SEVENTEEN’s Be the Sun World Tour Review
SEVENTEEN’s tour stop in Chicago was a beautiful escape in more ways than one.
When SEVENTEEN last came to Chicago, in early 2020 on the Ode to You Tour, they left the impression that they simply could not get any better. From start to finish, their show was versatile, dynamic, and incredibly fun. Somehow, SEVENTEEN actually outdid themselves with their Be the Sun show, proving the amount of tricks they have up their sleeves is endless! While the Ode to You show had plenty of surprises, special fan-centered moments, and eye-popping details, the Be the Sun show had all of that times ten. SEVENTEEN’s live performances have somehow gotten even more interactive and visually stunning.
The Opening Numbers
An enormous, curtained-off structure stood in the center of the stage as fans eagerly anticipated SEVENTEEN’s grand arrival. The suspense was palpable as curiosity rose, and the curiosity turned to excitement as the relatively bland setting transformed before fans’ eyes. The structure appeared to instantaneously combust, leaving an explosion of stars in its wake. The visual magic trick took place across multiple screens, leaving crowd members in all corners feeling as if they were inside the real-time art show unfolding. CARATs (fans of SEVENTEEN) became a part of a special galaxy, as the walls seemed to break down and fans could now see the full stage.
The thirteen members burst into their opening number, “HOT,” followed by “March.” The repeated bursts of flames in different shades of orange were hot enough to feel from the seats, and the pops of sparklers kept people on their toes.
Another way the members added an extra “oomph” to an already-gripping performance was through their slick moves. Their third song was “Hit,” a single whose synchronized choreography never fails to mesmerize.
The Unit Stages
The next round of performances included “Rock with you” and “2 MINUS 1,” the former having another tightly-synchronized dance routine and the latter being an exciting opportunity to see JOSHUA and VERNON in a new light. The duo gave their bonus track the live makeover it deserved and were clearly in their element while doing so. It was easy to see glimpses of their future selves in the performance; although SEVENTEEN still has a long career ahead of them, it was easy to picture VERNON and JOSHUA thriving on future solo projects in the same pop-punk vein as “2 MINUS 1.” VERNON dressed and acted like a true rockstar, and JOSHUA proved his often-gentle vocals can take a turn for the angstier too.
The next portion of the show included six songs, two for each of SEVENTEEN’s typical subunits. The performance team stunned in white, sparkly ensembles that glittered in the spotlights as they performed gorgeous, fluid choreography for “MOONWALKER” and “Wave.” In addition to showing off their dance skills, they also showed off their confidence, posing and pivoting with both elegance and attitude. They made the stage a retro, dance-pop party scene, acting as both runway models and professional interpretive dancers.
The vocal team came next, with beautiful renditions of “Come to me” and “Imperfect love.” They sat on bleachers surrounded by images of starry night skies and greenery, enveloping viewers in both their warm voices and the comforting visuals.
Lastly, the hip-hop team showed off their new and improved rap game with “GAM3BO1” and “Back it up.” While “GAM3BO1” was a thrill, “Back it up” was exceptionally so; it turned into a club-ready banger to which it was hard to stop jumping along. The exhilarating sensation of feeling the beat all the way down to one’s toes at a concert was certainly not reserved for a grand finale; that euphoria came early thanks to this standout performance.
The Return to Full-Group Stages
After a brief break, all thirteen members returned to the stage and seemed to have not lost an ounce of energy. Fencing and signs reminiscent of the “Left & Right” music video were set up on the main stage, and while everyone’s eyes were there, the members suddenly popped up from hiding places underneath the second stage! Dressed in red, sporty looks, the members played along with DK’s over-the-top acting as a distressed team coach before performing older fan favorites: “Mansae,” “Left & Right,” and “VERY NICE.” All three numbers were topped off with very SEVENTEEN twists: goofy banter and impromptu covers between songs (this time, MINGYU and VERNON rocked out to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”)!
The final portion of the show returned to newer material. Dressed in shiny, silver outfits and performing more incredibly in-sync routines, SEVENTEEN gave “Shadow” the live version it deserved. “Crush” and “_WORLD” were just as eye-catching as “Shadow,” but “Shadow” kept its tone more focused and serious. “Crush” and “_WORLD” allowed a more cheerful and boyish charm to shine.
