VIXX in LIVE ARCH volume 9, Tokyo 29032014

LIVE ARCH is a series of concerts in which Korean bands/artists are invited to perform in Japan outside their own tours. LIVE ARCH volume 9 invited the 6-piece boyband, VIXX, whose career has been skyrocketing thanks to their hardwork and well-executed concepts to work hand-in-hand with their nicely-produced music. VIXX was scheduled to give 2 shows on March 29, 2014 in Tokyo Dome City Hall, part of the Tokyo Dome complex (but different from the Big Egg, where bands usually hold the Tokyo leg of their Dome tours).

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Doors to the City Hall were opened at 13.00 to welcome fans who had tickets for the day session, scheduled to start at 14.00. An overwhelming number of fans caused it to take quite a long time before everybody could get in to the hall. These fans proudly sported dark-blue VIXX towels, with blue lightsticks in hand, ready to be lit up and waved in support of the boys. We noticed some fans wearing similar cross contact lenses as the ones VIXX wore in the gut-wrenching Voodoo Doll MV. There were also fans who cosplayed as VIXX, with one fanboy looking really, really similar to Ken that we wondered whether it’s Ken himself who wandered among the fans!

There were four types of tickets on sale: 1F standing tickets and 2F sitting tickets, which were sold at the same price, and cheaper 2F and 3F standing tickets. RekON had secured a place on the second floor. While entering the building, fans were asked to draw a folded paper each from a box. On the paper, an alphabet letter was stamped. Later on, 500 lucky fans who got a chance to hi-touch with VIXX after each show would be decided by random drawing of an alphabet letter – those who got the same letter stamped on their paper would be asked to line up again after the show.

When you alight in Suidobashi station, you will see the sign showing where the City Hall is as you go across the street towards the Tokyo Dome complex.

When you alight in Suidobashi station, you will see the sign showing where the City Hall is as you go across the street towards the Tokyo Dome complex.

Fans had to wait for some time, accompanied by VIXX’s MVs played on screen, before finally LIVE ARCH volume 9 started with an MC making a short introduction and welcoming speech. VIXX, wearing black-and-white patterned suits, opened their set with their hit, Voodoo Doll, the original MV of which shocked way too many people with its depiction of physical hurting. Fans quickly scanned the stage to check whether the six of them were there; yes, they were, but injured Ravi sat on a high-backed armchair. The armchair was of course for the rapper to position himself comfortably while his friends performed the slightly-changed choreography to cover for his absence; but its antique style also fit the atmosphere of this first segment of the show, in which VIXX showed that they are the best group to do the gothic theme. After Voodoo Doll, they continued with another dark-themed song which managed to make many heads turn their way when it was released, Hyde. The five singers of the group – Ken, Leo, Hongbin, Hyuk, and N – captivated with their individual vocal abilities.

After this ‘gothic’ segment, the MC re-appeared to accompany VIXX introducing themselves on stage. N as the leader apologised because Ravi couldn’t dance that day due to the injury he sustained in China. Although injured, Ravi still came to Japan to fulfill his promise to meet Japanese Starlights. This statement was greeted by supportive shouts and handclaps from Starlights. Ravi himself also apologised to have made fans worried. A fanboy shouted really, really loud, “RAVI!” to cheer him up.

After that, fans also applauded Hyuk who had just arrived in Korea that morning from Brazil after doing the shooting for Law of the Jungle, then gone again straight to Japan for the LIVE ARCH. We bet that seeing how big the effort of VIXX members to be present there that day was, many Starlights in their hearts promised to give their loudest support and enjoy the show until the end!

Many fans lining up in front of the venue. Security staff had to time and again asked them not to block people's way, but there were so many of them!

Many fans lining up in front of the venue. Security staff had to time and again asked them not to block people’s way, but there were so many of them!

Ken then got a chance to show off his amazing vocal ability by performing solo, while his friends went backstage to change their clothes into black trousers, white shirts, and vests of different colours.  After Ken’s solo, his five friends appeared again onstage while Ken quickly went to also change his clothes.  For the next segment of the show, VIXX sat on bar stools to answer various questions written on Post-Its earlier by fans before the concert began. For instance, Leo talked a bit about his musical, which was a new and challenging experience for him. Hongbin, who was always ready to flash his warm, wide smile, also talked about his drama, a world also new to him.

Late-coming Ken picked a Post-It that asked him to sing I Believe I Can (‘Ken’) Fly. So he sang some lines from the song with his beautiful voice, astonishing the audience even more.  After answering the questions, VIXX then performed Only U, at first all sitting on their bar stools, but then one by one taking turn to stand and come forward when it’s their singing part. At the end all members stood together, including Ravi.

VIXX then disappeared to the backstage to change clothes again, while fans were shown a VTR of VIXX’s History. Now in maroon suits and black shirts, VIXX returned to perform On & On, followed by Light Up the Darkness, defying Starlights not to rock their body to the rhythm.

The inside of the City Hall seen from a point on the 2nd floor. You could see the armchair for Ravi on the stage.

The inside of the City Hall seen from a point on the 2nd floor. You could see the armchair for Ravi on the stage.

Next was game segment! Other members must make sandwiches for N, who acted the MC.  N explained that Ravi was good in making fried rice, while Ken was good in cooking ramyeon.  But could both be as good in making sandwich? There were two tables provided on the stage with various ingredients; the left-handside table (from the audience’s point of view) was occupied by Ravi and Ken, while the other three worked on the right-handside table.  N approached the members who were making sandwiches busily, and Ken took the time to hug him… maybe as an effort to win N’s heart and thus the game? Well, we bet if fans could be in N’s shoes at the time, nobody would refuse a hug from Ken!

