Now that the dust has settled, my trial work has calmed down, and we’ve had a chance to breathe a little after Ji Chang Wook has safely enlisted in the military, I think it’s safe to finally post the recap of the “A Film by Ji Chang Wook: Jiscovery History Concert” event. There were many things going on in the 3+ hour-long show, but I tried to capture the highlights of the evening as best as possible. So after going through over 410 pictures, 17 videos, and 5 pages of notes from that evening, please join me below the break for a quite long-winded and image-heavy recap of the night’s festivities!
I was waffling back-and-forth for weeks after the event was first announced, settling on flying over only if I was able to obtain a decent ticket. The Ticket Gods must have been smiling on me, since I had no issues in purchasing a seat for Wook’s 7:00pm performance as soon as the sales window opened. Decision Made!
I arrived the day prior and hopped the Airport Express Bus to my hotel in Myeongdong. And look who greeted me as I sat down! And on the other side too!
The next day was quite overcast and the heat and humidity was already quite oppressive even at 11:00am. There were a few moments I didn’t think I would survive standing outside for any length of time. At least my new camera didn’t fog up like my older one!
I made sure to get to the Olympic Hall venue right before the line opened in order to pick up the new JCW merchandise and meet up with friends already lining up for the 2:00pm performance. And wait I did, as the line looped back around several times in front of the auditorium for blocks!
After at least a good 90 minutes, I eventually made it to the front of the merchandise tent, where several large standing photos of Ji Chang Wook were sprinkled about (these photos are also included in the photobook that was on sale at the venue).
But with waiting that long in the line that seemed to never end, some of the merchandise was starting to run out, such as the calendars, sticker packs and lightsticks, and limits were being set on those items so that fans arriving for the evening performance would not be shut out from purchasing.
Wook’s most recent endorsement for 24MIRACLE face masks was well on display around the grounds, with every attendee given a free 2-pack of one of their products, specially printed with “You are my miracle” and his autograph.
I returned to my hotel to drop off my goodies and get dressed for the 7:00pm performance! Another quick subway ride back to Olympic Park, where I met up with a few more Kitchen readers and then made my way to my seat with them. But as soon as I sat down and got settled in, I realized that I had forgotten my lightstick! *doh* Maybe that was a good thing, because then I wouldn’t have enough hands to hold that and take pictures as well!
The Jiscovery stage was set up in an inverted T pattern, with a huge video screen in the middle plus large video screens set up on both sides, so even those of us not in the VIP floor sections would be able to see the performance quite clearly. But as I found out as the evening went on, my section was directly in the line of one of the follow-spotlights, sometimes making it quite difficult to get a proper light level on my camera. Drat! (Apologies in advance if some of the photos look a little fuzzy because of that.)
The show started out with a CF video of Wook’s latest endorsement for 24 Miracle face masks (the same video that he posted on his IG before enlisting).
This was followed up by one of his older CFs for Lotte Duty Free, and then a video showing Wook rehearsing with the JCW Band and otherwise preparing for his Jiscovery performances.
The GUM mini-videos were then shown, along with a compilation of several photoshoots from the Wonderboyz Studios.
A huge video montage featuring all of Wook’s dramas, photoshoots, movies and other media starting from the present day and going backwards until his debut was then shown. The auditorium suddenly went dark, and…
Dressed in a stylish navy blue sportcoat, torn black jeans and shimmery white t-shirt (almost the same exact outfit worn on his recent Sketchbook appearance), Wook entered the auditorium from the rear of the venue singing “Kissing You” from the 7 First Kisses OST, while surrounded by many bodyguards. He passed right by me (*squeeeee*) on the right-hand side to lots of screaming and waiving. Once he finally reached the stage, his backup dancers joined him for the end of the song.
After a quick introduction, he then launched into his version of Jay Chou’s “Starry Night” (in Korean), while he pulled out a mini-cam and took videos of the audience while walking to the edge of the stage.
Finally sitting at a chair onstage and welcoming everyone to his Jiscovery Concert, it was time for the narrative portion of the program: About the Man, Ji Chang Wook. Wook explained that he will answer questions sent in by his fans as they pertained to specific portions of various segments, separated out by Movies, Musicals and Dramas.
Wook started out this segment with his debut role in “Sleeping Beauty,” while the first few questions came across the screen. He repeated the process while discussing his roles in “Death Bell 2” and “Fabricated City” and his cutting-room floor appearances in “Secret Tips” and “The Long Way Home.”
After that segment ended, he asked the audience what role they would like to see Ji Chang Work star in after his return from the military. Quite a few shouted out “vampire,” “homeless person/beggar,” “doctor,” and also quite a few shouted out “dokkaebi” (Goblin) and “jeoseung saja” (Grim Reaper). A few game audience members even shouted out that they would like to see him cast as a priest, which made him double over in laughter!
