With a line-up of familiar and talented Kpop idols, SuperM is a dream combination: SHINee’s Taemin, EXO’s Baekhyun and Kai, and NCT/WayV’s Taeyong, Mark, Ten, and Lucas. SM’s superstar project group has been traveling throughout North America and I was lucky enough to attend their Vancouver show.
As part of the abundant promotions for SuperM, the group’s first tour comprised numerous stops at large arenas, with tickets kept to affordable prices to encourage fans to attend. With the size of the fanbases for the members’ original groups, it’s likely they could have filled the seats regardless, but this lower price opened up the concert to a wide audience.
On a rainy day in Vancouver my friend and I headed to the Rogers Arena to check out the crowd and find the right line for entry. We were quite early so we had a chance to pass through the merch line, which wasn’t too busy at the time – although a few items were already sold out. I bought a toque and my friend selected a mini-lightstick keyring, while others excitedly bought clothing items and the pink SuperM lightstick.
After asking around and checking with various concert-goers we were able to locate the line-up for general admission. There was a bit of a wait but we spent the time chatting with the family in front of us and speculating on what the night might hold. After a seamless security check, we headed to our seats, off to one side of the main stage.
At the opening video’s first scene, cheers resounded through the arena and fans enthusiastically waved their lightsticks – many of which were in support of the various groups that SuperM members are also in. The group then made a dramatic entrance with a rising platform and performed I Can’t Stand the Rain, which my friend and I joked was appropriate for the day’s weather.
The unique nature of a super-group concert became immediately apparent as first Taemin and then Taeyong performed solo songs (Danger and Goodbye for Taemin, and GTA for Taeyong). This would continue to be a theme throughout the night, as SuperM advertises their ability to show diverse unit and solo performances as one of their greatest strengths.
This was also one of my personal highlights of the night, as I am a long-time SHINee fan and Goodbye is my favorite of Taemin’s solo songs. I was thrilled to have a chance to see him perform the elegant dance live, and gasped along with the audience as he jumped into an opening in the stage for the finale.
After reuniting to perform Super Car, the group members shared their opening greetings. Almost all of their introductions were in English, and you could tell that the members have been working very hard to practice as their sentences and pronunciation were clear and easy to understand. The crowd was particularly excited to welcome Canadian-born Mark, who used to live in Vancouver. He in turn shared that he was amazed to be able to perform at the Rogers Arena, and pointed out that he hadn’t even had the chance to attend a hockey game there before.
Next it was time for another round of solos: the ethereal Dream in a Dream and New Heroes by Ten, Lucas’s brand-new song Bass Go Boom, and two tracks from Baekhyun’s recent solo album, Betcha and UN Village. This organization was well thought out, as going from dance-focused performances to an exciting, pump-up song and then Baekhyun’s smooth, jazzy vocals kept things fresh and fun.
To our delight, SuperM then performed Dangerous Woman, one of two tracks that have yet to be officially released. They took advantage of the extended stage to engage with the audience, and we appreciated getting to see them closer too! After another short time of chatting and laughing together, they sang 2 Fast, and then Ten and Taeyong playfully executed their iconic duo number, Baby Don’t Stop.
Finally it was time for the remaining solos, which featured Mark’s engaging rap for Talk About and Kai’s powerful choreography in Confession. Since these are also songs that are not yet on official albums, it was particularly special to be able to experience them for the first time. After showing a video recapping the group’s origins and early promotions in LA, the members gathered together to perform No Manners and their other unreleased song, With You. This was another highlight for me as I loved the sound and vibe of the song, and the members seemed to really enjoy it too – they were joking around together throughout.
All too soon the members were standing on the main stage again, saying their final goodbyes. Taeyong made everyone laugh when he said, “Vancouver… You guys… so kind… like Mark. You guys so beautiful… like Mark. You guys so hot… like Mark!!”
As they shared their thanks to everyone for coming to the concert, I reflected on how relaxed and happy they had been the whole night. It was as if performing with their normal groupmates came with more responsibility, while the concerts with SuperM seemed to be a bonus space where they could simply do what they loved and have a good time without all that pressure to be perfect. Thankful for this lighter approach, I watched as they performed their title track Jopping as a wrap-up to the evening, and left feeling buoyant and bright.
Categories: KOREA-CANADA BLOG 2018