Feature photo courtesy of @superm
SuperM at Madison Square Garden
Let me just start by saying I did not intend to stan* SuperM when they first debuted. I consider myself a pretty loyal BTS stan, and while I do follow and watch (or as I like to say, soft stan) NCT, I still reserve most of my energy and time (and money) for BTS.
So when SuperM debuted, it was more out of curiosity that I clicked on “Jopping” and listened to their album. What spiraled out of that was very much out of my control, as I somehow ended up listening to their entire album, watching their interviews, and following their solo careers and their other units (stan life!). It is, then, entirely unsurprising that I ended up at Madison Square Garden for their “We are the Future” tour on November 19th at 7pm.
Carolyn bought the tickets for me so that we could sit together, and, after being used to stadiums tours, Madison Square Garden felt like an intimate venue. We were in Section 105, Row 5, which was basically towards the right corner of the extended stage. We were actually exactly where that right corner was pointing, and the stage felt so close it was nerve wracking. I’m actually not sure how to cover the entire concert without writing (and probably gushing) for at least enough pages for a mini research paper, but I’ll try my best (which might basically be a fast forward combined with a highlight reel of the concert, bear with me). They started only fifteen minutes after 7, opening with an introduction video much in line with the vibe of Jopping (i.e. epic, spy-like, action movie star~).
IMAGE CREDIT: BOBBLEHAUS / CASEY HUANG
Their set list had already been released, and we’d more or less glanced at it and knew the general order of songs that the performance was going to be in. But what we did not prepare for was how impressive each performance would be. They started with “I Can’t Stand the Rain,” and even though it was the farthest stage from me, it was clear how precise their dance moves were. Each moved with their own grace, but altogether their cohesiveness was so satisfying to see. A quick dance break introduced Taemin’s solo, “Danger.” Seemingly (or quite clearly influenced by) inspired by Michael Jackson, Taemin’s smooth and seemingly effortless movements remind me of how he’s become such an icon. After all, it’s not every day that you find an idol who has maintained and continued to rise in fame since they were 14 (a throwback to SHINEE days). His next solo, “Goodbye,” further showed how seamlessly he could move. With the fog seeping slowly onto the stage, it was beautiful right up to the minute he jumped under the stage (like jumping into a hole in the ground).
The next member on stage donned on a glitter (crystal?) covered mask when he appeared, but by his stance we could tell it was none other than Taeyong. He performed an unreleased song called “GTA (Grand Troubled Artist)”, and I think I should leave it up to you to watch it yourself. Everything from the choreography to the outfits were on point, and it was thrilling to see it performed live. Taeyong’s stage presence is so contradictory to his cute baby-ish personality in interviews and videos that it always throws me off guard (but in the best way). They introduced themselves after they joined Taeyong on stage to perform “Super Car,” and their appreciation for being able to perform at Madison Square Garden at all warmed my heart. A dream come true for them, but definitely one for us too.
Lucas’ solo, “Bass Go Boom,” was another unreleased track that fit his persona perfectly. With clips of Lucas making cute facial expressions and dancing in the background of his performance, the lively beat matched Lucas’ energy. Mark and Kai performed their own solo songs--“Talk about” and “Confession” respectively--and… all I can say is that it was an experience. Spoilers: Mark dances like the boss that he is and Kai might as well have not worn that cropped jacket. At that point, why bother?
As of now, I don’t have a bias* yet in SuperM. I thought I would decide at the concert as it would just somehow magically click with me, but TEN and Baekhyun are pretty much neck and neck after I saw them live (although Taeyong and Mark are pretty up there too.. If only I could decide). I had been looking forward to watching TEN dance with my own eyes ever, and he truly was every bit as precise and incredible as I thought he would be. TEN’s two solos, “Dream in a Dream” and “New Heroes,” were both ethereal and beautiful, especially with the aid of fog and wardrobe (and his amazing ability to move faster than I could blink).
Baekhyun’s rendition of “Betcha” and “UN Village” honestly had me in disbelief--really, my mouth was wide open during the entire performance, I’m sure. I really didn’t expect to like Baekhyun so much, but I was very, very enchanted by his performance. “UN Village” was probably one of my favorite performances of the night, probably in large part due to the way Baekhyun simply commands your attention. Every little move he made only made me freak out more, and it doesn’t hurt that his bleached white hair matched his oversized bomber and baggy pants perfectly. Thank you for that look, whoever SuperM’s stylist was. In fact, thank you for all the looks.
Apart from “Super Car,” “2 Fast,” and “No Manners,” SuperM also performed other unreleased songs as a group. “Dangerous Woman” and “With You” were two songs from SuperM that were entirely new, and both songs had an upbeat energy that made me smile. I also thought it was cute that they asked for audience feedback for their unreleased songs, and we naturally gave them the strongest appraisal we could have. During “With You,” they even threw plastic balls with their signature in the crowd. Too bad I was sitting too far away to have caught one, even though it was clear they tried as hard as they could to throw it was far as they can. Every unreleased song was honestly great, in fact, “Dangerous Woman” and “Bass Go Boom” were stuck in my head for a little after too. ooo
I’ll close on my personal favorites of the concert, and that has to be the performance of “Baby Don’t Stop” by Taeyong and TEN. You have no idea how many times I’ve watched and rewatched music videos, live performances, and dance practices of this song. I truly love this song and choreography, as well as the striking duo of Taeyong and TEN. I always thought they were a great balance for each other artistically, and I just love seeing them together. Their performance was amazing-- everything I was hoping for. I honestly never thought I would be able to see this performance live, so that’s crossed off my bucket list now.
They saved “Jopping” for last, as we would have expected (especially because they played it back to back before the concert even began). Mark’s verse is Carolyn’s favorite part of the song, and clearly almost everyone else’s too because we could hear the entire crowd chanting it. I learned it myself, as it truly is an addictive verse (and the fact that it is entirely in English doesn’t hurt either). They ended by promising us they would be back next Spring, and you know that they wouldn’t say that unless it were true. Taeyong even sweetly reminded us to take care of ourselves until we saw them next, whereas Baekhyun simply affirmed, “You guys will wait for us, right?”
And we will. We’re already planning to see them again in the Spring, and stream their album whenever it’s released. I only wish all of these unreleased songs were on Spotify already so I could binge-listen to them, too.
*Stan: “stalker” + “fan.” Urban dictionary classifies it as someone who is overly obsessed with a celebrity.
*Bias: your favorite member in the group.