Monday, December 18, 2006

Screw Burning Out - Shin Joong-hyun Fades Away With Grace

Last night (Sunday, Dec. 17), the godfather of Korean rock music Shin Joong-hyun held his "last" concert, rocking out a career in a three-hour gig showcasing his great career. He played many of his biggest songs (although certainly not all of them... there are simply too many). He played them all different styles, just as his career has crossed over so many styles of music.

It was my first time seeing Shin play live, so I was pretty psyched. He opened with Bissok-ui Yeoin, which was okay, but things got a lot more interesting with the third song, Bombi -- good song, and he played it more in the original style (throughout the first act of the show, he shifted between playing the songs in their original, "psychedelic" style and a more KBS-trot style). Other highlights were a great version of Mireon and Baram. And when he played Areumdaum Gangsan, he played it in the "disco" style of the Shin Joong-hyun Myujik Pawo (Shin Joong-hyun Music Power) album.

His two "guests" were Shin Hyo-beom and In Sun-i, who were completely different musically than Shin Joong-hyun. I guess that sort of thing is inevitable at a Korean rock concert. Sigh. (Although I will say that In was looking pretty damn good for a woman her age... doing the techno-dance thing just like Uhm Jung-hwa).

The last section of the show featured more of his recent song (which I do not like so much), but done in a more rock style, with just guitars and drums (which I do like). He even played a couple of songs with all his sons on backing, which was kind of cool.

To be honest, it was not a great concert. Age has taken its toll on Shin's voice. Although he has played so many different kinds of rock over the years, last night showed how he was gotten stuck in the dubious blues-based commercial rock of the 1980s. But it was Shin's last show, and I guess he is allowed to play it however the hell he wants to.

And so, Shin did not burn out. Last night, the founder of rock in Korea and the single most important figure in the country's musical history, faded away, leaving a 50-year career with dignity and grace. I was just happy I could be there.

(Note: The first two pics are of Shin Joong-hyun back in his heyday. Second two pics are more recent. I'll add concert photos once my friend sends me some.)


Simon said...

Hello, just discovered your blog via The Marmot's Hole.

I was at the Shin Jung Hyun concert with my wife and brother. I'm only a recent fan of his but knew quite a few of the songs, mainly from various remakes. I've also got into (his protege?) Kim Jung Mi recently so it was good to hear 간다고하지마오 although Shin's own vocals weren't quite as impressive! Overall we were a bit disappointed, probably because the sound was a bit too quiet up in the top tier where it was also cold and rather empty. Perhaps you were sitting near the front with a camera in your face a few times??

Funnily enough we had also seen his sons play in Hongdae on the Friday. Hopefully they can have a bit of success with their band 서울전자음악단 although he admitted that only God knows when their second album will be released. I guess it isn't a great time to be in the music business in Korea.

Mark Russell said...

Yeah, I nearly had the camera bounce off my head a couple of times. That camera guy had no idea how to operate a crane. Very annoying.

I'm a big Kim Jeong-mi fan, too. Especially Haetnim. Loooove that tune. And her version of Areumdaun Gangsan. The signed Lee Jung-hwa album they were selling at the door was quite good, too. "Psychedelic Sound" or "Bombi, Kkotip, Maeum" or whatever its name was. All the usual songs, but different versions than I had heard before. Good rocking versions, for the most part.

Did not know his sons were playing in Hongdae these days. What club were they playing in? Freebird?

Simon said...

They played in Soundholic as part of the Sound Day thing which happens every month. Worth seeing, although like his Dad he doesn't sing with quite as much conviction as he plays the guitar.

JohnnyRock said...

Anyone into this kind of music is welcome to join our new discussion group. Talk and trade with other lovers of Korean Classic Rock.