[CONCERT REVIEW] Shinhwa: Reborn with "THE RETURN"

10아시아최종수정 2012.03.26 16:36 기사입력 2012.03.26 16:10

Shinhwa members at "2012 SHINHWA GRAND TOUR IN SEOUL 'THE RETURN'" [Shinhwa Company]

Before Shinhwa took the stage at Seoul Olympic Stadium on March 25, the crowd’s energy was wildly high and the air was thick with anticipation for the group who is now marking their 14th anniversary since their debut.

Suited up in white, the six members of Shinhwa slowly crept onstage with flying swans and floating clouds playing on the enormous LED screen, announcing the beginning of their concert "2012 SHINHWA GRAND TOUR IN SEOUL 'THE RETURN'."

With the dazzling graphics bouncing in the back, Shinhwa refreshed the memories of their fans with the second album's title track “T.O.P" released in 1999.

It is no exaggeration to say that Shinhwa played the screaming crowd, who were waiting for their heartthrobs during the last four years of the group’s hiatus, like a shrill noisemaker.

About 10,000 people who filled the venue from the ground to the third floor seemed incapable of containing their excitement and emitted a particular high-pitched squeal that lasted a little over three hours until the last encore performance.
"2012 SHINHWA GRAND TOUR IN SEOUL 'THE RETURN'" held at Seoul Olympic Stadium on March 25[Shinhwa Company]

In 1998, when Shinhwa came together as a group dancing to “T.O.P,” no one could have predicted the scope of their success - or their longevity with the untainted fame as 'the six.'

Especially when K-pop acts come and go nowadays after legal troubles with their agencies or simply being unpopular, Shinhwa’s grand return to commemorate their tenth album, adding with the loyalty of their fans, were something to remember at last night’s event.

A well-balanced setlist of 23 old and new songs from all ten albums took the audience back and forth between the 1990s and that very moment.

Three things were clear: they still had the moves; their wittiness and jokes emitted positive vibe as usual; and the vocal skills, choreography and stage directing were true evidences to suggest that they are not just a young idol group anymore.

Shinhwa members at "2012 SHINHWA GRAND TOUR IN SEOUL 'THE RETURN'" [Shinhwa Company]

For their return, Shinhwa could have made their easy way out by choosing similar genres of music they have been pursuing with a strong fan base.

Nonetheless, Shinhwa broke their own custom of solely focusing on powerful group dance moves and the typical K-pop rhythm. The carefully chosen eleven tracks in Shinhwa's tenth album were mainly electronica genre which is something that the group has never tried before.

Unlike how people worried if Shinhwa could pull this off, the title song "Venus" holds well crafted melodies that still keep the color of Shinhwa.

The delicious hooks in "Venus" made the audience, a lot of them who are not quite used to the tune, automatically chant along with Shinhwa singing "Your ma luv uh! uh! uh! uh! uh! uh! Venus" with an addictive electronic beat.

Shinhwa members at "2012 SHINHWA GRAND TOUR IN SEOUL 'THE RETURN'" [Shinhwa Company]

Joined by other young idol groups and veteran artists in the audience, such as 2PM's Taecyeon, Chansung and Junsu, TVXQ's Max Changmin, Super Junior's Kyuhyun, Teen Top and the K-pop diva Insooni, Shinhwa told 10Asia before the concert that they have no intention of competing with other idol groups but that their only task that lies ahead and that is to become role models for those who are in the K-pop music scene.

"Many idol groups tell us that they look up to us and learn from our activities and we don't want to lose our face," Lee Min-woo said as he described that the concert was the beginning of that stage as the pioneers of Korean idol groups.

"Because we've been singing and dancing for the last 14 years, we'd like to help and give advice to other groups whenever they need it."

14 years of experience does not come for free. Shinhwa members have gone through numerous ups and downs and in that process and the songs they have sang for a little over a decade are now ripe for a wider range of audience from teens to people in their 30s.

From the beginning to the end of their 210-minute set, Shinhwa proved that their "THE RETURN," or their "reborn," could bear the fruit as its previous records with surprisingly improved vocals and rap, not to mention their dancing skills.

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