Psy Bares Chest to 80,000 Screaming Fans in Seoul

Psy performs his hit song Psy performs his hit song "Gangnam Style" during a free concert at Seoul Plaza on Thursday.

Despite remaining stuck at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a second week, Psy went ahead with his free concert in Seoul as promised earlier to thank fans for kick-starting the success of his viral hit song "Gangnam Style."

The singer, who performed at Seoul Plaza from 10 p.m. in front of tens of thousands of fans, had vowed earlier to perform topless if his song topped the U.S. chart, which would mark a new first for a Korean artist.

He bared his chest at the end of the two-hour show by ripping his shirt off right after performing his now-signature song, along with the much-emulated horse-riding dance.

"This is the first time so many people have come to Seoul Plaza to watch a singer's solo concert," said a police officer. "We estimate that about 80,000 fans gathered to watch the concert, almost similar to the number of people who showed up there during the 2002 World Cup."

"Not only young fans in their teens and 20s, but also people in their 40s and 50s flocked to see the concert. Families and lots of foreigners were there, too," he added.

Seoul Plaza is packed with over 80,000 spectators on Thursday. Seoul Plaza is packed with over 80,000 spectators on Thursday.

Although the venue was scheduled to welcome the public from 6 p.m., the doors had to be opened earlier due to the huge rush of people.

Psy thanked his fans for their support before reeling out his most popular songs. He started with "Right Now," a song from his previous album that is belatedly drawing attention due to his soaring popularity, and capped the night with a highly anticipated rendition of "Gangnam Style."

With the exception of backup dancers, Psy performed alone throughout the concert.

Fans enjoy Psys concert at Seoul Plaza on Thursday. Fans enjoy Psy's concert at Seoul Plaza on Thursday.

The concert also boosted occupancy rates at neighboring Seoul Plaza Hotel and President Hotel, whose rooms overlooking Seoul Plaza were fully booked. Nearby restaurants and coffee shops were also stacked full of people who wanted to catch a glimpse of the star.

The roads near City Hall were closed to vehicles from 6 p.m. to midnight, causing some headaches for office workers who had to make their way home on clogged streets.

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 05, 2012 11:07 KST