Age is just a number for veteran singer Cho Yong-pil
Veteran singer Cho Yong-pil, 73, who held a concert on Saturday evening in front of some 35,000 people at Olympic Stadium in southern Seoul, proved yet again that age is just a number.
The 73-year-old singer, who still gets called oppa [a Korean term, often affectionate, for an older male] by many of his fans, celebrates the 55th year since his debut this year. Last month, Cho released an EP titled “Road to 20-Prelude 2," which is a prelude to his 20th full-length album that is scheduled for release later this year. Saturday's concert “2023 Cho Yong-pil & the Great Birth” lived up to Cho's nickname of "the king of pop."
From the singer’s vocal and guitar skills to the responses of the fans, as well as the action filled performance that was topped off with extravagant fireworks, Cho's first solo concert in five years was as extravagant as a K-pop boy band's. As a gift, Cho provided LED light sticks to all the attendees for free, which synced with the lighting on stage.
Throughout his career, Cho has released countless hit tracks, ranging from trot music to pop, rock, hard rock, jazz, electronic, opera and most recently K-pop. He is the only singer with songs that landed at No. 1 on local charts in the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and the 2010s.
During the concert, Cho sang 25 songs, ranging from "Come Back to Busan Port” (1975), “Can’t Find the Oriole” (1982), “Red Dragonfly” (1981) to “Bounce” (2013) and “Feeling Of You” (2023).
“Whenever I hold concerts, some fans come up to me afterward and ask why I didn't sing their favorites. You have to understand my circumstances too," said Cho. The singer previously revealed that it was hard for him to pick the songs for his concerts, because he has so many to choose from.
Cho said that this time, he selected songs that he hasn't performed for a while, explaining that is why he's performing “Tragic” (1985), “Dear Friend” (1983) and “Come Back to Busan Port.”
“Dear Friend” was one of the finale songs sung by the South Korean performers at the 2018 “Spring is Coming” concert in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Another notable song Cho sang at the concert was “Seoul, Seoul, Seoul” (1988). He wrote and produced the song for the Seoul Olympics Games in 1988 and it was “first performed on this exact stage during the Olympics Eve.” The Saturday concert was Cho's eighth solo concert at the Olympic Stadium.
During the concert, Cho also performed his two new songs “Feeling Of You” and “La” from his latest EP.
Cho performed 23 songs with barely any breaks over two hours. But as the concert neared its end, Cho became more energetic than ever, giving two encores for his fans — “Leopard of Kilimanjaro” (1985) and “Bounce” (2013).
Cho will hold the concert in Daegu Stadium, Daegu on May 27.
BY CHO YONG-JUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]