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From boys to men, TVXQ grows into pop icon
Group’s journey spans 10 years
By Park Jin-hai
K-pop duo TVXQ’s celebration of the 10th anniversary was about the coming-of-age tale ㅡ from teenagers to leading hallyu icons.
As part of the eight-day SM Town Week, the concert celebrating the decade of its debut took place at KINTEX in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province on Thursday.
They made their debut on Dec. 26 in 2003 as TVXQ but later three members ㅡ Park Yu-chun, Kim Jun-su and Kim Jae-joong ㅡ left the band and launched JYJ in 2010 after legal disputes with SM Entertainment.
“Ten years ago today, we debuted as five member K-pop band. Thinking of this concert, my heart was racing all day with anticipation, like a little boy on his tenth birth day,” said Max Changmin, 25.
Reflecting their long-living global popularity, fan clubs at home and abroad as well as Japanese and Chinese journalists congregated for the special year-end concert.
“Yunho is such a heart-throb. I’ve been his fan for over five years and today would be the third concert that I’ve been to,” Yumi Takeuchi, 49, from Japan, who was overjoyed for anticipation for the concert, said. Her two friends added, “Even if the Hallyu wave has seen its better days, so many Japanese K-pop fans are loyal to their stars.”
Chinese fans held the Korean-lettered cardboards that read “10th year” and “We still love you.”
The concert started with the song “Maximum” from their fifth EP, as their fans frantically greeted them, waving their red glow sticks. During the first one hour, they sang mostly sweet ballad songs and carols, such as “My Little Princess” and “I Believe.”
The show culminated when the duo sang their charismatic songs like “Keep Your Head Down” and “Rising Sun.” As the strong beat intro of the song “Catch Me,” from the latest album, made the audience all standing up and screaming, forming a letter “T” that symbolizes the duo with their glow sticks.
The fans waving the red glow sticks in the dark background resembled the embers in the furnace, showing their strong loyalty to the K-pop duo for the decade.
Unlike its previous concerts that highlighted their signature synchronized and powerful performances, the two-hour-and-half concert was felt more like a fan meeting and grand birthday party.
A decade after their debut, they seemed more comfortable on stage rather than being nervous. They ran across the stage, having the audience under their control.
“We wanted to give more weight to the communication with fans, as a token of deepest appreciation that we have on them,” said Yunho.
The 27-year-old was the star of the night with his unexpected and playful moves. Changmin sang Norazo’s “Wild Horse,” with unusual funny dances, in white horse custom. Although Changmin’s performance felt like he was over-doing it, it succeeded in pleasing fans anyway with his “visual shock.”
Yunho also unveiled a new song that he composed. Clad in Santa Clause custom, he sang “Santa Revolution,” throwing autographed gift items to the audience. During the show, they paraded about three times on a carriage to approach their fans as much as they could.
They showed the teaser video for their new album “Tense,” as a reference to the duo’s “Tenth Anniversary.” Yunho hinted that fans could watch them performing more with wires, as seen in the video. TVXQ will release the seventh album on Jan. 6, and make comeback on “Music Bank” by performing “Something” three days before the album’s release.
In the latter part of the concert, they sang three songs in Japanese – “We are!,” “Ocean” and “Sombody to love.”
What surprised fans the most was the encore performances. They, in school uniform, sang “Hug,” from their first album. Appearing from back of the second floor of the concert hall, frantic fans from behind tried to get near to them. They showed the original choreography of ten years ago, although the space in the hallway was limited. Thus the all audience whether their seats are in the front row or back had at least some of the chances to get a closer look at the stars.
Later they said they were a little shy and awkward to wear school uniforms in their late 20s, they looked as new as when they were ten years ago.
Throughout the concert, the duo sang a total of 21 songs, selected from their about 1,000 songs released since 2003. The concert ended with the finale “Thanks to,” from their debut album.
K-pop duo TVXQ has been one of the most successful K-pop acts. They have held concert tours at Japan’s five domes, for the first time as Korean singer between April and August this year. They became the first foreign artist to perform at the Yokohama Nissan Stadium. The Japanese tour drew record high 850,000 fans, posting 100 billion won in ticket sales.