Korean singer-songwriter Lee Ji-eun, also known by her stage name IU, performed her first concert since 2019 over the weekend.
The sold-out concert, titled "The Golden Hour: Under the Orange Sun" drew around 80,000 fans over two days at the Olympic Stadium in Seoul.
The momentous occasion saw IU becoming the first Korean female solo artist to perform at the venue, one of Korea's largest performance spaces, Korean newspaper The Korea Herald reported.
The concert also marked her 14th anniversary since debuting as a singer-songwriter in 2008.
IU performed despite discomfort from ear condition
The artiste made a startling revelation in the midst of the second day's performance.
She revealed that she had been performing in spite of discomfort from an ear condition affecting her sense of hearing.
“It’s not something serious, but I haven’t been able to control my ear conditions for around a year now,” she told the crowd.
IU previously revealed she was getting treated for an ear condition, Patulous Eustachian Tube, in her documentary released in March.
For those with the condition, the eustachian tube — which typically stays closed to regulate pressure around the ear drum — stays open most of the time instead.
IU revealed that the condition had caused her some discomfort, saying:
"Near the end of yesterday’s show, my ears started to worsen in condition, and from last night until the rehearsal today, the past day has been like hell for me.”
The Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center describes the condition as "benign but symptomatically troubling".
GARD explains that the condition can result in hearing one's own voice or breathing, as well as "echoing which may interfere with speech production, wave-like sounds, and a sensation of fullness in the ear."
"In severe cases, vertigo and hearing loss may occur," says GARD.
While the exact cause of Patulous Eustachian Tube is unknown, fatigue, stress, anxiety, and weight loss have been identified as some of the possible predisposing factors.
“I stepped onto the stage today not knowing what to do, but truly, you guys did everything for today’s show,” IU said.
"Brightest moment of my life"
Her condition notwithstanding, IU promised fans that she would continue her singing career.
“I thought that this show might be my final destination. I had never imagined being on such a big stage,” she said, before adding that she was looking ahead to "another 14 years":
“Through tonight’s memory, I will not become arrogant and, staying humble, I will keep on reminding myself about those hearts rooting for me. I’ve only come 14 years, so here’s to another 14 years.”
In an Instagram post on Tuesday (Sep. 20), IU shared photos and videos from the concert, captioning it "The brightest moment of my life #the_golden_hour✨ I will forever be grateful 🧡"
Top image via IU on Instagram