[Concert Review] VIXX 1st Orlando Showcase
Having attended many concerts in the Orlando House of Blues (a small venue used to a showcase a plethora of artists in various musical genres), I couldn’t help but wonder how VIXX’s first showcase in Orlando would be received. I was soon to find out…
But who is VIXX, you may ask? VIXX (acronym for Voice, Visual, Value in Excelsis) is a 6-member boyband from South Korea, enjoying moderate success amongst Korean fans and Western fans alike. How is it that they have obtained fans in the West? It’s called the internet, and namely youtube, which is probably the most instrumental in spreading the phenomenon that is known as “K-pop (Korean pop music)”.
Although I have had the pleasure of seeing other K-pop acts in concert, I never had the chance of seeing VIXX live. As with many K-pop promoters, Orlando is not usually the location of choice for a K-pop concert. Cities like Los Angeles and New York City are often used to showcase K-pop artists, and fans of those artists are usually forced into commuting long distances from the state they live in to see the show. I do believe the VIXX showcase is indeed the first time a K-pop event featuring a popular band has come to Orlando, and I am told this will not be the last by the promoter of the showcase Jazzy Group, a company based in Malaysia with it’s counterpart Jazzy Group US based in the states.
A quick look at the fans (christened “Starlights”) quickly took me back to my days as a teen in Orlando, standing in line or in a crowded venue anxiously awaiting seeing my favorite boyband of the late 90s and early 2000s. The venue and the size of the crowd were perfectly suited–not overcrowded but not too much room to move around in. As soon as the lights dropped, the screams began–a whole night of screams. The show started with all eyes on the large video screen on the stage, playing prerecorded clips of introductions of each member. It was at this point that I realized how much VIXX was loved by the fans present. The fans screamed the loudest for their bias’ (favorite member’s) video clip–where he would smile or wave at the camera while doing a personal activity or hobby. There are 6 members to choose from: N, the leader of the group, Leo (also seeming to get the loudest screams), Ken and Hyuk–all vocalists, and Hongbin & Ravi, the rappers. After the video clips ended, the screams only got louder in anticipation of the group taking the stage–in which they finally did. The screams were so loud that I had to smile. The energy in the room was incredible.
VIXX started off the concert with an upbeat number in matching peach-colored stovepipe-style trousers and white button-down black & white paneled dress-shirts. Their look was rather reminiscent of classic the Temptations’ style of the mid-60s. They danced vigorously and it seemed that any and every move they made drove the fans crazy and merited more screams.
The next part of the show–not expected by me but a special treat for the fans–was a section called “Ask VIXX” where the members would answer questions that were submitted by fans in the hours before the concert, by way of two bulletin boards full of post-it notes of questions brought onto the stage. None of the VIXX members speak fluent English, so they were accompanied by a fluent English interpreter who translated for the boys as well as the questions that were written on the post-it notes. I had to remember that this was not just any concert–this was a showcase–an event style that seems to have originated in K-pop, where fans not only see their favorite artists sing and dance, but get to know them through interaction and activities such as these. This section went on for about 30 minutes, followed by another game or two aimed at getting to know the members even better. Leo, the most aloof member, seemed to cringe and really struggled with the aegyo he was asked to do, while members like Ravi, Ken, Hyuk and Hongbin used their charms to woo the crowd. Leader N used his aegyo skills to merit “awws” from the adoring fans.
After this section of the show, the boys performed “Rock Your Body”–a crowd favorite and then disappeared backstage for a wardrobe change, emerging back on the stage in matching scarlet red tailored suits to perform one of their more popular singles “Error”. The song “Eternity” and another uptempo tune were next–showcasing the amazing and intense choreography the boys no doubt worked hard to learn. VIXX finally performed their most well-known single “On and On”. By this song, the boys seemed to be justifiably tired, but the fans just wanted more–which they gave in the 100% style they are known for. They finished that set with a slow, flowy number called “Only U”. It was a great time for the boys to catch their breath as they sat in a line of bar chairs and sang to the the Starlights.
It was time for the 2-hour showcase to finally end, and each VIXX member gave his personal thanks in his own words, the fans screamed for more, and begged the group not to leave. As they stepped off the stage, the video screened rolled again, this time showing personalized and voiced-over letters from each member to the audience. This didn’t stop the Starlights for demanding an encore, and the boys did not disappoint . They came back out once more to perform one more upbeat song to finally close the show.
The Starlights looked truly pleased as they said their final goodbyes to the young, talented men of VIXX. If Starlights have it their way, we will see much more of VIXX in Orlando in the future.