TVXQ! — aka 27-year-old Yunho and 25-year-old Changmin, undoubtedly two of the biggest names in K-pop history — proved their supremacy as a pair of “K-pop Kings,” by amassing a total of 700,000 fans to their five-stop, Japan Dome tour, “TVXQ! Live Tour 2013 Time.” Continuing the success, the duo embarked on their first world tour titled, “TVXQ! LIVE WORLD TOUR ‘CATCH ME,'” on Nov. 17, 2012, in Seoul, Korea. They dazzled thousands in Hong Kong (Jan. 19), China (March 30) and Malaysia (May 18), and they finally brought the much-anticipated leg of the tour to America for a Los Angeles date on July 5.
The excitement caused by TVXQ’s first L.A. concert was felt at Nokia Theatre on Friday night. TVXQ’s fans, known as Cassiopeia, arrived hours before the show was to begin. Most fans, dressed in red t-shirts (a signature color for TVXQ!) showed support by holding flash mob events as well as handmade signs.
PHOTOS: BACKSTAGE & ONSTAGE WITH TVXQ!
Backstage, TVXQ appeared energized and high-spirited, despite jet lag and exhaustion from hours of rehearsal. The duo spent the last hour before the show relaxing their vocals (Changmin singing Kim Gun Mo’s “Moon Of Seoul”), taking pictures with lucky fans, joking around with staff members and talking to Billboard for an exclusive video interview.
“We are happy that we get to finally meet with our fans in the States,” says leader Yunho. “The show here [compared to ones in other countries] is more intimate. We are nervous, but extremely excited. Everything feels brand new, as if we just debuted. We want to share our good vibes with our fans that have waited so long.”
At 8:30 p.m. the extravaganza began slightly delayed (due to concertgoers’ unwillingness to leave merchandise booths). Ear-splitting screams erupted, red glow sticks illuminated, and some fans even cried as the packed venue watched the duo appear via hanging on wires.
TVXQ!’s electrifying show kicked off with hardcore, back-to-back performances of “Rising Sun,” “Getaway” and “Why (Keep Your Head Down).”
Taking a moment, Changmin expressed his gratitude to the thousands of fans by saying, in English, “We are so thankful to each and every one of you that came to see us tonight.” With an interpreter, he continued in Korean, “I know our U.S. fans have waited ten, long years for this concert to happen and we will promise to make up for it.”
Throughout the two-hour and a half event, the K-pop kings delivered a pitch-perfect live show with masterfully choreographed dance moves, assisted by six male backup dancers, plus special solo performances. For the solo stages, Changmin mesmerized with a cover of Maxwell’s “Whenever, Wherever, Whatever,” in a casual, striped shirt in front of a backdrop of a cityscape visual. Then, Yunho spiced it up by crooning and hip-swerving his way through his solo track, “Honey Funny Bunny,” in a sequined jacket.
NEXT PAGE: ‘You Guys Are So Amazing!’
The duo went through their extensive catalog of Korean and Japanese hits, including “Wrong Number” (showcasing perfectly in-sync dance moves down to their feet) “Purple Line,” “Humanoids” (their most-recent K-pop single) “Destiny,” “Dream,” “Catch Me” (wearing LED light jeweled jackets, highlighting the technical “Hulk dance”) “Before You Go” and “Mirotic.” In between performances, various TVXQ! videos were shown on the screen to preview each song.
Before bringing the show to a close, the crowd united as one for a touching moment. At one point, fans held up a placard that read, “We will always be here.” Yunho responded to the crowd in English, “You guys are so amazing! I am touched.”
The highlight of the night came when TVXQ! daringly stormed into the crowd — the first they’ve ever done so in their 10-year career, they told Billboard afterwards. The boys went off in separate directions, running through the aisles, leaving fans (and presumably security guards and ushers) in awe.
After successfully wrapping the concert Yunho reflects, “I was really taken aback to see such diversity in ages. We even saw a lady [who seemed to be in her 60s] singing along to our lyrics. This was a special night for all of us. The amount of response we got was tremendous. We won’t forget this night and we hope that our U.S. fans. will remember this night as well.”
Looking forward, TVXQ! will become the first foreign artist to perform at Japan’s Nissan Stadium on August 17 and 18. The two-day event is projected to bring in a total of 150,000 fans.
Want more TVXQ!? Check back to Billboard’s K-Town for an exclusive video interview with Yunho and Changmin coming soon!