Despite the two-year gap between this year's SMTOWN concert and the previous one in 2010, fans' dedication for S.M. Entertainment artists has not diminished. If anything, there seems to be an increase in fandom over the years. 2012's concert took place in the Honda Center, which is even larger than 2010's venue, the Staple Center (if only by a couple hundred seats).
Before the concert, there was a pre-concert event organized by Koreaboo at the Anaheim Convention Center. Apart from the endless snake lines of fans waiting to buy goods to support their favorite stars, it was fascinating to see strangers easily bonding over fandom. Two completely unrelated groups of girls would start conversations simply because they were from the same "family," both sides supporting SHINEe. They chatted as if they were long lost friends. This shows that SMTOWN is not only a concert, but also a meeting point for music and friendship.
From the moment the lights went off at the Honda Center, the screaming deafened the whole stadium. If noise could generate electricity, the whole Los Angeles area would not have to worry about electrical generators for the next few hours.
Coming out from the sides of the stage were Super Junior's Leeteuk in a white suit and SNSD's Taeyeon and Tiffany in black knee length dresses -- the hosts for the night. They gave warm welcomes to all the fans and announced that MBC (a Korean TV station) would be filming the concert for a special program. While Leeteuk and Taeyeon chattered away in Korean, Tiffany, as a fluent English speaker, served as a translator. That was the first sign that this year's SMTOWN concert would be more interactive than the last concert, that it would incorporate their international English-speaking fanbase.
SHINee started off the night with outstanding performances of "Lucifer" (interjected with military style dance steps), "Amigo" (at one point, supporting dancers knee around the five members and dance like a tribe), and "Juliette."
Next up was Super Junior. Although only eight members attended (Eunhyuk, Leeteuk, Kyuhyun, Donghae, Sunming, Shindong, Rheowook, and Yesung), the group kept the crowd hyped up. They dramatically appeared in front of a red background as eight silhouettes, opening their act with "Superman." With the combination of lighting, the elevating stage, the water fountain, and their signature "bom bom bom bom bom bom" chanting, they seemed to be trying to impress the crowd with their full-on special effects. The group then closeed with "Don Don."
DBSK then took over the stage in dark red suits over black T-shirts, performing a remixed version of "Mirotic." At one point, Changmin caused the crowd to swoon as he shook his hair to one side. Both Yunho and Changmin danced flawlessly with clean, strong dance moves. Fans, by now, are bedazzled by the stage presence of these two.
After Yunho and Changmin's brief appearance, Super Junior came back onstage to tackle a rock version of "Bonamana." While I approve of bands giving fans a new version of songs they are familiar with, this rock version may not have been the best idea. The drumbeats largely dominated the song, and the audience could barely hear their voices. Nevertheless, it was fun to see them somewhat pulling off a rock-n-roll show.
The first girl group of the night. f(x), dressed in a series of black and white outfits, started off with "Hot Summer." Perhaps because Amber could not make it to SMTOWN 2010, or perhaps it was because she was born and raised in the LA area, whenever she sang, the audience cheered louder than ever. This became very clear when the members introduced themselves: Amber urged "all the sexy people" to scream, and before she could finish the sentence, her voice was already drowned out by the audience's response. She then proceeded to tease Sulli for proclaiming she had the best English pronunciation out of the group. Amber dared Sulli to say "dirty" to prove herself correct; after several unsuccessful tries, the latter shyly brushed Amber off. f(x) then performed "NUABO."
SNSD’s Taeyeon was the next to perform, albeit briefly. She wowed the fans by hitting a high note in "Devil's Cry," and leaves the stage shortly after.
With no time to lose, the light shined on SNSD, as "Run Devil Run" started playing. Dressed in glimmering dark dresses, the seven girls naturally exuded charisma, getting the fans up on the tip of their toes, just so that they could get a better view. Tiffany explained in English that there is "no lucky nine, but there is luck seven" today. Two members, Yuri and Yuna, were busy shooting dramas, and hence they could not make it to LA.
As they performed "Genie," Tiffany encouraged the audience to join in on her rap sequence, as she shouted "Anaheim, put it back on!" SNSD then finished with "Kissing You," while parading across different parts of the T-stage and waving at the whole stadium like Minnie Mouse.
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