A Performance Like Magic: TXT in Chicago
Since having one of the most anticipated debuts just this past March, TOMORROW X TOGETHER has already hit stateside with their STAR in US debut showcase. Hosted by Powerhouse Live, the five-member boy group’s tour saw six cities, spanning New York, Chicago, Orlando, Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles. The Kraze was lucky enough to catch the show in Chicago—and when I say lucky, I mean it: I wouldn’t have traded this concert experience for anything.
“Like Blue Orangeade”
The showcase took place in Chicago’s Vic Theatre with a small crowd of less than 1,000 people—a stark contrast to the 60,000-person crowd for BTS’s neighboring gig at Soldier Field that same weekend. The lower levels were standing room only—this in addition to the cozy venue made for a surprisingly intimate experience. As I had one of the standing GA tickets, I arrived at the venue almost two hours before showtime, though the wait was anything but unenjoyable. TXT’s songs blasted through the venue’s speakers on repeat, allowing the building crowd to sharpen their fanchants (and barking, yes barking). BigHit Entertainment staff was also visibly recording from the balconies and the crowd’s energy was apparent in the staffs’ smiles as they filmed.
As showtime finally neared, one last repeat of “Cat & Dog” flooded the hall. This song, in particular, has gained a reputation for fans replacing the official fanchant with dog barking. With the venue packed wall to wall, the barks were already explosive in volume, but the screams nearly doubled when one of the members (likely Yeonjun) joined in the barking from backstage. And it served as the perfect playful setup for TXT’s much-awaited entrance.
The boys opened with the poppy “Blue Orangeade” and immediately set not only the tone, but also the bar for the rest of their performance. Coming from BigHit, especially when considering how long their group was in the works, I expected top-notch talent. Throughout their promotions, TXT has delivered, but having seen their company-mates BTS in concert numerous times, I’ll admit I was quite intrigued to see how their presence and stamina would measure up. With just the first performance of “Blue Orangeade,” I was speechless: not only were their vocals flawless, but their choreography was never lacking. While their inexperience did leave obvious room for improvement in stage presence, these boys had performing down to an exact science.
All the members got the chance to show off their variety skills in the next segment, in which the members played a game of Jenga wherein each piece contained a mission. The challenges included typical idol content like “do a dance” or “compliment X member,” but honestly the most surprising part was TXT’s English. I’d known that more than one member was fluent, but I certainly did not expect for the boys to be so interactive with the crowd. Both Soobin and Taehyun particularly were impressive on this front, with Soobin frequently speaking on behalf of the group as the leader and Taehyun’s impeccably spot-on sarcasm. It should also be said that TXT is incredibly endearing: in the haste to remove the Jenga table once the segment concluded, the staff member accidentally knocked the Jenga pieces off the table, sending the TXT members into a frenzy as they frantically tried to help clean up the mess.
From there, the boys launched into an English performance of “Cat & Dog” which was every bit as enjoyable as their first set. As expected, the barks from fans filled the venue, making for one of the most memorable and unique stages I’ve ever experienced. If there’s one thing these boys aren’t short on, it’s energy—they have a contagious enthusiasm about them. Maybe this stems from having waited so long to debut, but if anything, TXT is proof that every dog has its day.
From Horns to a Crown
After a somewhat sentimental VCR in which the boys expressed their dreams, the show transitioned into the softer side of things, starting off with “Nap of a star.” In this song, all five members re-entered the stage one by one. At one point, Soobin appeared to even be tearing up; whether he really was on the verge of tears or not, it was clear this performance meant a lot to the boys. Following “Nap of a star” was a special acoustic version of “Our Summer.” Upon first hearing it, “Our Summer” was my favorite track from TXT’s debut album, so I was hard-pressed to believe that the song could be even better. Perhaps more than any other, this performance of “Our Summer” really let the bond between TXT and their fans shine as the softer song allowed fans’ singing to be heard alongside the boys’.
After another short break in which the members took turns addressing the crowd, the show concluded with TXT’s debut single, “CROWN,” introducing it as the song that started it all. Although the entire show was high-energy and undeniably enjoyable, this performance in particular really shed light onto how grateful TXT is to be where they are today. This is a group that’s truly proud of their work and although they are still in the early stages of their career, it’s easy to see they’ll remain humble. This says a lot considering that TXT is a group that had the odds stacked against them in the form of impossibly high expectations.
Though it’s impractical to think that the comparisons to BTS will ever cease, while watching TXT perform, I didn’t care what company they came from and I didn’t care who their seniors were. All I could think about was how unbelievably talented these five boys are. Despite carrying some of the heaviest weight on their shoulders, TXT has proven that they have their own refreshing brand of talent to bring to the industry, and I can’t wait to see where their own specific journey takes them.