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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

SM Town Live Dubai: 5 takeaways from my first K-pop concert 

The four-hour spectacle saw top K-pop musicians Exo, BoA, Super Junior, SHINee, Red Velvet and more perform their hit songs

Some of Korean pop music’s biggest stars came to Dubai to perform at SM Town Live at the Autism Rocks Arena on Friday, April 6. The four-hour spectacle saw top K-pop musicians Exo, BoA, Super Junior, SHINee, Red Velvet and more perform their hit songs. Here are my five takeaways from the event:

The fandom is impressive in the UAE

Even though they mostly sing in Korean, you’d be surprised at how many fans knew every word of a song – even if they didn’t know what they were actually singing. At the concert, all the lyrics were subbed on a big screen with Arabic captions but that didn’t stop people from proudly singing along in Korean.

The musicians are endearing.

They sing, they dance and then they take little breaks to introduce themselves. As someone who had never been to anything K-pop related, it was nice seeing each member of a band speak to the crowd and introducing themselves individually. Another bonus point goes to Super Junior for attempting to speak to the crowd in Arabic and getting out a “salaam alaikum.”

Read more: The international rise of Korean pop music

K-pop encompasses many musical genres

Whether they are singing a love ballad or syncing dance moves to the next bass drop, there’s definitely versatility. Some artists performing went from an EDM track to a softer R&B and pop-infused melody, while others belted out bubblegum pop or softer pop music with a rap chorus. One thing remains clear though: no matter what the genre – it will be incredibly catchy.

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Dance moves aren’t only for those on stage

While it can be argued that dancing should be left to the professionals, at K-pop concerts, that’s not quite the case. While not everyone can perform the same intricate choreography moves like the members of SHINee or Red Velvet, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun in the crowd as well. After all, who can resist not bopping along to Exo’s Power or TVXQ’s Mirotic?

K-pop might save the world

I’ve jokingly told people that before but I’m starting to believe it. When popular South Korean musicians were sent to North Korea for a performance a few weeks ago, it was reported that Kim Jong Un was 'deeply moved' by the concert. Looking at the crowd around me, I could sort of understand. Even though the majority of fans were millennial, it was also clear that though we've come from different backgrounds, we were – at least for one night - united by our shared love of Korean pop music and I find that comforting. Here's hoping the next wave of K-pop continues the rise.