13 April 2016 @ 11:49 pm
EXO PLANET #2: The EXO'luXion in New York (Fan Account -- Setlist Analysis)  



I have always been thoroughly impressed by SM's production values for EXO's activities, whether it be through music videos, promotional photoshoots, or group styling. They don't recycle classically K-pop boyband concepts, but instead, push the envelope and set trends. And the result is always well thought-out and produced. I can always count on a level of sophistication and quality.

I had high expectations going into the concert, but I was completely blown away by how well-made it was. It was very skillfully planned out with both a tremendous amount of artistic and entertainment value. The concert felt alive--not just because of the fans and members present, but because of the masterful way the songs were laid out. The setlist wasn't just a showcase of songs arranged in a mechanical to-do list. The entire three-hour performance was treated as a cohesive piece of work. The concert was pulsing and carried the audience along a journey.

If I were part of the concert directing crew that constructed this list, this entry would be my thought process. (And yes, I already know I'm reading too deeply into this, like wracking your brain for enough bs to pad a 10-page English paper on a four-line poem.)

I've attempted to gauge how they planned the concert to play out in terms of playing with the audience emotions and energy level to create dynamism. My blueprint below is undulating as the concert unfolds. The constant buildup and release keeps the audience going in suspense. Generally, speaking there is always one hit song anchoring each cycle. It is a small treat for the concertgoers' patience, baiting them to repeat the behavior again for the next set of songs. It's really the anticipation that generates the energy that EXO and fans feed off of to create the unforgettable atmosphere.


The concert was a large, overarching musical piece made up of smaller ones in diverse mediums (videos, speaking, and singing/dancing). I view the setlist in a very crude sonata form with an (introduction (Opening),) exposition (Section 1), development (Sections 2-8), recapitulation (Sections 7), and coda (Section 8). It teases you in with the familiar, keeps you there to settle down and appreciate the depth, rewards you with the powerhouse, and sends you off with the new.


Section 1: The concert kicks off with the recognizable, grungy, aggressive, dissonant music and heavy beat that is typical of so many boy bands' repertoire. It's smart that they started with Overdose since it was the next heavily promoted song following Growl, which shot them to fame. I bet most people in the audience started following EXO after Growl, so this song would have been the first one where the fans were there to experience the entire comeback promotions period. The other two songs not only also fit the theme, but also help to remind us of where they've come from.There's not much playing with emotions at this point because they can count on building off the initial tension from the opening and their spectacular reveal.

Section 2: After giving us a taste of the expected, the type of music that every boy band is capable of, they invite us to sample something different and we dive into something softer but there are still some traces of angst that carry through. The tempo slows down through this set and the following, to help us catch our breath and create contrast for the exciting Set 4. Don't Go is an unexpected and interesting choice for a transition song from Set 1 in that it is in a major key compared to the previous minor ones, but I think it's more effective when considering it's off the back of Ment #1. After seeing the boys for the first time, we want to followup with something pretty and harmonious, right? Starting with Playboy, we start going into a deeper, darker mood. And to prevent this entire section from slowing to a halt, I figure My Answer is used as the peak of this set, to relieve some of the accumulated energy.

Honestly, this section's was a bit confusing for me in terms of logical ordering because it felt like a mismash of various types of songs. I could argue that the latter two are individual performances from Kai/Sehun and Baekhyun/DO/Suho, but I'm not sure about the first two--just very handsy dancing?

Section 3: This gets to the darkest section of the concert, not only in the music and choreography, but in the stage set-up with the metal platforms and their black and crimson suits. The concert enters a phase of almost-sexy, but not quite there. You feel it, but there's nothing you can point to exactly to say it's a blatant device used to create that effect. Everything there exudes it, hints at it, and I think it is so much sexier this way.

Because there's no "hit" song within the three, I'm still trying to decide if it's more of a continuation of Section 2 or a lead up to Section 4. It is related to Section 2 musically, but it can also be used to set that contrasting mood for Section 4 to hit with greatest impact. Maybe it's both.

