The exterior of The Prince Bandroom was trickled with fans who arrived early, patiently waiting in their various lines and all eager to nab the best spot closest to the stage.
The inside of the venue was the polar opposite; a quiet calm before the storm, the Prime Entertainment and Nova Entertainment team vigorously shuffled to get everything ready for the Melbourne concert of South Korean artist GEMINI, visiting our shores for the first time on his Still Blue 2024 Tour in Australia with DJ Pool. While staff moved like clockwork around me, I watched GEMINI (제미나이) meticulously practice during his soundcheck before the fans were let in.
With VIP patrons entering first, these fans were treated to a meet and greet photo and an intimate Q&A with the South Korean musician. With the Q&A portion hosted by fellow musician Ineffa Lucas, GEMINI responded to questions in Korean and smiled each time he shared his answers. I learnt that GEMINI had always wanted a dog and would name his pet after a type of food, that his tour mate DJ Pool is his celeb bestie, how he ate the biggest steak of his life recently when he was in Sydney, and that ‘Slo-Mo’ from his album ‘Inside Out’ is the favourite song that he has written.
As quickly as the GEMINI Q&A came, it ended, and fans were left to prepare themselves before other tier patrons were let in. The artist too disappeared backstage to rest before for his first ever concert in Melbourne, Australia. Was he nervous? I couldn’t tell and he certainly didn’t show it. After his tour bestie DJ Pool performed a half hour set livening up the previously quiet room, expertly spinning beats, GEMINI soon emerged.
Casually yet smartly dressed in black attire, from a black beanie and jacket, right down to his very shiny shoes, his appearance alone stirred the room with excited and supportive cheers. GEMINI stepped onto the stage and as he edged closer towards the Melbourne crowd, the cheers grew louder. Accompanied by DJ Pool, GEMINI greeted everyone in the room by beginning with the most appropriate lyrics from his song ‘Love Is Banned’, “Can’t you see that I’m here? Don’t make me disappear.”
The fans responded in kind, ensuring to make as much noise as possible to let the South Korean artist know that he was appreciated, that they were thankful he came to our fair city on the other side of the world, and that he was deeply valued in this intimate Melbourne venue. As if the more noise they created, the more it would keep him in their vicinity.
There was no barrier between the artist, his stage and his fans in the busy venue, which only allowed for GEMINI to get up-close and personal to the audience whenever he desired to. The closer he got, the more fans would squeal in delight, yet they were always respectful to his personal space whenever he wanted it. Completely committed to doing whatever GEMINI asked, whether it be shouting his lyrics at the top of their lungs, chanting his name, or waving their arms in the air, this talented man had the entire venue under his command and everyone (including him) was loving it.
Reserved but confident, GEMINI gleefully interacted with the Melbourne crowd, also providing fans with many opportunities to sing along throughout the night. A highlight was during the song ‘She lives in Paris’ which was given a local spin. Fans shouted “MELBOURNE!” whenever prompted by the South-Korean musician in replacement of the word ‘Paris’ which sounded incredible and felt like a very affectionate personal gesture.
When he wasn’t bouncing around the stage in delight, GEMINI took the time to slow the momentum with a ballad or two, including ‘Going’, displaying his beautiful yet strong vocals and an even more stunning falsetto. ‘Broken Love’ also provided the same moods but included a lucky fan named Mary being invited up onto the stage to be serenaded to. GEMINI even sweetly playfully teased Mary to marry him, with a play on her name by asking, “Mary Me?”.
It was such a cute moment that the artist shared with this dedicated fan, the only Australian fan in the venue that had flown to attend his Sydney show only days before and who also provided a flag of Australia signed by Melbourne fans in attendance, which she later gifted to him to pose in photos. Fan favourite ‘Sleep’, requested earlier in the concert and played later on in the set, also provided a gorgeous moment where patrons lifted up their arms in the air to show off their lit phone lights, swaying their devices around and making the room look like it was filled with manmade fireflies.
For an artist with Korean as his first language, GEMINI has a lot of songs that are written completely in English including ‘Love Is Banned’, ‘Know me’, and ‘Hola’, which I found superbly impressive, especially when GEMINI performs these songs. Everything from the writing to his pronunciation sounded so natural, he could have fooled me into believing that English was his first language. GEMINI is that good. I also appreciate how his lyrics are simple and emotional yet sincere and hold nothing back, not even the profanity, and I love that about his music.
My favourite song of the Melbourne concert was ‘Naked’. Okay, sure, GEMINI took off his shirt during this performance and that’s a bonus. But the song is genuinely irresistibly catchy, it has some excellent moments to sing along to, and the energy in the Melbourne venue heightened when it was played. To match, the screams for GEMINI in the room grew louder during this song and were almost deafening, but this was all in good spirits and the moment felt surprisingly very joyful. Honestly, nothing beats the elation and adrenaline rush of attending a concert.
Returning for his encore and not limiting himself to the Prince Bandroom stage, GEMINI chose to be amongst his fans for the final song ‘Attention’, and he sure had it. GEMINI ran around the room, through the audience, climbed onto lounge chairs, onto tables, and effortlessly sung the final number at the top of his lungs. All while cheekily grinning and wearing a Bunnings straw hat that he procured on his journey from two passionate Melbourne fans named Mary (same Mary as earlier) and Linh along the way, before eventually crawling back onto the stage to bid his loving Melbourne audience a fond farewell.
Both the fans and the artist were having the time of their lives at this Melbourne concert and in the thick of this healthy chaos, I too became a fan of GEMINI. But it’s hard not to like GEMINI for his unique and expressive songwriting, his stage presence, his charisma, and his professionalism. Admittedly, prior to GEMINI’s tour being announced, I was unaware of his existence. But after seeing this talented South Korean singer-songwriter perform live in my city, I haven’t stopped listening to his music since.
Presented by At Area, Prime Entertainment and Nova Entertainment (Nova Records), GEMINI performed in Melbourne with DJ Pool at the Prince Bandroom on Thursday the 1st of February as part of his Still Blue 2024 Australian Tour. The tour also made stops in Sydney on Jan 30th at Home The Venue and Brisbane at The Powerhouse Theatre on February 2nd.
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Photography by Grant Alexander.