Fans have witnessed many new groups debuting in the last five years, but TVXQ is still standing tall in Korean pop industry. Supported by solid team both in Korea and Japan, the duo released highly-acclaimed albums and launched successful series of live tour, including T1ST0RY which is meant as a special tour to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their career. Yunho and Changmin will hold an encore entitled T1ST0RY & … ! on 13-14 June. But before reaching the encore concert, they made a stop in Bangkok on 30 May at IMPACT Arena, with 4MONOLOGUE as the organizer. Not only Thai fans who were excited to welcome TVXQ, so were fans from other South East Asian countries like Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Bangkok’s leg was the last overseas concert before Yunho’s enlistment. No wonder Cassies (and lots of Bigeasts) flew in from all over Asia to see their idols.
We arrived at IMPACT Arena at 3 o’clock. Bangkok’s sun was shining with all its might, but that didn’t stop us from being enthusiastic since it’s our first time watching a concert in Bangkok. Many fans have gathered around IMPACT, mostly wearing red shirts, the colour that represents the fandom. We decided to collect our tickets first at the ticket box. Not only getting the paper tickets to enter the venue, we also received card tickets as souvenirs from the concert. A booth for SMTown Passport was also provided by the organizer. Some goods, like brochure and lightband, were sold out when we visited the selling booth. Thankfully we still managed to get the lightsticks. We didn’t wanna miss being a part of the red ocean! Now on to the security issues. Security in TVXQ’s concert was usually very strict about cheering goods. The guards checked the bags and when they found banners or lightsticks that have nothing to do with TVXQ, they would not allow it to enter the venue (some fans successfully sneaked in that kind of goods though).
At ten past five, the lights were turned off, followed by roaring cheers from the audience as the VCR came on. The epic red ocean filled the venue. The numbers 02060218 (alluding to Yunho and Changmin’s birthday date) were displayed on the screen, then the countdown from ten to zero started. The opening VCR showed Changmin dashingly wearing Victorian era suits. If Changmin’s scene seemed to be set in the past, Yunho’s is futuristic. He’s wearing a white outfit and surrounded by high-tech computers. While roaming through his library, Changmin found a book with the word Cassiopeia written on it. In the future, Yunho run a program entitled Cassiopeia. As if tied by destiny, they finally met in the sky and came to the present era, ready to meet Cassiopeias. One thing that caught our attention was the background music. The song was rock-ish with heavy guitar sound, and Yunho and Changmin screamed “I’m an uptownboy.” in the chorus.
Clad in black and golden outfits that exposed their fine figures, they started the concert with Catch Me. Changmin already took off his jacket at that time, leaving the fans breathless! (Well, we lost count how many times he took our breath away during the whole concert!) The choreo for Catch Me in T1ST0RY is a bit different from the original one. They added some new movements, like high-kicking. The next song was taken from Tense, Double Trouble. It’s one of our favourites from the album for its energetic beat and we sure love the choreography! They continued to heat up the concert by performing Rising Sun. Fireworks and laser added the majestic effects to the performance. Rising Sun is an old track but it never loses its charm.
After three fast-paced opening tracks, TVXQ greeted the fans with sawatdeekrap. Since their departure from Incheon, it’s very obvious that Changmin was in a good mood! During the concert, he kept smiling at the fans and sometimes glared at them teasingly. Meanwhile, although he just finished the web-drama shooting several days before going to Bangkok, Yunho still looked energetic. He was able to make the audience laugh through his jokes and funny actions throughout the concert. Changmin could only look at his hyung in confusion everytime Yunho acted silly.
Smoky Heart displayed their beautiful voices, a reminder that singing skill is one of TVXQ’s strengths. The gentle melody of the song was accompanied by a sillhouette of a ballerina dancing on the big screen. Yunho then left the stage, giving time for Changmin’s solo stage. Heaven’s Day is a sexy song, thanks to Changmin’s falsetto and sensual body waves. When he walked to the additional stage, fans were all nervous because they knew what would happen next. Yes, Changmin ripped off his see-through shirt, proudly showing his muscular abs. We knew he would do that, but it’s still surprising to see our magnae has grown into such a gorgeous young man!
