B1A4 returned to Japan for several concerts in their Listen to the B1A4 tour. For Kanto area, they held the concerts in Yokohama Arena. (Yokohama is a city not far from Tokyo, so it’s easy for all fans residing in Tokyo to go to Yokohama Arena.) For this concert, to accommodate the vast number of B1A4’s fans (called BANAs), all levels of Arena were used. In Yokohama Arena, there are three levels: the Center (first floor), the Arena (second floor), and the Stand (third floor). Before the concert began, the front lobby was accessible by fans who wanted to buy merchandise. But then all doors were closed again for awhile for the final preparations, and re-opened on 16.30, one hour before the concert was scheduled to start.
When RekON arrived in Yokohama Arena, some types of merchandise had been sold out, including the badges and city-specific tour T-shirts. Near the merchandise stalls, there were flower bouquets and balloon stands arranged, but unfortunately, for some reason, we were not allowed to take pictures of them.
The main colours used for Listen to the B1A4 goods were blue, black, and white, but the penlights sold still glowed pastel apple lime, the colour of B1A4 fandom. While the merchandise for individual members were given specific colours: blue for CNU, moss green for Baro, lime green for Jinyoung, orange for Sandeul, and pink for Gongchan. Later, we noticed that each of their microphones too was marked with the colour of the respective owner.
There were two stages prepared inside Yokohama Arena: the main stage, and a smaller stage with black-and-white floor on the opposite side, across the Center. The smaller stage, that reminded us of the artwork of the cover for the album 2, could be reached from the main stage by walking the front alleys of the Arena that circle the Center. Of course this made fans sitting on the front rows of the Arena excited – B1A4 members were bound to walk the alleys, within their reach!
As soon as the concert was about to start, Yokohama Arena turned into pastel apple lime ocean, with BANAs loud screaming filling the air. On the giant screens, a VTR of a virtual jukebox-cum-pinball machine was shown, introducing the members one by one, before showing the title of the tour: Listen to the B1A4. The group entered the stage by riding on a hydraulic floor that brought them to the top platform of the steps on the main stage. Backed by a powerful live band, B1A4 opened their concert explosively, performing in a row three songs that quickly heated up the audience: Beautiful Target, Bling Girl, and In the Air. Hands were truly thrown up in the air as fans danced along to the songs! Who could just stay still as the beats invited ‘everybody’ to ‘put your hands in the air’?
B1A4 then took a break after the third song to catch some breath while introducing themselves one by one to the audience. Jinyoung made fans scream when he introduced himself as ‘kawaii leader’, then acted aegyo a bit, although he looked a bit embarassed as he did it. Sandeul, never one to be ashamed of acting funny, proclaimed himself ‘minna no kokoro no naka no suupaa suupaa suupaa oppa’ – the super super super oppa in everyone’s heart. This of course made Yokohama Arena filled with laughter.
After the first MC session, B1A4 continued with Pretty (Yeppeo) from their highly-acclaimed latest Korean album, Who Am I. In the middle of the song, suddenly the music stopped. B1A4 members used the moment to praise the fans that they were all kawaii, before the music and their singing started again. If this was not enough to pump the spirit of the fans, what B1A4 did next truly lift it to a new height: they ran down the alleys to the smaller stage during Because of You, touching the waiting hands of fans as they passed by. Sandeul and Jinyoung, we think, made the most contact, while Gongchan seemed to be the one who held back the most. He’s such a tease, standing in front of the fans, so close, yet not holding out his hand to touch them.
The segment was closed with Yesterday, then B1A4 was back on the main stage for the second MC session. This time, they talked about returning to Yokohama (the previous year, they too held concerts in the city). Sandeul said that he had eaten delicious food in Yokohama like yakisoba (fried noodle), but since there were many delicious kinds of food in Yokohama, B1A4 asked for recommendation from the audience. The answer they received was shiumai (Yokohama, home to one of the biggest Chinatowns in Japan, boasts a strong Chinese influence). Jinyoung said they hadn’t eaten that, but he wanted to try. While Gongchan, when asked what he had done in Yokohama, began singing the jingle of Yodobashi Camera, a famous electronic store in Japan. He said he went to Yodobashi Camera to buy earphones.
In the wake of the release of their second Japanese album, simply titled ‘2’, in the next segment B1A4 performed two original Japanese songs from the album: jazzy HEY! with a cute choreography using chairs as props, followed by Angel Eyes. Although the album had just been newly released, fans seemed to already know the songs really well!
B1A4 then disappeared for a while to change their clothes, while the audience was entertained by a VTR in which B1A4 showed the drawings they made themselves of their dream girls. Jinyoung’s drawing made his friends laugh, because the girl in it had short hair on one side of her head and long hair on the other side. “It’s because I like both, either long hair or short hair,” Jinyoung defended the drawing. At the end of the VTR, the five of them lifted up paper with a message saying that they love BANAs.
B1A4 appeared again, wearing all-white costumes. They’re now ready for an emotional segment, with another song from 2, Believe in Love, and a song from the Korean album Who Am I, Lonely, which helped them secure some awards earlier this year. (Fans must remember that in the Lonely MV they too wore all-white clothes.) The rather melancholic atmosphere was neutralised in the next MC session, in which the boys again made the audience laugh. Gongchan said to Sandeul that he had already a kanojo (girlfriend). Sandeul wanted to know the name of the girl, and Gongchan opened his mouth: “The name is Ba… Ba… Ba…” At this point, of course all fans were waiting for him to say “BANA!” But instead he said outloud, “…BARO-SSHI!” At this, Sandeul started chasing Baro while screaming with a high pitched voice, “Baro-sshi! Baro-sshi! Baro-sshi!” to the side of the stage! It was so hilarious! Gongchan then smiled and said, “My lover (koibito) is BANAs.”
