Arashi Whips Fans Into Frenzy
By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Popular Japanese pop group Arashi whipped thousands of Korean fans into a state of frenzy, as they staged four sold-out concerts in Seoul over the weekend.
It has been two years since Arashi performed in Seoul, but judging from the deafening screams at the Olympic Fencing Stadium, their fans are as crazy about them as ever. The group is in the middle of a three-city Asian tour, ``Arashi Around Asia 2008."
Arashi, composed of Masaki Aiba, Jun Matsumoto, Kazunari Ninomiya, Satoshi Ohno and Sho Sakurai, opened the concert with ``Love So Sweet." The song was the theme song for the popular Japanese drama ``Hana Yori Dango Returns (Boys Over Flowers)."
Throughout the nearly three-hour concert, Arashi performed many of their hit songs ``Step and Go," ``Happiness," ``Kitto Daijoubu (You'll Definitely be Okay)," ``We Can Make It," and ``Truth."
Each of the members had solo performances, showing off their distinct personalities and talents. Sakurai rapped and danced to ``Hip Pop Boogie, while Aiba sang a cheerful number ``Hello Goodbye." Ninomiya played the piano while singing ``Niji (Rainbow)," and Ohno showed off his smooth vocals and dance moves to ``Take Me Faraway."
Matsumoto grabbed attention when he walked upside down on the ceiling, before flipping down and performing ``Yabai Yabai Yabai."
Arashi definitely knew how to please the Korean audience. Even though they spoke mainly in Japanese, group members sprinkled their comments with Korean phrases throughout the concert. They even included Korean lyrics in some songs, such as ``A-RA-SHI."
Sakurai even showed off the Wonder Girls' dance steps for the hit song ``Nobody," while the crowd sang the lyrics.
At their last concert Sunday evening, Arashi gave four encores before finally ending with the upbeat ``Fight Song."
Fans could not seem to get enough of the Japanese group. Matsumoto promised to return for a third ``Arashi Around Asia" tour.
An estimated 30,000 fans watched the four concerts Saturday and Sunday, including several hundred Japanese fans.
Even with little promotion about the concerts, tickets sold like hotcakes, with all three concerts being sold out on Auction.com in 30 minutes. Organizers had to add another concert, which once again sold out immediately.
Arashi is one of the most popular Japanese pop groups in Korea. Matsumoto is best known for his lead role in ``Boys Over Flowers." Ohno recently appeared in the Japanese drama remake of the Korean drama `The Devil."
Aiba appears on a popular Japanese variety show. Ninomiya received critical acclaim for his role in Clint Eastwood's war movie ``Letters From Iwo Jima." Sakurai starred in the film ``Honey & Clover."