A super-sized stage, pyrotechnics and innocuous screaming from the jam-packed audience at Jangchung Arena in Seoul was befitting of a K-pop superstar concert.
SHINee's Key brought unseen energy and enthusiasm to his live show, “G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) In The Keyland,” on Saturday for the first time in a little less than four years, having to make up for lost time due to the pandemic and his two-year military service.
Saturday’s concert was a mixture of high production and engaging banter with the audience. The singer-turned-soloist ran through a breathless 23-track set that drew from his biggest hits and also put on two encore performances.
From longtime grown-up fans, and young teenagers to international Shawol, the band’s official fandom, 4,000 people flocked to see Key perform live. SM Entertainment chief producer Lee Soo-man, Key's bandmate Tae-min and Red Velvet’s Irene and Yeri also were among the audience.
Even before the concert started, the crowd burst into screams when SHINee’s “Atlantis” blasted from the speakers. And as the clock struck 6:03 p.m., the lights dimmed and the screens lit up. Key, in a gold long-sleeve suit embellished with gold chains and pearls, sprung from an LED cube rising out of the stage and kicked off the first of his two days of live sessions.
Key sang “Gasoline,” the titular of his second LP, as the opener. “Big rings, you scream,” the lyrics declared. As the song ended, the singer looked around the sold-out auditorium in awe, as Shawol chanted “Kim Ki-bum,” his real name.
The strobe lights then turned purple, red, blue and pink, moving in sync to the beat of “Guilty Pleasure.” Key's perfect falsetto in the end was met with screams from the fans, before he went on to sing “Another Life.”
“It’s great to see you guys, and I’ve prepared the concert while imagining such a scenery with my staff members,” Key said to his fans.
“The term ‘GOAT’ is used to describe the best player of all time, and I think it can also refer to a certain moment. We will always be the goat every moment, and I named the title like that because I hope you guys can enjoy the best moment in life during today’s concert,” he said.
Hyping up the crowd, Key shouted, “Let’s go. You Ready?” as he started his second set with “Villain.” The stage changed to a flashy broadway set for “Show Me” and he continued the upbeat energy with “Hologram.”
The stage then emptied out for Key's performance of "Heartless," leaving only dancers Kim Ji-hoon, Ji-hyang, Biggle, One You-jin, Hong Suzy, Song Ha-eun, Vara, Hyun. K, Min-soo, Redy, Sung-chan and On. Key explained that "Heartless," probably the main slayer of the night, was an unreleased track that could be on his repackaged album someday.
The stage later turned into a scene reminiscent of California's palm tree-lined streets, as the artist took the stage spruced in denim head to toe with a black beanie as he sang a mellow and breezy “Saturday Night." He ended the set with a wink at the end and continued with “Proud,” engaging with the crowd as he paced back and forth across the stage.
During “Delight,” Key asked fans to sing along to the lyrics, something he and his fans undoubtedly have missed out on the most during the pandemic. The fans amped it up with their boisterous fan chants, joining in more sing-alongs for “Forever Yours” and “I Wanna Be” as the stage pyrotechnics came out.
Key added an acoustic touch to the night with “One Of Those Nights.” For “I Can’t Sleep,” the venue was lit with different colors of the rainbow.
“My little freaks. Love you to the moon and back,” Key shouted as he started, “Imagine.”
After a moment of silence, the venue glowed red as Key, decked out in white, emerged on stage showcasing some Michael Jackson-esque moves for “Bound” and “Helium.” Later, under purple lights, Key performed “Ain’t Gonna Dance.”
The concert brought Key and fans closer than ever during “Eighteen (End Of My World),” “Burn” and “Chemicals,” as if they were enveloped in their own world.
Fast-forward two hours, and it was time for Key to bid farewell to fans.
“I’m sad that the time went by too fast. Did you have a good time? If you did, that’s ultimately all that matters, and I’ve done my job,” he said, grinning.
It was the first of his two-day show in Seoul, but his sincerity was genuine. In the 15th year of his career, Key seemed to be having more fun with fans, after years of tours around the world.
The curtains to the show came down after “This Life” and the encore stages of “Bad Love” and “G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time).”
The second day of the concert was also streamed via Beyond Live for those who couldn’t visit. Key will fly to Japan’s Yokohama from Nov. 19-20 for two live sessions.