The video screen gave us another montage of all the musicals in which Wook was a cast member, beginning with his small role in 2007’s “Fire and Ice,” all the way through his last appearance in the 2016 reboot of “The Days.”
Some short footage of Wook and fellow actor Kang Ha Neul when they starred in the 2009 musical “Thrill Me” was shown, and he answered a few more questions from the audience before the band struck up the intro for Wook to sing a few bars of “Nothing Like A Fire,” one of the numbers from “Thrill Me.”
But when his teaser for “Jack the Ripper” flashed onto the screen (with him in that heavy stage makeup), Wook asked the audience, “Didn’t I look like a vampire in Jack the Ripper?” HAHAHAHA.
Discussion turned to his role in “Brothers Were Brave” and Wook answered a few more on-screen questions from the audience. Lastly, he wrapped up this segment with a discussion about “The Days” and quickly answered a few more questions. One of them was about the ‘incident’ that happened in Daegu, where Wook misjudged the edge of the stage and took a tumble into the audience. (The Kitchen posted a report on it here.) To his chagrin, the video that Glorious Entertainment released shortly thereafter trolling him was played on the big screen!
Looking rather sheepish, he quickly recovered and treated us to a few verses of “먼지가 되어” (“Becoming Dust”), which is the duet that his character Muyeong sings with the “She” character, and then a full version of “혼자 남은 밤” (“A Lonely Night”), a solo that is normally sung by “She” but still lends itself beautifully to his male solo voice as well.
A slight break for the band to regroup and Wook performed a very bluesy version of “사랑했지만” (“Even Though I Loved You”) as he walked to the edge of the stage waiving and shooting finger hearts along the way. (I had to edit out a small part of the beginning due to someone’s head blocking my camera. *grrr*)
Wook briefly went through each and every drama he has been a part of, beginning with KBS2’s “You Are Very Good” from 2008 all the way to his recent role in 2017’s “Suspicious Partner,” answering video on-screen questions relative to each drama after its respective video was played.
One of the questions flashed on-screen stated that he was “so very handsome but what was the reason for him to debut as an actor instead of an idol?” Wook said that both an idol and actor need to be handsome (*squeals*), but that he didn’t have the greed nor the interest to become an idol. His inherent shyness kept him from doing idol-like things in front of people, which prompted an audience member to shout out “Your face is the talent!” Wook responded by saying thanks… and that he always thought he should just act with his lips sealed instead. LOL!
Another on-screen question touched upon the confusion viewers were having in differentiating between the characters Bong Yi (from “Smile Donghae”) and Bong Hee (from “Suspicious Partner”), since both names sounded awfully familiar when spoken. Wook carefully pronounced each name so no one would continued to be confused, adding a humblebrag about the 43% ratings that “Smile Donghae” received during its broadcast. Ha!
As the video segment for “Warrior Baek Dong Soo” came on screen with his song “다시 만나면 ” (“Meet Again”) from the drama OST playing underneath, Wook decided to sing along with it for a few bars. (I would have KILLED to hear the whole version sung live!)
He did the same thing with his song “채운다” (“Fill Up”) from “Five Fingers” OST that played underneath his “Five Fingers” video clip, also reminding us that his piano skills were non-existent during that filming. It was all ACTING!
Then we were treated to a song never before heard in previous fan meetings, Crush’s “Beautiful” from the “Goblin” OST.
Wook’s role as Emperor Ta Hwan was then shown in a video segment from “Empress Ki,” along with the Underwater Rose Kiss and the scene where Ta Hwan discovered that Golta had been deceiving him ever since they returned to Yuan. More on-screen questions were asked and answered, and a bit of Whiny Ta Hwan even came out in one of his answers. Wook then launched into “나비에게” (“To Butterfly”), his contribution to the “Empress Ki” OST.
But when his opening scene to the web series “Secret Love” and his segment “Have You Ever Had Coffee With An Angel” was flashed on screen, the LOUD screams from the audience almost made my earplugs pop out! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why Wook yelled out “Terminator!”
“Healer” was up next, with a few scenes shown whilst his “I’ll Protect You” OST played underneath. Yet more on-screen questions asked and answered.
The video clip for “Whirlwind Girl 2” was extremely short, pretty much consisting of a few shots of the promotional poster and his character stills. Next!
Scenes from “The K2” flashed across the screen, mostly focusing on the more detailed actions scenes. But then the preview footage of the shirt-ripping scene (which never made it into the actual drama itself) and the shower fight scene was shown, and the audience started squealing for Wook to show off his abs! Instead, he turned to his side view and patted a tiny pot belly that he claimed had developed after ending the filming for “Suspicious Partner.” LOL!
Last up, it was time to discuss “Suspicious Partner” while his “101 Reasons Why I Like You” OST song played underneath.
