I recently had a chance to catch the last of the shows that made up CL’s North American tour and I have to say, it was an experience well worth sharing.
While I’ll be the first to admit that girl groups don’t usually rank high on my list of must-see acts, when CL announced Chicago would be one of the stops during her North American tour, my interest was piqued. It’s not often you get to see an artist of CL’s caliber in person and even less often do you get to see a female K-Pop act of any sort making an appearance here in Chicago. (Read: Never) While my personal interest in seeing CL wasn’t quite high enough to convince me to spend the money on a ticket, the infectious enthusiasm of my friends convinced me that this was one show I really shouldn’t miss. Never one to pass up on an opportunity to spend an evening with friends at a concert, I really didn’t need much persuading and before I knew it, I was anxiously counting down the days to the concert.
Braving rush hour traffic, the trek into the heart of the City was tedious but meeting up with my friends immediately made the trip totally worthwhile. Surrounded by friends, the short walk to the theater passed in a blink, the excitement building as we wound our way through the crowded streets of the bustling city. Rounding the corner, the dazzling lights of the Chicago Theater illuminated the impressive throng of fans who had gathered under the dancing lights of the marquee. Joining the throng of fans waiting for the venue doors to open, I couldn’t help but think to myself that there really couldn’t be a more fitting place for CL to make her Windy City debut.
Once inside, my friends and I easily found our seats and immediately we fell into the type of conversation you can only have with fellow K-Pop loving friends. We squeed over the awesomeness of our seats (which were pretty darn awesome, considering we opted for cheaper seats) and squeed even harder over biases. We talked and laughed and sang along as 2NE1 and CL music videos played on the giant on-stage screen.
Though the show was supposed to start at 20:00, CL didn’t make her appearance on-stage until 20:30 which, sadly, is pretty typical for K-Pop concerts here in the States. I suppose there could have been some who were upset by this delay but I wasn’t one of them. I was having too much fun with my friends to be bothered by much of anything. For me, the moment CL made her appearance, time no longer mattered anyway so there was no point in being upset.
Breaking the evening into three sets, CL opened the night with a collection of high-energy 2NE1 hits, including: “Scream,” “Fire,” “I Don’t Care,” “Gotta be You,” “Come Back Home,” and the ever-popular, “I Am the Best.” With a live band and a handful of backup dancers, CL lit up the stage, her high energy and powerful vocals bringing the entire house to their feet, myself included.
With the crowd sufficiently hyped, CL slowed things down for the second set, giving her a chance to really showcase her vocals as she performed some of 2NE1’s softer ballads. With nothing but her band and a microphone, CL wowed us all with renditions of “Lonely,” “If I Were You,” “Missing You” and “I Love You” that proved she is far more than just another girl group rapper.
Bringing the energy in the room back up, CL wrapped up the evening with a set that featured both her Korean and English solo work. With tracks like “The Baddest Female,” “Dirty Vibe,” “Hello Bitches” and “Lifted” in the mix, CL took the crowd from excited to ecstatic. Closing out the evening on such a high note could only lead to one thing… A roaring demand for an encore which CL was only too happy to answer. Returning to the stage for one final song, CL left us all buzzed on a concert high that would last for days and even better, she left us with memories that would last a lifetime.