Concerts / Events
RELIVE IT: SMTOWN heats up Anaheim, CA for 'SMTOWN Live World Tour III'!
In 2010, the SM Entertainment family threw their first-ever American concert at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, becoming the first K-pop agency to host an official 'family' tour in the States. In 2011, the agency outdid itself by taking over New York City's Madison Square Garden, one of the most venerated music arenas around the globe.
Now, two eventful years later, SMTOWN has returned to the West Coast to kick off 'SMTOWN Live World Tour III' in Anaheim, California!
With brand new songs, artists, projects and surprises under their belts, the third American edition of the SMTOWN Live tour certainly did not disappoint. Read on to relive the SMTOWN experience below!
Following STAPLES Center and Madison Square Garden, the SM family can now add Anaheim's Honda Center to the list of American concert halls where their stable of artists have graced. Drawing over 12,000 attendees, the 'SMTOWN Live World Tour' was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated K-pop events to take place in California this year.
SM Entertainment pulled out all the stops this year, transforming Honda Center into a dynamic performance arena for a spectacular evening. Three stages were spread across the stadium at the front, the center and inward toward the audience, all connected by runways stretching across the left, center and right parts of the stadium.
MCs Leeteuk, Taeyeon and Tiffany opened the show, with Leeteuk in a white suit and the ladies in black cocktail dresses. They each introduced themselves and brightly greeted the audience, promising a dynamic tour performance by all of the artists for the evening.
To kick off the evening, a video projection flashed onto large screens at the front of the stadium with a Skrillex inspired dubstep track. Fans screamed as SHINee emerged from lifts on the center stage to perform "Lucifer", elevating and descending to the instrumental as backup dancers danced on the floor level below.
Although dancing in formations on the lift stunt seemed dangerous enough in itself, the five members turned up the heat with a rock version of "Amigo", which featured a heavy metal break with the members full-on headbanging as they rose on the stage lifts. Finally, the quintet returned to the main stage to perform "Juliette", complete with a new hip hop dance break after the final chorus to wrap up the opening performance for the night.
Without missing a beat, SHINee handed the spotlight to Super Junior, who turned up the hype by a notch with an intense introduction to a "Superman" remix, standing in a line side by side and facing the audience as they chanted in unison and approached the center stage lifts. The members proceeded with "Don't Don" and "Bonamana", including a frenzy of rock instruments for a climactic conclusion.
Fans weren't given a moment to breathe as a smoky haze swirled about the stage during a transition. The powerful duo Yunho and Changmin of TVXQ stormed the stage with the heavy beat of "Way You Are", which transitioned into the second chorus of "Mirotic" with Yunho's rap and Changmin's epic high note, only to close with a final orchestral finish. Although the performance gave a taste of two of the group's smash hits, the short medley only left the audience begging for more.
In contrast, the ladies of f(x) stepped on stage to use their own charms to crank up the heat with "Hot Summer" and "NU ABO". As a California native, Amber introduced the girls and warmly greeted the audience, as Luna occasionally piped in with confident English phrases.
Next, a lone shape rose out of center stage as Taeyeon was lifted into the middle of the stadium, dressed in a textured black jacket. The kid leader may be petite, but when she opened her mouth to belt out her ballad, "Devil's Cry", Taeyeon nearly brought the house down with her powerful voice.
The Girls' Generation leader was soon joined by six fellow members for "Run Devil Run" in embellished black & bold vests and leather high-heel boots. Each member introduced herself to a massive cheer of audiences, and Sunny especially thanked fans for recently celebrating her birthday. "Unfortunately, we couldn't come with lucky number 9, but tonight there's a lucky number 7," Tiffany explained. "You guys are gonna have to be able to fill in Yuri and YoonA's spots. Can you guys do that for us? They're currently shooting their wonderful dramas 'Love Rain' and 'Fashion King', so if you guys have time be sure to check them out!"
The seven girls then continued with "Genie" and a laid-back remix of "Kissing You". As the beat kicked in and white confetti continually blasted into the air, the members split off and spread across each stage to happily smile and wave at the audience. Seohyun and Sunny even linked up and adorably spun around on the middle stage.
