My love for Turbo runs deep. One night in my early days of K-pop, I wandered around YouTube with a curious mind, and I fell down a rabbit hole that led me to the classics. While in that hole, I stumbled upon videos of Turbo looking very much like the 90s r&b groups I grew up with, and I immediately fell in love. Unfortunately, I was late on that bandwagon. Very late, in fact, and I never thought they’d make another comeback.
Luckily, back in 2015, K-pop was rocked with a slew of first generation comebacks in the form of Shinhwa (who never really went away), Sechs Kies, and … Turbo! Since then, I’ve been waiting not-so-patiently for Turbo to truly have an event in America, and they recently did exactly that.
Thanks to a friend, I received an invite to see Turbo at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in lovely Indio, California. Why the middle of the California desert, you ask? Well that’s because apparently Koreans love taking buses on short vacations to casinos to see their favorite stars perform in between gambling and pool time in the hottest place on the West Coast. The venue was packed wall-to-wall with people, mostly aged over 30, and they were partying hard as hell.
Turbo stepped on stage and suddenly the women around me started screaming harder than most K-pop fans I’ve seen. One woman practically spilled her margarita all over me as she screamed for Mikey, while another started stripping layers off — scarves, a hat, a duster, her sweater — until she was down to a camisole and her beer, screaming bloody murder for Kim Jung Nam. And then there was me, who’d forgotten I was a damned professional and made an ass of myself screaming for Kim Jong Kook. I hang my head in shame.
Anyway, Turbo dove right into their discography and performed the hits! I’m talking “Black Cat“, “My Childhood Dream“, “Hot Sugar“, “Hide And Seek“, and even “December“! There was no holding back as they took us on a journey to the 1995-2000 era, and not only sang and rapped, but also danced through their hits. The entire audience sang, danced, and partied until we couldn’t feel out feet!
After their solo stages, we were in full party mode when we were gifted a sudden surprise performance from Haha. He popped up on stage and pushed the crowd hard with his fast reggae beats, a full crew of dancers, and his comedic silliness, making everyone dance and laugh. It was a pleasant surprise and a whole lot of fun.
Turbo closed the show with “Again“, a medley of their hits, and finally everyone singing along to “Goodbye Yesterday” as everyone said goodbye to them. It was amazing.
If there was one thing to take away from this one of a kind performance, it’s that our faves have their own faves from growing up with K-pop, and without groups like Turbo, our faves wouldn’t exist. So thank you Turbo for still kicking ass 22 years after debut! I am forever a fan!
A special thank you goes out to Tiny, who hooked it up and made my K-pop dream come true. You the real MVP, Tiny!