Bang Yongguk Showed Off His Artistic Color at First Solo U.S. Tour

Returning to Los Angeles for the first time in seven years, rapper and B.A.P leader Bang Yongguk performed to a crowd of passionate fans at the Echoplex on a chilly Thursday evening. As the tour is titled The Colors of Bang Yongguk, expectations were high for fans hoping to see all sides of Yongguk, and unsurprisingly, expectations were easily met and exceeded.

While performing with his group in the past, Yongguk has ventured to countless larger venues, filling up theaters across the country with ease. This time around, the rapper took his show to smaller, stylistically darker venues and created a unique and intimate experience for his fans. Having officially debuted as an idol 12 years ago, Yongguk had a long list of songs to choose from when putting together his setlist, yet his 16 chosen songs put together a perfect summary of his musical color — a wide rainbow spectrum full of different genres.

Yongguk prepared tracks from debut until now, each with different vibes and different meanings. High energy tracks like “YAMAZAKI” and “Race” showed off his passion and charisma, while sultry songs such as “Rain On Me” and “Ya” depicted his sensual side more. Tracks like “HIKIKOMORI” gave insight into his imperfect days, written by Yongguk based on his journal entries from the roughest point in his life, and the performance was paired with blue lights that beautifully enveloped him. Continuing on his parade of versatility, Yongguk also prepared songs like “Green,” which was performed once as part of the actual setlist, and once more as a bonus song during the encore. The color itself is associated with growth, abundance, and peace, befitting a song dedicated to his fans with a sweet “BABYz (B.A.P’s fandom name), you are my green.” Even sweeter is the fact that green is the fandom’s official color, which could be seen clearly by the sea of B.A.P’s Matoki lightsticks. Illustrating these different emotions and thoughts through his music, each song on the short and sweet setlist became a highlight, as they each held a different intent and showcased a different fragment of Yongguk’s artistry. Rather than one performance becoming the focal point of the concert, his entire setlist was a skillfully crafted masterpiece.

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Despite being a veteran idol, Yongguk’s approach towards his fans and the amount of gratitude he held towards the crowd was equivalent to a rookie whose dreams were just coming to fruition. Going back to his roots, the rapper also prepared a performance of his 2011 song “I Remember” especially for BABYz. While the song was originally released featuring HIGHLIGHT’s Yang Yoseob, Yongguk made sure to perform the second version that features fellow B.A.P member Jung Daehyun instead. Calling forth the nostalgia for all those in attendance with the song choice alone, hearing his voice paired with B.A.P’s main vocalist’s voice added an extra layer to the emotion, and fans were left in tears.

Aside from these heartfelt performances, Yongguk also expressed his love and gratitude verbally with words of affirmation and affection, despite being a man of few words. “I really hope you all love yourself as much as you love me,” “please keep smiling,” and his signature phrase, “I respect you,” were all said and repeated throughout the evening. Known for not being overly affectionate with his fans, Yongguk has opted to use the phrase respect rather than love since his debut, believing it to be more meaningful than empty or unexplained words of love. And for fans, hearing his words of respect even after all these years were a gentle reminder of his humble personality. Prior to the encore, the evening’s DJ-turned-translator mentioned how exhausted Yongguk has been from touring and performing nonstop, but he’s been looking forward to being in LA once again. Despite this, no hint of exhaustion could be seen on Yongguk’s face or in his demeanor. Instead, he gave his very all during each stage, commanding the small stage with power befitting the role as B.A.P’s leader, all the way through the final song, “See You Later.”

Creating an evening filled with a various emotions and feelings, Bang Yongguk put together a cohesive setlist that showed off his colors within just a little over one hour. Very clearly dedicated to his craft, the rapper finished out the show with promises to return, much to the crowd’s delight. “I’m sorry it took so long, but I’m back now.”

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