The night was running slow; the crowd grew more and more impatient as the time ticked down to the final hour of G-Dragon’s (GD) second solo performance in Indonesia. As the playbacks of his music videos slowly felt routine-like; suddenly the speakers blared the music even louder, the lights started to dim, and the trumpeting sound of a remixed flatline filled the room, accompanied with a countdown video decorating the big screen – signalling that the show was about to begin.
What ensued afterwards until the end of the night exceeded all expectations anyone had for the one they call King of K-pop. It was seemingly a journey divided into three parts and packaged into a complete visual, auditory, and emotional experience in just two hours. Calling it a mere ‘concert’, would definitely be an understatement.
ACT 1: G-Dragon, An Origin Story
Like any other story, it always has its beginnings, and GD’s story began with his debut in the industry as G-Dragon; an artistic and witty play to his real name Kwon Ji Yong (Yong translates to Dragon in Korean). The first part of the night reflected his humble yet notable beginnings, with him showcasing his early works from the eternal big hit ‘Heartbreaker’, to the more sentimental classic ‘A Boy’, to the techno-infused ballad ‘Obsession’.
His song choices serve as a reflection of his preamble years in the industry, still masked underneath the pressures of living up to being a young G-Dragon trying to make it into the world of K-pop. Visuals of neurons pulsating with energy across the big screens accompanied his performances, as if symbolising the start of life – the start of his life as G-Dragon.
ACT 2: G-Dragon vs Kwon Ji Yong, Two Sides of the Same Coin
The second act opened with a VCR that showed various clinical imagery of hospitals, body bags, sanitary equipment; as if foreshadowing an incoming death or defeat between the duelling yet complimentary sides of G-Dragon and Kwon Ji Yong. He even rocked a head-to-toe red straitjacket outfit as he entered the stage, perhaps a symbolic nod to the crazy struggle of his bipolar superstardom. It can be said that ACT II perfectly showcased the duality of GD’s identity, exhibited through performances that transcended genres and expectations. From performing the sweet acoustic melody of ‘That xx’, to the polar electronic dubstep track ‘MichiGO’. GD proved just how versatile his repertoire of talent and discography really is.
A particularly vulnerable, heartwarming, and unexpected part of this segment was a montage full of friends, colleagues, family, and even respected fashion and arts connoisseurs answering the question: “Who is G-Dragon to you?”. “He’s warm and big-hearted, he also likes to party,” answered playfully by fellow YG family artist and close friend CL. “He changed the face of Asian fashion and will lead it into the future,” answered Suzy Menkez, legendary fashion critic and journalist. The wide variety of answers that came from the people featured in the montage emphasised the duality of GD’s identity; some answers reflecting his true personality and daily habits and others merely showing the tip of the iceberg of who GD is.
ACT 3: M.O.T.T.E, Moment of Truth
A surprise candid monologue by the man himself appeared on the big screen, motioning the start of the third and final act of the night’s show. “Some people see me as a son, friend, love, a ‘favourite star’, celebrity…the important thing is I’m not even sure who I really am,” were the first words GD uttered from the big screen. What came afterwards was a raw and unapologetic soliloquy filled with candid emotions that seemed like it had been suppressed for the longest time. He emphasised that it may seem like he is living the good life as G-Dragon but in reality, he is not.
Out of the blue, the real GD took on center stage and paused the show to communicate with fans. He shared to everyone that his EP “Kwon Ji Yong” has been a long personal project in the making. He mentioned that truthfully, he was worried fans might misconstrue the meaning behind his latest work. “I’ve been living as G-Dragon until now, but now I want to live as Kwon Ji Yong,” confessed GD, followed by a choir of interjections of endearment from the audience. He then slowly made his way to the backstage and suddenly re-appeared walking amidst the crowd, sending waves of hysteria through the concert hall. Settling down at a spot near the stage, the concert hall turned pitch black as the slow tune of ‘Divina Commedia’ filled the room. The night continued on with the newly self-realised Kwon Ji Yong performing his latest works of art.
Despite all the glitz and glam throughout the night, at its core, Ji Yong was able to showcase more than just a ‘concert’, but a full display of his true journey of finding peace within himself. Ji Yong was able to analogise the M.O.T.T.E experience with Dante’s Divina Commedia – of which he based one of his songs on; a journey through his own Hell (inferno) during the start of his career, Purgatory (purgatorio) throughout the middle portion of his career; struggling to find his true colours as an artist, and finally reached his own state of Heaven (paradiso), self-actualising his true identity and revealing it to everyone as none other than Kwon Ji Yong.
Though this concert tour may be the last chance anyone could see him perform live, due to his impending military enlistment, rest assured everyone will definitely be waiting patiently for the epic return of Kwon Ji Yong. We would like to express our gratitude to IME Indonesia for granting us media coverage for the show! 🙂 For more HQ photos from the event, check our our Facebook page!
Photos by: Jessica
Written by: Esta Wantah