SMTOWN, the omnibus concert tour of the artists under Korean management label SM Entertainment (SME), completed their first New York concert last October 23, 2011. The six-hour long K-Pop extravaganza features SME's top stars such as Girl's Generation, f(X), Kangta, SHINee, Super Junior, and TVXQ.
SM Entertainment really knows how to kill several birds with one stone. Aside from making K-Pop dreams come true for a lot of overseas K-Pop fans (Many of whom traveled to New York just to catch the show), SME also filled the cravings of hungry K-Pop fans who could not be in New York during the show. Through the SMTOWN Facebook (Link: https://www.facebook.com/smtown) page, SME provided live updates of all activities related to SMTOWN including the stars' flight to New York, their arrival, their rehearsals up until their live performances and farewell moments. SME also uploaded key performance videos through their SMTOWN YouTube channel (Link: http://www.youtube.com/user/SMTOWN). Through these live updates, K-Pop fans all over the world felt as if they went to New York with their favorite SM artists. Here are some of the photos shared by SME through their official Facebook page.
SMTOWN is also known to present other sides of SME talents. There was a solo performance and duet performances which featured cross combinations from various SM acts. There was a solo performance from Onew and duet performances from f(X)'s Krystal and Girl's Generation's Jessica ("Tik Tok"), Kangta and f(X)'s Sulli ("7989"), BoA and SHINee's Key ("I Did It For Love"), Key and f(X)'s Krystal ("My First Kiss") and Super Junior's Kyuhyun and Girl's Generation's Seohyun ("Way Back into Love") among others. A dance showdown featuring SME's premiere dancers also provided additional heat to the already hot concert. Those featured during the dance battle included Taemin, Eunhyuk, Hyoyeon, Luna, Yuri, Yoona, Sooyoung, Shindong, Minho, Donghae and Victoria.
Judging from the full-packed Madison Square Garden with 15,000 rabid K-Pop fans, it is clear that SM artists (and K-Pop for that matter) has infiltrated the US (and even the world) without having formally launched in the said continent. The success of the SMTOWN concert supports the words of SME President Lee Soo Man in a recent interview where he said: "Rather than venturing into the US, we are just holding a concert...The markets of China and Asia will be bigger than the US market and it isn't really necessary to go into the US. In the near future, when a "Hollywood of Asia" is established, the culture center of the world will make a shift to Asia."
SMTOWN, the concert, was reviewed by The New York Times (Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/arts/music/shinee-and-south-korean-k-pop-groups-at-madison-square-garden-review.html?_r=1) and although the review was not exactly glowing, it was not scathing either. The reviewer, who pointed out the well-oiled pop machine of SME, still discussed the positive qualities of the artists. SMTOWN is indeed just the start as SME recently launched their top act Girl's Generation in the US market through their single "The Boys" which is available for download on iTunes. It seems that although SME is not actively trying to break in all their acts onto the US market, they are putting crossover efforts for their top act.
Are you a fan of SMTOWN? What did you think of the live updates of the New York show? Share your thoughts with us through our comment box.