“Beyond expectation” are mere simple words to describe the amazing show performed by Korea’s acclaimed a capella group, Red Soul, in Kota Kinabalu on the 15th of April this year. The high that the Kpop fans experienced during the show lasted for days, as seen clearly through the feedback these charming young men received via their Facebook group and event pages. No sooner had I recovered from the “un-homesickness” of being in South Korea last March, than I was hit with another Korean wave that is Kpop. It was just too much excitement for me… although, in all honesty, I’m not complaining.
We expected to be entertained by RedSoul’s marvelous serenades, but never did we expect to be rocked out and jumping about as if we’re at a rave party, but rocked us they did! As the first Kpop artiste to perform live in Sabah, Malaysia, Red Soul (also stylized as RedSoul or REDSOUL) definitely lived up to Kpop fans’ expectations and more. What a way to make history!
Fresh off their promotional tour in Kuala Lumpur on the 13th and 14th, Red Soul continued their promotion of their first album, “Isseojweo (Stay),” in Kota Kinabalu with a media listening party in the afternoon (which I will cover in detail in another post). I was fortunate to receive a last-minute blogger’s invitation in the morning to attend the media event as well as for the show from Dinoza, the man who made the event happen.
During the media event, I was impressed not only by their well-synchronized voices, but also the quality of their harmonized arrangement that they apparently can come up with in less than 10 seconds (more on that later). That convinced me that I must attend Red Soul’s show that night no matter what.
Armed with my better half’s DSLR camera, I arrived at Party Play, Lintas Plaza, at 7pm and sat and chatted in the company of fellow bloggers Caneeliea (link removed, site no longer exist) and Chegu Carol (link removed, site no longer relevant) with her better half, Alvin, but not before I manage to snag the last spot in the front row seat of the show area… well, as frontmost as I could get, given that the first few rows were already reserved.
I was right, of course. Jonathan Tse performed a couple of his original songs “I’m Alive” and “3 Words” and a cover of Maroon 5’s song while punctuating them with hilarity that only he could pull off.
Alvin MY, in the mean time, crooned out four songs with his mellow R&B voice, and I’m glad he still has it even after his group Infinatez went their separate ways years ago. An impromptu performance with RedSoul’s beatbox maverick, Kang In Chang, had the crowd screaming in delight, and was the perfect accompaniment to the guitar strumming in the background.
JADESisters performed three songs, including a cute original that chronicled one of the members’ experience while auditioning for Korea’s MBC talent show in Seoul. Frankly, though, their performance was disappointingly forgettable. The lyric slip-ups (yes, in plural) by its member during her joint performance with Red Soul’s Hwang Tae Ik and Kim Ki Hyeon was a total let-down for me personally. I’m sorry, but I was expecting better from these talented ladies.
We finally hit the highlight of the night, starting with the Red Soul members introducing themselves. Their attempts at using Malay words as the show went on were certainly endearing, eliciting laughter from the audience with their easy-going attitudes, as well as delightful squeals from fangirls with their “aegyo”, i.e. cute expressions.
Red Soul performed many of their songs from “Isseojweo”, including “Han Yeojareul Saranghan Han Namja (When A Man Loves A Woman),” “Sarangiya Ireon Neukkim (This Feeling Is Love)” and my personal favourite which happened to be written by Ki Hyeon himself about his ex, the upbeat groove titled “Gimgisa.” Those moments were made more special when many of the people in the crowd knew the lyrics to their new songs and sang along with the group.
As if the show couldn’t get any better, the fun-loving guys performed covers of many English hit songs in a cappella versions AND turning the entire show into a full-blown party atmosphere not unlike a rock music festival. It was simply crazy! Red Soul managed to get the audience roaring and flailing our hands up in the air in sync with their songs, which included Ne-Yo’s “So Sick,” Maroon 5’s “This Love,” and BigBang’s “Blue” and “Fantastic Baby.”
Who knew that three altos, a tenor and a human beatbox could equal a party hard show?
In between songs, these handsome Red Soul men would either approach a random lucky female audience and serenade to her till she melts, or stand onto an empty chair and getting everyone off their feet with their energetic performance. The ear-splitting screams as the guys sauntered / darted to and fro the crowd were proof that everyone was more than pleased with their performance that night.
Red Soul ended the event with an autograph signing session, as many of us in the audience lined up to get their signatures, still dazed by the fact that the evening turned out to be an unexpectedly happening night for everyone.
If there’s anything that needs to be improved, it would be that Party Play should have had their employees controlled. As rowdy as the crowd had seemed, none of us actually went to the front of the show area, but a couple (or three) of the staff became over-eager and stepped up in front and middle of the aisle, posing while RedSoul was performing, and blocking the audience’s view. It happened for about 15 minutes until I got fed up and just told off one of them to stand aside and let me enjoy the show, because no one else cared. It bothered me so much that I have to mention it here.
In any case, much kudos goes not only to RedSoul, but also to Dinoza and his team at Inspire ME for my free invite and bringing the group to perform in Sabah, and, not the least, the audience themselves for being so responsive and enthusiastic throughout the event.
My personal thanks also goes to Jeon Tae Ik for the being the member who looked straight at my camera the most number of times, hahahah! You have no idea how happy that makes me!
Red Soul in KK! is brought to you by ME Malaysia and Natural Sound. Proudly sponsored by Party Play, Playground, Imperial Boutec Hotel, Wilti-Jos, Breeze Magazine, Shangri-la Tg Aru Resort & Spa, Koryo-Jeong Korean Restaurant, Sea Quest, The Body Shop and Hakod Oasis