K-pop stars Psy, Stray Kids and others impress crowds at Expo 2020 Dubai concert

South Korea President Moon Jae-in and first lady attended the K-pop gig

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K-pop fans in the UAE were treated to live performances by Psy, Stray Kids, Sunmi, Golden Child, (G)I-dle and Forestella on Sunday, South Korea’s country day, at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Ahead of the concert, a media briefing was held with some of the acts. (G)I-dle, made up of five female members, shared their excitement about finally visiting Dubai and hopefully being able to “check out Burj Khalifa” as they have seen it in movies.

“We didn’t sleep the day before we came to Dubai, we were so excited,” Golden Child also said.

“Thank you for inviting us to this huge festival. It is an honour to be here with our fans.”

The 10-member boy band will make their comeback this year with a concert event titled Play, which will be both online and in-person. The band's solo concert debut was in 2020.

Golden Child speak to the media before the K-pop concert at Expo 2020 Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Many of the artists performed for the first time in the UAE, expressing their amazement at the turnout for the event, which was held during an unusually rainy day. The bands pointed out the differences between the weather in the two countries.

Rain and humidity were experienced throughout the day at Expo 2020, with the Korea pavilion advising beforehand that concertgoers bring rain jackets and umbrellas.

Stray Kids, who were named ambassadors of the Korea pavilion, had a very eventful day at the world's fair. They performed for the president of South Korea and the first lady at Al Wasl Dome and also toured the pavilions, later performing in front of thousands of people.

“We were looking so forward to this moment, ever since we were elected as ambassadors for the Korea pavilion,” Felix from Stray Kids said on stage.

I was so surprised because all of you know K-pop so much. I am so proud of you

“The water feature right in the middle of the Expo, I don’t know how they were able to build ... but it was really mind-blowing.”

The band then proceeded to watch TikTok dance challenges of their song Thunderous in a segment called "vibe together with a K-pop artist".

The event was brought to an end by singer Psy.

The hitmaker also announced he will make a comeback this year with a new album. “I haven’t been on a stage for the last two years. This kind of applause with a rare crowd, is speechless, really.

“My last song it came out 10 years ago and because of this song you guys all know me,” he said, before closing his show with the upbeat hit Gangnam Style.

Updated: January 18, 2022, 4:34 AM