Judging by the multitude of celebrities from the Korean entertainment world in attendance, it seemed as though SEVENTEEN's Be The Sun concerts were simply the place to be this past weekend. Since the 13-member group have only been able to do two online-only concerts during the pandemic, it was surely no surprise that they were able to sell out two nights at South Korea's biggest stadium, the Gocheok Sky Dome, and are set to fill more venues worldwide during subsequent legs of their Be The Sun tour later this year.
Just one month ago the group dropped a brand new album titled Face The Sun, and as their tour title also suggests, the show riffed on the album's themes of confidence, growth and positive energy throughout. They brought this to the fore by opening with their newest hit title track 'HOT', where SEVENTEEN greeted the crowd of 25,000 in front of a fiery disc representing the sun, and kept the energy going with equally bombastic tracks 'March' and 'HIT'.
Saturday's show ran for around three hours, 45 minutes, whilst Sunday's pushed well into four hours - thank a twenty-minute or so rendition of SEVENTEEN's fun encore mainstay '아주 Nice (Very Nice)' for that - yet the energy of the crowd never dimmed for a second. The group's well selected 25-track setlist is to thank for this, as ballads were thin on the ground and balanced out with faster tempo songs quickly. One of the group's strengths is how their three units, Performance, Vocal and Hip-Hop, also add their own colours to the group's discography. Remixes of unit classics 'Moonwalker', 'Back it up' and a gorgeous new version of Vocal Unit track 'Come To Me' were performed alongside more recent unit songs 'Wave', 'Imperfect love' and 'GAM3 BO1', which also reflected the balance between old and new throughout the show.
From the nine songs on Face The Sun, only four were performed, whilst another twelve songs were sung out of the four albums and four Japanese singles SEVENTEEN released during the pandemic, leaving ten tracks on the setlist from their pre-2020 discography. Fans had a chance to hear songs never performed to a live audience such as 'Crush', 'Heaven's Cloud' and a new rock remix of 'Rock with you', as well as revel in the goodness of older hits like 'BOOMBOOM'. A particularly poignant moment came by way of the fans surprising the group by singing to them on both nights, with 'All My Love' as the song of choice on night one, and 'Together' picked for night two. It was a reminder of not just how much crowds have been missed in concerts over the past two years, but on how meaningful the relationship between fans and artists are, particularly in a live space.
As expected, the group still brought not just their signature highly-synchronised and complex choreographies to the stage, but also the fun and chaos that watchers of their variety show Going Seventeen have come to expect. A segment featuring a run from 'Mansae' to 'Left & Right' and ending with '아주 Nice (Very Nice)' saw the group in red tracksuits, moving from song to song via a variety of laugh-out-loud skits and quips. The group have utilised solar symbolism throughout the album and tour concepts to reflect on fans illuminating their path, how they wish to continue doing the same in return, and also the rebirth that comes from stepping into the light. With a setlist dominated by songs with positive messages and upbeat energies, both shows seemed to flash by in the blink of an eye amidst a palpable sense of hope and happiness, and seeing the smiles on the members faces as they moved amidst the crowd during their encore suggested just how much they appreciated being able to convey these messages to fans in person.
During the group's opening greetings, member Hoshi expressed that SEVENTEEN invited many of their celebrity friends because they felt confident in their concert. Between the crowd and the group's unstoppable bright energy, fresh remixes of tracks, and electrifying performances of new and old classics, it's easy to see why.