Conan Gray leaves good 'Memories' with wrap-up of first Korean concert
American singer Conan Gray, dubbed the “pop prince for sad internet teens” by Vogue magazine, held his first solo concert in Korea Tuesday evening during the Asian leg of the world tour for his Billboard 200-topping album “Superache” (2022).
In a sweeping and sincere performance at the KSPO Dome in southern Seoul, Gray sang for more than 80 minutes in front of nearly 10,000 people in attendance at “Conan Gray Live in Seoul.”
Gray started out posting vlogs and covers of popular songs on his YouTube channel as a teenager and made an official debut as a singer in 2017 with the single “Idle Town.” Born in California, Gray spent two years as an infant in Japan, and moved around the United States a total of twelve times before settling in Texas.
Signed to Republic Records in 2018, Gray’s hit singles “Maniac” (2018) and “Heather” (2018) skyrocketed him to fame while his debut solo album “Kid Krow” (2020) reached number five on the U.S. Billboard 200 upon release.
Gray opened Tuesday’s concert with one of the lead tracks from his newest studio album “Superache” — “Disaster,” a song about heartache and hesitance between young lovers. Dressed in a 1980s-style disco-inspired cropped vest and bungle pants, Gray danced around the stage, jumping to the rhythm and making eye contact with members of the audience.
Next followed songs “Telepath” (2021), “Fight or Flight” (2020) and “The Exit” (2022), all from different albums of Gray’s. The singer seemed to not lose any steam as the performance went on. A crowd-pleaser apt at figuring out how to get the audience involved, Gray often hollered out phrases in Korean, danced with the movement of the crowd and directed the atmosphere in the stadium.
During “Astronomy” (2022), a song about two friends who are “two worlds apart,” the audience held up their phones with the flashlight on and swayed them to the music. This was repeated during the performance of another song, “Movies” (2022), when the audience held up their phones with red images on the screens to match the color design of the “Superache” album cover.
Fans had prepared more events for Gray. Many among the crowd were holding cards with phrases that read “Conan, We are Yours” in English and “Conan We Love You” in Korean. During the middle of the concert, the audience would sometimes sing along in unison to verses from Gray’s songs without instruments.
“I have never seen a sight like this,” said Gray during the concert Tuesday. “This is beautiful. Thank you.”
Gray responded to fans’ adulation and appreciation by asking the crowd to “all give each other a hug,” and 10,000 people in the KSPO Dome made “air hug” motions toward the singer, holding out their arms and swaying.
Particularly impressive tracks during “Conan Gray Live in Seoul” were “People Watching” (2022) and hit tracks “Heather” and “Maniac.” Keeping the upbeat vibe all throughout the concert, Gray performed his most famous hits last, delivering a sequence of “Heather,” “Maniac” and “Memories” for the closing act of the concert.
As “Memories,” the encore song, is about “staying in my memories” and longing for someone, the choice to perform it last was heartwarming, one fan said after the concert.
“I felt like Conan was saying we should all remember this moment,” said a student who was in attendance at the concert. She had come to “Conan Gray Live in Seoul” with several friends. “And that is what most of his music is about, reminiscing and reflecting on love and friendships. I hope he comes back to Korea again.”
BY LIM JEONG-WON [email@example.com]