Section 4: Following the near-hibernation state of the previous songs, the upbeat songs in this section were much welcomed and released all the energy mounting since the end of Section 1. The audience is rejuvenated by the tempo and the boys' jumping and smiling faces and throws themselves into playing along with them, creating a carefree, joyous mood. This is a warm-up for what is to come later. For me personally, it is yet another reminder of an era long ago, when they were still babies.

In terms of the sonata form, though still in the development part, there are small rifts of the main "theme" (EXO's trademark songs aka starting with Growl and the ones following), to give a taste of what's to come and help create cohesion when the concert circles back to it again. It doesn't exactly mirror any of those mainstream songs, but contains the same in-containable energy that propels Call Me Baby and Love Me Right. They were also all released in the same album as Growl.

Section 5: People are not Energizer bunnies, so this set of songs allows us to calm down and rest a bit. They want to ensure we are fully recovered so we can let it all out for Section 6. The first two songs are even more draggy than in Section 3, where at least sex was driving some of the energy. Miracles in December swoops in to save the day for this section because otherwise the momentum might have dropped to zero. The audience is also getting bored after two songs of the same slow tempo, so MiD is greeted with especially loud cheers, as it's finally a song that everyone is familiar with and can sing along to. It probably wouldn't have been received as warmly if it had been placed alongside other more upbeat songs, so this slow burn and sudden release was very effective for the piece.

Section 6: The calm, leisurely mood of previous songs collects the energy of the audience and yearning for release and ensures that they are willing to embrace the next set of party songs. All the songs in this series, with the exception of Machine (still questioning the placement of this song...feels like it should've been in Section 3), had been remixed to share and build off of common elements. This helped create and elevate tension and and made the final climax in Run especially effective since there was a familiar pattern everyone could anchor themselves to.

The rap in Full Moon helps set the hip hop, clubby tone of the section and gently eases everyone into the more lively mood. (Skipping Machine, which feels like a buffer to me.) Next, building off the more upbeat tone, Drop That introduces the all-important underlying dubstep bass notes and also incorporates pieces of rap. The tension mounts as the song is performed because the fans recognize the rap from before and know/feel pieces of the two songs accumulating. Let Out the Beast, completely exploits their energy from before by maxing out the dubstep and transforming it into a rave with laser lights that sends everyone to euphoria. However, the songs itself is club music that no one can sing to, so the audience can only perform two basic functions--scream and jump, which are not dependent on this being an EXO song. So as the last step, Run, puts all that together the pieces--the beat and energy first set from rap, the doozy dubstep bass notes, and finally a song that people can sing to. This way, the same kind of energy from before can be projected onto music that is related to EXO so the fans feel a more meaningful connection with the band at the final climax.

In my opinion, this section was most cleverly put together. It was logical and beautifully executed, each one transforming and growing from the previous song.

Section 7: Building off the incredible hype from before, these pieces push the audience one notch higher by finally giving them what they've been waiting for this entire time--their three hit songs. At this point, people are running on highs and it ensures that the songs are received at a booming, otherworldly level. There is no need for a climax to direct and concentrate energy because everyone (including the boys!) is going all out on their own like a racecar without brakes. And through the process, everyone slowly starts to come together as a group of united fans, after having experienced such a beautiful high and release together.

This is the recapitulation, the highlight of the larger concert composition, which are EXO's most famous songs. It's what the entire set list has been leading up to. It's the main event.

Section 8: This is the last section of the concert, the wind-down and send-off. The VCR plays to buy people time to recollect and actually breathe. But the content, centers the fans and reminds them of their bond with EXO. It teases out their emotions and reminds them of their love, which plays perfectly into Sing For You. Now with hearts opened, everyone naturally sings together and the venue comes together as one with EXO. This builds into a cohesive audience now receiving the boys for their final lengthy ment, and it's overflowing with love and support at a level never felt before. The concert ends with a calmer but still upbeat song to help unravel the energy. EXO bids farewell to the fans and brings them down to earth with two of their most recent songs to remind them how their music has evolved and connect them back to present day.