Three songs were delivered after the silly MC session: Oh My God, Empty Mind, and Beautiful Lie. By this time, RekON had begun thinking that there would be no solo stages tonight – indeed, during this tour. And it’s true, there wasn’t any. B1A4 stayed performing as a live-singing unit from start to finish, only taking short breaks during VTRs, delivering a total of 24 songs. This was an amazing feat, made possible not only by the hardwork of the boys but also a good planning of the concert rundown. We especially like how the songs were grouped into segments according to the atmosphere built around them. And with a title like Listen to the B1A4, it seems to us B1A4 want s to underline the fact that their quality relies on the fact that they are a group we can listen to.
Right after Beautiful Lie, a VTR was shown in which B1A4 members were shown having a lovers’ fight with a girl (there was only one girl who starred in the VTR). Jealous shouts from fans were heard when on screen B1A4 members were shown hugging the girl! This VTR prepared the mood for the next segment, started with This Time Is Over. B1A4 had been awesome that night, but their grand performance of Tried to Walk and Starlight Song was just pure beauty, a feast to the ears and the soul. Scraping their choreography for Tried to Walk and just sitting or standing on the steps on the stage somehow emphasized the feeling of loneliness in the song. And coupling it with Starlight Song is a brilliant, yet obvious, choice. If anyone was still clueless about the atmosphere of the segment, the repeated ‘lonely, lonely’ must have made it clear by now.
One might complain that the VTRs shown did not show any connection to each other, and thus showing the lack of a general concept of the concert. However, the VTRs worked well in smoothly changing the atmosphere from one segment to the next. Now, after the heart-wrenching segment, a light-mood VTR was shown: this time it’s the behind-the-scene of the previous VTRs. We also saw how Gongchan, when it’s not his turn during the shooting, went out to buy some corns that he brought back for the people in the set. At the end, the boys were so tired that they fell asleep in sofa, on chairs, on anything where they could lie down a bit. Can anyone guess already what their next song was? Yes! Oyasumi, Good Night which is the Japanese version of Baby Good Night! The song coupled with the cheerful Good Night was the quirky What’s Happening. Gongchan was so on fire that he shouted his part ‘geureol jul arasseo’ instead of just saying it in a low voice.
Now, if we haven’t mentioned about this, the live band was amazing, especially the drummer. They breathed fresh soul into the songs, making them even more interesting than if B1A4 had performed them using playback. This was especially true in the next songs, Baby I’m Sorry and Remember. The two songs sounded even better than the original recordings.
The main setlist is now almost over. B1A4 took the time to say their thank you and goodbye now. When it’s time for Gongchan to speak, someone in the audience growled with what is known as ‘death voice’, calling the maknae’s name. This made the audience laugh! As for Baro, he had prepared a short letter in Japanese and read it out loud to the audience. He said that they came to Japan when beautiful sakura was still blooming, but sadly they couldn’t go to do hanami (sakura-seeing). But everyone today bloomed in Yokohama Arena, so he thanked them for that. Jinyoung the leader reminded everyone not to forget their meals, and he asked whether the fans had eaten before they went to the concert.
The last song of the main part of the concert threw fans back to the time when B1A4 emerged into the K-pop scene with their debut single, O.K. Several years after, and O.K. was still as explosive as ever. Neither B1A4 nor BANAs showed signs of slowing down as they jumped about and did the characteristic hand wave movement together. B1A4 went backstage, leaving BANAs chanting “Jinyoung CNU Sandeul Baro Gongchan daebak B1A4!” in their attempt to get an encore. Well, they did get it! The virtual jukebox started to spin once again!
Fired up again, B1A4 returned with title-track Who Am I wearing their tour T-shirts, walking, running, dancing around the Arena with their dancers. CNU even dared to run up the steps to the upper seats, causing fans to increase the pitch of their voices even further! And BANAs duly put their hands up, moving them to the rhythm of ‘hands up, nopi haneul wiro, hands up, jeobeun nalgae pyeogo!’
The dancers left the group on the main stage after You’re My Girl. Now it’s really the time for the closing MC. Jinyoung asked BANAs to shout after him, “Say Yeah yeah! Say Wah wah! Say Woh woh!” The audience followed his lead. Then CNU cut in, trying to join the fun, “SAY BA—“ suddenly everyone fell awkwardly silent, leaving CNU embarassed. His friends laughed but helped him anyways. “I say BA you say NA!” “I say YOKO you say HAMA!” Satisfied with the shouts, B1A4 proceeded with their last song for the night, If… , for real. As a closing act, they walked up the steps on the main stage, heading to the hydraulic floor where they first appeared. To be exact, Gongchan & Sandeul ran up the stairs to the upper stage, holding hands, while the other members walked more casually, waving goodbye left and right. As the hydraulic floor descended, they kept on waving to the fans. Thus ended another successful concert for the young group, whose future in Japan (as well as in their home South Korea and other countries) seems to be bright.
Have you listened to the B1A4?
B1A4 setlist 05042014
- Beautiful Target
- Bling Girl
- In the Air
- Because of You
- Angel Eyes
- Believe in Love
- Oh My God
- Empty Mind
- Beautiful Lie
- This Time Is Over
- Tried to Walk
- Starlight Song
- Oyasumi Good Night
- What’s Happening?
- Baby I’m Sorry
- Who Am I
- You’re My Girl