On February 28th SuperM brought their WE ARE THE FUTURE Tour to the O2 Arena, London.
The atmosphere inside the O2 was electrifying as fans eagerly awaited the performance. Light began to illuminate the arena in an array of colours; a mixture of the new SuperM lightstick along with the official lightsticks from the respective groups within this recently formed SM Entertainment fusion. Working as an “Avengers” type scenario by gathering idols from different groups to create music and perform collectively, they’ve effectively united the different fandoms under SM Entertainment. The selection of different colours brightening up the arena created a rainbow which connected fans who were all here for the same reason, and when the lights began to dim – accompanied by the deafening cheers from the audience – created a fan unity.
Before the show officially began, the excitement of the crowd exploded into new heights when ‘Jopping’ boomed through the speakers – you could physically feel the music beating through your chest as the audience raced to their feet. The leg room was small and the distance between each chair on the floor seating had you practically hip to hip with one another. This didn’t discourage the enthusiastic crowd from letting loose however, as fans were singing at the top of their lungs while they danced and jumped around with what space they had available to them!
With the crowd successfully hyped, the group finally made their big entrance. The screams from the audience amplified the intense and heavy drumbeat that starts ‘I Can’t Stand the Rain’ – the perfect opener for the current rainy London streets. The choreography was especially powerful and intricate, although this was soon interrupted by some technical issues! The lights and sound suddenly cut off and you could see the shock clearly on vocalist Baekhyun’s face, who was the focal point on the big screens as he was about to build up the track towards its climax. The group handled this professionally by reassuring fans that they would be back momentarily, but before they could go backstage the beginning of ‘I Can’t Stand the Rain’ echoed throughout the arena once again. The fans were more than happy to experience this commanding performance a second time while Baekhyun blew everyone away with his breath-taking high notes. Everyone in the crowd felt incredibly lucky to witness this masterpiece again, with members mentioning several times throughout the night that London is the only place blessed with listening to this song twice!
SuperM currently have five officially released songs as a group on their EP. Following the (two) opener(s), SuperM filled their set list with solo and unit stages while also incorporating unreleased tracks. This did mean the seven members were not on stage together as often as I would have liked considering this was intended as a group tour, but this was to be expected as their discography as a group is still limited. Despite this, they succeeded in filling the 18 song setlist perfectly. The enthusiasm from the fans was just as strong for songs they had not heard before to the tracks they were more familiar with.
The first to perform their solo stage was Taemin, presenting his iconic 2014 hit ‘Danger’. This was beautifully intermixed with elements from SHINee’s ‘Sherlock’ which complemented and refreshed the track, leaving SHINee fans feeling all the feelings! His stage presence was mesmerising by looking suave while donning a fedora hat and commanding attention. Directly following was the Korean version of ‘Goodbye’. The whole set up was gorgeous; a thin fog filled the stage, the backdrop displayed falling petals and the stunning lighting along with Taemin’s hypnotic vocals created a dreamy atmosphere inside the arena. Taemin threw his whole body into his movements, really showcasing his spectacular dancing and capabilities as a performer, wrapping the whole audience around his finger as we all forgot how to breathe.
Taeyong was next to take the stage for his solo performance, completely changing the previous tone with his unreleased track ‘GTA’ (Grand Trouble Artist). Arriving on stage decked out in a glittering mask while the arena illuminates in a red. Taeyong’s performance was fierce, intense and unforgettable, showcasing his individual style as he moved across the stage delivering his rap with perfect flow and charisma. Taeyong left the audience feeling hyped and more than ready for when his solo stage transitioned into another original SuperM song ‘Super Car’ which included more perfectly synchronized choreography.
Once ready for his solo stage, introduced by Mark as his “best numbered friend”, Ten returned to the stage dressed in an angelic white ensemble as he first performs ‘Dream in a Dream’. The contemporary-esque choreography was beautifully captivating and the whole performance was dripping with emotion. Ten moved gracefully as the music blended into ‘New Heroes’, showing his abilities as a strong performer with confident vocals that had a delicate and natural quality that was simply charming.
When it was time for Lucas’ solo stage he completely shifted the tone into a playful and fun atmosphere. Performing the unreleased, full English track ‘Bass Go Boom’ the whole audience was dancing and feeling the energy from Lucas’ addictive and contagious smile and carefree aura. The stage was vibrant as the song was paired perfectly with the colourful screen displaying videos of Lucas dancing and singing to the track with a 90’s vibe visual.
Jumping straight into another solo stage, Baekhyun reeled us in with two tracks from his popular EP City Lights, ‘Betcha’ and ‘UN Village’. Baekhyun held himself with confidence during both performances, vibing on stage with a level of cool and collectiveness one can only dream of achieving! Starting off UN Village behind a microphone stand, feeling the beat and sharing with the audience his charismatic energy. His extensive vocal abilities were showcased the whole night but he especially displayed this during his solo stage; his clear vocals carried through the music easily and effortlessly, like it was as easy as breathing, and perfectly balanced with the beat.
