Skipping the traditional weekend of turkey dinners, thousands of K-pop fans made their way over to Las Vegas this past Thanksgiving weekend for the first annual Billboard K-pop Masters concert.
A press conference was held on Friday, November 25, and all of the artists expressed their pride and appreciation for being able to fly out to Las Vegas and perform at such a prestigious event together with fellow K-pop groups. MBLAQ‘s Lee Joon stole the show with his witty answer to a question about future projects in Hollywood: “Since Ninja Assassin ended, I haven’t been offered any roles that I wanted. I kept in touch with Director James McTeigue but we’ve gradually drifted apart, so it’s been difficult… I also heard there might be a Ninja Assassin 2 in the works, which I’m definitely ready for.”
Following the press conference was a commemorative red carpet event, hosted by K-Town Cowboys‘ Shane Yoon (Cassies may remember him from when he hosted JYJ‘s New York City showcase last year) and Kalyn Hemphill of Project Runway fame.
TVXQ, Brown Eyed Girls, MBLAQ, BEAST, 4Minute, SISTAR, and G.NA strutted down the red carpet, showing off their gorgeous outfits and greeting all the fans who came out to see them perform. Screams filled the air as each artist took their turn, from the moment BEAST stepped out of their ride to the final waves from Yunho and Changmin of TVXQ.
After TVXQ finally made their way down the red carpet, rounding out the first night’s roster, fans rushed to get inside MGM’s Grand Garden Arena for the main event.
Fans who attended Friday’s concert were given a second treat as the concert kicked off with an electrifying performance by Jabbawockeez, winners of the first season of America’s Best Dance Crew!!
BEAST quickly took the stage for their first Vegas performance, pumping up the crowd with their hit songs, “Breath,” “Shock,” “Fiction,” and a playful exit performance of “Beautiful,” dedicated to all the B2uties in the arena that weekend. Kikwang, absent during BEAST’s trip to the Big Apple for MTV K’s United Cube Live in New York City, was also notably missing during K-pop Masters due to filming for his current drama, Me Too, Flower.
SISTAR was introduced with a short rendition of “Push Push,” leading up to “How Dare You” and “So Cool.” Soyu and Dasom then joined Hyorin and Bora for an all-member rendition of “Ma Boy,” and the girls concluded their set with the first English song to be sung that night, a high-energy performance of MARY MARY’s “The Real Party.”
G.NA kicked off her set with “Black and White,” followed by the fan favorite, “Bananas,” which G.NIs weren’t able to see her perform live after the track was banned from broadcast earlier this year. G.NA also gave a special treat to all her English-speaking fans by singing the English version of her debut single, “I’ll Back Off So You Can Live Better,” for which she wrote the lyrics herself! ”Please keep loving our K-pop scene!“ she smiled as fans cheered her on for her last song, “Top Girl.”
MBLAQ took the stage for their very first US performance with a charismatic dance intro that led into their most recent single, “Mona Lisa.” “Y” and “Stay” complemented MBLAQ’s packed set of dance tracks, and once Thunder asked everyone to stand up and sing along to “Oh Yeah,” it seemed like all the fans in the crowd became A+ that weekend.
4minute, who were dressed in stunning red outfits at Friday’s concert, performed a medley of their hit songs, beginning with “Mirror Mirror” and “I My Me Mine.” After bringing back memories with “Muzik,” the girls took it all the way back to their rookie days with “Hot Issue.”
Brown Eyed Girls commanded the stage with “Abracadabra,” the song that first shot them into superstardom, followed by three songs from their latest album, Sixth Sense. After a stellar performance of “Hot Shot,” the quartet calmed the crowd down with the ballad “Uncomfortable Truth,” only to make an explosive exit with the ever-powerful “Sixth Sense.” Fans were in absolute awe over Brown Eyed Girls’ flawless live vocals and onstage chemistry.
Although Saturday’s concert was without its own red carpet event, the concert less nothing to be desired as all the artists seemed a bit more comfortable and a bit more confident the second time around — not to mention Asia’s rising boy band SHINee’s addition to the roster that night. SHINee performed their debut single “Replay,” followed by “Ring Ding Dong,” a crowd favorite of the night, in addition to “Hello” and “Lucifer,” making for a well-rounded collection of SHINee’s best.
TVXQ proved their place as the reigning kings of K-pop with awe-inspiring performances of “Maximum” and “Before U Go.” We knew there was a reason why this duo was last — Cassies were screaming their heads off with every pelvic thrust, every smirk towards the camera, every high note that was held.
After finishing off with “Why (Keep Your Head Down)” and “Rising Sun,” TVXQ was joined onstage by all the other artists for a sweet collaborative finale of “Arirang,” Korea’s most famous folk song.
The inaugural K-pop Masters concerts continue building off the growing interest (and demand) for K-pop in the global music scene. The two-day event became an unforgettable experience for K-pop fans in the US, and MTV K hopes that this celebratory event will improve and develop into a longstanding tradition for K-pop artists to come share their music with their American fans. Stay tuned for our exclusive video interviews with the artists backstage at K-pop Masters 2011!
All photos without MTV K watermarks courtesy of Billboard Korea & K-pop Masters