Korean pop idol Rain performs on stage for his sold-out concert in Tokyo as part of his world tour, Friday. / AP-Yonhap
By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Korean pop star Rain wowed nearly 40,000 fans at a concert at the Tokyo Dome on Friday evening, becoming the first Korean singer to hold a solo concert at the stadium.
Rain performed 21 songs during the concert, including his Japanese language single ``Free Way." He also spoke some Japanese, delighting his mostly female fans.
As the first K-pop star to perform at the Tokyo Dome, Rain admitted he was nervous at first. The Tokyo Dome is the biggest concert hall in Japan, where only a few foreign artists such as Madonna, Mariah Carey, Rolling Stones, and Japanese superstars like Ayumi Hamasaki, SMAP and Arashi can perform.
``When Japanese producers suggested a concert at the Tokyo Dome, I doubted if I could do it. But I am glad that tickets have sold well," Rain said, in a press conference before the concert.
His Tokyo Dome concert proved Rain's immense popularity in Japan. Japanese celebrities such as members of the popular male group SMAP, namely Masahiro Nakai, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori were seen at the concert. Korean celebrities such as Ha Ji-won and SS501 were also there.
The concert is part of his ongoing world tour, which brought him to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Australia and ends in the United States next month. Rain said the world tour was a good opportunity for him to challenge himself before making his U.S. debut.
Rain is also preparing for his supporting role in the Hollywood movie ``Speed Racer," a live action adaptation of the iconic Japanese animated car racing series. He will attend the film's press conference on May 31 in Berlin, Germany. Rain will play the role of a rookie car racer in the movie, which will be written and directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski, creators of the ``Matrix" movie series.