Jichangwook’s Drama – The End
Prior to the show, the audience was asked to vote via paper ballot for “Ji Chang Wook’s Best Lines” from “Suspicious Partner.” Out of 4 pre-chosen examples, the winners were: “Become my person again” from Episode 8; “You’re dirty but you’re pretty” from Episodes 2 and 20; “I’ll be waiting for your answer. Now breathe” from Episode 17; and “This is my woman” from Episode 11.
Due to a request shouted out from the audience, Wook made a feeble attempt at singing the “Gwiyomi Song” (“The Cutie Song”) (we in the audience did a *much* better job at it than he), but decided he would much rather sing something he was more comfortable with: “네가 좋은 백 한가지 이유” (“101 Reasons Why I Like You”) from the “Suspicious Partner” OST.
As was done with the earlier matinee performance, another audience vote prior to the evening show was to vote for the Best Drama out of 4 choices presented: “The K2,” “Empress Ki,” “Healer,” and “Suspicious Partner.” That was exactly the order in which they finished, so Wook did a lucky draw from the bucket where the votes for “Suspicious Partner” were contained for a fan to come up on stage and reenact a scene from that drama.
Except the lucky draw had a glitch: The audience member was Chinese and did not speak any Korean, so Wook went out into the crowd to recruit one of his staff members to help interpret on stage! Since “Suspicious Partner” was the chosen drama, their reenactment was the “5 Minutes” (tie-unloosening) scene from Episode 11. She did an extraordinary job all things considered, and was rewarded with several hugs for her efforts.
After that was over, Wook played around with the crowd a bit more while the stage was set up and the lead guitarist from the JCW Band took their places at the edge of the stage for a mellow version of One More Chance’s “널 생각해” (“I Think Of You”).
As in prior fan meetings/concerts, a brief interlude was next to showcase the excellent musical skills of the JCW Band, and Wook reappeared on stage sporting a new outfit consisting of a white pullover shirt and tan linen capri slacks.
Next up was Wook’s version of the Wheesung song “Insomnia,” and as he walked to the front edge of the stage with his backup dancers, it started to rise right in front of our section with flashing lights underneath and smoke cannons going off!
Some more audience participation while we shouted out various questions to Wook as he stood on stage. I was extremely impressed that he offered way more interaction with his audience in this show than in previous fan meetings/concerts, but then again, it was his hometown crowd so how could he not?
Another video segment was then shown, with various members of Wook’s entourage allegedly dishing the dirt on their boss while having their voices “disguised.” But anyone who has been following Wook for the last few years could recognise the silhouettes of his stylist Miyeong, one of his handlers talking about his ‘airport fashion’ (with accompanying video), and the JCW Band leader/pianist Shin Seong Jin discussing Wook’s musical talents.
But enough of that; it was time for another song: Lee Juck’s “네가 없는” (“Without You”).
That song segued right into one of my absolute favourite Kim Dong Ryul songs, “취중진담” (“Drunken Truth”). Even though this is one of Wook’s standard tunes sung at other fan meetings, this night’s version sounded extra special. I was not disappointed at all! *squeeeeeeeee*
The next segment featured were questions from the audience members that were video recorded before each performance. One question was if Wook could show off his “dancing machine” skills. And show off he did, Ji-Geu-Duk-dancing his heart out to the variety show Produce 101’s “It’s Me/Pick Me” theme song!
A few more questions were yelled out from the crowd as Wook walked back and forth down the stage insert, asking when he was going to get his haircut before enlisting and a small discussion whether or not makgeolli or soju was his favourite alcoholic beverage (he leaned towards makgeolli before saying he liked them both, but in small quantities as we all know his drinking tolerance is quite low).
Next song up in the rotation would be Lee Juck’s “비” (“Rain”).
We were then treated to a “in real time” video tour of Wook’s hometown of Anyang-si (in Gyeonggi Province, south of Seoul), mostly concentrating on the Manan District where he grew up. Various shots were shown of the store where he would buy his snacks; his middle and high schools; his coffee shop, PC bang and other childhood hangouts; and the restaurant where his mom worked while he was growing up; ending up at the top of Suri Mountain showing the nighttime sky overlooking Anyang City below. While the video played, Wook would walk out into the crowd to graciously answer more questions the audience would shout at him.
With that segment over, Wook sang Jung Joon Il’s “고백” (“Confession”).
A woman in the crowd shouted out that they wanted Wook to give a cheer for her classmates at Busan High School — after a bit of back-and-forth questioning, it became clear she was actually a *student* at Busan High School — Wook wondered out loud why she was at his concert and not studying! *tsk tsk* Regardless, he promptly delivered a HWAITING! with gusto!
Right after that, Junhyung from 2BiC was spotted in the crowd (sitting only a few rows right behind me!) and was called to the stage by Wook.
