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Defying rain, tens of thousands of fans attend pop legend Cho Yong-pil's concert

2018/05/14 13:28

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SEOUL, May 14 (Yonhap) -- In spite of the rain, tens of thousands of fans turned up for a concert on Saturday night celebrating the 50th anniversary of the debut of South Korean pop legend Cho Yong-pil.

Cho's old-time fans erupted into rapturous screaming and wild dancing as the 68-year-old veteran singer showed up for the anniversary concert at the main Olympic stadium of Jamsil Sports Complex. Tickets for the concert sold out.

Giving a V sign and smiling brightly, Cho said, "I feel good only when I am in front of you. Others say they are nervous at the stage, but I am not. I am so much at ease."

   "Maybe I was born to be an entertainer forever."

  

This photo of South Korean pop legend Cho Yong-pil's concert for the 50th anniversary of his debut was provided by its organizing committee. (Yonhap) This photo of South Korean pop legend Cho Yong-pil's concert for the 50th anniversary of his debut was provided by its organizing committee. (Yonhap)

An audience of 45,000 filled the open-air stadium, most of them in white rain coats.

"Let us sing together," Cho declared as he started his 1980 release "Woman Outside the Window," which he followed with his 1980 song "Q."

   A rapt audience sang along with the melodies, throwing their hands in to the air in jubilation.

It was hard for Cho to decide which songs should go into the special anniversary performance, mainly because he has so many to choose from after producing a vast pool of wildly popular songs in the course of his 50-year pop career.

He then picked up his signature acoustic guitar and played a medley of famous songs, including "The Winter Teahouse," "Seoul, Seoul, Seoul," and "Empty Space."

  

This photo of South Korean pop legend Cho Yong-pil's concert for the 50th anniversary of his debut was provided by its organizing committee. (Yonhap) This photo of South Korean pop legend Cho Yong-pil's concert for the 50th anniversary of his debut was provided by its organizing committee. (Yonhap)

"My apologies. I can't play all of my songs. It would take three days to do that. But I am considering it," Cho joked. Since his debut in 1968 as a member of the rock band Atkins, Cho has released a total of 19 solo albums, including the latest one, "Hello," in 2013.

"I have been unwell this year," Cho apologized for his condition, but his voice was booming and sharp at the same time against the background of continuing rain.

Fans cried out when Cho belted out Korean traditional songs like "Five Hundred Years."

   A moving stage was specially set up for the concert, held in one of the largest stadiums in Seoul, which took him close to the farthest corners of the audience at the second and third floors.

It was reportedly Cho's seventh concert held at the Jamsil Olympic stadium since his first one in 1988. Three of the seven concerts were held in the rain, including this one. "It drives me crazy. I don't know why it's raining today after continued days of sunny weather," he said.

"I first started music as a hobby out of pure interest. Now it was possible, thanks to you, that I carried on for 50 years," he told a roaring audience.

Legendary mega hit songs that are frequently played even today were staged toward the end of the concert, including "Dear Friend," "Dream," and "Bounce."

   He went from one end of the stage to the other, bowing deeply to the fans along the way. "I am truly thankful to you."

   "I grew up listening to Cho's songs," a member of the audience, surnamed Cho, said after the concert. "His voice deeply touched my heart as I am at the age where every word and meaning of the lyrics penetrate myself," the 45-year-old said.

Also at the concert were Lee Sun-hee, Yoon Do-hyun and Ali and his band, the Great Birth, who jointly staged a concert in Pyongyang, North Korea last month, along with other singers.

This photo of South Korean pop legend Cho Yong-pil's concert for the 50th anniversary of his debut was provided by its organizing commitee. (Yonhap) This photo of South Korean pop legend Cho Yong-pil's concert for the 50th anniversary of his debut was provided by its organizing commitee. (Yonhap)

The Seoul performance was the starting leg of Cho's tour marking the 50th year since his debut. The next one is concert for May 19 in Daegu, to be followed by Gwangju on June 2 and Uijeongbu on June 9.

pbr@yna.co.kr

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