Live Review: MAMAMOO “MOOSICAL” – Olympic Hall, Seoul (13.08.16)  

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If you’re a K-pop fan, you’ll already know that there are millions of girl groups who seek attention by (very often, pathetically) pushing various types of “sexy concepts.” But the result is, they all look the same! But here are four charismatic girls who captivate the audience simply with their music. MAMAMOO’s first concert “MOOSICAL” was held in August 13th and 14th at the Olympic Hall, Seoul.

“Are you interested in me? Are you interested in me? Are you interested in me!”

Moonbyul shouted out her famous phrase three times during the first song “Mr. Ambiguous,” and the fans, or “Moomoos,” eagerly responded to her. The audience consisted of all ages from the old to the young, who came with families, friends, and lovers. Many of them brought Mamamoo’s official light stick, or “moobong,” which looked like a radish (“moo” means “radish” in Korean). The stage was meticulously set up for a series of spectacles including break dancing, sand art, DJing, and video interludes.

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Mamamoo explained that the title of the concert—“MOOSICAL”—implied the combination of “Mamamoo,” “music,” and “colorful.” The stage was also in the shape of the alphabet, “M,” while the Broadway “musical”-style fancy neon sign that flashed “MOOSICAL” welcomed the Moomoos with a live big band session. Then there was a blast of everything. I’m not just talking about the formidable range of music genres they covered—which included jazz, dance pop, hip hop, R&B, rock, funk, bossa nova and so on—but the girls knew how to lead and flirt with the audience while fully enjoying the stage themselves. In “Baton Touch,” the members taught the fans their dance moves, while in “Hihihaheho,” they asked to adjust the moobong light to level 2 so that Moomoos could make up a sentimental mood for the performers. Who would believe that this was the first time the girls are on their concert stage?

More impressive was the four different solo stages that proved each member’s stage presence. Moonbyul exhibited her rap skills by covering Crush’s “Don’t Forget,” while Wheein revealed her new duet song “MODERATO” with the SMTM5’s rap stars, Hash Swan (on the first day) and Reddy (on the second day). The screening of Solar’s “I Will Always Love You” cover during her trainee years segued into her actual singing and made Moomoos feel proud of her. The audience was soon bewitched by Solar’s quick change of sexy outfits and dance moves when she covered Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack.” Hwasa lastly proved herself to be the diva of the generation by singing Rihanna’s “Stay” in a dreamy mood. In the next cover “You Give Love A Bad Name,” Hwasa turned into a badass rocker with an army of dancers who imposingly waved black flags on the stage.

Compared to their charismatic stage manners, the video interlude was rather a cute one, as Mamamoo parodied SNL Korea’s “3 Minutes” series and appeared as a 22-year-old rocker who has performed rock for 20 years (Hwasa), a singer-songwriter who plagiarizes all famous K-pop songs (Wheein), a ballad singer who cries too much (Solar), and a cute girl who swears all the time (Moonbyul).

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During the short DJing session, the members freely danced to other girl groups’ songs, such as GFriend’s “Rough,” Apink’s “No No No,” EXID’s “L.I.E,” Twice’s “Cheer Up,” and Red Velvet’s “Dumb Dumb.” Hwasa especially twerked before the audience, although later she said she contained herself because her parents were at the show. Vromance and I.O.I also appeared as guests and celebrated the concert.

Mamamoo girls implied possible unit groups by demonstrating the “Angel Line” by Solar and Wheein and the “Rapper Line” by Moonbyul and Hwasa. Both the Angel and Rapper Lines sang new ballad and swing hip hop songs, “Angel” and “Dabdab.” The girls also invited a male fan to the stage and performed “Words Don’t Come Easy” while wearing white boyfriend shirts “to appeal to male fans.”

It was exceptional for a group to sing four new songs at a concert. The last new song was Mamamoo’s fan song, “(We) Won’t Let You Go.” The members were shooting a  selfie with their cameras during the performance, but Moonbyul shed tears when she soon found out Moomoos holding slogans that said “We will not let you go.” Later she mentioned, “It is you (fans) who let us stand on this stage,” while Hwasa also recalled, “The first and last time I attended a concert was when I went to Big Bang’s concert at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena. On my way back home, I promised to myself that I will hold a concert too. I hope we could have more concert opportunities and go on a world tour.” Wheein and Solar also appreciated fans’ support and mentioned, “We do not exist if you (fans) do not exist.”

As Mamamoo finished the last song, “You’re the Best,” Moomoos shouted “encore” even before the girls left the stage. After the encore, “Um Oh Ah Yeh,” the girls couldn’t leave the stage soon, and Hwasa suggested to take a walk on the thrust stage. Fans started to sing along “Love Lane” while the girls enjoyed the last moment of their first concert.

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While so many idols are trained to focus on their pretty looks during the performance, Mamamoo girls never shy away from grimacing only to sing better. In the K-pop world where one can hardly be oneself, MOOSICAL has become a powerful statement of girl power by these wild four ladies who clearly know who they are, what they are doing, and what they will do in the future. So future Moomoos, add this to your bucket list:

“Go to the MOOSICAL.”

Set list:

  1. Mr. Ambiguous
  2. Baton Touch
  3. Peppermint Chocolate
  4. Piano Man
  5. AHH OOP!
  6. Hihihaheho
  7. Don’t Be Happy
  8. Love Lane
  9. Sting
  10. (Moonbyul’s solo) Don’t Forget+rap
  11. (Wheein’s solo) Moderato (feat. Hash Swan, Reddy)
  12. (Solar’s solo) I Will Always Love You+Sexyback
  13. (Hwasa’s solo) Stay+You Give Love A Bad Name
  14. Taller Than You
  15. Girl Crush
  16. Pink Panty
  17. Girl Group Medley
  18. (Angel Line) Angel
  19. (Rapper Line) Dabdab
  20. Words Don’t Come Easy
  21. Emotion
  22. Funky Boy
  23. I Miss You
  24. (We) Won’t Let You Go
  25. You’re The Best
  26. Um Oh Ah Yeh

Photos courtesy of RainbowBridge World