Another VCR marked the session for romantic songs: How Can I, Love in The Ice, Moonlight Fantasy and Your Man. In the video, Changmin and Yunho were again in two different eras, but both were basically doing the same thing, which was meeting the woman that they loved. The camera used subjective point of view, taking the woman’s perspective. When TVXQ held the woman’s hand and then kissed it, the fans shrieked right away. But who’s actually this woman? It turned out that the woman had a constellation tattoo on her neck. She actually represented Cassiopeia, TVXQ’s fans!
Lights turned blue during Love in The Ice and built a melancholic atmosphere inside IMPACT Arena. Standing on the stairs, Yunho and Changmin hypnotized the whole venue with their harmonious voices. After the heartbreaking Love in The Ice, they lifted up the atmosphere with Moonlight Fantasy. They moved to the additional stage and captivated the fans with their cute, free choreography. For the free choreography, Changmin took a movement from SHINee’s latest single, View. Wanting to get closer to fans at tribune sections, they took the cart to go to the small stage. Fans at the frontest row stretched out their hands, getting excited that they could be so near to their idols. TVXQ continued to make fans go wild during I’m Your Man. They took the cart once again to go back to the main stage and while riding it, they distributed roses to the fans both at floor and tribune sections. We heard a fanboy was lucky to get one!
For the next session, TVXQ changed their clothes. Yunho appeared in matching zebra-patterned shirt and blazer, and Changmin looked flamboyant in red blazer. There were two doors on the main stage and the big screen showed a scenery of a city. It’s time for Steppin’! Yunho and Changmin acted as buddies trying to get girls’ attention during this song. At first Yunho wasn’t confident to talk to the girls, but then Changmin forcefully threw his hyung so that he could get closer to them. After the funny scene in Steppin’, atmosphere turned sensual during Destiny. The choreography showed the two of them got really close to the female dancers, for example one dancer was sitting on Yunho’s lap and Changmin was teasing a dancer sitting in a sofa.
While Changmin took a rest backstage, Yunho was performing his solo song Bang. Bang isn’t as teasing as Honey Funny Bunny, but this song showed how Yunho can still be called one of the best dancers in K-pop. Accompanied by several dancers wearing black outfits and red gloves, he performed with such charisma that could only be obtained from years of experience.
Next is the session that we had been waiting for: the acoustic medley! Yet before that, a cute VCR was played. In the VCR, TVXQ and their friends just sat lazily at a living room, looking bored. They finally decided to go camping. After imagining going around with a van (while actually Changmin was riding a broom, instead of a van), they ended up setting their tents at the frontyard. While enjoying the time with bubbles and fireworks, they looked at the sky and spotted Cassiopeia constellation. Another VCR that shows how their fans have a special spot in TVXQ’s heart.
The acoustic session in Bangkok was a bit different. When they first came out from the tent, we were surprised because of their new costumes! In previous legs of the tour, they wore sweaters and jackets, but in Bangkok they went even more casual by wearing shorts. They understood that the weather had been very hot in Bangkok. Changmin questioned whether his shorts were too short, but we thought nobody would make a protest about that!
With a help from a band, TVXQ performed their old hits like My Little Princess, Paradise and You’re My Melody in acoustic version. Yunho made the audience laugh again when he rapped in Thai. Sadly, the words he knew were only sawatdeekrap and kopkhunkrap, so he repeated those words again and again in his rap. Nice try, Yunho! During You’re My Melody, the audience sang in unison as the lyrics were written on the big screen. If the original song sounded melancholy, singing together like this made the song sound sweeter.
Dancers have a great role in TVXQ’s performance. Therefore, after the acoustic session the dancers were introduced to the audience. From backstage, Yunho and Changmin called the dancer’s name one by one. And when the name was called, each dancer would perform their dancing skill, dancing to TVXQ’s tracks like Mirotic, Maximum and Before U Go. One dancer, Kasper, got the loudest cheer from the audience that night!
