Lee Junho, member of Korean boyband 2PM, returned to Japan for his second solo tour, FEEL – the title of which is the same with that of his latest Japanese album. Starting his tour in ZEPP Sapporo (July 3 & 4), Junho moved from the north to the south, to SUNPALACE Fukuoka (July 14 & 15), then to Nagoya Congress Center Century Hall (July 17 & 18) and Grand Cube Osaka (July 24 & 25), before making four performances in Tokyo. First, on July 31 & August 1, Junho had his fans flock to Tokyo International Forum Hall A, then had them filling up Nippon Budokan on August 12 & 13, the tour finale. Tickets for the Tokyo’s performances were difficult to get – fans’ demand was so high that even the standing tickets were sold for the Budokan concerts. And in Budokan, standing tickets meant the last row on the second floor, which commanded a very bad view to the stage, especially when everyone in the seats also stood up. But still even those standing tickets were quickly grabbed by people eager to watch the 1990-born young man.
Nippon Budokan looked like a giant sunflower field, with fans wearing yellow clothing pieces (including the official T-shirts and varsity jackets), slinging yellow muffler towels on their shoulders – some even bringing real sunflowers or wearing yellow flower crowns on their hair. Before the concert started, two MCs – one speaking in Korean while the other in Japanese – read some rules the attendees were supposed to observe, including the strict warning to not taking pictures or videos during the concert.
Some more minutes passed before eventually all lights went out, and the crowd’s anticipation exploded into screams and shouts as Junho finally graced them with his appearance, stunning with his platinum blonde. He dived straight into the upbeat songs of Turn it up, Dangerous, and Just a feeling to open the concert. He showed off his well-honed singing and dancing skills, the results of his hardwork. In 2PM, Jun.K might be the best singer, while Wooyoung the best dancer, but Junho masters good technique and skills in both, making him some kind of a strong all-rounder. Backed up by a live band and dancers, he proceeded with a long setlist with songs drawn from his solo and 2PM’s albums, in Korean and (mostly) Japanese.
Junho said he hadn’t seen Budokan for a long time since 2PM’s Six Beautiful Days there, and this is his first time doing solo in Budokan. He also thanked his fans because his second mini album, FEEL, landed number one in Oricon Daily Chart, number two in Oricon Weekly, and the top spot in Tower Records monthly chart. Filling up Budokan in a solo tour is surely an achievement, but to be honest, the place is not too ideal as an entertainment venue. Although the stage can be seen from all seating and standing positions, the viewing angles can be really neck-straining, and there were giant pillars that prevented some sectors from getting a full view of all the sectors. The standing ticket holders naturally got the worst deal, because when everyone in the seating classes stood up, they could not see the stage, forcing them to climb the bars that separated them with the seats. Guards could not do anything to stop them, because they too realised that forbidding the act would mean a waste of the standing attendees’ 9000 yen plus just to watch the back of other people’s heads instead of the show on the stage. It was worsened by the decision of putting up only one big screen, without any other screens to the left and right of the stage, that did not always show what was going on on the stage. It marred a bit the simple but nice set – which turned into a beautiful sky full of stars during Like a star.
Despite the shortcomings of the venue, Junho managed to deliver a satisying performance. At the end of Kimi no koe (Your voice), Junho put one hand behind his ear and closed his eyes, as if wanting to hear his fans’ voices better. Of course his fans – whom he lovingly called ‘boku no himawari’ (my sunflowers) – increased their screams several notches higher! Junho surely had a flair in teasing his fans. At one point, with a sighing voice he said to them, “Kono album wo kikinagara, boku wo… boku wo…” (While listening to this album, me.. me..) Since Japanese grammar puts the object (boku/me) before the verb, fans held their breath as they waited for what Junho asked them to do. “…boku wo kanjite kudasai..” (Please feel me), he finished his sentence, as he walked his hand from his chest down to below his navel. Of course it’s a reference to his mini album, but he knew how to make it sound very sensual, drawing more screams from his fans!
FEEL concerts were not only about sexy or sensual Junho, though. They also showed his sweet and cute side, including with dancing Penpen animation during HEY YOU. Not only one Penpen, but many – and they were sporting several different haircuts and costumes of Junho’s. Yazoo’s kawaii-ness is one of 2PM’s strongest selling points in Japan, and of course Penpen has become an integral part of Junho’s promotion and performance in the country. He also made fans laugh several times because after calling the fans in arena, first floor, and second floor, he also kept calling for the non-existent third floor. Probably because the ceiling of the Budokan is so high and the second floor so steep, Junho thought there was another floor above the second.
