Hallyu Rock band CNBLUE Rock the U.S.A with two stops added to their hugely successful ‘BLUE MOON’ World tour in New York City and Pasadena, California.
CNBLUE has been touted an Idol band, flower boy actors, rock stars, composers and lyricists, but now they can add ‘World Tour Star’ to their list of titles. CNBLUE is the first ever Korean band to set out on a tour around the world, and have finally made good on their word to bring their ‘BLUE MOON’ world tour to the U.S. and Latin America with five dates in total for the first month of 2014.
On January 20th 2014, CNBLUE set foot on U.S. soil for the first time since 2012 when they last arrived for the 2012 SBS KPOP Super Concert held in Los Angeles in October of that year. Since then, the quartet set out on a non conventional plan to launch on a world tour, no band from their country had ever attempted to do so. In April of 2013, CNBLUE launched their ‘BLUE MOON’ World Tour 2013 in Taiwan and hit cities all over Asia and even making two stops in Austrailia. Since then, fans in the U.S. patiently waited their turn for ‘BLUE MOON’ in the United States. Finally, last December, with just a little over a month to prepare, CNBLUE announced their plans to visit New York City and Pasadena.
Monday morning after a long 14 hour flight form Korea, the band was greeted by exuberant fans who braved the freezing New York weather just to get a glimpse of the four members at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport. Hours later, they would find fans sitting just outside of the venue in the bitter cold for hours, waiting on the ticket line from the wee hours of the morning just to get a good spot in the already expected crowded audience. CNBLUE fan club members flew in from California, Florida, and even Singapore and organized gifts and a celebratory cake to be given to the band for their fourth year anniversary the band celebrated on January 14th. They also prepared item giveaways to hand out to all the dedicated CNBLUE fans (BOICE) that were lined up, wrapping around the snowy sidewalk of the Best Buy Theater.
Finally, D-day arrived, it was the day everyone including CNBLUE was waiting for, January 21st, 2014, 8PM, CNBLUE would perform in NYC for the first time ever on their first stop in America to an almost sold out crowd and would share a historic night with their BOICE who lovingly gathered from all parts of the country and even the world, just to be a part of this special day. Fans came during one of the worst snow storms to hit NY in years and yet, despite the inclement weather outside, the atmosphere inside was that of a pure rock club and soon CNBLUE were there to take over the stage. Showtime was finally here, the crowd entered and rushed to find their designated spots and were soon welcomed with an opening introduction film, CNBLUE‘s ‘BLUE MOON’ was about to begin. Soon after the short film aired and hyped the audience with scenes of the members, symbolically climbing a staircase “to the top of the world”, emoting their energy through their instruments to the surrounding buildings which turned into the sound systems that carried their sound around the world, was very fitting to the message that CNBLUE brings to the music community. The film ended and soon, like a surreal dream, one by one, Jung Yonghwa, Lee Jonghyun, Kang Minhyuk and lastly, Lee Jungshin took their familiar places on the stage and began their two hour barrage of hits on the audience.
Starting out with a bang, ‘Where you are’ was the first of many melodically unique tracks CNBLUE unleashed from their diverse repertoire throughout the night. ‘Get Away’, ‘One time’ and band introductions were soon to follow. Dance time began after a brief talk time with CNBLUE‘s brand of up tempo beats, ‘Naran Namja’ (Man Like Me), ‘Coffee Shop’, ‘Have a Good Night’, and ‘Wake Up’. Because lead singer Yonghwa is the musical professional that he is, he begins to strum his guitar and out comes the words…“NewYork,concrete jungle where dreams are made of…” and suddenly the crowd goes wild and sings along with him! But after a few more bars of the Jayz-Z and Alicia Keys anthem for New York life, he begins crooning again only singing a few lyrics of another song...”I’m in a New York state of mind…” and quickly stopped to chuckle with embarrassment. ‘Love Light’, ‘Feeling’, ‘These Days’ and ‘Y, Why’ make up the “calm down” portion of the night that give CNBLUE the chance to slow the tempo and further connect with their audience.
The next block of songs, ‘Just Please’, ‘Tattoo’ and the super powerful ‘In My Head’ lend to the dark, sexy, metal side of CNBLUE that is full of electric energy which quickly spreads throughout the venue. This is the beauty of this band and what sets them apart from other artists in their genre. The fact that their music has so many layers and is made up of so many different colors that meld together much like how their on and off stage personalities fit together so well. This band has an undeniable chemistry that is hard to fake or manufacture, CNBLUE are truly one in a million for these and many other reasons.