N then moved to the next table, trying to engage with Hongbin, Leo, and Hyuk. Leo, who stood in the middle, was so serious while making the sandwiches; he didn’t respond to N’s questions although N stood next to him and leaned to Leo to make him hear the questions better.  But then the camera caught Leo eating a bite of the ingredients provided!

Everyone was trying to catch N’s attention to win the game. Ravi, for instead, showed off a big ‘N’ letter on top of his sandwich, made from carrot slices.  Hyuk showed off what’s inside his sandwich too, but to N’s astonishment, the letter was ‘M’ instead of ‘N’. N was puzzled and asked Hyuk what he meant with that. Hyuk laughed shyly and gestured towards N… He had meant N! N too laughed and slapped the maknae on the face jokingly.  While Ken wrote ‘N<3’ (N heart/love) on top of his sandwich. This puzzled N too. “Why did you write NO?” Too bad, Ken, your message was misread!

Hongbin made his sandwich look like someone sleeping under a blanket, with a portion of the top toast cut away to reveal some red ingredient (what was it? Sausage? Ham? We were not sure) beneath it.  N peeked underneath the top toast, muffled a laugh, then walked away saying nothing.  We really wonder what was inside Hongbin’s sandwich!

Ken’s sandwich was the first that N tasted. He said it was delicious, but then he stuffed some of Ken’s sandwich into the maker’s mouth! Then, remembering that he had only so far commented on the looks of the others’ sandwiches, N ran back to Hyuk, who stood on the far-right. N took a bite of the maknae’s sandwich, but… he had to muffle his laughter so, so much that his cheeks puffed with Hyuk’s sandwich still inside. Apparently Hyuk’s sandwich didn’t taste good! While Leo turned out to have made two sandwiches. One of them was rich with fillings – that one was for himself. For N, he only put a sheet of ham between two toasts. But although Leo shoved the ham-only sandwich to him, N took and bit the other sandwich Leo had kept away in a plastic lunch box. N said it was really delicious! Next was Hongbin’s, which N also said to be delicious, although it didn’t seem to impress him as much as Leo’s and Ken’s. Last was Ravi’s… what did he prepare for the leader?

Some balloon stands for VIXX. The one on the left was co-donated by Coffee Latte, Leo's fanbase from Indonesia.

Some balloon stands for VIXX. The one on the left was co-donated by Coffee Latte, Leo’s fanbase from Indonesia.

Ravi had prepared a little show for N! His sandwich on the table was covered with a sheet. Like a magician, Ravi whisked the sheet away, revealing a plastic bowl beneath, which he lifted, to reveal another plastic bowl… and underneath the plastic bowl there’s a plastic transparent lunch box with an ‘N’ letter on top made with strips of carrots. When that ‘N’ too was whisked away with Ravi’s hand’s swift motion, there was still another ‘N’! Fans let out a loud ‘wow’. This next ‘N’ was made with more carrot strips directly on top of Ravi’s sandwich, which was very thick. N had to struggle a bit to bite it, but he said it was also delicious!

Seemed like it’s difficult for N to choose a winner.. Hyuk approached him in his last effort to win his hyung’s heart and started massaging his shoulder. Ken joined Hyuk, but they couldn’t sway N’s decision to choose Ravi as the winner. And since Hyuk came up with the worst-tasting sandwich, he was punished. He had to do gwiyomi player, which he with a resigned expression did up to six.

VIXX still had a surprise. The aprons that they were wearing  to cover their black shirts and maroon trousers were to be given away as presents to lucky fans whose ticket numbers were drawn from a box! The whole audience held their breath as one by one VIXX members pulled out a ticket stub each from the box. Each time they read a number, they asked the one who owned the original ticket to raise her/his hand. Six times shouts of joy were heard, followed by congratulating handclaps from other fans.

To close the main setlist, VIXX chose two sweet songs, Thank You for Being Born, followed by Love Letter, again showing off their voices. Saying thank you, they disappeared from the stage, but not for really long. As an answer to fans’ constant calling, VIXX returned with an encore, first with Rock Ur Body.  Although a chair was still provided, Ravi now stood instead of sitting, and moved his body a bit, in time with the music. He just couldn’t keep still! In the last MC before the last song, as well as thanking all the fans who had come, N mentioned about future album & concerts in Japan. This announcement made fans scream happily – now they knew what to wait for after LIVE ARCH finished!

vixx-la9-04

Another thing that VIXX can do as well as they do the gothic is indie pop. And thus they closed their LIVE ARCH performance with G.R.8.U. At one moment during the song, at the ‘saranghae saranghae’ part, N, beaming, instead shouted ‘AISHITEIRU!’ to the loud cheer by fans who also shouted back to show how much they loved VIXX.

For about 500 fans who drew the paper with an ‘E’ stamped on them, the fun was not over – they got to hi-touch with VIXX! While us who were not so lucky, we were asked to leave to the hall; but we had smiles plastered on our faces all the same. It was not of a full-concert scale, but VIXX’s performance in LIVE ARCH was a very satisfactory one. And their career path seems to be promisingly bright in the future – well, they have Starlights illuminating the way for them!

VIXX setlist 29032014

  1. Voodoo Doll
  2. Hyde
  3. Ken’s solo
  4. Only U
  5. On & On
  6. Light Up the Darkness
  7. Thank You For Being Born
  8. Love Letter

Encore

  1. Rock Ur Body
  2. G.R.8.U.
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