On November 9th, 2018, Paris had been honored to host the 2018 CTYL TOUR, first World Tour of the collective DREAM PERFECT REGIME and his rapper LIVE.
Three months have passed since that eventful evening, but still, I wanted to write a review about this event, as much for those who would have not been able to go, for the curious who would not be familiar with DPR LIVE yet or who would have discovered him not so long ago, or even for those who would have had the chance to go and just want to remember that night.
To be honest, when I saw the 2018 CTYL TOUR announcement last July, I thought I was dreaming, especially when I saw the announcement for a date in Paris.
LIVE is a rapper that, like a lot of people, I started to follow around 2016 after the EUNG FREESTYLE release, therefore, I kind of saw him evolved these past two years. Every release has been a new surprise but I have never been disappointed. It’s the crew’s work in its whole, so DREAM PERFECT REGIME’s work that had partly contributed to arouse my interest for the Korean urban scene, but I must add that this collective had also been really inspiring for me. The creative effusion they are constantly displaying in their projects had been like a confirmation, a confirmation that I truly wanted to work in the audio-visual project coordination. Every new project is indeed the opportunity for them to go beyond the limits of the visual and musical creation, every time a little bit further.
Anyway, all this to say that LIVE was one of those artists I was craving to see on stage and I was obviously very excited when I got my ticket.
Excited but with some reservations though, for several reasons.
First of all because, at this time, LIVE’s personal discography “only” had 16 tracks but also because a lot of them were collaborations and by other concert’s experience I knew that it could quickly be awkward (Ed. Hello Snoop Dog on the 2015 edition of the DOUR festival in Belgium, one of the most disastrous concerts of my life…).
But also, because LIVE’s music is quite visual, really well-made. What I’m trying to say it’s that there are some artists who are really good in the studio, creating masterpieces over masterpieces but who just don’t deliver the same energy on stage.
More generally I didn’t know what to expect. Would they, on stage, put the emphasis on the image’s work as well? In another vein, it’s what the singer and clip director Woodkid was/is doing through video projections that are fully included in his show. Or would it rather be a more classical concert, more based on the proximity with the public? And a lot of other questionings I will spare you.
But before talking about the concert, I’d like to come back to the organization in itself. It was the first time I was going to a concert organized by Cult of Ya and, overall, everything went well. When I arrived in front of the concert venue there were already a bunch of people and that’s true that it was maybe a little bit messy. But I must also admit that it was hard to do better because of the venue setup. A numeration system had been implemented (Ed: So far it’s something that I’ve only seen in concert with Korean artists) and I think people had stuck to it. I had been quite surprised by how many VIP there were, it was, if I reckon well, almost half of the audience, or at least it gave me that impression. Besides, la Bellevilloise was nice even if I think that a bigger venue might have been better, regarding how fast the tickets had been sold out and also the fact we were quite squeezed.
After the Meet and Greet and an improvised signing session by the crew, it’s Dj DaQ who opened the concert with one of the better warm-up sets I’ve ever heard. But also, one of the most surprising! Well, I admit that I wasn’t expecting to hear Mic Drop and even more Boy In Luv by BTS; or also Really Really by Winner. On a Korean note, he also mixed with Eureka by Zico. Apart from that, it was globally an EDM set with mainly US Rap (and a remix of Adele which was quite original but unfortunately, I didn’t film it…). As expected from such an experienced DJ, the transitions were really clean with true research, clearly, I wouldn’t hesitate a second to buy a ticket only to see him mix!
Here some extract (Ed: you can hear a lot of people shouting and I clearly didn’t succeed to be stable, don’t even talk about the focus… But the sound is really good, I promise the next time I’ll try to find a stabilizer or something like that!) :
Then it’s welcomed by a thrilled audience that LIVE and the crew went on stage with Know Me and well, starting from there things kind of had been increasingly intense with a very coherent setlist (Ed. Honestly I took it from Twitter because I didn’t remember it well but I think it’s that indeed the one we had in Paris):
Cheese & Wine
Right Here Right Now
TILL I DIE
Is You Down
Well no, I do remember being a little bit confused at the beginning because we were hearing more the support playback than LIVE’s voice which was quite disturbing. However, it wasn’t the crew’s fault, and, fortunately, and really quick, they noticed it and LIVE asked the technicians to increase his mic volume and from then, nothing to complain about, we could truly enjoy his rap performance.
