It’s Friday, January 16th, 2015, in Odaiba, an artificial island in Tokyo Bay, where Diver City shopping mall is located. Many people walked from the nearest train station (Tokyo Teleport on Rinkai Line) to the mall, many of them wearing beanies and round-rimmed glasses. Because it’s a weekday, some of them came straight from school with their uniform, but with name tags in Korean on their school coats. They were BBCs, ready to watch Block B’s 2015 Happy New Year Live Special in Zepp Diver City.
As a concert venue, Zepp Diver City is conveniently located inside the shopping mall, next to the foodcourt. Plenty of lockers and restrooms are available everywhere in the building, and before the concert starts, attendees can shop, rest, and recharge their energy comfortably, literally only a few steps away from the venue, without having to leave the warm air-conditioned premises.
Fans could go down the stairs to Zepp’s lobby (the entrance is on the second floor of the mall) before 17.30 to buy Block B’s goods. On the lobby, we could also drop our presents and fanletters into the present boxes available, and see the flower/balloon stands fans sent either for the whole band or for individual members.
The doors were to open at 18.00, but the organizer had neatly divided the time for entering the hall into three sessions, according to ticket numbers. Those who had B1500~ tickets, for instance, would enter from 18.30, so they didn’t have to wait since before 18.00 in front of Zepp.
Shortly after 19.00, the scheduled time for the concert to start, most lights were turned off. Fans screamed, as the screen, which previously showed the words BLOCKBUSTER THE WARUGAKI, now showing Block B parodying the production logos of CJ E&M (Park Kyung and another member – was it B-Bomb? – playing fireworks), Columbia Pictures (P.O. acting as the torch lady, but holding a glass of drink instead, which he drank at the end), and MGM (Zico roaring like the lion).
After the opening that made attendees laugh with excitement, suddenly red search lights wildly swayed to all directions and wailing sirens were heard, accompanied by the voice of a woman in English giving warning that seven prisoners had escaped. (Of course she meant Block B.) She proceeded in introducing the profile of each prisoner; fans screamed each time their bias appeared on screen. The middle screen then lifted up, showing the seven escapees in their black-and-white prisoner outfits. Taeil was of course with his top hat, P.O. in a black leather jacket, and everybody else too had details on that surely made their prisoner outfits the most interesting ones out there. The warugaki (villains) were finally here!
They climbed down the stairs to the front stage, joining six dancers who were also in (less-flashy) prisoner outfits, and directly ‘attacked’ the fans with Nolina, the Japanese version of NanlinA. In no time fans had joined them jumping, putting their hands in the air, and moving their bodies. Block B was on all-assault mode from the start. They continued with the Japanese version of Very Good, which drove fans to follow U-Kwon singing ‘dokidoki harahara nodo karakara meramera fire fire’. Golden streamers rained down, heating up the mood more into a festive mode from early on.
The theme of the whole concert was warugaki (villains); the screens alternatingly showed the boys in their villain outfits and also snippets of other famous villains in popular culture, such as Darth Vader. Music played by string section blasted from the speakers, connecting different songs, creating a grand atmosphere. Block B disappeared from the stage for a moment, while their six dancers performed a short battle choreography with long light sticks that looked like light sabers from the space opera Star Wars. Images of spaceships and Storm Troopers then adorned the screens as Block B performed two songs that actually brought our minds not to outer space but to downtowns, Halo and Nilili Mambo. Somehow the juxtaposition worked, though.
After Nilili Mambo, a Star Wars opening-like animation with words in English, Japanese, and Korean ran on the screen. It was Block B’s manifesto of why instead of claiming themselves as heroes, they claimed to be villains. It might be a bit difficult to wrap our heads around the idea of idolizing people who said that they were villains, but the animation somehow made it easy: some of the sentences were too compelling for us not to nod to the truth they contain. For instance, they said that a hero gets upset easily, while villains laugh well. A hero usually works alone or only with a few members, but villains organize their actions. A hero makes his life useful by blocking other’s goals, while villains know what their passion and dreams are. It was quite a long list!