I really appreciated how nicely and evenly spaced out the Ments and VCRs were. Clearly the organizers sat through and reviewed the set list multiple times to decide on the optimal break points, to build up exactly enough energy to work off of. Not too often which would disrupt the flow but not too sparse where the energy would frustrate and dissipate. Overall, they were very clever in toying with our emotions and teasing us with suspense. Apart from the excitement created by the setlist alone, the sets and props were also very effective (ex: paper panel stripping is a no-brainer hit). I especially enjoyed the arrangements in the Opening and Party section. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about production values for the concert!

And just for kicks, since this is an account of MY experience, you can see how far I was from a normal person's experience, measured against this scientific "projected energy level" benchmark that I very arbitrarily made up.

prj vs. exp


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[identity profile] xiuxiux.livejournal.com on April 17th, 2016 07:51 pm (UTC)
i don't want to say this so often to the point of making it trite but it MUST be said that this is amazing and you are amazing. fandom is not a fan of thinking, which may be a harsh way of putting it but it's what i feel. to read something like this is so gratifying for me. and fun. so thank you.

your post is so great i wish other people did this for other concerts so i could compare them!! i wish i had your incredible memory to draw some comparisons with the first tour!! but compared to you we are all worms!!!!!!!!!!!

i LITERALLY, physically slapped my knee laughing when i saw those charts. what is it about our industry and charts?
my eye somehow went straight to futuristic parkour asdfasdfklasdfasd

agree 120% that this concert is well-made. i think the fact that we're histrionic stans has a nice amplification effect on the appeal. but the production quality is top-of-line by any international standard in my humble opinion. i have so much respect for shim jaewon i've tweeted it multiple times. he is a genius.

if there's anything -- and i don't even DARE call this a point of criticism because i'm not worthy -- i have pondered whether the ~room for improvement~ lies in making the concert more appealing to "outsiders" by being more vanilla. stans set ourselves up to intensely enjoy this concert because we have these boys on our minds constantly, but i'm also that insecure stage mom wondering about the net new fans my sons are earning every 10 minutes, and i'm curious how well concerts pay off in that respect. it matters particularly to me because my first EXO concert experience itself (the lost planet singapore in aug 2014) was responsible for kicking my fangirl life into higher gear, because i had such a great time. but that was me, and i wonder if these fabulous concerts ever do the opposite in intimidating someone AWAY from fandom because of how intense and occult it can be. perhaps it's a simple question of taste. perhaps it just is my overwrought insecurity speaking. or both.

They don't recycle classically K-pop boyband concepts, but instead, push the envelope and set trends.
actually, i like EXO for striking an elusive and exciting middle ground between trend-following and trend-setting. i feel that versus the rest of the SM roster, their creative choices are pretty unabashedly mainstream. school uniforms, slouchy hip-pop, sleek suits, dance numbers, R&B souljams, bubblegum ditties, mid-tempo ballads... they've done them all and i don't think there was anything particularly innovative or groundbreaking in the overarching blueprint. in fact, yoo youngjin was a big production force in EXO's early A&R development and he's recognized as a "legend", and like most legends, criticisms about reusing and rehashing his old licks and samples have been lobbied at him too. f(x) and shinee in my mind are the female-male counterparts of the more experimental, kookier artistic streak at SM. but of course, we've all seen the flashes, or rather, generous and luxurious brushstrokes of inspiration when it comes to EXO. the pathcode teasers were brilliant and such a pinnacle, and expensive. the latter part being important because i've seen cynics point to the fat denominator in the EXO ROI to explain EXO's success. that's wonky math if they're not using an economies of scale argument, because the denominator doesn't explain the huge fraction. i think the delicate balance of being fresh yet accessible, intimate yet untouchable, catapulted EXO to record-breaking status.

