There’s a saying, “all that and a bag of chips too!” This is putting it mildly. JYJ, a.k.a. Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun, and Kim Junsu, definitely brought their A game to the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, USA., on Sunday, May 22, 2011.
Considering where I live smack in the middle of NYC and Washington, D.C., just about every venue is practically in my backyard. It only took about an hour to get there, so it was quite uneventful. The only thing I might mention is that I got there really early. I wanted to make sure there were no issues getting there on time and making sure my return arrangements were made in time. I was pleasantly pleased that the Center is a short walk from the train station.
The weather was overcast, and a bit windy which made it hard on those who insisted on coming without a sweater or jacket, or who wore shorts. I had to smile at that, the courage of the very young. I wouldn’t say I was smirking, but saying to myself, when they get older, they’ll learn. I decided to stay outside and absorb the atmosphere rather than go inside to where it was possible to wait until it was time to start letting folks into the arena.
The area I chose to camp out at had a single group of guys who had items to sell, light sticks of different styles, straps, key chains, etc. Then another group of folks came with T-shirts. There were no formal concert promotional items to sell. Hopefully, the next go round this will change. I know this is still the training ground so to speak, but there will be a huge market for official products especially a photo program book. When they had the Seoul concert last fall, there definitely was an opportunity to provide these kinds of products. I venture to say, there would be no issue of not selling out. These vendors made a tidy profit for their efforts. OneTVXQ had made arrangements with members of their group to purchase items, T-shirts light sticks, and red gel bracelets. When it became obvious not everyone was arriving on time to pick up their things, they started giving out their light sticks for free.
I will say, for as many folks that were there, there were that many different looks. Groups came in homemade t-shirts, collecting signatures from folks. Yoochun specific fans had all kinds of ‘Micky’ ears as headgear. Some were homemade, some were the ones seen at other concerts. Needless to say there were t-shirts for each group member fave.
The diversity of the folks attending was indeed wide range – all ages, males, females, teens, ‘noonas’ of varying ages, and yes a sizeable number of us ahjummas. Listening to people talk about where they were from – Florida, Virginia, up and down the east coast of the States. There were some Canadians who obviously couldn’t get to Vancouver. One young girl proudly draped herself in the Maple Leaf. There were folks from all kinds of ethnicity – Asians of all kinds, Filipinos, East Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Korean; – Hispanic (one young girl wanted to display her pride in being a Puerto Rican fan w/her nationality flag), Caucasian, African-American, Jewish, etc. So, the guys singing in their native Korean was definitely not a deterrent at all. I was talking to one lady who said she actually likes their Japanese language songs better.
It was funny, just before they opened the doors to start letting people in, this woman asked me if I had brought my daughter, I laughed and said no, I came for myself. Then she laughed back because she was with her best friend, her husband, daughter, and son-in-law; she was the only one in her group who was a fan! Said she brow-beat the others into coming. She must be one special person for them to shell out for tickets, besides the fact they had come all the way down from Syracuse, NY. Too cute.
While waiting to go through the obligatory searches for unwanted things before having our tickets scanned; we watched in amazement as those who were ticketed ahead of us, were scrambling and rushing to go up the stairs and escalators. You would have thought JYJ was standing up at the top. I was thinking, the seats aren’t going anywhere! WOW, talk about enthusiasm.
Once inside to get to my seat, I found out they were moving that entire section over one. I still had the same row, but instead of being about seven seats in, I was on the aisle seat. This was way cool because my view of the stage was better than previously expected. Yes, as had been stated it was not a sellout. I would say the volume filled up about 50-60% of what they had looked to sell. But as has been noted this allowed for all those who could not get in at the venue in NYC a chance to get a seat. Once they shifted folks down, it was more filled in. I would have to say my seat was about 25-30 feet from the stage, angled at the corner of the stage. So whenever one of the guys was on the far edge you got a great look at each and every one of them.
The sights and sounds did not disappoint, folks wandered around with nervous energy, lots in red from t-shirts to a red strapless cocktail dress. People came to have a good time and they were so excited. I saw one girl practically in tears, shaking, looking at the stage and the onscreen montage. More free light sticks were being given out, white ones. These were to be used at the finale for In Heaven.
The start of the show was about 10 minutes after 8:00 p.m. When the lights went down, the screams went up! JYJ! JYJ! JYJ! Then there they were, rising up from below the top part of the stage. The intro to Empty began and then it was on! For the next two hours JYJ gave every fan in that arena a reason for coming, no matter from where they came. The playlist followed what was presented in Vancouver. Once Empty got the groove going there was no stopping the JYJ Express.
Nine saw them stroll down to the stage extension which made the ones on the floor level go absolutely nuts! I would love to ask Yoochun why he insists on pronouncing Pierrot as “Pirot”, but sings it as Pierrot. I must say Mission for me had more energy than watching it on a video. It didn’t have the dramatic visuals from the Seoul concert, but there was no mistaking how fierce they feel this song.
I was so eager to hear their solos. They only did the ones from ‘The Beginning’. Junsu’s power in ‘I Can Soar’, sent chills down my spine. Wow, he can really reach down for it. It’s as if he finds a place where no one goes and only he can. It’s his song, and only he knows how to sing it. I hope no one ever tries to cover it, because they will never be able to match it. They should actually be sued for trying if they do.
