The hype surrounding artistes from South Korean company YG Entertainment could never have been greater.

With rapper Psy surging up to 2nd place on the US Billboard Hot 100 charts with Gangnam Style, almost every netizen has been exposed to the ‘horse dance‘ at least once.

And for two consecutive days, over 10,000 fans of Psy’s labelmates Big Bang had the opportunity to witness an all-out musical extravaganza, on the 28th and 29th of September (Friday and Saturday).

The final night of the Big Bang Alive Galaxy Tour 2012 on Saturday certainly gave fans a (big) bang for their buck. Here’s why:

Tonight, such a beautiful night

There was an evidently celebratory mood among Korean fans, as the 29th marked the eve of Chuseok (추
석), the Korean equivalent of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Even before the show commenced, VIPs (the members of the fanclub, named after their 2006 single) rehearsed their fanchants, as music videos of songs from the quintet’s February EP (extended play) flashed on twin projector screens flanking the stage.

At 7pm, the lights dimmed and crown lightsticks illuminated the Singapore Indoor Stadium in their place.

The 5 boys, consisting of G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, (Kang) Daesung and Seungri emerged from cryogenic freezing chambers, belting out a brief intro titled ‘Alive’.

Accompanied by a 5-piece live band led by keyboard maestro Gill Smith II, they unleashed their 2011 lead single ‘Tonight’.

Deviating slightly from the original style of performance, leader G-Dragon did away with the controversial guitar-smashing antics seen in last year’s initial performances. He and fellow rapper T.O.P spat their flows in English instead.

Hands up high, Fantastic babies

The crowd had more reason to cheer, as Big Bang commanded everyone to ‘put their hands up’ while they performed ‘Hands Up’. But the most resonating chorus came when ‘Fantastic Baby’ came on. VIPs seemed to have no problems keeping the pace with T.O.P’s ‘dribbling’ rap technique, the speediest flow heard from the 25-year-old ever since his collaboration last year with compatriot Se7en, in ‘Digital Bounce’.

VIPs who have followed Big Bang since their debut were in for a little nostalgia trip, when ‘How Gee’ came on. Sampling the saxophone riff of funk music artist Maceo Parker’s ‘Soul Power 74’, the five boys reprised their 2008 hit, with GD and Seungri rolling down the stage on Segway PTs and Taeyang opting for a bicycle ride.

After wrapping up the 5-song introduction with ‘Stupid Liar’, the trio of Taeyang, Daesung and Seungri took the opportunity to bond with the audience. R&B singer Taeyang, whose command of English is the most fluent among the band, raised the roof by telling fans seated on various levels to scream.

Seungri, previously known to be relatively awkward conversing in English, mustered enough confidence to holler, “I love this place!”

But the conversation did not just stop there. He likened Big Bang to the local tourism mascot, the Merlion, referring to both as equally ‘smart, fast and strong’.

The most frequently uttered word amongst the band turned out to be ‘crab’. Taeyang had earlier made known his desire to try out the famous delicacies of chilli crab and black pepper crab. “… Today, I ate it. It was so amazing!”

Seungri marvelled at Singaporeans’ threshold of tolerance when it came to spicy food. “I’m Korean, but that’s (chilli crab) too spicy!”

Strong babies take centrestage

If there was one word to describe members of Big Bang, it would be ‘resilient’. One noteworthy hero of the night was T.O.P. The 181cm-tall rapper managed to look steady and composed despite having to perform with a cast on his right hand. He had sustained an injury while filming an upcoming drama, ‘Alumnus‘.

Together with GD, the duo showed off their moved and swagger with ‘Knock Out’ and ‘High High’, two mega-hits from their eponymous, Melon Music Award-winning 2010 album, GD&TOP.

And when GD rallied VIPs in chants of “It’s alright” (괜찮아), the crowd showed their love to T.O.P, wishing him a speedy recovery.

Another ‘Strong Baby’ of the night was Seungri. The 22-year-old maknae (youngest of the group) appeared unfazed by his recent alleged sex scandal, in which a Japanese tabloid published photos of the Gukje Digital University undergraduate lying topless in bed, accompanied with lurid details of the supposed one night stand.

Seungri’s emergence appeared similar his performances in last year’s Big Show concerts in Seoul, coming out from the stage in a streak of green laser lights. The only difference this time was that his solo showcase of ‘Strong Baby’ and ‘What Should I Do?’ (어쩌라고) were shortened and compressed into a 4-minute run. Regardless of that, a few columns of VVIPs (his fans) could be heard chanting his real name , ‘Lee Seung-hyun (이승현)! Lee Seung-hyun!’

But the most anticipated solo was that of Daesung’s. This marked more than one year after his involvement in a traffic accident, which saw a drunk motorcyclist lose his life in the tragedy. The Incheon-born Daesung looked to have put the drama far behind him, as he rose into the air on a suspension rope, with a pair of angel’s wings propped against his back for the song ‘Wings’.

Grinning towards the crowd in his angel get-up, he proved to the fans that he was still true to his namesake, as the ‘Smiling Angel’ (미소 천사) of Big Bang.

Getting their Cray-on

After reuniting for their Japanese singles ‘Gara Gara Go’ (ガラガラ GO!!) and ‘Number 1’, Taeyang queried the fans on whether they had heard, or even purchased GD’s latest solo album, One of A Kind. The album, which is GD’s 2nd since Heartbreaker in 2009, contains a blend of electro-pop and hip hop.

Accompanied by T.O.P’s beatboxing, GD let out the first few verses of the album’s 3rd single, ‘Crayon’, as well as the lead single, ‘One of A Kind’. VIPs lapped up every moment of it, chanting along as he went.

YB Maniacs, fans of Taeyang (whose real name is Dong Young-bae), were in for a double treat, as he performed his debut solo single ‘Only Look At Me’ (나만바라봐) and the melancholic ballad ‘Wedding Dress’. But the ultimate fan-service female YB Maniacs were expecting from him was the show of abs – and they witnessed it not just once, but thrice throughout the show.

The longest finale

But VIPs weren’t expecting their favourite band to simply leave, as columns of them clamoured for an encore. Following the first night, the band brought out their 2008 hit ‘Heaven’. There, they paid tribute to the background dancers from female dance group Crazy, which included Kim Hee Yeon, Kim Min Jung and Park Eun Young.

After reprisals of ‘Bad Boy’, ‘Fantastic Baby’ and ‘Feeling’, fans were slowly resigning to the fact that the band would have to end their show soon.

GD was equally reluctant to leave, lying on the stage and refusing to budge.

But Taeyang sprang a surprise by offering a bonus song – their final tune before leaving the stage. When ‘Knock Out’ was chosen, the crowd went wild for the final time, as GD sprang up to deliver his lines, and Seungri paid homage to Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’, mimicking the ‘horse dance’.

The band finally made their exit, wrapping up the Singapore leg of their tour.

Thankfully, YG Entertainment fans still have the opportunity to rejoice, as labelmates 2NE1 revealed recently that they would be making their way down to Singapore for their ‘New Evolution’ world tour. With that, it can be said that YG-mania has yet to die down anytime soon.

 All photos courtesy of YG Entertainment.