The group finally resembled for the next stage, ‘Dangerous Women’ and ‘2 Fast’. Another unreleased song, Dangerous Women, was still well perceived by the fans, who although weren’t familiar with the track, didn’t shy away from their screams and dancing in the audience. So far into the night all 7 members had rarely been on the stage together, but when this happened they displayed powerful and perfectly executed choreography. What I loved most about this performance was getting to witness the member’s chemistry with one another and as a group, no choreography to follow, just the members joking around and being silly. There were a lot of hugs, smiles, laughs and interactions between the members during this song, which was a pleasure to watch as these are talented artists we are already familiar with who are quickly bonding together as a newly formed group. Fans are already used to seeing the dynamic between EXO’s Baekhyun and Kai or NCT members, so it was really fun to see the friendships between the members we aren’t as familiar with seeing. Taemin had a huge smile on his face the whole performance, looking ecstatic and carefree as he danced around with Ten and Mark. This might have felt misplaced to anyone else, the contrast of the members laughing and messing around during what sounded like a serious and sensual song, but it was nice to see the members so natural without the constriction of choreographed moves.
‘2 Fast’ followed the same sensual sound but this time paired with the same performance vibe, precise and stirring movements and sultry vocals, creating an atmosphere to match – and no one was complaining! Dispersing further, the stage was cleared for Taeyong and Ten’s subunit stage, performing a duet of NCT U’s ‘Baby Don’t Stop’. The fans were absolutely delighted by eliciting the loudest fan chants and singing we had heard so far. The performance was rather seductive, mirroring the previous songs in this concert segment and the crowd was getting more and more enthusiastic.
Mark was up next for his solo stage with his performance ‘Talk About’. Mark demonstrated his dynamic talent, executing perfect flow in this high energy rap track. The lights and unique video backdrop created an almost club like atmosphere, and with the crowd moving to the heavy addictive beat it was impossible to stand still! Mark had a truly striking stage presence and looked right at home on the O2 stage, a memorable and strong delivery.
Kai concluded the solo stages with ‘Confession’. Gracing the stage with his abs on show under his jacket had the crowd losing it – if they thought they were just about holding it together, Kai sent them flying over the edge! Red strobe lights, fierce beat and aggressive energy, Kai was on fire and dominated the stage, taking no prisoners! Everyone was ready to risk it all for Kai and confess their sins before that godly performance. The choreography was both fierce and seductive, fan chants of the singer’s name “Kim Jong-in” erupted from the crowd in time with the beat as the song came to an end.
With the solo stages now concluded, it was time for the encore. All 7 members took to the stage once more to perform the popular track from their EP ‘No Manners’. With raised platforms incorporated into the choreography, SuperM gifted fans with the provocative performance with almost fan service-esque dance moves. The group’s penultimate song, ‘With You’ – another unreleased track – completely changed the tone. The exciting and lively sound contrasted with the previous atmosphere created by No Manners. I’m surprised I didn’t leave the concert with whiplash with how quickly the members went from sensual and serious to silly and playful! The full English song sounded cheerful and positive, with the members all throwing colourful balls into the audience with their signatures on them for fans to fervently try and catch. Teasing and banter was further displayed to the fans, their smiles and laughs were addictive from the audience as their happiness radiated off of them.
Every few songs there would be a break where members would talk to the crowd either as a 7 or while other members were preparing for their next stage. Although there was flittering between a translator and English to communicate with the fans, the frequent English between the members was another step they used to connect with their fans in London and felt incredibly genuine.
The chemistry and friendship between the members was obvious as they often joked and teased with one another, embarrassing each other with aegyo. Kai even tried to leave the stage in a burst of embarrassment over his aegyo performance and Baekhyun worrying dramatically that we would no longer want to wait for him to return to London if he performed his aegyo in front of us! Mark even attempted a cockney accent, greeting the audience with an “ello London” which had the crowd in stitches!
These charming segments created an intimate and personal engagement with the audience; sharing little details of their time in London, Mark and Taeyong buying lots of clothes at Dover Street Market, Kai and Lucas enjoying the Tate Museum. It’s always nice for fans to hear their idols are enjoying their country and what they get up to while on tour.
They all expressed how meaningful and special performing in London was to them, especially Kai who emphasised how it has been his dream to perform in London since his debut and he was happy to have finally achieved that dream. Taeyong also took a moment to thank the fans that couldn’t be at the concert for supporting them and for their love. Ten and Taemin were also very confident and talkative in these segments, however Lucas was much more shy and quiet – but that didn’t stop him from wearing the widest grin the whole concert! Before their final song, the members came together to take a picture with the arena (which we are still waiting for SM!!)
The night certainly went 2 Fast and before anyone even realised, it was time for the final song. I knew it was coming, you knew it was coming; everyone knew it was coming yet nothing could prepare the crowd for the intensity of ‘Jopping’ performed live. The screams were deafening, the fans couldn’t jump high enough and the energy radiated from SuperM and the fans in perfect synchronisation. It was a flawless song to end the night with – I’m still riding on the adrenaline from that incredible performance and it has been over a month!
With multiple hints and promises for more music releases, surprises from the group and the fans reactions to the unreleased songs performed, fans will hopefully be hearing from SuperM in the near future. If SuperM are the future, I am perfectly happy to live it in.
With the current situation that has been happening all around us at the moment it is important to stay positive and for a lot of people, music can bring a feeling of togetherness and can calm those feeling anxious during times of uncertainty. This may have been the most recent Kpop concert we had in the UK before everything changed, but remember it won’t be the last! Not when Kpop tours have finally put Europe on their map!!
Keep listening to Kpop, reach out to someone if you are feeling lonely or anxious and look after yourselves! We will all meet each other at concerts again soon!
As Mark stressed to the audience, “Most importantly, take care of yourselves, be healthy, we’ve got to see each other next time ok?”