Korean singer and actor Rain
By Han Sang-hee
Korean pop star Rain has been busy with his own clothing line and a Hollywood film produced by the Wachowski brothers. But he didn't forget his roots as a singer, gratifying local fans at his Seoul concert ``Legend of Rainism'' held at the Gymnastic Stadium, Olympic Park, Friday.
This was the singer's first concert in Seoul in three years, and he somewhat successfully proved that, despite his busy schedule, he still had the time to rehearse and work on a three-hour show with 25 songs.
New group MBLAQ from Rain's agency J.Tune Entertainment opened the show and impressed with their powerful stage presence. The five-member group, who were dressed in black-and-white with dark-eye makeup, sounded nervous as they greeted fans, but enthusiastically encouraged them to enjoy the show.
Rain finally appeared on stage clad in a floral print velvet jacket with a black-sequined vest and bow tie. He opened his three-hour performance with ``My Way.''
The 27-year-old didn't save his bag of tricks for the end, surprising fans with fireworks throughout the show.
With only a pin-light illuminating him, he sported a black fedora and offered the famous ``Billie Jean'' dance by the late Michael Jackson, who he said was his spiritual mentor and the reason he started dancing when he was young.
``Hello, I missed you all. I so wanted to hold a concert, but I have been busy doing other things, such as filming movies, and so that was why I had to postpone performing for a while. But I'm back now, and I hope you all enjoy the show,'' he said.
The singer changed into a total of five different outfits, making vests the focal point of his wardrobe. From the sequined black vest to a silver metallic and biker black leather one, Rain showed off his muscular arms and lean figure throughout the show.
Not only is Rain popular for his songs around Asia, but he has also made a name for himself as one of the best male dancers in Korea. On Friday he showed why. The singer constantly danced to the beat, jumping from the second floor of the stage to the first, stomping his feet and punching his fists to the music, all carried out without losing his breath. New moves were also added to the famous dance routines, some resembling martial arts to others, while others were more energetic.
``When you live abroad, you get lonely easily so it feels great to be back in my home country. Sometimes when I'm busy, having both good and bad times, I lose my sense of direction. But I have to say I am always thankful for the love and interest you show me,'' he said.
One section of the show was a special treat for his fans, as Rain stood on stage alone moving to the beat without backup dancers or colorful stage lights.
He then stood in the middle of the stage and an installation in the ceiling opened up and rain literally starting pouring down on him. Ripping off his black sweatshirt with his hands, he sang in the downpour, with fans screaming and the screens focusing on his tight abs. While many enjoyed this particular scene, it was nothing original.
His finale in a silky white suit was a smart finish, as he sang ``Love Story'' and ``Friends,'' waving to his fans and disappearing from the stage.
After giving four encore numbers, the singer once again vanished into the dark, waving and thanking fans for supporting him.
Indeed, Rain was back, but it was hard to ignore the fact that the show was not much different from those by local stars. The club scene, pole dancing, mask dance and even the pouring rain was nothing new, and although his presence as a singer and dancer may have made a difference, the overall content of the concert lacked creativity and spark.
Nevertheless, the concert was a perfect chance to watch how much Rain enjoys performing, and also how much support he has as one of the most popular Korean stars in Asia.