The energy at SuperM’s We Are the Future tour stop in New York City was palpable from the second you entered Madison Square Garden. From the many electronic marquee signs displaying the sold-out event to the fans singing “Jopping” and other songs from the EP while they waited, the group’s popularity was glaringly obvious.
Looking around the arena revealed a diverse collection of lightsticks and other fandom paraphernalia — someone was even rocking a “SMTown Live 2011” t-shirt. Before the show began, the anticipatory excitement of the crowd reached a new high when “Jopping” echoed out, with the loudest cheering occurring at Mark’s rap.
Finally, the lights dimmed and a VCR introducing each member began playing at the front of the stage. The style of the VCR was reminiscent of their sci-fi-esque teaser videos, but with a brighter, more colorful vibe. After the video’s faded out, a silver version of SuperM’s logo flashed onscreen as the boys rose up from the bottom of the stage. The fog surrounding them, the laser light show, and the deafening cheers created the perfect intro into their first performance of “I Can’t Stand the Rain”. The song kicks off with an intense drumbeat that lent ominous, contagious energy to the rest of the show.
Solo and unit performances were layered in between all five of the septet’s songs — starting with “I Can’t Stand The Rain” and finishing off with the iconic “Jopping”. Each performance showcased how well the group executed SMP tracks, a style of SM songs that are centered on powerful live performances. Fans were also treated to two other unreleased tracks: the sensual “Dangerous Woman” and “With You”, a playful, upbeat hit. While their group performances were truly impressive, seeing each member shine on their own and in units provided some of the most memorable moments of the night.
Following “I Can’t Stand The Rain”, Taemin delivered a fierce performance of “Danger” that was interspersed with elements of Shinee’s “Sherlock”. The remix provided a refreshing twist on an already big fan favorite. Directly following “Danger” was the Korean version of the choreography-heavy and dreamy “Goodbye”. The arena transformed into a gorgeous sea of magenta as the light sticks coordinated with the light show on stage, creating a well-suited backdrop to the spectacle.
Taeyong, decked out in a bedazzled mask, took the stage next as the arena bathed him in an eerie red glow. His no-nonsense rap delivery paired fascinatingly with his flair for the dramatic as he burst out in a scripted coughing fit towards the end of the performance, and was dragged offstage by backup dancers. This transitioned straight into all of the members rejoining for “Super Car”, before speaking to the crowd for the first time that night. While the applause was thunderous for all of them, the fan-favorite of the night was definitely Baekhyun.
After the members left the stage, Ten thanked the fans for the opportunity to perform at MSG that night before launching into the serene “Dream in a Dream”. It felt like a natural progression from Taemin’s “Goodbye”, and built up to the more energetic “New Heroes”. The unique vibes of each song, paired with Ten’s immaculate dancing skills created a truly captivating performance. While he has been able to show off his solo talents through singles and as center in WayV and other NCT performances, it was incredible to see just how breath-taking his skills are live. Later, he and Taeyong rounded out the segment with the incredibly seductive “Baby Don’t Stop”. While fans had been singing along all night, the cheers for this reached a new high.
Lucas shifted the energy into a playful direction with “Bass Go Boom”; a bright and colorful track accented with videos of him dancing on-screen. Baekhyun kept the crowd going with “Betcha” and “UN Village” off of his debut solo album, City Lights, released earlier this year. His extensive vocal talents were on display all night, although most notably through “UN Village”’s sultry vibe, and immediately after in SuperM’s alluring “Dangerous Woman”.
Mark and Kai closed out the group’s solo performances with “Talk About” and “Confession” respectively. If anyone entered the show doubting Mark’s ability to carry his own, “Talk About” likely changed their mind. The high-energy, trap-inspired track was a welcome reminder to just how multi-talented the youngest member really is. Kai’s fiery performance of “Confession” was easily the hottest stage of the night. While each member brought their own signature performance style in their solos, Kai is well-known for how his every seductive move captures the attention of each and every viewer. The song’s raw sensuality paired with his trademark stage presence made for a perfect conclusion to the solo acts.
“With You” was the group’s penultimate performance, a bright contrast to the last few sets. After throwing balls to audience members nearby — Taemin throwing his, just a bit more wildly than the others — the members came together to say their final goodbyes and take a picture with the arena. Mark also gave a special shout-out to Lee Soo-man, who waved and made a heart sign from his suite.
“Jopping” fittingly closed out the show, making it sound more like a duet between the group and audience with the loudest fanchants of the night. It’s been said many times online that “Jopping” brought the fun back to K-Pop in many ways — from its unique portmanteau of a title to the strength of its performance. Seeing it live only further proved that as the group went above and beyond showing the world exactly how they get down.
The little over an hour-and-a-half show felt like both a showcase of the individual members and a teaser of how dynamic SuperM can be. Ten telling fans that they can expect to see them as a group again “soon” pushed expectations higher to see just how far this group can go. With a #1 debut on Billboard and a successful tour under their belts, their tour title of We Are the Future appears to just be a matter of time.
(YouTube, Images via SM Entertainment)