July 22-24 and 29-31, EXO held their third concert ”EXO PLANET # 3 – THE EXO’rDIUM – ”At the Gymnastics Stadium in Seoul Olympic Park, Korea. The stadium served as an important clue to gauge the popularity of Korean artists as the largest concert hall in South Korea where it can accommodate up to 15,000 seats, and all six-day concerts have been sold out, including including obstructed view seats. During the six days, 84,000 EXO-Ls (EXO fans) attended the concert while fans who were unable to purchase tickets online set up tents at the stadium for field sales. EXO entertained the audience for three and a half hours, performing 37 songs in total.
With the revised worldview narrative of 9 Supernatural Powers (up from 10 after Tao left the group last year), the opening video explained how EXO-Ls (and all other human beings! ) needed these “perfect aliens” who came to save Earth. Shortly after the screening, Baekhyun appeared in the center of the hexagonal stage and announced the grand opening of EXO’rDIUM. As soon as Baekhyun – who is in charge of the “light” among 9 supernatural powers – caressed the floor of the stage, a massive shock wave spread from the center to the outskirts of the auditorium. Let me correct that – not a shock wave, but a constellation of light beams emitted by the public’s new official EXO glow sticks.
Before the concert, SM Entertainment released a new official LED light stick and recommended that EXO-Ls buy it for better concert direction. The new technology applied to the new light stick was called “Beatlight”—At the concert, SM’s performance director, Shim Jaewon, was able to control the wattage and colors of each glow stick according to the audience seats. Throughout the concert, the colorful movement of the glow sticks became an important part of conducting the concert. What was impressive was SM Entertainment’s confidence in EXO-L’s loyalty to purchase the glow sticks for the concert, as the glow stick was not included with the purchase of the ticket. In addition to the new LED light sticks, the concert demonstrated the ultimate luxury of stage sets with seven large LED screens, pyrotechnics, strobes, 15 meter high rain curtain, LED floor screen on both side stages and 215 meters high. long LED bar that surrounded the third floor.
EXO’s musical style ranged from funky disco to dance pop, R&B, EDM and hip hop. They opened their show with the first representative SMP-style song “MAMA” and quickly moved on to “Monster” where Baekhyun showed off his sculpted abs during his solo dance break. Throughout the show, Baekhyun sometimes mentioned how hard he worked on doing his sit-ups (“The gig will be over soon… But I’m so happy right now. I can have pizza and everything!”) And how much he wished he had pizza (Right after the gig he uploaded a selfie with a pizza to his Instagram account, and the pizza website server was interrupted for a while by the EXO-Ls who tried ordering the same pizza menu Baekhyun ordered). Because EXO’s “center” Kai injured his ankle during the second gig, the acoustic medley of “My Lady”, “My Turn To Cry”, “Moonlight”, “Love Love Love”, “Lady Luck,” “Call Me Baby” and “Monodrama” unexpectedly gave her the opportunity to join the stage instead of other aggressive dance performances. “One And Only” was another highlight as Lay and Sehun (and Kai on day one) danced in the rain on the hexagon-shaped push stage. While “Let Out The Beast” offered a short EDM festival-like moment, “Do It Together” featured the rap talents of Chanyeol, Sehun and Xiumin on trap beats. They also demonstrated individual talents in solo dance (Kai, Lay, Sehun and Baekhyun), acoustic and electronic guitars (Chanyeol and Lay), DJ ( Chanyeol) and acting (Chen, Baekhyun, Xiumin, and Suho), which exemplified the ideal type of multi-talented idols.
Following their charismatic appearance at the start of the show, the members took full advantage of the home advantage and actively communicated with the audience. The members called themselves “oppas” and the audience “my babies” and teased the EXO-Ls who put cold compresses on their faces saying, “You won’t have to worry about your pores. In a video interlude, Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin (or so-called “Reservoir Idols: Chen Baek Xi”, presumably parodying Quentin Tarantino’s film “Reservoir Dogs”) appeared as good-for-nothing punks who were chased by Suho who has played quadruple roles of flyer distributor, street cleaner, security guard and yogurt vendor. Hanging out Baekhyun as a girl in the video was a typical K-pop tease, although Xiumin mentioned that “You have to give up everything to impersonate a girl.” Throughout the show, the EXO-Ls passionately applauded the group and often sang or shouted fan chants for each song.
With the six-day sold-out concert, EXO added another significant achievement in K-pop history by becoming the first artist to perform six times at the Olympic Park Gymnastics Stadium in Seoul, Korea. More important to remember is the near-perfect chemistry between performance director Shim Jaewon, the EXO members and the EXO-Ls who lit up the six nights.
List of sets:
- White noise
- Thunder + Playboy
- Artificial Love
- (Acoustic Medley) My Lady + My Turn to Cry + Moonlight + Monodrama + Call Me Baby + Love, Love, Love + Lady Luck
- what if
- Tender love
- Love me
- The one and only
- Girl X Friend
- Do it together
- Full moon
- drop it off
- EXO keeps dancing
- Let out the beast
- To run
- Cloud 9
Photos courtesy of SM Entertainment