I already know I'm reading too deeply into this
you are NOT. you are NOT. absolutely not. this was no four-line poem. the production realities that went into this 180-minute opus are incredible and voluminous. thinking about them and appreciating them pays due respect to the sweat blood and tears that went into everything. (/cut to brief mental image of baeksweat and fangirls a little)

i want to send more love to the first chart. i'm pretty sure an energy chart of some form was actually sketched out by the team. maybe not plotted in excel, but some chart that looks something like this, with the same axes, was plotted. i would love to see that one too.
[identity profile] bhaniere.livejournal.com on April 22nd, 2016 12:12 am (UTC)
You know, every time you shower me with these compliments, I get all shy and blush-y and try to brush it off but deep inside, another little baby daisy blooms. Thank you for being the water that helps me grow.

There are two other blogs I've come across that write intelligently about EXO (!w!h!a!t!). Are you familiar with them? Unfortunately, both stopped updating around Overdose era.

http://callmepatricia.com/tag/exo/ (http://callmepatricia.com/tag/exo/)
http://evacuatewithstyle.org/blog/tag/exo/ (http://evacuatewithstyle.org/blog/tag/exo/)

But charts make everything better!!! They make you look credible even if you know nothing and your analysis is based on a mole of assumptions. Our industry and charts...I have learned well…

I haven't read any of Shim Jaewon's explanations yet, so I can't speak to the details of his genius, but from a layman's eyes, it's truly incredible.

i wonder if these fabulous concerts ever do the opposite in intimidating someone AWAY from fandom because of how intense and occult it can be.
That's a really valid concern. I did see some more passive fans in the lines and I kind of wondered if they really knew what they were getting themselves into. But I’m sure I looked like that to everyone else, and I’m sure as hell not passive.

But I suppose for most of these international concerts, those who attend are self-selected. Apart from being lucky and living near the venue location, the majority travel from elsewhere, which is itself an expense and combined with the pricey tickets (costs more than an average US artists’ concert), you’d have to really love EXO a LOT LOT, close to at least $300-400 worth, to go see them. And most of the audience is still in school, so they’d have to ask their parents or use all the money they’ve saved and possibly work extra part-time jobs to gather that amount. It’s not like they can easily earn it back with a few days or a week at work. It’s a sacrifice, and if you’re willing to spend that precious money to see EXO, I’m sure you’re already pretty deep into the group and concert monster won’t faze you.

Apart from financials, another aspect is the reputation of the fans as being invasive and overbearing. I don’t think you have to be a fan for too long to know the ridiculous depths EXO fans go to show support. You buy a ticket to the concert because either you love them enough to want to bond with your fellow insane beings or you have a repressed fangirl/boy inside that lacks courage to express and can be only coaxed out when masked in the anonymity of the masses. The concert is an initiation to an exclusive cult. I think most people with me that day knew exactly what they signed up for. After all, it’s not like we haven’t watched over two years of concert footage and pretended like we were there.

Edited 2016-04-22 12:17 am (UTC)
[identity profile] bhaniere.livejournal.com on April 22nd, 2016 01:06 am (UTC)
If I were SM I wouldn’t worry too much (lmao who am I kidding, they are not worrying. EXO = ca$h cow$) about scaring off fair-weathers in concerts because in the countries where they do actively promote, they’re already so popular and their brand is so proliferated that there are countless of other sources of revenue. There’s already a steady stream from the EXO-specific merchandise and the products that the band/members sponsor. If fans are scared off by the intensity of the concert, they can show their support through purchasing a wide variety of products. I have no doubts that, eventually, with enough spent dollars and all the hounding from the media, the obsession will break free and they’ll come over to the dark side...

