Linga and Good Boy interspersed with slower tempo ones. He treated us all to his keyboard skills when he played and sang Last Dance and that was probably the quietest point in the whole concert as fans respectfully listened to his keyboard introduction before he began to sing. One huge point is that Taeyang sounded better live than in recordings. His voice was truly beautiful, soft and sweet at times, and then at other times powerful and intense. It also had a warm mellowness that wrapped around you and drew you into the emotions of each song. It wasn’t the voice of a boy but of a man, mature and complex, with depth and soul.
He seemed to favor the opposite side of the stage to us, but we weren’t totally ignored and he came over our way a few times. He even made eye contact with me….at least that’s what I believe. He smiled and teased the front row coming quite close at times, and even touched a few hands from the stage. He seemed to be enjoying himself which made his fans all the more responsive. He asked us to sing along at times, and many fans sang the Korean lyrics with ease. I think he was pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm of the Dallas crowd.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end, and so too did the concert, but he went out with a bang, literally. Both Bang Bang Bang and Fantastic Baby were part of his encore set and that drove the crowd into a frenzy. It was crazy, everyone was dancing and singing along. The fans really did almost raise the roof, so just as well the Bomb Factory was originally just that, a bomb and munitions factory. Anything less and I think Taeyang and the Texas fans would have blown the walls out. What a night, and what a concert, and one of the best things is he said he would come back.
After the concert the platinum fans were fortunate enough to be allowed to ‘send off’ Taeyang. After the chaos of the the barricade being moved, most fans were not in the front row, however the line was perhaps only 3 or 4 deep along much of its depth. I was fortunate to be 2 back and my friend twisted sideways to allow me the opportunity to get this photo. I pointed out the Ring Linga patch, and he asked, ‘is this me’? His voice was lovely and soft and well modulated. It was a joy to speak to him, even for only a couple of sentences.
The photo with Taeyang shows the patches mirrored, so he’s the patches the right way round.
Notable fans were the early P1 arrivals who were so friendly to me and cute to boot, and then who later changed into wedding dresses for the concert. There were more of them, but only found this photo of 2 of them.
Post concert depression , the letdown after so must fun and excitement, can be a real thing but it was so worth it. This was one of the best concerts I’ve attended. If you ever get the chance, go see Taeyang in concert you won’t be disappointed.
Have a great day everyone.
Photo credits to original owners. Photos 2 & 3 to Kpopme. Photos 1 and 4 thru 12 to my line and concert buddy, Alexis Remington. You can see more amazing photos from Alexis on her instagram www.instagram.com/sweetminki
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