AUBREE STAMPER, Guest Writer
On Friday, Feb. 19, 4,400 fans from all over the U.S. packed into the Rosemont Theater in Chicago to experience mega K-pop group EXO’s concert, “Exoplanet #2: The Exo’Luxion,” as a part of their first ever tour in North America. The tour began almost a year ago in Seoul, South Korea and has visited a large number of countries throughout Asia since then.
This is the third time the group has come to the U.S. to perform, but only the first time they’ve put on their own concert here. Unfortunately, the tour didn’t stop in Detroit; only Dallas, Vancouver, L.A., Chicago and New York. Fans voted for what cities they wanted EXO to visit the most through My Music Taste, and from there, the five most voted locations were chosen.
EXO has steadily been a top group throughout Asia, setting records such as being the first K-pop act since 2001 to sell one million copies of their album — and they’ve done it twice. They’ve also sold more albums in the U.S. than any other Korean act.
The line for the show wrapped around the theater and twisted in and out of cars in the parking lot, and by sunset the fans started to become anxious. While waiting, fans greeted one another with the basic question K-pop fans ask, “So, who’s your bias?” For the first time, EXO fans were gathered together and were able to meet each other, so many took the chancd to make friends.
Some also passed out banners with cute sayings on them and some sold merchandise–such as posters, stickers, and glow sticks. When the doors opened and the eager fans started filling up the seats, the atmosphere changed to pure excitement as the fans already started chanting for EXO.
Then lights finally went down and the official EXO light sticks lit up, creating EXO’s famous “silver ocean,” along with earpiercing screams loud enough to be heard from blocks away. The screen covering the stage opened slowly and in a split second the lights brightened to reveal the one and only: EXO. The crowd immediately erupted into passionate screams and some tears, as the group opened with their 2014 hit “Overdose.”
The fans kept up high energy throughout the entire show, as did the eight members of EXO (Lay was not on the tour with them). They performed a variety of songs from their hit title tracks such as “Growl” and “Call Me Baby” to their slow ballads like “My Answer” and “Miracles in December.” They even turned the theater into a rave with their upbeat songs “Let Out the Beast,” “Machine,” and “Drop That” along with a crazy light show to match.
Though the songs are mostly in Korean, it didn’t stop the fans from singing along. One member, lead vocalist Baek Hyun, mentioned how it was cute that the fans were trying so hard to sing all of the lyrics even if they couldn’t do it very well. The members also joked about things like Chicago’s windy weather and it’s delicious deep dish pizza.
Finally, the show ended with the encore songs, “Sing For You” and “Unfair,” the title tracks from EXO’s recent winter album. Midwest K-pop fans were sad to see EXO leave, but hopefully they’ll be back to North America with another, and even better, concert tour!