A bit of light banter between the two boys (with Junhyung looking quite sheepish about being busted) and then we get a duet by the two boys of “Goodbye, Goodbye, Goodbye” from Junhyung’s 2015 solo album. How appropriate!
After Junhyung returned to his seat, Wook returned to his and narrated a letter that he wrote to his mum while portions were flashed onto the big screen.
Wook wasn’t quite done yet with his singing and the band launches into YB’s “나는 나비” (“A Flying Butterfly”), with the smoke cannons punctuating the chorus while fans threw various items onto the stage as Wook walked back to his seat.
Another favourite of prior fan meetings (and without nary taking a breather), Wook segued right into Lee Juck’s “하늘을달리다” (“Running Across The Sky”), as Wook caused mass pandemonium yet again by running through the crowd to finish up the last few verses whilst the stage rose yet again for everyone to see. (His bodyguards deserved hazard pay big time for their awesome protection during this show!)
Wook then answered a few more questions from the audience members, and then sung Toy’s “뜨거운안녕” (“Passionate Goodbye”). (Toy is the band formed by Sketchbook’s Yoo Hee Yeol, but “Passionate Goodbye” was made more famous with PSY’s version that he released in 2012.) For the final chorus, Wook was joined at the edge of the stage with the JCW Band’s guitarist and bass player, as the stage rose yet again and Wook waved furiously to the crowd.
Wook left the stage, as the band and backup singers came out to take a bow. And that was the end of the show! OR WAS IT?!?
The venue went pitch black, while the screen came up with Wook narrating this slide…
Those of us who have attended his shows before know that it’s not over until WE say it’s over! The crowd shouted ENCORE for a good 5 minutes, and the JCW Band started playing “I Will Protect You” from the Healer OST. But instead of Wook returning to the stage to begin the song, we in the audience sang the first verse along with the band instead.
Wook then later joined in after the first chorus to see us all holding up banners provided by Dayrock (his Korean fan club) that read “I Will Wait.” (Even though probably 9/10ths of us in the audience already knew the tune by heart, fortunately the backs of the banners had the lyrics all printed out.)
As the song started towards its end and Wook walked to the edge of the stage, the confetti cannons went off and a piece ended up in his mouth! As he picked it out, we just continued on singing as if nothing happened. *hee*
Wook said his final good-byes to the audience and left the stage via his signature send-off, with a cameraman following him all the way to his dressing room. 180 minutes later, with one last wave, the show was over. *sigh*
Apparently it had rained when we were all inside the venue having a good time, so the humidity was off the charts by the time we were all gently pushed out of the lobby to finish up the night somewhere else other than at Olympic Hall. In walking out to meet up for a late dinner back in Myeongdong, I spotted something crumpled up on the ground where the merchandise booths had been set up earlier in the day. Not being one to bypass potential souvenirs, this ended up coming home with me:
The banner is over 3.5 meters in length. How to mount this on my wall at home? Hmmm…
I apologize for not having the time to transcribe the many questions posed to Wook and his answers throughout the evening, but then this recap would never see the light of day until mid-2018. (Just another project to add to the pile while he’s away serving his country!) I would have loved to capture more videos, but I admit I am not the best picture-taker nor videographer in the world, so I concentrated on taking copious notes instead.
All in all, even suffering through the oppressive weather, I wouldn’t have traded anything for this last chance to see Ji Chang Wook up close and personal prior to his upcoming enlistment. Compared to some of the previous fan meetings I’ve attended, Wook was in excellent voice throughout the whole evening and nary showed any signs of tiredness or slowing down to catch a breath. What struck me was the way in which he kept interacting with the audience throughout the 180-minute show. It was just like the promotions stated: One last night to spend with Ji Chang Wook, and at times I believed he did not want the night to end!
Anyway, it was great to reconnect with many old friends at the show, and make some new ones throughout the weekend. It didn’t really hit me until a few days later after I returned home that this would be my last Korea visit that focused around a Ji Chang Wook event for the next 1 year and 9 months (as he is so fond of referring to his service period). Fortunately, I have another trip planned for later this year that should help ease the pain a bit. Maybe. *sigh*
I may have missed a few details along the way, so this post may be updated later if I remember more of the evening in the coming weeks. Thanks for reading… and thanks to Ji Chang Wook for again making this all possible! 너무 고마워요. 사랑해요, 지배우님!
Of course, no trip to Seoul would be complete without yet another visit to the Lotte Duty Free Star Avenue in Myeongdong! On my last visit in November 2016, Wook’s installation had yet to be completed due to his endorsement being announced a few weeks prior. This time, I finally got the chance to get up close and personal with some of the items:
A sighting on the way back to Incheon — viewers of “Suspicious Partner” may recognize the front of the Seoul Prosecutor’s Headquarters:
And in rushing to the gate for my flight out, a final Wook Sighting at one of the Lotte Duty Free kiosks:
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