For countries where there is NO promotion and very little merchandise being sold, I think SM is just letting hallyu do the dirty work for them. Through the tentacles of this phenomenon, passionate fans have already sprouted up throughout these counties. They can be the beacon of light to possibly convert and hand-hold some innocents into this black hole. But likely, these passionate fans will be the only ones they count on because they will be the ones spending the insane amounts of money for overseas things, and that’s perfectly fine. SM can just pocket this income while they wait patiently for Kpop or EXO to hit those countries and gain a stronger following there. Then, more active promotions can begin, but realistically, I don’t see EXO branching out much further than Japan and China in terms of full-out entering the market. Sure they’d like to be known internationally, but probably not at the expense of giving up market share of their dear homeland, Republic of Korea. Their new taste-test frontier is Europe, though I’m not sure when that’ll happen.

actually, i like EXO for striking an elusive and exciting middle ground between trend-following and trend-setting.
Yes, you are definitely right. Upon further inspection, I probably should have thought about my sentence a bit more and put a few more qualifiers onto it. To me, they're not trend-setting in the experimental sense (like f(x) or Shinee), as you've mentioned, but they are trend-setting in mainstream, which I think is even more trend-setting (meta-trend setting)?? Because it’s so difficult to consistently stay on top for more than once cycle in such a fickle industry, doing so is trend-setting? They have the ability to innovate the mainstream. This sounds like a total oxymoron.

Arguably, if you’re going to be literally trend-setting, EXO currently occupies the best space with the large audience and popular attention. Anything they do will catch the news and spread far earlier and faster than anything “truly” experiment. (Perhaps they are too big to fail?? That is, barring any dating scandals)

It's a fine art to balance between artistic and commercial success. And so far, they’ve done it not just from riding off the hype of the boys themselves, but through quality music and music videos that can stand and fight on their own. They're also trend-setting in how much they spend on their production. Everything is always really well done. Even though it’s always been felt that SM invested a LOT into EXO, their music videos didn’t really step up into their trend-setting high quality EXO trademark level until later on. Firstly, it was Growl with the one-take but it REALLY took off with Overdose and they’ve never looked back since. They’re the first major band to combine great music with catchy choreography PLUS a fully standalone cinematic piece. The video is no longer a medium to showcase dance and song and make sure to zoom in extra close to their faces. It’s not a throwaway. There’s thought behind the shots-- angles, composition, movement, color balance—all the elements of filmography. They’ve also certainly elevated their taste starting from Overdose. There’s a degree of maturity in their music videos now that's a breath of fresh air and non-second-hand embarrassment.

Of course, it should be mentioned that EXO also has the luxury of ALL THAT MONEY to play around with and truly go BIG where as other groups and companies would be unable to. High barrier to entry, economies of scale, all those helpful things...
[identity profile] xiuxiux.livejournal.com on April 17th, 2016 07:53 pm (UTC)
It teases you in with the familiar, keeps you there to settle down and appreciate the depth, rewards you with the powerhouse, and sends you off with the new.
favorite line. summarizing is a difficult skill that requires a ton of thought and sophistication and i think you did it here.

section 1:
[asked and answered]
i wanted to check something with you because we were discussing dubstep intro earlier. i was referring to this: https://youtu.be/_sAxrcLut2M?t=2h3m21s
were you referring to this: https://youtu.be/_sAxrcLut2M?t=6m37s instead?

section 2:
agree with you so much. i see ment 1 and don't go as conjoined at the hip, and those two bridge the big opening into a smoother mid-energy passage starting with playboy etc. it's supposed to be a communicative transition where they speak to us and then we sing to them (at least that's my theory). don't go is a crowd favorite for a singalong and is overall so pretty: pretty melody and pretty choreography with a pretty mise en scene. it may not have come across so nicely because EXO are not very good at ments. i've tweeted before that subaek seem to pull disproportionately more than their own weight during ments in terms being entertaining. the other boys are generally catching their breath or being themselves; i.e. i think they turn off a bit. ments are breaks in the energy after all.
as for the logic behind the songs in section 2, i think this part of the concert gives room for the individual charms of the members to blossom more. you had the big communal boyband numbers in section 1, then the pairing off in playboy puts the spotlight on 1-on-1 dynamics instead. shim jaewon said that the pairs choreo was inspired by how the boys fool around with each other during practice. vocal line and the dance line get to do their own thing within the same song in baby don't cry. and then vocal line again (with piano man) in my answer. this reminds me of the solos the boys did in the first tour. they're reincarnated in exoluxion with section 2. energy-wise, the songs are all even-keeled and slicker, which is better suited to these solo-ish performances.

