PSYprise for 'Gangnam Style' fans

SINGAPORE: Tired of 'Gangnam Style'? Certainly not the more than 4000 people who turned up to catch PSY at the free Marina Bay Sands "Give back to Singapore" concert over the weekend.

As for those who can't get enough of the South Korean sensation and weren't fast enough to be among the lucky few to dance with the 'Gangnam Style' star, the good news is that it will take more than just fast fingers and a good internet connection to see PSY live in Singapore again.

Capping his one-night, under one-hour show in Singapore, the sensation from South Korea who repeatedly said he loved the Lion City, announced to whoops and cheers that he'd be back once his new single and album is released in March next year.

By then, more fans will hopefully get to see and hear more of PSY than what was offered at Saturday's open-air event at Marina Bay Sand's Event Plaza.

The gates for the free concert opened two hours ahead of the 8pm show that saw the main star showing up almost half an hour later.

The restless crowd was kept entertained and psyched to PSY's YouTube hit by 26 dancers from O School, a Singapore social enterprise that helps fund the education of teens from low income homes through its dance school.

On stage, the team of young dancers, including 10-year-old Calvin Go, added their own flavour to the now famous 'Gangnam Style' dance routine that was learnt in an hour on the concert day itself, according to Kenny Low, Managing Director of O School.

But there's nothing like the real thing.

When Psy finally took centre-stage, the crowd went wild with shouts of "oppa!", a Korean term of endearment used by females to refer to an older male friend or older brother, and also a key word in the Korean hit song.

And that was as close to 'Gangnam Style' anyone got at the start of the concert as the atypical K pop sensation launched into "Champion".

The single from his third album '3 Psy' released in 2002, seemed a fitting start to the concert organised by MBS that also showcased its adopted charity, O School, that helps keep teens from dropping out of school.

PSY, a college dropout who is now a champion in his own right, later told the crowd laughingly, "I was a really bad student... I got suspended so many times" as he "officially introduced" himself.

"Academically, I was (a) bad student, but creatively, I was (a) good student" was the piece of inPSYration delivered by the 34-year-old who swept four awards at the recent 2012 MNet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) with 'Gangnam Style' after years of being sidelined.

Despite a whirlwind tour of the region before landing in Singapore just hours before his concert, the hyperactive PSY continued to surprise during his appearance.

Even with concert-goers and non-ticket on-lookers standing around the Event Plaza loudly cheering, it wasn't enough for PSY, who suddenly stopped his second song to urge the crowd on.

"Show me energy and I'll show you energy! I want every single person to jump!" he yelled midway into "Right Now", the single from his fifth album "PSYFIVE" released in 2010.

But it seemed that the crowd was saving its energy for one song and of course, the man himself knew what it was.

"This song is called… No, no no, just give me the beat," Psy declared unable to hide the grin on his face as he dived into his third and final song for the night.

That's when the crowd really began to scream, almost drowning out the now-familiar electro-bass beats pounding out of the speakers around the Event Plaza.

Not a word was missed or a move forgotten as the crowd went PSYchotic, shouting the Korean lyrics of 'Gangnam Style' while trying to horse-dance in what limited space they could afford in the sea of sardine-packed bodies.

Adults, teens and even grey-haired elders were seen moving to the infectious tune.

In a flash, the one-hour concert was over.

PSY had been on stage less than three quarters of that time, but fans didn't seem to mind.

"It was a good experience although it was very short" said Yu Ping, a 15-year-old student who got her ticket from a family friend.

"Maybe he's just very busy" said the understanding fan.

Marina Bay Sands which had said that the free concert would happen come rain or shine, was likely glad that Singapore's rainy spell held off for the night and the stars remained in alignment for PSY's one-night appearance.

"We had a slot on our calendar, he had a slot on his calendar" said Mr. George Tanasijevich, President and Chief Executive Officer of MBS of just how the most well-known and in-demand person in the world was clinched for the public event.

"I think it came together pretty quickly", Tanasijevich shared with on the sidelines of the concert.

"Maybe it's a little less strategic than you think it is... It's more opportunistic," he added with a laugh.

It was however, definitely good strategy that allowed MBS' designated charity, O School, to raise its public profile through the event.

"The talents of O School are incredible dancers who demonstrated professionalism and excellent showmanship during the showcase" said Tanasijevich.

And what better reward for the young dancers than being the opening act for PSY? Well, probably the man himself ... with the dancers treated to an exclusive backstage Meet and Greet Session after the concert while the crowds lingered, hoping to spy PSY.


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