On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, Houston, Texas welcomed South Korean megastar G-Dragon at Toyota Center. Actually, fans sent off G-Dragon and welcomed Kwon Ji-Yong, the man behind the moniker, as he made his “debut” during the “Act III, M.O.T.T.E ‘Moment of Truth The End’ World Tour.” Since its start on June 10 in Seoul, the concert has schedules in Asia, Oceania and Europe, with the Houston tour stop as one of eight planned for North America. It is the second world tour by the artist and his first visit to the city.
The charismatic leader of BIGBANG engineered a performance in three distinct parts, with the color red as a heavy contributor to its theme. Use of this color is not new to some of his largest live performances — and it makes sense, as the color traditionally symbolizes passion, creativity and production. In “Act I: G-Dragon,” fans journeyed back to his solo debut year and kicked things off with the 2009 hit song “Heartbreaker.” Half the audience sang and danced along with the excitement that only longtime V.I.P can exude, while many others sat completely stunned by the fact that he was performing before their eyes. He never spoke to the audience in Korean, only English, showing a commitment to expressing himself in a way that everyone in attendance could understand. As they say these days, the crowd was shook!
“Act II: G-Dragon vs. Kwon Ji-Yong” spanned the years 2012 and 2013, a dynamic period in the artist’s solo career. As he bounced between lead songs and, perhaps, personal favorites from the albums “One of a Kind” and “Coup d’Etat,” a bit of a swagger battle ensued between G-Dragon and his natural self. It was not until Act II culminated in a series of friend and family testimonial videos that the purpose of the tour revealed itself: the G-Dragon Era was coming to a close. The Kwon Ji-Yong Era — the human creative behind the persona — had arrived.
This thought was confirmed during a video introduction at the beginning of “Act III: Kwon Ji-Yong.” Standing in a bare room, wearing a red sparkly robe and minimal makeup, Kwon was modest and vulnerable as he asked viewers to accept him in this new phase of his life and career. G-Dragon, the persona, has been the front-runner for so long, that Kwon said the weight of being G-Dragon is heavy. The audience responded with resounding chants of his name, an unforgettable moment that could make the hairs on your arm raise. Transitioning into Act III, his stage attire went from flamboyant to relaxed and less confining. He became lighter, showing some of his tattoos and smirking more. “I never thought I’d make it this far, all by myself. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. I’ll have to tell my boys (BIGBANG) to come to Houston!”
To read one of the most comprehensive English-language Twitter threads about G-Dragon and the trajectory of his career, click the link below.