section 3:
i'm weird because i know everybody adores the club section but section 3 really is my favorite. shim jaewon said that "the star" was the transition number that was supposed to represent transportation into the galaxy. there's no title track here but it's mature EXO, and i like mature EXO a LOT. also for the first seoul concerts, this was how they chose to RELEASE these new songs (hurt and exodus), so it was a particularly exciting section for the seoul audience actually. new material! well-tailored suits! so. much. hip. movement.

section 4:
i see section 4 as the karaoke section to maintain that audience connection. these classics are well-suited to getting the audience to sing-along, which we didn't do much of in section 2 or 3. and the boys just get to be cute without much choreography.

Edited 2016-04-19 02:25 am (UTC)
[identity profile] bhaniere.livejournal.com on April 22nd, 2016 02:10 am (UTC)
Section 1:
Answering once again (for my silent readers):
This is the Psychedilc Intro Remix (https://youtu.be/j4ouSCIVQx0?t=6m29s) that starts in the Opening of the concert.

This is the Dubstep Intro Remix (https://youtu.be/lW2P_A6JwRw?t=7m44s) that leads into Growl.

Section 2:
Yeah, the ments are totally the Suho + Baek show. Suho provides the leadership to lead and pace the ment. Baek reads the audience well and provides the ad-hoc entertainment. Everyone else is just wondering what’s for dinner and how many fans they’re going to have to fend off at their hotel tonight.

you had the big communal boyband numbers in section 1, then the pairing off in playboy puts the spotlight on 1-on-1 dynamics instead.
Very keen observation! I never thought of it this way, but it totally makes sense now. Personally, I like it better this way with a grouped talent show rather than individual showcases in the first concert series. It helps keep up the energy since it’s building off fan support from multiple members. The concert doesn’t grind to halt as everyone watches one person and some stages are better than others and some are better performers than others and inherently, there will be crowd favorites and people won’t cheer as loudly for members that aren’t their 1TRULUV(s) and it totally sounds/feels bad and awkward for the less popular ones. /runon sentence all the way to your snazzy apt and wrapping around your head

Section 3:
"the star" was the transition number that was supposed to represent transportation into the galaxy
Again, I haven’t read Jaewon’s comments, yet, but is there also a point where we exit the galaxy, or are we trapped there forever in the EXO labyrinth like real life

Where were we in the previous sections of music? Yes, I’m asking you because you are him. Or at least you are expert enough that I wouldn’t know the difference between you two.

It’s a shame that I couldn’t watch them perform with all the metalwork in place. Maybe that would have elevated my live impression of this section. However, I do remember the first time I saw this in a fancam with the entire set in place and I was really wowed by the level of sophisticated sultry during this section. I never pegged them to go any darker than Overdose, but they did and I couldn't believe how well the boys embraced it. Can you imagine if they were crimson curtains on some of the metal rods and they incorporated moves to play with the fabric as they performed?

Section 4:
Yes, you’ve put it very nicely as a karaoke section. The songs were finally a chance for us to have some dialogue with them and break the fourth wall after being spectators for such a long time. It's such a nice turn of mood after three sections of angsty music.

