Won over by K-pop boy band Winner

SINGAPORE – Despite having only a passing familiarity with Winner’s songs, I enjoyed their concert, held at the Max Pavilion on Saturday (Nov 3), thoroughly.

The four members of the group – Yoon, Mino, Hoony and Jinu – gave completely assured performances, in part, I believe, because they were not hung up on being perfect.

They had wiggle room to be themselves and they did. They ran around the stage, sat down at the edges, bobbed to the music and, at one point, tried to squeeze a rubber chicken in tune to their song.

They might not have hewed closely to every last detail, but they prioritised a live performance and immersed themselves in the time they had with the audience present. That made the concert fun and a breeze to watch.

This is not to say that the members in anyway did a sloppy job. In fact, they are incredibly talented.

Vocalist Yoon, for one, truly blew me away with his singing, which did not falter even though he had to sustain doing it live for significant portions of every song. He pulled off climatic high notes and landed beautifully on softer parts of songs and maintained a powerful voice throughout.

The concert did a great job showing off his individual talents. His solo performance gave him the chance to play the guitar and also sing Troye Sivan, without the backing of any music.

Other members were also given a chance to shine as the entire second act of the concert was dedicated to solo performances. Hoony, with his pink hair, flaunted his dancing chops to Ringa Linga (a tune by his YG senior Taeyang of Big Bang) while Mino rapped his way through a sensual, sexy performance with swagger and a dark red blazer.

Jinu applied his sweet, airy vocals to his senior G-Dragon’s ballad Untitled, 2014, a haunting and heartbreaking track for his solo.

Aside from the inherent value of the performances, the concert was also well-produced.

A high-quality Korean drama-esque video segment sandwiched in the concert showed the boys playing different characters and even cross-dressing, which fans loved.

The set was separated into two levels, allowing the members to have different points of entry onstage. There were also several layers of light making for more dramatic effects. One of note is a downpour effect playing in conjunction with a repeating song lyric about rain, which I thought was well-done.

Costumes began with a crisp white and blue theme as the group played more of their laidback songs and changed to brighter colours and busier patterns as the concert kicked into high gear later on with more dance-heavy numbers. And because K-pop idols are K-pop idols, they managed the ever-tricky white skinny pants and rarely-attempted sequined skinny pants with aplomb.

The two things I wished could have been improved upon is, firstly, the sound system. It was often loud and jarring, and distracted from some performances. Secondly, that translucent turtleneck Jinu wore at one point is ridiculous.

Still, Winner will go down as one of the K-pop concerts I enjoyed the most this year.

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