TVXQ continued to rock the night with the dance track Android (originally a Japanese single) that was combined with Humanoid. Both Yunho and Changmin wore silver outfits, although in different tones. Again, there was a modification for the outfits, suiting Bangkok’s weather. If in other cities they wore jackets, in Bangkok the jackets were changed into vests. There was a little accident during Humanoid that shocked the fans. Remember that movement in Humanoid when Yunho is lifted by the dancers and Changmin walks under him? Yunho accidentally kicked Changmin’s head! Spontaneously Changmin touched his head but being professional, he soon continued his dance.
After I Don’t Know, came Dream VCR in which TVXQ are being so goofy and playful. The next session of the concert was also full of fun as they performed lively songs like Show Me Your Love, Crazy Love and Somebody to Love. They rode scooters around the stage and played snowball with the dancers during Show Me Your Love. After that, in Crazy Love TVXQ sat on chairs and were pushed around the stage by the dancers. Interestingly, two dancers acted as the cameramen for Yunho and Changmin as their close-up expressions were shown in the big screen. Both Yunho and Changmin acted as cutely as they could. Yunho threw a kiss to the camera, triggering high-pitched scream from the fans. Meanwhile, Changmin just couldn’t contain his laughter when making jokes with the dancers. Then they took the carts again during Somebody to Love, like they often did in their Japanese tours. Suddenly, the words ‘light on’ were shown on the big screen. It’s time to turn the lightband on and dance to the remixed version of Somebody to Love! Changmin also made the fans scream to the top of their lungs as he took off his shirt and splashed a bottle of water on his head.
With Something, TVXQ mesmerized the whole IMPACT Arena. The rope choreography is a complicated one, as we all know. We wouldn’t believe it could be performed perfectly until we watched it live with our own eyes! Smoothly, TVXQ and the dancer team handled the ropes and executed the choreography well. They continued to spellbind the audience with, of course, Spellbound. Two tables had been set previously, then a short act on the gambling tables became the gimmick that led to the performance. Spellbound choreography might not be as intricate as Something, but the casino concept is finely reflected through its details such as card-shuffling movement.
TVXQ’s concert wouldn’t be complete without Keep Your Head Down. This song is very monumental both for TVXQ and Cassies as it defined their mammoth comeback after a hiatus. The duo just slayed the stage with their fiery performance, especially during the extended dance part. One word to describe the whole KYHD performance: burning.
During the encore, Yunho and Changmin wore T1ST0RY t-shirt and red Cassiopeia towels were wrapped around their shoulders. Each of them also brought the red lighstick. Tense became the most emotional song at that night since it basically summarized TVXQ’s career and how they wholeheartedly thank the fans. Yunho also mentioned about his upcoming enlistment during the encore. Here Cassies lifted up the banners that they had prepared. “We’re good at waiting” was written in Korean. Biting his lip, Yunho seemed to try hard not to cry. We’re sure many Cassies were crying as Yunho showed his gratituted by bowing deeply to all sections. Waving goodbye to their fans, TVXQ left the stage. But the fans still stayed at their position, watching the concert preparation VCR with I Swear as the background song. Such a sweet song to end the concert.
Why does TVXQ still matter? It’s not difficult to anwer this question, really. They’re still on top when it comes to live performance and stage presence. Yunho and Changmin might not be in their early 20s anymore, but they never run out of energy onstage and always give their best when doing live performance. We’re gonna miss TVXQ when they’re on hiatus, but just like Yunho said, they’ll be back as ‘monsters’. No doubt about that.
T1ST0RY Special Live Tour in Bangkok setlist:
1. Catch Me
2. Double Trouble
3. Rising Sun
5. Smoky Heart
6. Heaven’s Day (Changmin’s solo)
7. How Can I
8. Love In The Ice
9. Moonlight Fantasy
10. Your Man
12. Off Road
13. Love Again
14. Bang (Yunho’s solo)
15. Acoustic medley part 1: Believe/My Little Princess/You Only Love/Tonight
16. Acoustic medley part 2: Paradise/She/You’re My Melody
20. I Don’t Know
21. Show Me Your Love
22. Crazy Love
23. Somebody to Love
26. Keep Your Head Down
28. Here I Stand
29. Always with You