Edited 2016-04-28 12:27 am (UTC)
[identity profile] xiuxiux.livejournal.com on April 17th, 2016 07:54 pm (UTC)
section 5:
ah okay. i know people who vilify this bit, where poor valiant suho has to address the awkward obvious that EXO sang about christmas from spring 2015 well into spring 2016, through tropical humidity to punishing desert aridity in open-air stadiums. i appreciate how this part gives me a break because i'm usually exhausted even with what's coming. but it does remind me of something a friend said. she's not an EXO fan, so she asked me how on earth EXO has managed 2 solo concert tours when they have "no discography". that was hyperbole of course, but i do agree that EXO got started on the solo concert trajectory early, relative to their body of work. hell, they even started touring with new songs before they could officially drop an album. many artists go through entire careers without ever doing large chunks of their discography in concert. so perhaps christmas had to be in there or too big a proportion of EXO's music would be missing? i've also wondered if shim jaewon just likes christmas day SOOOO MUCH that it engendered the entire anachronistic theme. first snow and miracles in december, to me, could be repurposed separately into non-christmas settings. as much as i like MID, i don't think it really justifies enforcing year-round christmas for a build-up. in fact, i think they were going for a big drop in energy before unleashing the fire that's in the next section.

section 6:
to me, this whole section is just one big shim jaewon remixing masterpiece. as a huge fan of his mixcloud account (psa: mixcloud.com/realperformer) and remixes in general, i ADORE ADORE ADORE what he did. the lost planet spaced out the rearrangements: mama, black pearl, love love love whereas exoluxion just packed everything into a continuous raaaaaaave. there are soooo many little tricks and easter eggs and eargasmic cuts and segues...i think the transition from lotb into run is my favorite. followed by the one into machine. where he slowly cranks up the bpm with the 꼭 알아내겠어 ostinato and it kinda starts with a bass-drum breakdown version of machine and he added these new high rock synth sounds that prep you for the power riffing in drop that. UNGH SO GOOD. i took too long writing this paragraph because i had to go listen to it again.

section 7:
off the chain. just that i'm a huge fan of wolf so i will always bemoan that they took it out towards the end of the tour.

section 8:
so the "sending us off with the new" really only started in 2016. sing for you and unfair were added post the christmas album release. majority of the tour, the set list ended with promise and angel, which is DECIDEDLY more heartwrenching and nostalgic and shoots the energy way up into openly-sobbing-in-public territory where you're utterly spent and dangerously dehydrated after. but it's pretty clear the boys were pretty thirsty for a change after overdoing this whole set and i liked that. i'm not the biggest fan of doing the whole weepy promise sh-bang over and over. because SAY NO TO BAEKTEARS. but imagine it for a moment - the high off sections 6 and 7 into the emotional vomitus of 약속...고마워 미안해 사랑해. infinite ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ

your last chart is AMAZEBALLS. baby i only do that shit for my earnings estimates!!!

love you.
[identity profile] bhaniere.livejournal.com on April 29th, 2016 04:24 am (UTC)
Section 5:
EXO got started on the solo concert trajectory early, relative to their body of work. hell, they even started touring with new songs before they could officially drop an album.

This is such an amazing insight…and I completely agree. MY criticism of the concert is that they’ve been touring for far too long. The boys are in a band to produce new music, and when they’re on the road for such a long time, it detracts from their time to rehearse and contribute to the album and their personal development in a healthy way. But then again, the ones behind EXO are running this show like a well-oiled machine and they boys are only there as pretty faces who can execute.

Since they’re supposedly members of a musical group, I would like for them to be actually have some kind of influence on what gets incorporated into an album. You know, do things that you would think musicians would do—compose, scribe lyrics, arrange, design album/campaign concept, and even choreograph. Because after all, whatever is produced will be the music that represents EXO’s legacy and it would wonderful for the boys to have some say in what that would be. I know some of them are so musically talented and the band is already so successful, so I really don’t think it would hurt too much to incorporate one or two songs from the members. It can be scrappy compared to the other synth-ed and percussive music, but I want to see their vision. I want their individuality to be expressed. Because fuck, they’re musicians and the only thing I’ve heard is from Lay but he has the China card which is a different story.

Apart from the concert just sapping up their time and energy (and health), it’s becoming more and more obvious that this is just a very, very, very expensive marketing campaign. Especially, when they perform at a city for multiple days with the same music, as if waiting for giving every last person a chance to come, even the average fan or the curious civilian who’s heard literally everyone talk about this EXO band so maybe they’ll go check what the fuss is all about. Most surprising is holding multiple days in cities with a relatively small population. (Or maybe EXO really is that saturated in Asia and I just don’t know.) They’re touring as if they want everyone in the fucking world to see them. It’s not the music that’s selling tickets. It’s the EXO brand name.