And clearly, if I could have some doubts before the concert, they all have been blown away. The rapper is as good in live as in studio with a really mastered flow. The collaborations are quickly forgotten and the only remaining thing is, that yes, if DPR LIVE’s success could have been by some points reinforced by the quality work of the whole crew on the M/Vs visual; one cannot dismiss that LIVE, without any doubt, knows how to rap. As I said it before, it’s one thing to be good in studio but quite another to be good in live. Among others, the rapper controls well his breathing, allowing him to have a pretty tight flow, spiting bar after bar. It’s indeed sometimes on that point that some rappers are lacking in concert. But an extract is better than words, so I gave you some videos I can took (N.d: Same, not the best quality but it will still give you a little insight!), including an almost a cappella superb version of TILL I DIE.
So yes, regarding technique I have nothing bad to report, LIVE offered us a really quality performance.
As for the show in itself I rarely saw such a responsive audience than that night, it was really impressive, and at the same time, understandable.
Indeed, if there is something which is characteristic of DPR, it’s that proximity they have successfully built with their public, thanks, for instance, to their Instagram live and more generally to their presence on the social networks. De facto, they developed an almost family-like relationship with their fans and their concert was really in keeping with that while being quite intimate. It was almost like to spend a night with a bunch of friends, each member having his own moment with the public, from CLINE and his Hammer Dance to CREAM and his beautiful piano solo on the Interlude of To Myself or more simply by talking to the public. It was, by the way, their main goal for this World Tour as LIVE and REM already explained it in several interviews:
“We’re in full control, and thus, I want to deliver my best to the fans. Because every person showing up is an extension of my family, and just that alone deserves more appreciation than just a ‘live performance’. For all the attending members, just know, we have a bunch of things in the works to deliver a MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE. Like REM said before, it’s not only a show were going to give, this is a family reunion.”
LIVE for i-D Vice, September 2018
Or even :
“Besides the fact that I’ll be able to finally see my fans face to face, I’m most looking forward to just being in a space filled with people who really support our movement and resonate with us. I don’t want our tour to just be your typical ‘show’ or ‘performance.’ I want fans to gear up for an actual party–a family reunion. Anybody that supports DPR knows up front that our culture goes hand in hand with family. So for us, this tour is similar to like seeing your long lost relatives, or getting together with family members you haven’t seen in years. That’s the level of excitement the team and I have.”
LIVE for RollingStone India, October 2018
There was maybe only one drawback for me, but here it’s more about my own perception than everything else. The interactions were maybe sometimes a little bit lacking spontaneity which means it was supposed to be natural/spontaneous, but we could a little bit see that it wasn’t really the case. From the beginning to the end, the show was really well-structured, which is really honorable because we clearly can feel they had spent a lot of time thinking about the concert and how it was supposed to take place; that they wanted to offer their fans a truly unforgettable moment which was really touching! However, I felt that the script was too visible at some points, but once again it’s just mere details and my own perception about it, it didn’t spoil my experience and it’s clear that most of all the concerts interactions are planned anyway, it’s the entertainment, but still, I wanted to underline that point (Ed. and maybe it wasn’t planned at all and I just over-analyzed it, who knows?).
Nevertheless, what I remember the most, is, like I said, this feeling of generosity, which was just omnipresent during this concert. We could feel true gratefulness from the crew, they looked even surprised to receive such a warm welcome, especially as it was in a foreign country. That evening we had the chance to witness humble artists who seemingly didn’t realize all the extent of their popularity. And if LIVE has such a really good stage presence, what I’ll probably remember the most is truly his kindness and his passion. Of all the concerts I‘ve ever been to, I do not think I’ve ever seen such a humble and generous artist like Hong DaBin. During the Meet and Greet I have already been pleasantly surprised by this but on the stage; it was just so beautiful and impressive! Simply beautiful and moving and it’s good to see such nice people on stage.
Anyway, before getting too emotional, I think I can say, even more I wrote this article three months after the concert, that the CTYL TOUR 2018 had been a memorable experience, at least for me but it’s without a doubt that I say that it was probably the same for all the people there that evening and I hope to see the crew on the stage again for their upcoming projects. Thank you again DPR, for your relentless work, thank you for coming in Paris with your warmness and your presence and also thanks to the fans who were there because, as excellent an artist can be, if the public doesn’t follow you can be sure it’ll ruin the concert so thank you for having contributed to that amazing ambiance!