SINGAPORE — It would be easy to dismiss 2NE1 as yet another Korean pop act — especially when you see their elaborate stage design — but they are really anything but. Playing at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Saturday night, the four-member group, comprising CL, Minzy, Dara and Bom, set the stage on fire.
It is a mark of 2NE1’s strength as good entertainers that even though half of the audience probably couldn’t understand the mostly Korean lyrics, they were on their feet for most of the two-hour show. Starting with the title track of their newest album Crush, the girls appeared in glittery red and gold military-inspired outfits with a group of male back-up dancers dressed in pink. The set was energy-filled, fun and edgy — all trademarks of the group that pioneered a new, stronger brand of femininity in the K-pop scene.
The second set saw 2NE1 change into all-white outfits and entering the stage via silk swings, making it seem as if they were floating in from the clouds. Performing a laid back, acoustic version of Come Back Home, the members showed off their individual vocal strengths and they garnered loads of cheers when Dara introduced the song, Ugly: “We all feel a little ugly sometimes, on the inside and out, and this is to remind you that you are beautiful.”
After their third costume change (this time the girls came out dressed in their familiar urban streetwear) the group returned to performing their signature hip-hop sounds, complete with choreography. Minzy, in particular, showed off her agility — effortlessly doing a split before gracefully bouncing back up.
The girls also brought four lucky male fans on stage and sat them down in chairs as they danced provocatively around them. It was hilarious, to say the least, as the boys tried their best to look straight ahead instead of eyeing the shimmying performers in front of them.
2NE1 also performed some of their new singles and greatest hits, such as Scream, I’m The Best and a rock and roll version of I Don’t Care. However, they saved the best for last: When it seemed the girls had left the stage, they suddenly reappeared at the back of the stadium and walked along aisles to the stage to say hi to their fans. That up close and personal touch showed just how much range 2NE1 has: They can be tough, edgy performers, but also graceful, soulful singers who are capable of singing to a crowd of thousands as though it were an intimate, private session. If 2NE1 keeps producing shows like this one, they’ll be around for a long, long time.