After the explosive first four songs, Block B now changed the atmosphere. Again the middle screen lifted up, showing six members of Block B (minus Zico) with a different set of costumes sitting on high stools. They launched Romantically, and after Jaehyo sang his part for the second time, they stood up and walked down the stairs to the front stage. The lower backdrop opened, and Zico walked onto the stage, rapping his part to the enthusiastic scream from his fans. They were holding glasses with some kind of coloured drinks in it, while Zico held a bottle. Jaehyo started to drink from his glass, followed by some of his friends. Zico just drank straight from the bottle. They followed this number with 11:30, and apparently Jaehyo felt that his long and thick coat was too hot now. While other members like Kyung and B-Bomb were acting cutely at the front, Jaehyo on a corner on the right took off his coat.
Then it’s time for the first MC. Although most likely everyone in the room had known them all, of course self-introduction was still necessary. They stood facing the audience, from left to right: U-Kwon, Taeil, P.O., Zico, Kyung, B-Bomb, and Jaehyo. Zico as the leader opened the session with “What’s up TO-KI-YO! Everyone, shout! We will introduce ourselves. One, two, three!” Then the seven members in unison shouted, “Hey, yo, do you wanna be Block B? Konnichiwa, Block B desu!” Everyone bowed deep, except for Kyung, who waved and grinned at the audience instead.
Zico then proceeded to introduce himself as Block B’s charismatic leader, perhaps accidentally mixing the Japanese-English word karisuma with the Korean way of pronouncing leader, lideo. Kyung asked whether everyone had been well, and introduced himself as “Everyone’s Park Kyung”. U-Kwon said he’s “Block B’s Angel Smile U-Kwon”, and after him Jaehyo confidently, but accompanied with giggles, claimed to be “Block B’s number one ikemen”. B-Bomb said he’s the charming dance machine, Taeil claimed the status as Block B’s main vocal, while P.O. shortly said, “Saigo no P.O. desu.” The word saigo can mean the last, and indeed P.O. introduced himself the last, but we wonder if he meant that he’s the maknae! (On the second day, P.O. said that he’s the末っ子, suekko, the youngest child.)
Zico then looked at Taeil and asked, “Taeil-san, are you ready?” Taeil was probably a bit spacing out, because he seemed to be caught off guard by Zico’s question and the leader had to repeat it. But Taeil then quickly nodded and said, “Yes!” Taeil lead his friends to launch Unordinary Girl, and this time there’s a special fanservice in the form of roses that they threw to the audience! Some lucky fans caught them, and that must have instantly made them feel unordinary!
The cheerful atmosphere was brought to another height with rock-n-rolling HER, which fans greeted with such enthusiasm. Always known for his overflowing energy, Kyung really stole attention with his cute dance near the end of the song.
Block B left the stage for a while, and the screens now showing fake TV news, including interviews with the seven villains. The group then returned for a lovey-dovey part of the concert with Did You or Did You Not and Synchronization 100%, with an MC inbetween the two songs. P.O. seemed to really love to tease Taeil, touching his hyung’s chin, laughing and proclaiming that “Taeil-san, kakkoii (Taeil-hyung is cool).”
Done with Synchronization 100%, another short movie was shown to the audience. It began with a serious tone – the scene of the inside of a church, where the seven villains were seen bowing their heads deep in prayer. But if anyone thought they’re going to keep on being solemn from that point on, of course they were wrong. The next scene was the seven of them going one by one into the confession booth to tell the priest what their sins were; but with Jaehyo’s sin of being too pretty, we began to wonder what being a villain really meant! P.O.’s sin was related to kissing, Kyung kept on talking to himself, U-Kwon just laughed and laughed crazily, while B-Bomb…. The priest lifted his cellphone, showing B-Bomb a picture. B-Bomb nodded, “Yes, that is my girlfriend.” The priest showed another pic. “Yes, she is my girlfriend too.” Another pic. “She is my girlfriend too.” And it went on and on…
JACKPOT was next, and it was such a sight, watching the boys kicked high as part of the choreography while continuing singing. Afterwards, again Block B spoke to the audience, praising them and such. A funny incident happened when the other members had all stood in formation ready for the next song. Jaehyo, who had been too enthusiastic in engaging with the fans on the left, was still standing there when the music had started again. And he’s supposed to be on the right! Fans laughed as he quickly ran across the stage to where he should be.