Jaejoong did define the term smexy when he crooned out ‘Still In Love’. It was as if he was pleading. Ok, men are not supposed to beg, but he was doing such a damn good job of it. Smooth as silk and just as cool. If any woman fit the situation of this song and didn’t hear what he was saying, my only comment would be, she is TONE DEAF!
I find myself smiling so much whenever I hear Yoochun sing ‘I Love You’. It is such a delicate song. A man admits he’s made a mistake in letting go of the woman he loves, and tells her it’s his mistake. He’s going to regret that mistake for the rest of his life. It’s no wonder when these women cop a feel all over him, they are like moths drawn to a light. They can’t help themselves and yes, he does look like he’s enjoying himself immensely.
Chajatta offered the fans an opportunity to reconnect with Sungkyunkwan Scandal. I love that drama so much. Yoochun took an ambitious project and turned it into a win. The title song did the same. It took a maybe into a huge win. It is such an infectious song, you can’t help but like it. The vitality with which the guys sing the song catches you off guard even though you know the song. This is not an easy thing to do. It’s almost like being a signature song. All great artists have them.
The remainder of the songs from ‘The Beginning’ and ‘Their Rooms’ especially the dance ones are the kinds of songs that stay in your memory and don’t let go. You stay pumped up after hearing them. As for ‘Fallen Leaves’, I know Yoochun said the song is for the fans, and I don’t doubt him. However, I know a lot of folks feel it is also directed to the other members of Dong Bang Shin Ki, so do I. I’m going to put myself out on a limb with this, I don’t think the other two members of Dong Bang Shin Ki should expect another one to float their way, nor should the fans. After W, this is as close as it’s going to get to expressing how they feel and continue to be rebuffed. The way JYJ sings this song pours out of their hearts what their souls are feeling. It is no longer fair to ask them to do or feel anything more. Life must go on. So, now the fans are the only ones who can lay claim to this song.
Each of the new songs – Get Out, You’re, Boy’s Letter, and In Heaven each has their own special place. Get Out lets you see a song go from one tempo to another, the energy as they jump right into another tempo grabs you and doesn’t let you go. You’re offers another one of those beautiful songs that showcase their awesome harmony. Boy’s Letter is another awesome harmony song, but I find it heartwarming the way Jaejoong and Yoochun turn the song over to Junsu. When he does his thing, they turn to each other and let him have at it. In Heaven, what is there left to say that hasn’t already been said. I don’t think a recording will ever do this song justice. I sense the guys feed off the audience, they seem to lift themselves higher as the audience reacts. It still requires you to hear the song live. Sorry fancams just cannot capture the essence of the song live.
Sitting where I was I can make these observations: Yes, Junsu’s buns are all that, and more. No, the child is not cubby, he just has the most adorable facial cheeks any grown man should possibly have, looks like they are hereditary, so get over it. Even though Jaejoong is not as meaty as he used to be, but in a pair of leather pants his buns are tighter than they look in a pair of baggy jeans, and they do have definition. Sorry of the three, Yoochun is not going to win a bun contest, the man is just too thin, but YES he has the most radiant smile imaginable, and not afraid to use it. Good for our side because we got more than a double dose of it. Junsu led the wave on our side and WE were paying attention.
Once singing was done, they thanked the fans for being there, and bowed deeply. Something I noticed, they grabbed each other’s hands as tightly as they could with microphones in them. So, tightly, you could see their muscles ripple. Like they were holding onto each other for dear life. I don’t know why, but that made me smile. One of the last images I have is Yoochun as the last member off the stage, as they passed by the video camera, he stuck his mug in it the way he often does. The crowd went wild. Our section also happened to be the one they all passed as they headed back to the dressing room area. Yes, they heartedly waved as we all yelled at them.
I don’t know if they were affected by the less than full turnout. I don’t feel they should be because everyone, including JYJ should keep in mind, this is like they are starting out all over again. Yes, they bring skills that newbies just don’t have. Yes they are already known, but JYJ are doing this all on their own. There is no treasure trove of sponsors, although they are working with one of the largest promoters in the game, and they do have a major sponsor for this effort. I don’t know , maybe reversing the order of the shows might have made a difference. The largest venues going later than the two in California. But being last in California also makes sense, they have to go directly back to Korea.
What they are doing and doing quite well, they are dispelling the myth they are Kpop idols. Yes, they have moved on. They are showing to the rest of the world, stumbles and all, there is a new kid in town. Those who do not want to see them succeed because they dare challenge the status quo, GET OVER YOURSELVES. If you could have seen the love in that building these three exceptional young men received, you would understand what it is all about. JYJ represents what is best about their native land. Anyone with half a brain could see this. They are loved, admired, and they return this love and admiration. This is all anyone can ask.
I could not tell you how many dozens of concerts I’ve seen of some of the biggest stars in the world, some of the most talented. Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Patti LaBelle, Kool ‘n the Gang, Earth Wind and Fire, Rod Stewart, The Bee Gees, Prince, Luther Vandross, just to name a few. JYJ has nothing to feel ashamed about, they could stand on a stage with these artists anytime, any day of the week and represent, and hold their own. Just like these artists, all they need is a microphone and their talent.
Thank you Kim Jaejoong, Park Yoochun, and Kim Junsu for a marvelous performance. I know you poured your hearts, minds, and souls into producing this incredible show. Your lights are going to shine for a very long time, and I intend to watch those lights shine for as long as I can.
From a member of your Family of Fans.
Shared by: JYJ3