Soon, SHINee returned to the spotlight in white outfits for "SHINee World. "Love Like Oxygen" started off with a dance segment heavy with tribal-like drum beats that continued to thrum throughout the track as water jets shot across the stage.
To the audience's delight, the MC trio Leeteuk, Taeyeon and Tiffany returned to the stage to introduce the next segment, featuring surprise collaborations between SM artists. From Luna and Onew's adorably romantic cover of "Can I Have This Dance" (High School Musical 3) to Donghae and Enhyuk's performance of "Oppa Oppa" in crazily patterned suits with goofy disco-inspired dance moves.
Sister sensations (& also California natives) Jessica and Krystal dazzled with an upbeat cover of Katy Perry's "California Girls", wow-ing the audience with extra ad-libs near the end. TVXQ & SuJu maknaes Changmin and Kyuhyun caused an uproar as they brought a girl from the audience onstage and serenaded her with a rendition of Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are".
Suddenly, six unfamiliar figures in metallic jackets were revealed onstage as SM Entertainment's newest group, EXO finally made its American debut with "History". The six members of EXO-K were joined near the climax of the song by EXO-M as twelve concluded the song with a dynamic mirrored choreography.
Ecstatic fans went wild when the group made individual introductions, transitioning back and forth between English, Chinese, and Korean. "It's so good to be here today at SMTOWN," Canadian-born Kris shared. "We're so happy to be here... yeah." FInally, EXO-K & EXO-M performed "MAMA", beginning the first segment in Korean then switching to Chinese for the second half. Member Tao ended the stage with an impressive martial arts flip as the audience roared in appreciation.
EXO was followed by Girls' Generation's first-ever sub-unit trio Taetiseo, who dazzled the audience in black & pink outfits, raising some eyebrows when they were accompanied by a stageful of male back-up dancers.
The surprises kept coming the addictive hook to Far*East Movement's "Like a G6" pounded through the speakers, with Amber and EXO's Kris emerging to rap and none other than Key covering DEV's sexy hook in the chorus.
Super Junior and TVXQ reemerged to perform their respective hits, including "Sorry Sorry", "A-Cha", "Maximum" and "Keep Your Head Down", bringing back the testosterone-filled, adrenaline-pumping atmosphere the audience had experienced at the beginning of the night.
Finally, international pop star BoA made her anticipated entrance, fiercely dressed in a white tee, black jeans and black leather blazer for the equally fierce dance pop tracks "Look Who's Talking", "Energetic", "I Did It For Love" and "Hurricane Venus". To ease the energy and slow down the tempo, BoA also performed "One Dream" with Kris & Key from the hit reality show, 'K-Pop Star'.
Between songs, the petite singer flashed a smile and warmly greeted the stadium in English. She admitted being exhausted from flying in that morning, but was pumped nonetheless, and encouraged the audience to go all out, exclaiming, "You should all shake your booties!" BoA also admitted that she was done singing the same English tracks from her debut American album, teasingly hinting that a new English track was in the works.
Following BoA's performance, Girls' Generation, Super Junior, SHINee, f(x) and finally TVXQ all reemerged in new outfits to perform their biggest smash hits. Super Junior's "Mr. Simple" was particularly dazzling as the members performed a new dance break wearing bright LED jackets. Finally, TVXQ performed a rearranged version of "Rising Sun" to close the show.
For a concert of such epic magnitude with so many world-famous Hallyu stars, the stadium unified into a deafening chant for an encore, and indeed, all of the performers reemerged in white SMTOWN tees to sing together for a unified finale performance. As silver confetti rained from the top of the stadium and sprinkled onto the idols and audience members like snow, there was no doubt that 'SMTOWN Live' had delivered yet again.
Standing at the forefront of the Hallyu phenomenon, SM Entertainment has continually impressed with its foray into international fame, outdoing its previous 'SMTOWN Live' performances each year. Although attendees and diehard fans will undoubtedly be suffering K-pop concert withdrawal over the next few days, we can only wonder what SMTOWN 2013 will bring. Stay tuned!
Photography by: Kevin Chang & Alex Gao
Coverage by: Jenny Tszeng
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