Brian Joo Up Close and Personal concert

Brian Joo’s Up Close & Personal Concert in Singapore
Date : 11th October 2012
Venue : The Butter Factory

After a long 13 years, Brian Joo finally stepped onto our sunny shores for his first Up Close & Personal Concert, exciting many fans whom many had their first taste of kpop through Fly To The Sky (an R&B duo group where Brian debut from in 1999).

The day started with Brian doing rehearsals, before meeting the media at 2pm. It was a casual affair and Brian was all so relaxed and jovial throughout the 30 minutes. Dressed in a black t-shirt, jacket, bright red jeans and shoes with leopard prints, Brian kicked off the press conference with a cheerful “Hello everyone! Thank you for coming out.”

Speaking about what to expect from his concert that very night, Brian expresses that he just want people to know his music, and that they will have a good time with him, this being his first time in Singapore.

Having just parted ways with his record label Jellyfish Entertainment, his next album will take a back seat for now as he gets busy with an American musical, “Loving the Silent Tears” on October 27th in Los Angeles, followed by a fanmeeting in Osaka for his Brian’s Friends & Family Japan (BFFJ) Official Fan Club in early November. In between he had also recorded an English gospel single, which will be in a gospel compilation album with several other Korean singers like Lee Jae Hoon from Cool, Lee Jung and Lynn.

Brian claims that he is a boring person despite his onscreen image of being a fun and goofy person on korean variety shows like Strong Heart. Offscreen, he prefers a typical life just like everyone else, staying at home, watching movies while munching on a bowl of popcorn or just listening to music. Describing about his goofy dances on tv, quoting his own words, “Because of that image, everyone thinks that I just stand in front of the mirror every night by myself, coming up with these weird and goofy dances.” He cleared the air by saying “Trust me, everything I do is very spontaneous and in the moment right then and there, I don’t really create these dances. If I did, I have a problem and I should be in hospital!”.

Fans of Fly To The Sky will also be thrilled to hear that Brian and Hwanhee talks about coming back as the group Fly To The Sky all the time and there are indeed plans for that. However, fans just have to be a little more patient for Hwanhee to finish his military duties for another year before this plan can materialise.

Brian claims that he is a neat freak and friends who know him well have been telling him that he belongs to Singapore, because it is so clean and organised. Just like many other visiting kpop stars, he is impressed with the cleanliness here and he likes Singapore very much. He had not had the chance to taste our famous chilli crabs yet and is looking forward to it, with the local organisers promising him a chilli crab dinner after the concert. He explains that he is quite different from other Kpop artistes who prefers to eat Korean food wherever they go. He enjoys tasting the different food of each country he goes to and makes it a point to do that whenever possible.

Having come a long way since he debut, he has some sensible words for all the young upstarts who had just started their showbiz career. He reminds them to stay grounded by hanging around with humble people, including family and friends instead of fellow celebrities, living the crazy celebrity lifestyle. He also reminds that “Don’t let the celebrity lifestyle get into your head because as soon as it comes to you, it can be taken away from you in a blink of an eye too. Music isn’t because of money or fame but your love for music and that you want to create music for others.”

When quizzed on which Korean female singers would he like to collaborate with, he named a few, like Lena Park, G.Na and Miss A. Despite being in the music business for so long, he feels that he is still in the learning process and believes he should remain with this mindset. He thinks that there are always new things to learn, even from the younger artistes, as each has their own musical gift and talent.

Before the end of the press conference, he has some words for his BFFs, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being beside me for all these years since 1999 till now. I am still learning, working, breathing and it’s all because of you guys, so thank you so much and I hope you guys continue to support me and I’ll continue to do my best. Thank you so much.”

The fan sign and photo session took place at the same venue at 5pm, where VIP ticket holders had the opportunity to receive a personally signed poster from the man himself, followed by a one-to-one photograph. Brian took his time with each fan, greeting each one cheerfully and patiently asking for their names. He even had fans who specially flew in for this concert from Japan, Indonesia, Vietnan, Korea and more. The fansign ended about an hour later and the fans stayed on at the venue, anxiously waiting for 8pm to come.

The concert kickstart with performances from Jae Sung, DJ Andrew T, CJ Crew from Celine Jessandra School of Performing Arts, before Brian came onstage amidst screams with a fast medley of “Dreaming” + “Do It” + “친구의 여자를 사랑했네(I Loved My Friend’s Girlfriend)” + “Bullet” from his Manifold album.

After a brief greeting to his fans, he continued with 2 ballads, where fans sang along to “가지마 (Don’t Go)” and “가슴 아파도 (Even Though My Heart Hurts)”. This was followed by a mini Q & A session where Brian was ever so obliging to the questions and requests from the fans that you can feel that he really mean it when he says he treats his fans like family and friends. Asking for creative questions, he was thrown requests like “Can you please dance to Gangnam Style?”, which he gamely did for about 20 secs. He even “complained” that his friends does not introduce girls to him ever, and probably because he is too old, when asked if he is seeing someone. It was really funny when he keeps saying that he is an ahjussi and he is really old. Another fan asked to sing a song to him, and he invited her upstage, while jokingly calling her his wife. She sang a verse of Fly To The Sky’s Missing You, which Brian join in to duet. Another fan asked him to marry her, and she stole a kiss on his cheek when he gave her a hug, after which Brian jokes that he is not going to wash his face later. He seems to have a pretty good impression of Singapore, and says that he hopes to be back soon, maybe for a vacation and the BFFs can bring him around sightseeing. The Q & A ended with a request by a fan for him to sing a short verse of Day By Day, which he did acapella style right away. I seriously like his no holds bare style.

Asking the fans to have a good time with him tonight, he followed up with more songs like the up-tempo ”내 여자(My Girl)”, mid-tempo “Domino” and a slow tempo “Tears Run Dry”, after which he went for a change of clothes, while the emcee got 5 fans up on stage to dance to “In My Head” in a bid to win a signed Reborn Part 1 CD. The 5 fans also got to take a group photo with Brian.

The concert moved on with more songs, “I’ll Be There”, followed by the heart wrenching “사랑하다 끝났어 (Loved, but It’s Over Now)”. He next sang the last song “Sea & Love” from Fly To The Sky days, much to the delight of many fans, who happily sang along with him. However, as soon as his feet just step off the stage, encore screams started and soon he was back with “In My Head” before ending with “Let This Die”.

Honestly, it was an awesome performance by Brian, one of the better ones I had been to. Compared to the usual kpop fanmeets, this is really an event with the music taking centrestage. A smaller venue that makes it really up close and personal added a very warm feeling to the concert. Hearing Brian sing live is really an enjoyment, and even as I repeat the audio recording for the whole of today while writing this writeup, it still brings a smile to my face while tapping my feet to the music. Now, I really wish to see Hwanhee perform, or better still, can I have Fly To The Sky too?

Many thanks to Agenda Events & Jig Asia Entertainment for inviting Seoul Rhythms to cover this wonderful concert.

Side Note*
I’m glad that both yyann & aprilliaxkaren had a great time at Brian Joo’s first ever showcase in Singapore. I love Fly to the Sky and it was with much regrets that I wasn’t able to attend this event and hear him sing live. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I was in kimchiland during this period. Much thanks and appreciation to both of them for helping with the coverage, photos and video clips. ^^ Now, if I’m just crossing my fingers to see a reunion of FTTS. That would be a dream come true.

~Tiffany @ Seoul Rhythms~

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