Block B maintained the cheerfulness in the air with Action and its contagious ullalla ullalla. And we wondered why Zico hadn’t taken off his thick feather coat, eventhough he’d claimed that it’s really hot! During Tell Them, none of them except for Kyung and B-Bomb still stuck to most of the choreography. The others just moved freely here and there on the stage. P.O. even climbed the stairs to the upper stage and stayed there for most of the song, moving his body to the music.
Zico then told the audience that their time for that day was almost over, which naturally was replied with disappointment by the fans. Everything just went by so quick when you’re having fun! Zico now asked fans on the first and second floors to shout alternatingly. When their sounds were too small, Block B members railed them on, teasing, “Chiisaiiii! (Your voice is small!)
Zico repeated, “Everyone on the first floor, shout!” (Everyone did.) “Everyone on the second floor, shout!” (They did.) “Everyone on the third floor, shout!” (Things got a bit confusing, because there were only two floors, but people shouted anyway.) “Everyone on the fourth floor, shout!” (Now it’s a mix of shouting and laughter.) “Everyone on the fifth floor, shout!” (More shouting and laughter.) “Fifth floor is the coolest!”
The main setlist was brought to a close with party anthems Mental Breaker and Nice Day. Block B said goodbye, waved and left. Kyung was the last to leave. But the stage was empty for not too long. Zico lead his friends out from the backstage, shouting that he wanted to rock right now. It’s time for the rougher version of Very Good, this time sung in Korean. No wonder that instead of calming down, fans just went even crazier, screaming the names of their biases loudly.
Again, Block B left, and again, Kyung was the last to leave. Now the screens showed a behind-the-screen footage of the boys during the filming of the scene in the church. These were the true faces of the villains – they were shown joking with staff, joking with each other: from behind, cheerful Kyung hugged U-Kwon, who was actually busy with his cellphone.
Some sentences then showed up on the screen; they were more or less like this:
Maybe there are secrets we want to hide
Maybe we dream to be in an excellent world
Maybe we wanted to spread both of our arms to hug someone
Maybe we don’t show our weaknesses in order to reach the dream we love the best
Maybe we could only laugh although it’s painful and hurting
Maybe we just wanted everyone’s attention and affection
Maybe we just wanted our story to be heard
Maybe we just wanted to show our efforts and passion
For everyone, thanks to everyone, we are WARUGAKI
Everyone, please be the light for these WARUGAKI
And of course next was Be the Light! Taeil really shone on this one, effortlessly hitting high notes. The audience lost their breath for the split of a second, stunned by his vocal prowess; the next moment they screamed in praise for him!
Unfortunately, Block B really had to put an end to their concert that night. Their last song was Movie’s Over (a song aptly titled to act as the closing song!), and they threw the towels they had been using to the fans. Some of them tried to be fair for the fans at the back; they squeezed some of the towels into balls that they could throw far to the audience that didn’t stand close to the stage. They stopped their dancers from leaving so they could introduce them and the audience could clap their hands in appreciation. They then proceeded to pour a bottle of water over the head of one of the dancers!
Block B then took a pic together with fans as the background. After that, they really walked off the stage, waving and saying thank you, again with Kyung being the last. But Jaehyo half ran back to the stage, bringing a muffler towel that he squeezed into a ball and as his final gesture threw really, really far, to the hands raised in anticipation near the back of the hall. It was the end of the concert of the day, but it was such an awesome way to start the year for BBCs!
Block B’s setlist 16012015
- Nolina (NanlinA Japanese version)
- Very Good (Japanese version)
- Nilili Mambo
- Unordinary Girl
- Did You or Did You Not (Haesso Anhaesso)
- Synchronization 100%
- Tell Them
- Mental Breaker
- Nice Day
- Very Good rough version
- Be The Light
- Movie’s Over