It's seems almost surreal to say that since their debut in 2019, K-Pop group TOMORROW X TOGETHER had yet to hold a concert in front of a full crowd until 'ACT: BOY'. After all, the COVID-19 pandemic emerged exactly a year after the group's debut and now, two years and seven records later, it seems well overdue for the group to finally take centre stage in order to show off their discography. Fans might not have been able to attend in person, but the group were still able to light up the stage.
If you weren't able to make the concert, here are five of the best things you missed:
1. The songs from their debut album The Dream Chapter: Star age like fine wine.
No matter how good a debut song or album an artist has, the by time several more records have rolled by and they're truly hitting their stride, often those early tracks get lost in the crowd. Not so here: between 'Blue Orangeade', 'Our Summer', 'Nap of a Star', 'Cat and Dog' and their debut title track 'CROWN', the group performed every single track from their debut album and every song felt as fresh as the day it came out. Yet the group performing all these tracks in grungier outfits whilst being a tad taller than when they debuted gave us a stark reminder of how far the group have come since those early days.
If you didn't get chills when the opening of 'CROWN' heralded the beginning of the entire concert, we can't have been watching the same show.
2. The depth of TXT's discography is unmistakeable.
In two moments during the concert, one track shape-shifted into another: 'Nap of a Star' moved seamlessly into 'Magic Island' and '20cm' morphed into 'Fairy of Shampoo'. Whilst such great transitions were already a treat to see for anyone well versed in their discography and a reminder of how tonally consistent the group are, what's more remarkable is that all of these songs are merely the group's b-sides.
At the end of the two and half hour concert it almost feels like a shame that many other great songs such as 'Drama', 'Maze in the Mirror', 'Ghosting' and more weren't able to make it onto the setlist, whilst you're not disappointed at all at any of the songs that they actually performed.
Now that's the mark of a good discography.
3. The 'Ice Cream' stage was even better than anyone could have hoped for.
In The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE, 'Ice Cream' was one of the album's secret MVPs, with a deceptively simple yet catchy chorus throwing us all off the song's introspective commentary on emotion, happiness and coming to terms with where you are in life... or not. With such a title, the group went all out with a full on ice cream shop stage, one half of which rotated as the group were given free rein to laugh, dance, and write messages to their fans (also known as MOA) as much as they wished.
Give us a music video, please.
4. BigHit Music could probably release a whole feature film with all the TXT Universe content they've filmed.
The group's narrative universe has slowly but steadily been ticking away since the group's debut, with themes of magic and friendship woven together to create a highly complex storyline that can easily leave you in its wake if you miss out on any of the easter eggs that are peppered throughout the group's creative output (see the 'Magic Island' music video above for a sense of how in-depth it can get).
In the concert's VCRs, their universe's storyline was given pride of place, with highlights including Soobin being trapped in what seemed to be a mirror dimension whilst the other group's members braced themselves during a mysterious earthquake in an abandoned warehouse. For the casual viewer, the cinematic way the VCRs are shot make them beautiful to watch even though the complexity of the storyline might seem hard to jump into from the cold.
For the well-versed MOA... well, bring on the fan theories.
5. TXT don't doubt the power of their fans for a moment.
As has been for all music artists since the inception of the pandemic, the inability to hold in-person concerts has impacted revenue and the ability to interact and cultivate support whilst also seeing already loyal fans. However, TOMORROW X TOGETHER are one of the few fourth generation boy groups whose sales numbers have grown exponentially since the pandemic. The first week sales of their last album pre-pandemic (The Dream Chapter: Magic) clocked in at 124,252 (HANTEO). Their latest album, The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE, hit 630,563 (HANTEO), while its repackage, The Chaos Chapter: FIGHT OR ESCAPE, recently earned the third highest repackage sales of all time with 483,911 (HANTEO).
Shots showing the many light sticks put in place of fans unable to be there peppered the entire performance and the group rounded off their setlist with the song 'MOA Diary (Dubaddu Wari Wari)' and for the encore picked 'Sweat', a secret song put out just for MOA in 2020 that is still unreleased. Here, TOMORROW X TOGETHER's intent was clear: this concert was first and foremost for all their loyal fans that have helped ensure the group's meteoric rise despite the pandemic.
Real ones only, please.