Taeyang made his third stop of his 2017 World Tour White Night at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago on Sunday, September 3rd. The South Korean singer is under YG Entertainment and originally debuted in 2006 as a part of BIGBANG. He began his solo career 2008 and recently celebrated 11 years with BIGBANG this past August. The theater buzzed with anticipation as the show began. The screams of fans nearly drowned out the start of "White Night." The track was a voice over with only the live band on stage and a beautiful video of the sky, clouds, and stars played on the screen at the back of the stage.
The opening song seamlessly transitioned into "Ringa Linga", with Taeyang appearing on the second level tier of the stage. He practically glowed in the stage lights in his all white ensemble that fit the White Night tour theme. He commands the stage, even as he is joined by his male back up dancers. The backup dancers didn’t only add to his performance, it helped highlighted his stage presence.
Taeyang pauses after the song to say hello and hype the crowd. “Y’all ready? I can’t hear you. Chicago you all ready?” Fans scream and wave their BIGBANG lightsticks, the yellow lights looking a bit like stars. “Nice to meet you guys. I love ya.” Taeyang continues to get the fans singing “say yeah” with him as the next song "Body" starts.
Taeyang is joined by female back-up dancers which brings a sensual vibe to the upbeat song. He makes great use of the two tiers of the stage, moving up and down alone and with the dancers. He calls out “everybody jump” and the crowd turned unto an ocean of bodies moving up and down with the beat.
The fast-paced melodies continue with "Superstar" before transitioning into a musical interlude of "Superstar" as well as a White Night VCR with a softer sound.
After the interlude, Taeyang performed a track from his new album titled "Wake Me Up." He sat on the second tier stage looking as ethereal as his voice sounded. The song shows off his powerful vocals which soared throughout the theater. Taeyang kept the mellower feel with the next songs "Only Look At Me" and remixed version of his iconic song "Wedding Dress.’" Both songs, especially "Wedding Dress" continued to showcase his incredible voice.
After "Wedding Dress", Taeyang took the time to talk with fans. “Hey what’s up Chicago,” the singer starts. “The White Night concert in Chicago. I’d like to say one thing; welcome to the show.” Taeyang didn’t forget to give loads of fan service and interact with all the passionate fans. “You know, this is my very first time in Chicago. I’ve never been here before. But I always wanted to visit. And I’m so happy to meet my fans. Happy to meet my fans here in Chicago. How about you guys?” The fans scream. “Did you guys want to meet me?” They scream louder for him. “I can’t hear you. Did you guys want to meet me?” The sound of screams increases and goes on a little longer this time. Taeyang teases, “I guess, I love you.”
Taeyang continues to talk about his new album White Night which was released on August 16, 2017. “Personally, out of all of my albums, I had the most fun making this album. I’m very satisfied and happy about the way it turned out. And, I hope the message that is in all of my music gets delivered to you.”
Taeyang asks his fans what song they think he’ll play next. After listening to the many song titles they yell out, he belts out a brief acapella version of his new song "Amazin’." Loads of fans took advantage of the spacious pit in the venue to dance along with the beats that poured out of the speakers and rumbled from the venue floor into their veins. They waved their hands and lightsticks as Taeyang asked them to “put their hands in the air” during "1AM."
At the conclusion of "1AM" the live band had another instrumental interlude. Each member, keyboardist, bass guitarist, guitarist, and drummer, had a solo portion that highlighted their own incredible skills.
Taeyang returned to the stage with the song "Naked," another track off of his latest album. For this song, he wore a fuzzy jacket alongside his ripped jeans. One can only imagine how hot he felt at this point in the show. His entire wardrobe for the night definitely fit his White Night concept of the tour. He pulls of the fuzzy jacket look with ease, not showing any discomfort even with the choreography.
He sheds the jacket for the next song, showing off his dance skills as he performs "So Good." The original song was performed with bandmate G-Dragon, but Taeyang makes the song his own. The rapper isn’t missed alongside Taeyang’s vocals as he fills up the missing parts without any indication that it originally had another voice on the track.
