[Concert Review] B.I. in London - to love or to die for

Photo Cr. Joseph Kocharian // Rolling Stone UK

Selling out one of the most majestic venues in East London, Kim Hanbin, aka B.I., self-proclaimed ‘Bad Boy from South Korea’ brought his new album "Love or Die" for a much anticipated European tour. The venue was full long before general entry opened up – with VIPs outnumbering general sale – and the grande auditorium of The Troxy vibrated in the sounds of DJ and producer Millennium. 

Blasting well-mixed versions of fan favourite songs, Millennium prepared the ground for B.I.’s entrance, by making the whole venue vibe and dance long before the gig had started. B.I. and his dancers entered the stage at 8.30pm sharp to begin a captivating performance that had the whole audience in a trance from the first minute. Starting the show with dynamism, and with songs ranging from all his albums, B.I.’s hypnotising free-style and synchronised dancing had everyone’s eyes glued to the stage. The energy spiked from the second song, the fan-loved ‘Illa Illa’, when everyone was dancing, jumping, singing along and participating to the concert as one. 

Photo Cr. Joseph Kocharian // Rolling Stone UK

The most breath-taking moment came when B.I. announced that it was ‘the moment everyone was waiting for’ and the beat of BTBT came on. It would be an understatement to say that this song did not give me goosebumps, with the crowd singing their lungs out and the euphoric atmosphere overpowering everything else. It was like a moment that froze in time, accompanied by B.I.’s rich and dreamy vocals, the synth atmospheric sounds, the hypnotising well-recognised dancing and the high-level performance. The energy peaked even more when ‘Keep me Up’’s melody succeeded its predecessor. B.I. sang the high vocals effortlessly and danced along to showcase his talent and multi-coloured skills as a performer. Intertwined with melodies and growly raps, he had the entire venue in his hands for the whole performance.

After the viral songs were done, the crowd was ravenous. The whole venue jumped along to songs like ‘Got it like that’ and ‘Wave’, ‘To die’ or ‘TTM’, while B.I.’s stage presence as a skilled rapper commanded the audience when to jump and when to stand still. In between the high-energy songs, B.I. captured his fans with heart-breaking love ballads, and while walking through his IDs, B.I. came so close to his audience not only as an artist, but as a person. His feelings through the songs were like the colours of the strobes and flashes, enthralling the audience that kept wanting more. The flow of the show was seamless and the cherry on top were the final songs which had the whole venue stamping the floor to create an earthquake. B.I. didn’t stop there - he also performed unreleased songs through the set and in the encore – and to his surprise the fans knew all of that to sing along – finishing off an a high. 

The end of the concert felt like being reborn – it was clear that B.I. doesn’t shy away from darker themes and lyrics, woven into his high-energy beats. Confessing that some of his songs are about loneliness and a lost love, it was like ‘Love or Die’ was created to help him and his audience navigate through muddy waters, adding depth and emotion to every single track he performed. There was not a single break in-between the songs, and the momentum was the same from start to finish – from the floor all the way up to the top seats of the balcony.

Lastly, it would not be a true B.I. concert if he did not pick fans to dance with him on stage to the rhythm of beloved ‘BTBT’, while the rest of the audience – without a single person missing even though it was the end – dancing along. The show ending crystalised B.I.’s talent and sentiment, as well as his multifaceted complexity as a person. Leaving the venue felt like a hard and bitter goodbye, despite the cathartic effect of his spellbinding performance. B.I. has two more shows in Europe for this tour, and then we can only hope he will visit the UK soon again.

Review by Charis Bagioki 

@director_lydia | @_focus_productions_


KpopWise is bringing you news, interviews, reviews and editorials about Kpop and Asian entertainment.

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