Two of your regular LKL writers were so taken with Kim Soo Hee’s concert on 26 January that we both felt moved to write about it. Here’s Jennifer‘s take.
Kim Soo Hee, we love you! Especially when you make that heart shape with your arms above your head and blow a kiss. Please come back to London. We’ll try to take Korean lessons in the meantime.
OK, Philip and I thought we were a little mad going to see a Korean pop singer who made her name back in the seventies or eighties (we think). We were indeed the only non-Koreans in the audience, bar one or two with Korean company, because the event was only advertised through the community. Kim Soo Hee was a legend and so Philip coughed up for the thirty quid tickets. What were we thinking? We had no idea what to expect.
But fifteen minutes into the show, when the lovely Kim Soo Hee was bouncing up and down on stage, getting the audience to stand up, clap their hands and sway their hips — oh, and wearing the sparkliest, dazzliest, most cleavage-hugging, backless dress you’ve ever seen — we were hooked. This woman sang in the raunchiest deep voice like Shirley Bassey and had a figure like Sophia Loren — but prettier, with a heart-shaped face, beaming smile and, with her long hair tucked up at the back, almost boyish haircut.
Not only all that, but she seemed to be doing stand-up comedy between songs, rather lost on us but much enjoyed by the rest of the audience. A young woman sitting near me filled me in during the break while the pop diva changed costumes. Apparently she’d talked about relationships, how you could talk so much more openly in the UK than in Korea, and about kimchi with wine, a new recipe taking the republic by storm. And she talked about the ups and downs of her own life, one very recent one being arriving that night to discover she’d been booked to play a church hall. Now, the stately St John’s, Smith Square, Westminster is hardly an ordinary church hall, and well known as a classical music venue, but Kim Soo Hee plays pop concerts, and there had been a few technical hitches, not to mention an absence of mood lighting.
She returned to the stage in a demure lemon-yellow hanbok for a traditional Korean operatic song, giving an extremely powerful rendition and holding unfaltering notes, before turning to popular ballads. One of her biggest fans, Sylvia, had been right in describing her before the show as lively and emotional. And we’d never had guessed it would be so much fun. What a night. Kim Soo Hee, ssarang-hae!
(With apologies for the grainy quality of the photos. The next upgrade to my digital camera will have a higher ISO number – Ed)
- Philip’s version of events