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The K-pop group finally performs for their adoring fans

NO Twice fan here can forget the devastating July 27 of last year. The biggest K-Pop girl group in South Korea was supposed to hold a concert at Stadium Malawati Shah Alam that day. The nine girls had even made an appearance at a Press conference the day before.

But less than 24 hours before the concert was slated to go on, Twice’s label JYP Entertainment had to cancel it due to “safety issues”. Many tears were shed, including by Twice members themselves as they sorrowfully waved goodbye to fans at KLIA.

Even if you’re not a fan, you can’t deny the influence Twice has on K-Pop. There is a huge demand for cute concepts and Twice is arguably the best at them, music and personality-wise.

Twice promised fans (called Once) in Malaysia that they would return. So when Twice World Tour 2019 Twicelights In Kuala Lumpur was announced, I bet the fans were ecstatic.

And judging by the deafening screams that reverberated across the packed Axiata Arena last Saturday, it seemed like they were overjoyed. What’s interesting was that there were lots of fanboys, so the cheers were almost similar to the roar you hear at football matches!

Anyone could see how much the Malaysian Once had waited for this day to come. And as a non-fan, I felt their enthusiasm, which infected me.

Only eight Twice members — Jihyo, Sana, Nayeon, Dahyun, Momo, Chaeyoung, Jeongyeon and Tzuyu - were at the concert. Mina had to pull out from the tour due to health reasons. Nevertheless, the remaining girls gave their 100 per cent effort to make up for it.

They opened the show with Stuck In My Head, a rock number that took me by surprise. Aren’t they all about adorable concepts?

The catchy Cheer Up and Touch Down were also performed in rock mode. Cheer Up is one of the two numbers that had skyrocketed Twice to fame. It’s also a fun and cheeky pop song but I think the rock remix spoilt it. Still, the fans lapped it all up and sang along loudly.

Up next were Twice’s Japanese track BDZ, two Korean hit singles (Dance The Night Away and Yes Or Yes) and, surprisingly, a cover of Jackson 5’s I Want You Back.

The girls carried a baton each as they danced to the marching band theme of I Want You Back. With all the choreography, I wondered how they were able to sing the predominantly high notes effortlessly.

Most likely the backing tracks were loud enough to blur out any fumbles. Oh, well. I wish K-Pop acts will stop relying on backing tracks.

Moving on, the girls then changed into long and pretty white dresses to perform the ballads After Moon, You In My Heart and Sunset. This time, the fans’ light stick glowed blue green. “We will present to you more colours after this to reveal Twicelights,” said Nayeon. The girls continued with Heart Shaker, Strawberry and Woohoo.

Later we learnt that when Nayeon said “colours”, she meant the powerful and charismatic concepts (apart from cute) that Twice hadn’t been able to showcase previously.

Tackling Beyonce’s Dance For You, Tzuyu, Sana and Dahyun danced sexily in their short red dresses. This time, the fanboys were positively howling in excitement but the change of persona was too weird for me to take in.

Momo and Jihyo showcased a modern dance interpretation of Taemin’s ballad Goodbye while Chaeyoung, Nayeon and Jeongyeon danced to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way.

Twice saved the best for last when it performed Likey, What Is Love, Like Ooh Ahh, T.T (another breakthrough single by Twice) and Fancy, before closing the show with Signal, Knock Knock and Stuck.

These catchy numbers got the Once jumping and screaming in frenzy as they sang along. Even I started dancing in my seat to the fast beats.

At most K-Pop concerts, fans prepare a video (a compilation of greetings or dance cover performances) to show their appreciation to their music idols. The team behind Twice’s fan video took a different approach, a film of a funny sketch of a fanboy who has had a bad day, having been scolded by a superior. On his way home, he is thrilled to read that a Twice concert is to take place in Kuala Lumpur. And it turns out his superior is also a Once!

It may sound simple, but the actors were funny. “I felt like I was watching a movie!” said Jihyo in amazement.

Also fun was a game segment. The crowd was asked (by Twice members through pre-recorded audio) to show off their Twice dance skills and their loudest cheer for the girls, as well as answer some trivia questions on the group.

Fans were chosen randomly when the camera was directed at them. The lucky ones included fanboys who were not shy about showing off their love for Twice!

The fun and excitement turned poignant when group leader Jihyo said, “I still vividly remember how it was last year. We were at the hotel thinking about how the concert would be like. But all of a sudden we were told that it was cancelled.

“It’s been a year since then. Time flies really quickly, right? I’m thankful but at the same time I’m sorry that we made you wait so long.”

Sana added: “I believe we made it back to Malaysia thanks to you. Even though we may not stand together always, our thoughts will always be connected.”

Holding back tears, Dahyun mentioned Mina. “She wasn’t able to make it. But with the light that shone from your light stick, I felt like she’s been here with us the whole time.”

Jeongyeon added: “We made incredible memories today. And since we’ll release a new album soon, we’ll come back to Malaysia. Please wait for us!”

I liked how each member ended her speech with a Malay phrase: as “Terima kasih kerana datang” (Thank you for coming), “Saya akan balik sini

lain kali” (I will come back) and “Saya takkan lupa malam ini! (I won’t forget this night).”

I won’t forget this night either because I may not be a Once but thanks to the fans’ exuberance, this turned out to be one of the most enjoyable K-Pop concerts I’ve ever attended.

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