For the next song, Taeyang appeals to his fans. “I hope you sing along with me.” The background music is soft and quiet, allowing for Taeyang’s voice to be nearly the only thing that can be heard as he starts "I Need a Girl." When the chorus comes around, Taeyang leaves it up to the fans to carry the part and they do not disappoint. One can clearly hear the lines sung by the fans as if it was a part of the back track.
The transition into "Empty Road" starts with a spotlight on the female guitarist before the spotlight switched to Taeyang who is sitting on the stairs. He harmonizes with the guitar wonderfully. The glittering of the lightsticks and the spotlight are the only lights in the theater for the first half of the song, creating a unique atmosphere that leaves the crowd nearly silent as he sings.
"Love You to Death" brings the female dancers back to the stage for a sexy performance. The song transitions smoothly into "Ride." Following these songs is a final interlude with a White Night VCR playing on the screen at the back of the stage. After the interlude Taeyang does a reprise of "Love You to Death."
Taeyang treats his fans to him performing a solo piano version of "Last Dance." He made a few stumbles at the start, but ultimately played through the song beautifully. Fans sang along with the well-known song, clearly a favorite. "Last Dance" is originally a BIGBANG song and Taeyang made the song his own on this tour. “Every time is sing this song, I miss BIGBANG members a lot. I think the biggest happiness and joy in my life, is having my BIGBANG members. We are able to perform our music and spent the last ten years together because of you guys.”
Taeyang continues this thoughts before his final song. “You guys have always been by our side and show us your love. Even though we’re on the opposite side of the world of Korea, but I will never forget all the support I have from you guys here in Chicago. I really want to say thank you. Thank you so much and I love you!”
“Anyway, time really flies. I can’t believe it’s time for the last song of the night.” Taeyang expresses his love for his fans, “You guys were awesome tonight. Really. I think you guys are the most passionate fans in the world. Please don’t be sad. Maybe, depending on your response, I will play a lot, a lot of encore songs.”
The final song of the concert is the title track from the new album, "Darling."
After leaving fans in anticipation, Taeyang returns to the stage for the encore. He starts the encore performance "Break Down," "Good Boy," and "Stay With Me." He made sure to introduce each of the members of the live band that were performing with him, a guitarist, keyboardist, bassist, and drummer following with the introduction of the female and male dancing teams. And of course, he would not end without thanking everyone in production and all of the fans.
Next, Taeyang jumps into iconic BIGBANG songs "Bang Bang Bang" and "Fantastic Baby." The encore concludes with “Eyes, Nose, and Lips," a song that is arguably Taeyang’s most popular song. He ends the night screaming, “You know who I am!” as the fans replied with “TAEYANG!” He screamed once again, “ONE MORE TIME! YOU KNOW WHO I AM!?!” To mark the end of the memorable night, he throws his hat out into the cheering crowd and disappears for the last time into the darkness.
The night ended officially with a send off of Taeyang with select Premium ticket holders.
Taeyang will continue on his White Night Tour which will end on September 15 in Vancouver, Canada. A huge thank you to YG Entertainment and KpopMe for the opportunity to enjoy this experience and many thanks to Taeyang and his crew for an unforgettable performance.
"Wake Me Up"
"Only Look At Me"
"I Need a Girl"
"Love You to Death"
"Love You to Death" (he did this song twice, once in part and then in full)
"Stay With Me"
"Bang Bang Bang"
"Eyes, Nose, and Lips"
View Taeyang's "Wake Me Up" music video on YouTube here; view Taeyang's "Darling" music video on YouTube here; view Taeyang's "Eyes, Nose, Lips" music video on YouTube here; view Taeyang's "Ringa Linga" music video on YouTube here; and, view Taeyang's "Wedding Dress" music video on YouTube here.
Continue to follow Chicago Music Magazine for more information on upcoming Korean concerts and events in Chicago and the US and beyond!
Writer Ying Leung provided additional assistance on this "Taeyang White Night Tour in Chicago" review.
Taeyang Photos Courtesy of YG Entertainment