It was 3pm on a sunny but cool afternoon when I began to queue for the CNBLUE concert, though many had been there since early morning coming from as far afield as Finland, France, Switzerland, Italy and Poland – a wide mix of nationalities and ethnicity that seemed almost equal. As with all concerts there were screams when the lead singer was spotted and more for various cameras and media coverage. Queue buddies ran back and forth to get food and bathroom breaks and the mood was definitely one of excitement.
CNBLUE1 is a four man indie styled band that started in 2009 and began their career debuting in Japan. An unusual route, but with a saturated market, an understandable one, though their first release didn’t have too much success. The original bassist left after a month and was replaced by Lee Jung Shin, though the rest of the line up remained the same: Jung Yong Hwa the Leader, Main Vocalist and Rhythm Guitarist; Lee Jong Shin Lead Guitarist, Vocalist; Kang Min Hyuk Drummer, Backing Vocalist.
It was in October that year that Jung Jong Hwa took the second lead in the drama You’re Beautiful and brought CNBLUE some needed attention with his vocals, and the group debuted in Korea in January 2011. It was how I heard of them and rather enjoyed their musical styling that was closer to rock than pop; and their ability to sing and play an instrument kept them a cut above the pretty boy dance groups that have always been the rage.
Fast forward to this year and they have done steadily well with another music-based drama Heartstrings for both Jong Jung Hwa and Kang Min Hyuk and currently a daily drama for Lee Jong shin and a few studio albums and EP for both Korean and Japanese markets. There have been endorsements and tours across Asia as well as performances in the USA, but today was the big one for Europe, and a dream come true for the band who have always wanted to play in the city that has represented the home of rock and roll to many.
Despite the dire warning tannoyed to us before the start of the show that banned us from all forms of photography and audio recording, a mass of cameras shot into the air as soon as the lights went down and the band came on and the show began. The indigO2 has excellent acoustics, the bass resonating through in everyone’s chest like a second heartbeat and the screams of a mostly female audience guaranteed to eliminate your upper ranges of hearing. In anticipation of this I did actually have earplugs2, but like I said, the sound system is excellent and I heard every note and word anyway!
What came across the most to me as they played a vast amount of their repertoire was the sheer joy they put into their performance. They were excellent live performers from just a talent point of view already, but the energy and fun they exuded through the whole two-hour set was really fantastic. They wanted to be there, they loved the songs they performed, they talked to the audience and the audience listened respectfully in the ballads and joined in with the upbeat numbers.
There was a bit of a crush going on at the front with one girl having to be pulled out by security, and water being handed out before the encore. (Though I think they were lucky no-one had an epileptic fit the excessive amount of strobe that was used). Jung Yong Hwa asked everyone to move back and waited until we’d done so before he began singing again and of course we’d listen to him! Three encore songs, us singing happy birthday to Lee Jung Shin, a few lines from Oasis and some excellent performances made it a memorable and enjoyable evening. They said they want to come back and promised they would. And I hope they keep that promise as I would love to see them perform live again.
This article was originally posted on Counting Pulses and is reproduced here with permission
- CN stands for Code Name and BLUE is the initials of each member’s representation. ‘Burning’ – Lee Jong Hyun, ‘Lovely’ – Kang Min Hyuk, ‘Untouchable’ – Lee Jung Shin, and ‘Emotional’ – Jung Yong Hwa
- I have slight tinitus, not an aversion to fun.