Excitement had been building in Brisbane for weeks, with fans preparing signs, planning their outfits and counting down the days to meet their idols – it would be the first time a high profile K-Pop group performed in Brisbane.
The GOT7 members are a diverse group – Leader JB and members Jinyoung, Youngjae and Yugyeom representing their Korean homeland, Mark hailing from the US, BamBam from Thailand and Jackson from Hong Kong. With three English speakers amongst them and a solid back catalogue of hits since their 2014 debut, GOT7 were a natural choice for Brisbane’s first big K-Pop event.
Hours before the doors opened at 7pm, the concourse outside the Royal International Convention Centre started to fill with colourful fans – many of them clad in the distinctive yellow doughnut-print sweater worn by Mark in the music video for “Just Right”. Local fan group leaders handed out foiled balloons and banners, and the excitement built to a quiet elation.
At 8:15pm, the lights dimmed and GOT7’s 2016 smash “Hard Carry” quietly started seeping from the speakers. The audience didn’t miss a beat – quiet elation turned to an all out frenzy as the volume grew and grew until the curtain dropped to reveal six svelte silhouettes, seated and ready to serenade with “Q” and “Sign”- new tracks from their latest offering Flight Log: Arrival.
Yes, six svelte silhouettes. What happened to seven? Unfortunately member Youngjae was unable to travel due to injury, but sent a video message with his apology. The poor boy looked so sad not to be in attendance, expressed his disappointment and promised to recover quickly in order to make it up to his fans.
Despite lacking a member, GOT7 never lacked for energy and charisma – when performing their songs they covered Youngjae’s vocal parts with ease, and while there were a few moments when choreography and formations seemed a little off-balance without their seventh member, it came across as a sweet and sad homage rather than an awkward and empty arrangement.
The role of translator for an event like this is not an easy one to fill, but familiar face David Park from the Korean Cultural Centre Sydney brought his A game (and his dad jokes – which we loved) and kept everyone on the same page – both onstage and in the crowd.
The games section of the evening gave us plenty to laugh at, and with – from Jackson repeatedly presenting his rear to be hit with an oversized novelty hammer as “punishment” for losing games, to a blindfolded leader JB and maknae Yugyeom trying to find and hit each other with the instructions of their team mates. There was a lot of hitting going on, but all of it in jest. The games themselves seemed a little disorganised and chaotic, but it didn’t matter too much – they were a vessel for the larrikin side of GOT7 to be shared, and they served their purpose.
GOT7’s dance skills are not to be sneezed at. After disappearing to refocus after their games, the boys returned to perform 2016’s “Fly” and “Skyway”, and later “Hard Carry”. Their synchronisation was perfect, their energy high and they performed with an effortless grace.
The staging for this fan meeting was simple but so effective – three large screens projected backdrops of galaxies and fire, and their custom light-up perspex chairs brought a futuristic element, with a huge confetti cannon ending the icing on the cake. There was a small issue with sound when the boys returned for their second round of songs when the vocals weren’t coming through the front of house speakers, but it was quickly resolved and we knew for sure that GOT7 were performing live – which can be nice to know in an industry so full of lip syncing. Jackson seemed to have a little trouble with his in-ear monitor during the encore, but he didn’t let it affect his performance – he pulled it out and performed without it.
Not to be left without hearing their latest single, fans launched straight into calls for an encore the moment the boys left the stage. We were treated to two more new songs – “Go Higher” and “Never Ever”. Of course in a fan meeting it’s impossible to cover too much of their back catalog, but I would have loved to have seen even one older song performed as a nod to their loyal fans. We can only hope that next time GOT7 will return with a full concert and injury-free lineup!
Today many Brisbane fans will be feeling the post-show blues, which is a sign of a wonderful night. GOT7 are true entertainers and so endearing – and they certainly earned their place in our hearts last night.
Photos by Erin Smith. Check out Erin’s full photo gallery HERE.