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(LEAD) Sechs Kies returns after 16 yrs, calls comeback concert its 'dream stage'

All Headlines 22:53 September 11, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS paras about concert at the bottom, CHANGES dates in photo captions)
By Chung Joo-won

SEOUL, Sept. 11 (Yonhap) -- A South Korean hit boy band of the 1990s has made a comeback to the K-pop scene after 16 years, calling its two-day concert a "dream stage" and "a beginning," hinting at active musical activities at home.

Of the six debut members of the 1997 group, only five -- Eun Ji-won, Lee Jae-jin, Kang Sung-hoon, Kim Jae-duc and Jang Su-won -- showed up in the press conference that took place in the Olympic Park Gymnastics Stadium in southeastern Seoul on Sunday.

"This is our dream concert," said Kang, looking back at the band's heyday and his fans. "I could see how much our fans awaited us. (In yesterday's concert) I saw some fans who sat there, simply too amazed to scream out."

Members of South Korean boy band Sechs Kies pose for a photo at the press conference held in southeastern Seoul on Sept. 11, 2016. This photo was provided by the YG Entertainment.

Eun seconded Kang's glee to see Sechs Kies' fans again from the stage after almost two decades.

"They used to be girls in school uniforms, but now I feel like I'll have to respect them and treat them as adults," he said, winning heart-felt support from his teammates.

The media event was organized to promote the concert "Yellow Concert" that drew 20,000 concertgoers in its Saturday-Sunday run. The concert marks the first independent concert by the group, which had been one of the two iconic K-pop boy bands of the 1990s along with H.O.T. In May, Sechs Kies -- with all members in their late thirties -- signed a three-year contract with YG Entertainment, the second largest entertainment agency here.

South Korean boy band Sechs Kies perform during their comeback concert "Yellow Note" held in southeastern Seoul on Sept. 10, 2016. This photo was provided by the YG Entertainment.

In addition to the concert, Sechs Kies has many arrangements in the works, such as comeback activities with a new EP.

Regarding the re-arranged old hits of the idol group, Kang said, "We could not get the original music record (MR) since it's been quite a while since we left the stage, so we made new recordings with some updates with the sound. You should check out our debut song, School Byeolgok -- it's been re-arranged in more powerful charismatic remix in typical YG style."

The Sechs Kies members regretted that their disbandment in 2000 was too early to see the rise of K-pop hallyu, or global burgeoning of K-pop music.

The singer-dancers agreed that they no longer have the stamina to sing six songs in a row as they had in their heyday.

"When we get knocked out, we tend to make longer comments during the concert -- that's how you can tell that our energy is getting low," Eun said.

South Korean boy band Sechs Kies performs in a comeback concert entitled "Yellow Note" held in southeastern Seoul on Sept. 10, 2016. This photo was provided by the YG Entertainment.

Shortly after the press conference came the concert, with the singers exploding onto the stage to sing a total of 19 songs.

Hours before the 5 p.m. concert, Sechs Kies' fans -- many of whom were in their 30s and older and some accompanied by their children -- swarmed the Olympic Park to see their favorites stars of their youth.

Sechs Kies turned on the stage with first song "Com'Back," one of the group's trademark dance-pop songs. The stadium was illuminated by yellow glow sticks, the band's color, which then turned blue, purple and pink, at the change of songs.

During the happy reunion with his fans, Eun jokingly chastised their fans, "Where were you in those 16 years?" Then Kang went on, saying, "(After our disbandment) they got themselves boyfriends and husbands and forgot all about us," arousing a round of laughter and giggle among the whole crowd.

Fans of South Korean boy band Sechs Kies cheer for the five-member act in their comeback concert "Yellow Note" held in southeastern Seoul on Sept. 10, 2016. This photo was provided by the YG Entertainment.

The list of songs performed on stage chronicled the greatest hits of Sechs Kies during 1997-2000 period, including "School Byeolgok," "The Way This Guy Lives (pomsaeng pomsa)," "Road Fighter" and "Letting You Go." Mellow pop songs with sweet lyrics, such as "Couple" and "Prayer," aroused a frantic chorus of "jekki jjang," meaning "Go Sechs Kies," among the audience.

Frantic screams filled up the dome stage when the five idol singers sang "Couple," a love song about a boy daydreaming of a happy married life with the girl he loves. While singing the song, each member and their female partners played five different skits -- Jang cooking in a kitchen, Kang on a date in the park, Kim playing games in a living room, Lee drying laundry on the veranda and Eun cuddling in a bedroom.

During the concert, the members expressed to the crowd their worries about member Jang Su-won, who recently came down with the flu. Jang, however, carried out his part without any signs of illness.

South Korean boy band Sechs Kies performs at their a comeback concert "Yellow Note" held in southeastern Seoul on Sept. 10, 2016. This photo was provided by the YG Entertainment.

In addition to its 90s hit songs, Sechs Kies presented some retro-style events that evoked nostalgia from its fans. "Fanfics," or fan-made fictional stories and parodies about their favorite stars, prevailed around the group's debut, thanks to the fast spread of internet surfing among the public. The concert projected some fanfic cartoon strips on the front screens -- a display that has not been tried by any of the young, up-and-coming idol groups of YG.

The cartoon depicted the imaginary high school life of the five singers -- apparently reflecting the wishes and perspectives of the then-teenage fans in the 90s. In the fanfic cartoon, Kang is depicted as the cheesy romantic of vocal team of the extracurricular band, Kim a geeky genius engrossed in researching unidentified flying objects (UFO), and Lee as a loner and cocky prefect of the art class with a secret interest in animation films and wearing costumes. Jang is portrayed as a clueless, sloppy wannabe actor who passes as an acting prodigy, while Eun was described as a lugubrious president of the student council who likes to take selfies. The fanfic comics may be published into books, Lee said.

South Korean boy band Sechs Kies performs during their comeback concert "Yellow Note" held in southeastern Seoul on Sept. 10, 2016. This photo was provided by the YG Entertainment.

Sechs Kies' fresh start under YG Entertainment made the strongest impression in their showcase of the remix version of its debut song "School Byeolgok." The singers performed the dance song in military looks with backup dancers swinging flags with the group's new logo designed by Lee. The flashy military dress code has been tried by many YG boy groups, such as BigBang, IKON and WINNER. YG's trademark electronic sound blended with Sechs Kies' pulsating, dance-intensive style.

"(The YG producers) said it was difficult to make the remix because the song was way too complicated," Eun said, curious to know how the audience liked the new version of the song.

"It was my least favorite song, but after the remix at YG... YG is bankable in quality work," he continued, making YG Entertainment chief Yang Hyun-suk, also present at the concert, burst into laughter.

Towards the end of the concert, Sechs Kies performed its new song "Three Words," which will be enlisted in the upcoming new EP. The song's strength is its lyrics, the K-pop singers said.

The members crossed their fingers for the success of the new song, wishing to snag the No. 1 spot on music charts.

"We've got to have this No. 1 title after 16 years, or you'll have to wait another 16 years to see us back on stage," Eun said, partly joking and partly pleading.

South Korean boy band Sechs Kies performs during their comeback concert "Yellow Note" held in southeastern Seoul on Sept. 10, 2016. This photo was provided by the YG Entertainment.

jwc@yna.co.kr
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