Concerts / Events
Posted by 3 pts Sunday, June 5, 2011

[RELIVE: JYJ 2011 World Tour] JYJ brings the fire to San Jose!


After holding their showcase tour last autumn, JYJ has returned to North America for their "2011 World Tour"! Having impressed fans with their shows in Vancouver, Newark, and Los Angeles thus far, JYJ's Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu ended the tour with a bang on June 3rd, performing their final concert at San Jose State University's Event Center Arena in San Jose, California. Check out allkpop's exclusive coverage of the action-packed show below! === The concert may have been scheduled to begin at 8:00 PM, but JYJ's presence at the venue was obvious long before the arena even opened its doors. With fanclub banners strung across campus and supporters passing out free posters, red glowstick headbands, and light-up finger lights before the show, any passerby would be hard-pressed to miss the feeling that something huge was taking place that evening. As attendees began to stream into the arena for seating, the letters "JYJ" blazed across the enormous screens that flanked each side of the stage. The light-studded wall behind it glittered with gradients of colors, and two glass cages were placed on both sides of the platform. Though the stage was still empty of performers, the set-up promised a dynamic performance for the night. A practice video played on the screens during this time, revealing the backup dancers who ran through the choreography for "Be My Girl". Since the video had subtitles, it gave the audience an opportunity to learn each dance move in the routine.

Suddenly, the video ended, the arena lights shut off, and the room became illuminated by tiny red stars. Fans started screaming and pressing forward as the familiar beats of "Empty" pierced the air. JYJ emerged onstage with a full entourage of male and female back-up dancers dressed sleekly in black. Whoever was in charge of set decoration truly bigged it up for this concert - the larger-than-life, club ambiance enveloped the arena and swept the audience away for what would be one hell of a concert. As the first song came to an end, the trio stood alone on the extended stage, allowing fans to feast their eyes on the idols and admire their stage wardrobe - Jaejoong sported a ruby red suit with a flower brooch, Junsu was dressed in a gray suit with a feather accessory on his back, and Yoochun was glittering from top to bottom in a blue suit. A few seconds passed and the three men jumped right into their next song, "Ideal Scenario (I.D.S)", another upbeat dance track. This time, male dancers dressed in black, ninja-inspired outfits performed choreography behind them. The energy in the stadium was pulsing, fans were flushed from the excitement, and that's when a few piano notes echoed through the air as ballad "Nine" followed up. "Wassup San Jose!", Yoochun greeted as the audience erupted in reaction. "Welcome to the JYJ World Tour in San Jose, so glad to see you guys!" Junsu chimed in, "Let's have a good time together, thank you!", and Jaejoong continued with a smile, "I hope you enjoy the show, kamsamnida!"

To kickstart the next song, JYJ exclaimed in unison, "Get ready to SCREAM!" On cue, white lights flooded the arena and "Pierrot" echoed through the speakers. The three members appeared on the upper platform of the stage as female dancers in white tutus performed ballet-inspired choreography on the main stage. Although the song has an upbeat style, JYJ's soaring vocals and the dancer's haunting feel gave this performance a deeper layer of emotion. For the fifth track, "Be My Girl", microphones were set up and each member returned to the stage one by one, grooving and goofing off to the tune. The laidback song was followed by a dramatic behind-the-scenes video of "The Beginning" album jacket photoshoot set, complete with slow motion falling snow and waterfalls. During this break, JYJ switched into their second set of outfits (full black leather & silver accessories) and returned for "Be the One", a performance characterized by its heavy bass beats pumping into the stadium floors and the flashing yellow lights that dramatically turned blue as JYJ sang. The dancers all circled together and put their arms on one another as the tune of "Ayyy Girl" then pulsated through the airwaves. "Club JYJ" was back in full force - the busty female dancers in fishnets and male dancers in Michael Jackson-inspired outfits returned to the stage to hype up the atmosphere once again. The stadium went black and the sound of thunder and a phone dial filled the air as the mood changed once again. Yoochun emerged to perform "I Love You", surrounded by six masked female dancers. The volume of screams rose and fell whenever Yoochun approached the ladies, reaching a breaking point as the idol's lips neared a dancer's before teasingly pulling away to sing a falsetto note with ease. Suddenly, psychedelic green lights flashed across the stadium, drum beats vibrated through the walls, and cymbals clashed in the air. At the climax, horns blared through the speakers, red sirens blinded the audience and had I not known it was part of the show, I would've panicked and guessed that 'the rapture' had finally dawned on us. Instead, the ninja-dressed dancers marched back onto the stage and the dramatic violin staccato riff joined the drum beat as JYJ returned onstage in heavily-studded leather trenchcoats for "Mission". The performance was like something straight out of a warrior movie - Jaejoong, Junsu and Yoochun were oozing masculinity, and when you thought it couldn't get more badass, Yoochun suddenly stepped forward and rapped a full verse in English. "Mission" is a go-getter thriller track that makes any listener want to jump out of their seat, and so it ended perfectly with a bang - literally. Fans screamed as steam dramatically flushed up at the front of the stage on the final note.

