K-pop concerts come in a variety of shapes and sizes: from the massive arena affairs with oceans of light sticks pulsing to the music, to intimate small-venue showcases and fanmeet events where the audience gets to bask up-close in the glow of idols.
What ONEUS is delivering on the Blood Moon 2022 Tour in the U.S. is something closer to the showcase end of the spectrum. With a generous 2-hour set in medium-sized venues, their show should be a must-see for genre fans and hardcore TOMOON, alike.
The 02/19 Skyway Theatre concert opened at 7:30pm with a pre-recorded video teaser in the theme of their Blood Moon album concept and it was perfectly pitched to excite the crowd. When the six members –Ravn, Seoho, Leedo, Keonhee, Hwanwoong, and Xion– took the stage, all in white, the crowd erupted and was then rewarded with a full-throttle performance of ‘Come Back Home’ accompanied by six backup dancers. The borderline-acrobatic stunt near the end of the song made the piece an excellent show-opener.
For the next two hours, ONEUS sang, danced, and charmed the hearts of a happy and enthusiastic crowd. Heart-palpitating, transcendental K-pop magic was delivered live and in-person, peaking (unsurprisingly) with some of the group’s singles. ‘No Diggity,’ “LUNA,’ ‘Lit,’ and ‘Life is Beautiful’ each stood out in the Minneapolis show for their exceptional energy and vibrancy on stage. The traditional hanbok costumes and fans of the third act had an awe-ing effect on the crowd, but it was the execution of the choreography for these songs that really wowed.
During the first talk-back, the boys established three rules for the show: 1) No pushing! 2) Please keep your masks on! (to keep everyone safe) and 3) [be] loud to the point where you will lose your voice!
The members all worked hard to greet their audience in English with rehearsed greetings and occasional ad libs throughout the show, but an off-stage translator was near at-hand to help make sure their words and feelings were communicated to the crowd if they needed to speak in Korean. Hwanwoong spearheaded the MC efforts and shared memories of their last visit to Minneapolis in 2019 on their Fly With Us tour, mentioning that both then and now, the weather was very cold, and the TOMOON audience was very HOT.
“VCRs” (pre-recorded video interludes) were used for major transitions, allowing for wardrobe and mic changes. A “ONEUS Got Talent” sketch brought lots of laughs, and the tour-prep and rehearsal segment elicited sighs and murmurs of appreciation as the crowd got to glimpse some of the hard work and preparation that had led up to that evening’s magic.
The members also shared that they were very excited to bring ‘Come Back Home’ and ‘Youth” to their live stages in the U.S., and to deliver a special dance medley performance of western pop songs.
Perhaps best of all -or most touching?- was the three song encore. It was a lovely and generous way to cap-off the evening, and showcased the members as relaxed and casual performers having a great time with their fans. Which is really what the K-pop experience is about: perceiving intimacy between artists and audiences.
In this, ONEUS is delivering. And if anyone outside of Minnesota happens to read this piece, they should run out and book their tickets to the Blood Moon 2022 Tour, ASAP! Because the next time ONEUS is back in the U.S., they want to bring a bigger show – which will only add a layer of distance between fans and idols. So go see them now, up close and personal, while you still can.