Junho of course also showed his 2PM roots, including with performingThis is Love, during which Junho shouted “Budokan, let’s go!” He and his dancers lit up orange giant glowsticks. Some fans did the same – they had prepared well, knowing the setlist beforehand. After dancing for a while with the glowsticks, Junho threw the pair he had been using to the audience. Arms scrambled, trying to get hold of the two glowsticks that now bore his marks.
The next session witnessed Junho sitting on a stool with his guitarist on his side. They would perform a newly arranged song, the one which won the most votes in the previously-held polling. Junho said cutely, “Kekka wa Junho no ushiro desu,” (The result is behind Junho), pointing to the big center screen. On it, the results of ‘The song fans want to listen’ were shown. From number 5 to number 1, they were: 5. Like a Star; 4. I love you; 3. Give it to me; 2. Kimi ga ireba; 1. Kimi no koe. Each time he read one title, Junho sang a bit of the song. He even performed the rap part during Give it to me. And because Kimi no koe was number one in the polling, he performed the acoustic version of the song fully during this ‘self-cover’ session.
Junho then proceeded to ask if fans remembered a promise he made during his previous solo tour. He said it’s okay if they didn’t remember, but he did remember anyway, and now he’s fulfilling his promise: covering Sukima Switch’s Kanade. “Although it’s short, please listen to it.” He then sang some lines of the song up to the refrain, to the roaring applause of the crowd.
Fans also got a glimpse of Junho’s growth and development until now, when during the Korean version of Next to You, pictures of him since he’s a baby (in his birthday’s suit, we just have to add!) were shown on the big screen. Junho himself seemed taken away when he performed the song whole-heartedly. In return, he was also presented with a whole-hearted Kimi ga ireba singalong from the fans.
A special service was prepared for one lucky fan. During LOVE SONG, Junho gave sign to his dancers, and two of them hurried down into the crowd, and randomly drew one girl from the audience for the next song. The fan, who had an embarassed, ‘I can’t believe it’ look on her face, was quickly brought to the backstage, to be prepared for Ikanaide. Props were brought on stage, changing it into a small cozy restaurant. In this setting, the chosen fan was brought back to stage, and Junho sang to her, hugged her, and took a polaroid picture with her, drawing jealous-but-happy-for-her-too screams from the other fans.
While waiting for the next session, audience turned on glowsticks which a different colour in eaach sector. The arena was glowing with yellow light, while the first and second floor tribune seats were aglow with the colours of other members of 2PM. Junho returned with a whole set of different costume, motioning as if spraying paint to the big screen, which was showing a brick wall, to form the word FEEL. With this he launched into his energetic new single, followed by I’M IN LOVE as the closing song of the main setlist.
Junho had to disappear to prepare for the encore, and fans were entertained by a funny VTR of him dressing up as his Yazoo mascot, Penpen. All the laughter and shouts of “Kawaii!” turned into another massive choir during the first song of the encore I Want You, even when Junho had just started to sing one sentence. He listened, sometimes closing his eyes, before again he joined the singalong and took control of the whole singing part.
He asked fans to give a lot of love to 2PM and JYP Nation too, and to wait for 2PM’s comeback. He would love to do another solo tour next year, but only if he has a new album come out. At the moment he still didn’t know – by this we believe he meant that he didn’t have any plan for his next solo album yet.
After the last song in the encore, Unjeom-eulo/Genten e, he introduced his live band members and dancers. Because all of his band members were Japanese, he called their names using the honorific ‘-san’; but all of his dancers were Koreans, his hyungs and noonas. They all together bowed deeply, and everyone except Junho left the stage. Junho stayed for some more time, making his muffler towel into a ball. He pretended to throw or kick it away several times to different sectors of the audience, teasing them before finally truly throwing it to the audience, to be caught by a lucky fan.
“Hontou ni bye bye,” (This is really goodbye), he said, walking to the backstage. But not long after, he ran out to the stage again, to the screams of the thousands people still glued to their seats! He’s busy waving to here and there again, bowing, before walking to the backstage again… and returning to the stage again. He didn’t seem to want to leave yet! But he had to – and so he gave his last smile to the audience that night and left them for real. Fans slowly and orderly made their way out; some of the lucky ones, who got the lucky card A in the FEEL CDs that they bought, lined up for a 2-shot session with Junho.
Now, after 2PM’s Japan tour, and solo concerts by Jun.K and Junho, it’s time to prepare to welcome 2PM’s comeback, both in Korea and Japan!
Junho’s setlist 12082014
- Turn it up
- Just a feeling
- Kimi no koe
- I love you
- Like a star
- SAY YES
- HEY YOU
- This is Love
- Kimi no koe (Acoustic version)
- Kanade (Sukima Switch cover)
- Can’t Let You Go
- Next to You
- Kimi ga ireba
- Love Song
- Ikanaide ~No No No~
- I’M IN LOVE
- I want you
- Unjeom-eulo/Genten e