With a song as strong as "Mission" following so many hard-hitting tracks like "Be the One" and "Ayyy Girl", the audience needed to catch its breath before being spoiled with more racy performances by JYJ and their backup dance team. Junsu was next up to perform a ballad solo, and after a slideshow of photos eased the mood once more, blue sparkles glimmered on the back screen and white fog tumbled onto the stage as the idol performed "I Can Soar", now dressed in a black vest and pants. Jaejoong followed with "Still in Love", another ballad wrought with emotion. While the ballad itself was beautiful, fans seemed more interested (or, to be more accurate, outraged) by the singer's flirtatious encounters with the backup dancers behind him, who were sexily dressed in white button-ups and black shorts. At one point, Jaejoong even gave one dancer his black jacket, leading to a crescendo of screams from the audience. After a high energy dance break featuring solo performances from each of the backup dancers, JYJ re-emerged in black and metallic outfits to perform "Found You" from the "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" OST. It was one of the more memorable stages that night, as the crowd sang back in unison to the "saranghae" parts of the chorus ŕ la call and response.

"Thank you so much for being with us today," said Yoochun after the song ended. He then turned to Jaejoong expectantly to give his own message. The idol exclaimed, "Hey guys!... uh...", and faltered as he fixed his earpiece, sheepishly grinning as everyone laughed. "I'm sorry!", he exclaimed, then broke into a message in Korean about how thankful and excited he was to be there. JYJ then performed "Fallen Leaves", a timeless ballad. Getting to hear this song live was absolutely moving -  with the absence of overpowering instrumentals, the listener could intimately feel each voice, textured and thick with emotion, pushing and filling the stadium. As Rowdyruff mentions in his "Their Rooms" review, "Fallen Leaves" stands out because of the way each JYJ member commands the melodies and makes them his own. The way that JYJ's voices soared in this performance proved that it was truly raw vocal talent that carried Jaejoong, Junsu, and Yoochun to their god-tier fame in Asia over the past decade. The trio continued with "Boy's Letter", yet another ballad whose harmonizations were jewel-like in their perfection. This track contained a few sections where the instrumentals would fade, allowing the trio's voices to truly speak for themselves. Furthermore, "Boy's Letter" was full of falsettos and overlapping climaxes that left everyone breathless.

The subdued crowd felt revived once more when a techno beat began pumping through the sound system with the remix of "Be the One". Jaejoong repeatedly shouted, "Jump!!" and "Stand up!!", and his fellow members also walked across the stage to hype up the audience. The backup dancers returned, now wearing the red glowstick headbands and finger lights that were being passed out earlier. At the end of the song, a male dancer stepped forward with a mic, a cake, and a beaming smile, as he announced that they had a surprise for a very special birthday boy. "Yoochun!", he exclaimed, turning to the idol and handing him a few decorated bags. "We wanted to present these gifts from your fans!" After exchanging hugs and giving a touched message to the audience, Yoochun couldn't keep a grin off his face as JYJ performed "You're" for their next track. The song concluded with an explosion of silver confetti above the audience. When the crew disappeared off stage, it was obvious the audience wasn't ready for the show to end. Fans began chanting for an encore for a full five minutes, the desire stronger over time as everyone in the stadium joined in. They erupted into cheers as a heartbeat began to pulsate on screen and pound through the speakers, and JYJ returned to the stage in leather jackets, white "JYJ" shirts, jeans, and white kicks to perform "Get Out". A remix of "Empty" soon followed with new choreography full of tutting, chest pumps, and a dance break where Junsu pop-and-locked, impressed with a freeze, hopped back up, then belted a high note without missing a beat. For the last encore track, Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu stood alone in three white spotlights and sang "In Heaven", another slow song that grew and grew until each of the members' falsettos were echoing off the stadium walls - a climactic finale fit for such a high energy concert. At the end of the day, JYJ hammered home that while they certainly possessed charm and looks, it was their unmatched vocal talent that allowed them to keep so many loyal supporters over the years. With this concert marking the conclusion to their North American leg, it's fair to say that Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu triumphed with each performance. This tour was a vast improvement from their last showcase tour in November, and with this trio continuing to outdo themselves with every show, we're excited to see what they will bring in the future!

Photography by: Boris Berenberg & Kevin Chang

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