Why? Because he's Rain, Korea's most popular...abs!! Ha-ha-ha!
The stage was set up right on the street, and thousands of his fans filled up the areas on the side, in front of and way, way back where I was able to squeeze in 15 minutes before he arrived at the venue.
I was actually on the way to meet up with a good friend at Jamsil-naru Station, which was a few subway stops from Samseong Station at COEX. But Rain gave me a good reason to detour and take photos of his dance moves and fans.
His concert was scheduled to start at 7PM and my 40-plus minutes on the bus from my home in Hannam-dong gave me an opportunity to sightsee along the streets of Gangnam-gu. I think the last time I was in this area was when I bade good-bye to Tita Cecile and Tito Efren before they left Korea for good a year ago (and they left me with all their un-consumed de latas, cereals and even a panini-maker! Thanks, Tita!).
But tonight, when I got to the COEX area, I saw hundreds already queuing up to enter the main concert area, which was cordoned off.
But since I wasn't really interested in staying long, I decided to huddle up with the crowd behind a huge TV screen, which was set up just behind that cordoned area.
And a few minutes after I decided on a good spot, Rain arrived at the venue in a black SUV, which was trailing a white limousine. I wondered what's the use of that white limo when he wasn't even in it. Talking about his carbon footprint. He could have just taken the bus if he lived nearby.
He was wearing a black leather jacket, and the female dancers waiting for him put a pair of thick bracelets on his wrists, after he replaced the jacket with a sleeveless vest with pointed wings. And along his path to the stage, he shook hands with a couple of teenage fans, who must have been especially assigned to greet him and giggle after.
Well, most of the fans and the crowd were there to see him wear these sleeveless shirts and flashy jackets for the last time. A couple of days after that Sunday night, he would be wearing military jackets and combat boots.
Although I only could understand the yeah-yeah's and oh-yeah's in his lyrics, I could see that this guy is giving his all. His showmanship was compleat (even with matching sweating!).
And his singing, as well as his back-up dancers, was trying to keep up with his dancing!
I've seen him on TV pull up his shirt to show off his abs. And in this concert, he went further. He brought the camera into his dressing room where he changed in front of the camera - shirt and pants! Of course, he shoved away the camera when he was about to, you know, pull down his decorated pants. I could hear the girls giggling at the stunt.
(In his changing tent)
(Zipping up? Or down? Ha-ha-ha!)
After about 45 minutes of listening and watching Rain, I decided to take off and make my way to the Samseong Station.
And at the other side of the boulevard, there were hundreds more just standing at the sidewalk watching the concert, which I thought was a good vantage point, too.
(The crowd watching from the other side)
There were no hustling, no overcrowding, and best of all, no security guards!
(The view from the other side of the street)
As I took the steps down to the subway station, the blasting sounds from his concert got fainter. I wondered those may be the last live sounds from Rain's concert that I would ever hear. That next time somebody hears him sing would be during his breaks in between combat training or while he's cleaning his combat boots.
So, good luck to Rain on his military service. I hope the next time he throws a free concert, I would be able to see him closer than a hundred feet, and not from across the street. Ha-ha-ha!
See you in about two years, Rain!
(Gangnam-gu's cleaning crew waiting for the concert
to finish. Not sure how many of them is a Rain fan.)