The intense, detailed show appeared to be wrapping up in the blink of an eye, but the encore ensured much carefree fun was still to be had! SEVENTEEN returned to the stage for adorable performances of “Darl+ing” and “Our dawn is hotter than day,” both including extra rounds of the chorus, when they encouraged fans to sing and sway along with them. They further extended this joyful night with a lengthy performance of “Snap Shoot.” As the audience clapped and danced along, the members did some individual freestyling, to rapturous applause from fellow bandmates and CARATs alike.
The extra time on the second stage, which extended further into the crowd than the main stage, gave audiences a close-up look at the members’ natural chemistry. When not paying attention to the freestyle dances, fans could spot different pairs of members teasing each other, helping one another with mic adjustments, and sharing knowing glances and smiles. Seeing the members’ dynamics crystallized how such a large group is able to pull off routines that require so much teamwork!
The final song of the encore was their staple: the “Never-Ending Version” of “VERY NICE”! As usual, SEVENTEEN kept the crowd guessing about how many rounds of the chorus were left before they officially departed the stage, repeatedly acting like they were wrapping up to take a bow before sprinting back to the second stage and starting the chorus all over again. Feeling a part of the larger fandom was easy at that moment, as CARATs jumped up and down in unison and let confetti spill over them.
A massive mixture of lighting tricks, blasts of fire and confetti, intentionally over-the-top acting bits, dance routines, sparkly outfits, subtle and sweet interactions among members, fan-focused elements, stadium-worthy sounds, and back-and-forths between youthful and more mature demeanors made SEVENTEEN’s show uniquely theirs. Each performance was treated as much more than just another performance; each one was treated as a chance to pull out all the stops. While other groups might focus on giving the spotlight to one skill at a time, such as dancing or acting, SEVENTEEN kept combining them, demonstrating multiple talents at once. They ensured there were layers to appreciate in every scene.
A Personal Note
While I try to keep my reviews as objective as possible, I am obviously biased towards anything SEVENTEEN-related! That being said, my subjective interpretation of the show actually correlates to my objective one, because the reasons why I personally was blown away are similar to the reasons any objective music critic would be too. SEVENTEEN gave audiences a lot to take in, visually, auditorily, and even touch-wise, given the fire and confetti. A significant level of sensory stimulation during a SEVENTEEN concert is an objective observation, but what turns my review subjective is how I personally feel about that stimulation.
As an autistic person, it is incredibly rare to find something powerful enough to turn off parts of my brain and metaphorically untangle its wires. It is rare for me to experience something completely, without nagging distractions that are both sensory-related and all in my head. Most events that are loud and crowded are overwhelming for me, but music changes the entire equation. Live music fuels me, and certain artists’ music recharges me in incredible ways. SEVENTEEN reminded me of the power of music last night. There was nothing in my mind except them and the music. Cluttered corners of my brain closed up shop for the night as I just soaked in the many sights, sounds, and sensations around me. The multitude of screens spread out to make me feel like I could reach out and touch the images, the musical vibrations beneath my feet that made jumping and swaying along easy, the exaggerated acting that made me feel like I was in the front row at a live musical… it all came together to make for an astoundingly immersive experience.
SEVENTEEN turned the venue into a special cocoon, a personalized atmosphere bursting with joy, connection, thrills, and a sense of becoming one with them and their music. Perhaps the best encapsulation of the feeling SEVENTEEN created came from the times when the audience was encouraged to raise their hands and sway along with them. Some CARATs kept swaying from left to right, and others kept swaying vice versa, so people’s raised hands were not all in unison. However, the “waves” CARATs made were still indeed waves, and it was beautiful to watch. While SEVENTEEN created a special space for all CARATs to feel included in one big moment, they also proved how personal the concert-viewing experience can be for each and every CARAT. We all rocked out as one unit, but we didn’t always rock out in exactly the same way, and that did not deter from the beauty of the crowd’s contributions.
Overall, as much as I can argue that SEVENTEEN put on a great show while being in my “objective music critic” mindset, I must also acknowledge why they did a great job in my personal opinion. They put on a great show for all, but I was affected by it in a personal way, and the ability to make an arena feel intimate enough for this to be the case is a testament to their boundless artistry. SEVENTEEN continue to go nowhere but up, and I am grateful to watch their journey unfold and thrilled to see their forms of storytelling multiply.
More SEVENTEEN Content
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