The first half of the Wonder Girls’ highly anticipated “Wonder World Tour,” which also featured K-pop group 2pm, wrapped up the weekend of June 12 in Anaheim, Calif. On Saturday, the House of Blues Anaheim saw close to a hundred people lined up outside an hour before the show began. Once past the double doors, fans stepped into a small intimate venue, perfect for a show which you assume might not garner as much attention outside of an Asian American audience—but that’s where I was wrong. The room was packed to the walls with ethnically diverse, screaming fans.
I admit, I went to this show for the Wonder Girls’ labelmates and opening act 2pm, who exuded sexy confidence with their chiseled bodies and powerful vocals. I had met the Wonder Girls after they opened for the Jonas Brothers last year, but only for a photo—I didn’t actually hear them perform. Therefore, I was heavily disappointed after 2pm left and the Wonder Girls were about to appear, because I figured their songs were pretty cookie-cutter pop and nothing to be excited about—plus, they didn’t have toned muscles for me to drool over. But boy, was I wrong.
The amazing thing about the Wonder Girls is their ability to connect with the audience. Their accent is still noticeable, but it is much improved. Their enthusiasm isn’t diluted by the fact that they’re speaking a non-native language. In fact, these performing veterans know how to build up excitement, shouting, “I can’t hear you, one more time!” at the audience, who belted out “Tell me, tell me” right on cue.
They also blew me away by easily transitioning between appealing to an audience who understands Korean and one that doesn’t. Throughout the show, the girls sang both Korean hits and covered well-known American hits, like “Stickwitu” by the Pussy Cat Dolls, exhibiting an awareness of popular American music culture as well as showcasing vocal and linguistic talents. Though advertising for the tour didn’t seem to emphasize the American teen crowd, the show was certainly set up as an excellent crossover event, appealing to a wider fan base than just Asians.
The Wonder Girls will embark on more summer tour dates, but this time either solo or with their other labelmates, 2AM. (If you’re wondering, 2AM and 2pm are separate boy bands who branched out from the appropriately-named original group, “One Day.”) But even without an opener, I strongly believe the Wonder Girls will carry the show with a level of energy and live musical talent that explains why they’re winning over the hearts of American music lovers, one skeptic (like me) at a time.
All photos by Stephanie Lee for Mochi Magazine