I went to a concert last night. It was big and bright, and I could see the main stage as clear as day. And I didn’t even have to travel far – my VIP seat was the couch in my living room. NCT 127 held their live concert entitled ‘Beyond the Origin,’ one in a series of Beyond LIVE concert events SM Entertainment is spearheading. Me and fellow NCTzens from around the world were able to get a full concert experience -live- from the safety of our homes and with all the trimmings. With my virtual 3D light stick synced, I cheered NCT 127 on and sent comments of awe and support for the members throughout the show.
While physically attending a concert and getting that first-hand experience can’t be replicated easily, there was a comparable energy during Beyond LIVE. The point of view was from that of a concert stadium, with virtual NCT fanlights bopping to the beat in an AR sea of green. And onstage surrounding the members from behind was a giant 3-panel screen filled with lucky NCTzens getting to not only share their screen and be seen, but to be heard as well - cheering and even interacting with NCT 127 themselves. I could really feel the camaraderie during the show, from the excitement of the fans both on screen and in the comments section, to the boys who performed with high energy and finesse.
And credit must be given due to the production values. I enjoyed how it was a multi-camera setup, a mixture of closeups and groups shots so every member had a chance to shine. It was particularly innovative during the performance of new ballad “Make Your Day” sung by Taeil, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Jungwoo and Haechan, where we got to see individual shots and a group angle all simultaneously at once. I didn’t know where to look! And of course I must mention the giant 3D AR dragon that emerged during “Kick It’ and flew around the stage. No expense was spared, this was a whole experience.
At the heart of the show was the music. NCT 127 performed a mix of their top hits like “Cherry Bomb,” “Touch” and “Superhuman,” fan-favorite B-sides from their latest album Neo City “Boom” and “White Night,” and even premiered their upcoming single “Punch” for the very first time. Special Guest TVXQ’s U-Know spoke for all of us when he praised the new song for perfectly capturing the members’ individual charms. My favorite performance was when they brought out an actual jungle gym on stage and sang “Wake Up” and “Baby Don’t Like It” on it, exuding a powerful charisma. And thanks must be given to DJ Johnny who not only got to show off his live mixing skills on the 1s and 2s, but delivered us an epic dance battle between Mark, Yuta and Taeyong I didn’t know I needed.
Attending a live concert is all about sharing an intimate space with your favorite artists and surrounding yourself with mutual fans you’ve never met before, coming together through a single love of music. It’s exciting and special, and one of those “you had to be there” moments. NCT 127’s “Beyond the Origin” was all that and more. The love the fans poured into the show was returned by the members twofold. They sang and danced with all the passion and emotion that would have gone into a traditional live concert. I appreciated how they conversed with us in different languages too and performed the Japanese version of “Chain” and English versions of “Regular” and “Highway to Heaven” much to the delight of international fans everywhere. The interactions with the fans on the shared screen were especially moving, with one fan question prompting the boys to bestow a range of heartfelt to hilarious compliments to each other on the spot. Come for “you’re like a AA battery,” stay for “you’re my best friend.” Though it might not be the same as going in person, Beyond LIVE sets the bar high on how to best adapt the concert experience, and it was little unscripted moments like that that prove how well it can be done.
NCT 127’s 2nd full-length repackage album NEO ZONE: THE FINAL ROUND will be released on May 19th in two versions. In addition to the original 13, there are 4 brand new songs including title track “Punch.” Each version contains a photobook, a folded poster, a postcard, a circle card, and a photo card. Order both today at SM Global Shop!