I’d like to think that concerts are a way for artists to give back to the fans for their love and support but I can’t help but see just this concert as a major footprint expansion strategy. Even if there are empty seats in the arena, even if they are egregiously overestimating demand, even if some concerts are held at a loss, they still happen. If this all fits into SM's larger plan, then who am I to say no?

as much as i like MID, i don't think it really justifies enforcing year-round christmas for a build-up. in fact, i think they were going for a big drop in energy before unleashing the fire that's in the next section.
I completely agree. Frankly, apart from MiD, I don't really the other songs and MiD could very easily slot into a slower section with a mix of other songs like What If and Sing for You. What If was totally shafted from this concert because can you imagine them performing that in the dark vampy mood of Section 3? FUCKKKK (Okay, now I want to write up my hypothetical EXO set-list, but ugh so much planning and writing...fuckkkkk STOP ME PLEASE).

Section 6:
I absolutely love that you noticed all the musical details as well, and you've definitely caught more details than I have! It's so nice reading your words and reminding me of all those beautiful transitions. After reading your comments, I, too, went back and rewatched it, but I closed it out each time as soon as it reached Run because of all the memories from the confetti explosion, which would make me cry again. I would absolutely love more remix pieces in the concert or as a song in a full or mini-album. When they work, they're absolutely eargasmic. And it so so soooo worked in this section.
[identity profile] bhaniere.livejournal.com on April 29th, 2016 04:24 am (UTC)
Section 7:

Yes, I missed Wolf. I thought if they weren't going to perform it in the opening setlist, it'd be in this one. The song is so dissonant and weird as fuck but it's totally EXO's weird as fuck thing, and I neeeeed to see all those crazy anthropomorphism live. Also that crazy beautiful tree that sways with the beat. They should do more choreography that plays with formation shadows and shapes. They make an amazing entrance!

Section 8:
I am so disappointed that they didn't perform Angel in New York. It's my favorite song from EXO and it's so different and ethereal and hearing Baek sing it live is at the very, very top of my EXO bucket list (yes, even higher than hearing his high notes in El Dorado) because this is what Baek feels like to me. Just something so precious and fragile and otherworldy, you just stop and stare and forget to breathe. His voice, too, brings to a song to another, more more interesting level.

I can't imagine what it would have felt like with the original lineup of Promise and Angel, but I do know that I would have been a sobbing mess. It would have been amazing to have a good communal cathartic cry in front of EXO, regardless of the pain hitting us. I experienced so many feelings during the concert, but I didn't cry, and am pretty sure those last two songs would have been the final kick to boot me over the edge. The concert brought me through a whole range of emotions, but adding crying in there would have completed the entire spectrum from the highest highs to the lowest lows and what a beautiful accomplishment that would have been to experience all at my virgin EXO concert.

I swear someone from the team must have been an avid EXO fan to know exactly what heartstrings to pull when as to leave us most vulnerable and unsuspecting to deliver the swift punch to the gut. This manipulation of emotions and expectations not only worked great in this section, but also for the entire concert.

Finally, I can't thank you enough for actually reading through all my so-called analysis because I am so beginner at this (after all, I've just been inaugurated aka attended a concert), and I'm assuming that if I think long and hard enough about things, there will be an epiphany and I will know everything philosophically about EXO. But you are at yoda-level and it feels like you already know all-things-EXO, and I'm trying to tell an encyclopedia about an entry in itself.

But you still write all those thoughtful comments---agreeing, disagreeing, and questioning everything I write. It really makes writing up this tome so completely worth it, and I learned so much about not only EXO but also you from your embedded insights and perspectives.

And lastly and most importantly,

I love you.

Edited 2016-04-30 11:36 am (UTC)