Existing alone makes them legends of the music industry, the longest running idol group in Korea, Shinhwa (Kim Dongwan, Eric, Lee Minwoo, Andy, Junjin, Shin Hyesung) beautifully completed their debut 15th anniversary concert.
This concert of Shinhwa’s, which gathered a phenomenal number of 25,000 audiences over 2 days during the past 16th and 17th, was titled “The Legend Continues”. The Shinhwa members, who have been together without a single member change since their 1998 debut, showed an unchanging passionate stage with songs ranging from their debut track “Haegyulsa” to last year’s 10th album title song “Venus”, receiving enthusiastic cheers from the fans.
Excited fans of various age and nationalities gathered at Olympic Park, Bangi-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul, where the concert was held, from original fans, who are no longer young girls, to fans in their teens, proof of Shinhwa’s status as present-day idols, shining with the orange wave they made.
Different from the concert held last year along with their comeback and release of their 10th album, “Venus”, the members stressed that this concert, held after a year and ahead of their end April 11th album release, is meaningful as they kept their promise to the fans.
On the 2nd day of the concert, the 17th, the first performance for the concert was Shinhwa’s 3rd album title song “Only One”, which was re-arranged with an intense sound, followed by “Your Man”, which showed that they’re still a representative dance group of South Korea as they danced in sync and powerfully despite the fast beats. Following that, Shinhwa sang their 1st album’s “Sharing Forever”, re-arranged into a slow tempo, and their 4th album’s title song “Hey, Come On”, with Lee Minwoo’s impressive solo dance part.
On this day, amidst cheers from the fans, a video starting with the foreign exchange crisis in 1998 to the launch of Naro this year, showed how Shinhwa has consistently existed in the past 15 years of Korea’s history. Also, the encouragement videos from singers who debuted around mid to late 1990s and promoted together, such as H.O.T’s Kangta, 1TYM’s Song Baekkyung and Oh Jinhwan, and Baby VOX’s Shim Eunjin etc, attracted attention.
Following that, the performances carried on, with “Free”, with its warm and relaxing atmosphere, “You’re My Everything”, “Prayer”, “How Do I Say”, “Be My Love”, with its usual bad boy atmosphere, “Stay”, which became cuter with the fans’ dance routine, etc.
On the question of the biggest change 15 years after their debut, member Lee Minwoo picked fans changing from teenagers into beautiful ladies, and shouted “those who came with their husbands?” Following which, Kim Dongwan asked “those with babies in their stomachs?” and said, “the following performances will be good for prenatal education,” creating laughter.
The 6 members, who have been very active in variety, made the concert even more interesting through enjoyable talk segments and passionate performances. Following which, during the individual talent time, along with beatbox and drumbeats, the Shinhwa members did a “kwiyomi series”, which showed off their individualities, and also received explosive response from the audience.
As Shinhwa’s first step and the most graceful song, the concert continued with their 2nd album title song “T.O.P”, along with the member’s introduction that it is a destined song that they have to bring along with them till their deaths. Shinhwa, who appeared sitting on chairs that were installed at a high location on stage and with a video of a blue lake on the screen, re-intrepreted “T.O.P” like veterans, through a more polished arrangement and even more intense vocals.
Following which, the excitement continued through performances such as “Perfect Man”, “Shooting Star”, “Angel”, “Hurts”, “Haegyulsa”, “On The Road” etc.
Perhaps the highlight and most touching moment of this day’s concert was the performance of “Venus”, which helped connect the moment between fans’ precious memories of the past and the present. In the video that contained the history of Shinhwa, although they debuted in 1998 with “Haegyulsa”, their 1st album remained obscure. Along with the caption “in Shinhwa’s dictionary, there is no giving up”, a video of “T.O.P”, which gave them their first 1st place, was shown; “Only One” where they changed into the original beastly-dols, “Hey, Come On”, where 5 members promoted due to Andy’s absence, and up till 7th album’s “Brand New”, which came after they left their first home, joined a new home, and gave them their first taste of the honour of winning a daesang. To the fans who have spent a long time together, they’ll be able to feel like it’s a great gift even with just the existence of the group called Shinhwa.
Along with the end of the video, the introduction for their 10th album’s title song “Venus”, which was released last year, started playing, and the fans cheered loudly as it let them truly feel that Shinhwa is not something that existed in the past but is one that exists in the present. Also, along with “Brand New”, which gave them the daesang, “Once In A Lifetime”, which attracted attention for being dance group Shinhwa’s first ballad title song, 3rd album’s masterpiece ballad “First Love” etc, Shinhwa showed hot performances where everyone became one.
On this day, Shin Hyesung said, “through last year’s ‘Venus’ promotions, we received a lot of energy from the fans. This year too, please take care of us”, giving a hint of their active promotions in future.
Lee Minwoo said, “Shinhwa Changjo’s unchanging heart, of just looking only at Shinhwa for 15 years, no one can do the same”, expressing his thanks to their fanclub Shinhwa Changjo for being together with them for a long time.
Kim Dongwan said, “last year, because it was a concert in a long time, so I felt really nervous, but this year, I’ve gotten used to it”, and under boos from the fans, he shouted “with this feeling of familiarity, let’s play on for another 500 years”, bringing about laughter.
Leader Eric said, “Seems like I’ll specially remember today. I hope you’ll support us with the ‘신부심 (the pride one has as a person who likes Shinhwa)’ that you have.”
After the last song “First Love” ended and the lights switched on, the fans shouted the cheer of Shinhwa and Shinhwa fans, “Shinhwa san”, Shinhwa reappeared on stage again and heightened the atmosphere with “I Pray 4 U”, “Run”, and “Yo” before ending the concert.
Shinhwa went up against the prejudice of dance singers, went up against the limitations as idols, and have broken new grounds. Thanks to the consideration and giving way between members, Shinhwa is able to stay together for 15 years and I hope that with their unchanging energy and perfect teamwork, they will remain as a representative idol group of South Korea.
Shinhwa will release their 11th album end April and will start their Asia Tour from June. This time round, the end of the Asia Tour will specially be at Seoul in August and fans are already eagerly anticipating it.
Shinhwa who has come along with history, through the 15th Anniversary concert, I’ll look forward to actions they’ll take for the legend that they hint at writing.