Korean rapper Psy promised to give his fans a free concert in Seoul if his song reached the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Well, he hasn’t quite reached that milestone, but he decided that being second best was good enough.
Thursday night’s concert lasted two hours — yes, he has many more songs than “Gangnam Style” — and attracted thousands of fans to Seoul Plaza, in the heart of the South Korean capital, with thousands more spilling out into surrounding streets.
Media reports said the crush of people swelled to 80,000 as Psy took the stage. Oddly, the concert was rather far — a 5-mile, 45-min. train ride away — from Seoul’s now famous Gangnam district, the neighborhood Psy mercilessly mocks.
At the Thursday show, Psy downed an entire bottle of soju (Korean rice liquor) in one gulp, proclaiming, “This is for Korea!” He also sprinted up and down the runway that stretched out into the crowd. And he even kept his promise to perform the invisible horse dance without a shirt on.
According to his agency, the concert was organized “to return the encouragement domestic fans have been giving to Psy.” He had just returned to Korea after spending several weeks in the U.S. on a rolling media tour that saw him appear on numerous television shows, from the Ellen show to Saturday Night Live — and even within these pages.
The U.S.-educated musician (he studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston) has been famous in South Korea since 2001, when he released his first album, which also containing satirical lyrics and outlandish dances. Since then, he’s released five more, with another on the way later this year. Many of his songs have been chart toppers in South Korea, but “Gangnam Style” is the first to become a worldwide hit.