Throughout the night, all the members attempt at communication with the audience in English but it was bassist Jungshin and Yonghwa who would continually chat with the crowd. At one point, Jungshin asks everyone if they are having fun and Yonghwa somewhat dissatisfied with the crowds’ answer says in such a clear and calm voice, “I don’t Believe it!!” which causes a roar of excitement and laughter from the entire room including himself. Fan favorites ‘Intuition’, ‘I’m a Loner’, and title track from their ‘RE: BLUE’ album ‘I’m Sorry’ round out the set list for the show and with that, CNBLUE wave goodbye and exit the stage momentarily, allowing another short film to attract the crowds’ attention once more before they return for the ‘Encore’ portion of the show which fans have become accustomed to. ‘Hey You’, ‘Love Girl’, ‘You’ve Fallen For Me’, ‘Love’, and lastly ‘Try Again, Smile Again’ which as become CNBLUE‘s usual song to signify the end of the show. The members make their rounds at the sides and then eventually the middle of the stage to give their deep bow and blow kisses to their loving fans as they accept any last minute gifts and sadly walk of the stage one final time and with that, ‘BLUE MOON’ World Tour: Live in NYC 2014 came to a close. The Beat Buy Theater in NYC which accommodated 2100 fans, was the perfect venue for CNBLUE because of it’s intimate rock club like environment. The mostly floor standing atmosphere and lighting felt crowded and gritty and really helped to give CNBLUE‘s performance the true rock band feeling that they were meant to do, although these guys can perform in a bathroom and rock it out just as well!
The next stop on the U.S. leg of the ‘BLUE MOON’ World tour would bring CNBLUE back to California where they first performed in the U.S. back in March of 2012. The Pasadena Civic Center was designed to look like the inside of an opera house with beautiful architecture both inside and outside the building. The theater style seating created a more traditional concert going experience yet its small less than 3000 person capacity still carried a very quaint, intimate setting for CNBLUE to enjoy with their fans. The band arrived to LAX a day before the show date and immediately went to work on rehearsals but taking a few shots of their downtime before the concert, posting images of lead guitarist Jonghyun and Yonghwa on the band’s Facebook page.
The climate outside the Pasadena venue was calm, and the weather was warm and mild compared to the bitter cold in NY. Fans gathered hours in advance to meet each other and ready themselves for the big event. Soon the doors opened, and everyone quickly found their way to their seats for the evening. Once again, the opening film played letting everyone know showtime was underway. CNBLUE made their appearance on the stage to a crowded room full of fans whom, some of which were seeing them for the first time, and others had followed the band of four from their last stop in New York. The setlist was very much the same as the NYC show with some of the same banter between the band members and their adoring public. This time, Yonghwa randomly sang a bit of the late Tupac’s ‘California Love’ while “crip walking” (hip hop dance move) wowing the audience with his charisma and talent of being “Mr. Entertainment” during the entire show. He later showed off his hip hop talents and beatboxed Snoop Dog’s ‘Drop it like it’s hot’ during the band’s encore performance. Jungshin, Minhyuk and Jonghyun are all equally as entertaining, talented and drip charismatic sex appeal, but Yonghwa really takes his role of the band leader to the next level with his bubbly yet sexy on stage persona. Clearly, CNBLUE as a whole are amazing in a live setting.
Early in the show, Jonghyun suffered from some technical issues with his microphone and guitar petals which ended up ruining his mood for the rest of the night. Fans who really know his personality, know that he’s a true musician, a perfectionist who has no tolerance for even the slightest error or mishap. Needless to say, his lack of flashing his gorgeous smile and those mesmerizing dimples God bestowed to him, left fans feeling sad and helpless to improve his mood. Never the less, Jonghyun is a professional and talented guitarist and vocalist. His smooth gentle voice is a true compliment to Yonghwa‘s sometimes raspier vocals and amazing range. CNBLUE made the Pasadena show to feel that of a concert between close friends with their constant personal eye contact and smiles with individual fans which is their undeniably addicting type of fan service. The tandem guitarists along with their sassy cool bassist and crazily energetic drummer happily took over the house for the night, CNBLUE were there to make one thing known, they were going to make sure everyone knew their power to captivate their audience. This writer had the privilege of traveling to New York and California to witness both of these epic concerts and all I can say is that through freezing temperatures and jet lag, I managed to have the time of my life and made so many memories with CNBLUE and their BOICE. If given the chance, I would definitely do it all over again a hundred times over.
CNBLUE wasted no time and has already taken their ‘BLUE MOON’ tour to South America to conquer Mexico and Peru with record making ticket sales and will rock out in Santiago, Chile on January 31st at 9PM at the Movistar Arena.
CNBLUE is immensely loved here in the United States and with these two first, nearly sold out full length shows, have proven that they have the selling power and the following to make an impact on the music scene here as well as everywhere else in the world and will definitely make it, “to the top of the world.”
**Featured on KpopStarz.com on behalf of CNBLUESTORM**