K-pop at the cinema continues to thrive. On the heels of BTS’ recent successful box-office documentary film, TWICE has now come together with CJ 4DPLEX to bring their latest Twiceland Tour to silver screens across North America this past weekend. While the girl group has yet to bring their full concert experience Western fans, delivering the show via a new tour documentary movie — including seven special ScreenX theaters which Billboard got to view the show — makes for a nice settleman for their hungry, international fanbase.
The 17-song setlist included a mix of TWICE’s hit singles and album cuts in a quick-moving presentation that need not delay over real-life costume changes or video transitions. From newly remixed versions of No. 1 hits “Signal” and “Knock Knock” to tender and acoustic moments with B-sides like “Someone Like Me” and “Turtle, the ninesome brought their signature style of pulling off technically complicated stages with professional ease featuring a handful more of winks and waves at the crowd.
Many times the performances were heightened by the ScreenX experience with the 270-degree viewing experience utilizing both the center and side walls to nicely fit the band’s nine-member formations, particularly when viewers could see closeup views of three members across the three different screens. Delivering K-pop concerts and performances via ScreenX theaters makes sense as the groups tend to have a higher number of bandmembers and can feature more consistent closeups. Still, some of the screens failed to align properly (at least in the New York theater Billboard watched) creating some unintentionally awkward face mashups.
The concert experience was spliced up with documentary-style interviews and behind-the-scenes moments throughout the Twiceland tour dates throughout Asia in the middle of the doc and towards the end. While TWICE delivered pristinely polished responses and reflections for the filming, but the most powerful reflections came later in the show when the group individually addressed the crowd during the show encore making up what was undeniably the heart of the film.
A generous amount of time was given to allow each of the nine women to address the crowd, enhanced by the multi-screen experience by putting the member speaking on the center screen and the members to her left and right on the side screens to see how the group was experiencing the most emotional part of the show. It was here that it felt like the humble, truly human side of the superstar girl group came out with the audience messages meant to start with leader Jihyo, who couldn’t start speaking because of her tears. Vocalist Jeongyeon reflected to the crowd filled with TWICE fans, known as ONCE, “There’s people out there that love me more than I love myself” before adding, “I’m so happy…I would like to reciprocate the joy you’ve gave me” while singer Sana asked, “When did I become a person who deserves so much love?”
Fellow vocalist Nayeon got even more personal with the crowd, revealing her internal worries about her career. “I wonder if this may all end one day,” she shakily admitted. “However, after experiencing ONCE’s events and continued support, helps me not be afraid as much. Knowing that your heart will store cherished memories is reassuring.” When Jihyo did finally address the crowd, she gave a nearly spiritual message to the audience that capped off the nine emotional messages from the members and led nicely into a montage of old video footage and vintage clips from the group’s years together. These type of moments may fall flat with an artist who does not have a similarly heartfelt reaction like the TWICE members, but the undeniable climax was in these personal, powerful reflections.
When it comes to music concerts and documentary showings, ScreenX certainly has major potential — particularly with K-pop as moments like intricate dance formations and the rare intimate moments were heightened by the experience. As JongRyul Kim, CEO of CJ 4DPLEX tells Billboard, “ScreenX has been receiving very positive feedback from film and music fans alike. The 270 degree viewing angle really lends itself to creating an immersive concert experience.” With a tiny bit more ironing before it becomes a go-to format, the Twiceland concert-documentary proves how it can be utilized in a smart, effective manner for pop concerts and beyond.