In July 22-24 and 29-31, EXO held their third concert “EXO PLANET #3 – The EXO’rDIUM – ” at the Olympic Park Gymnastic Stadium in Seoul, Korea. The Stadium has served as an important index for gauging the popularity of Korean artists as the biggest concert venue in South Korea where it seats up to 15,000, and all six-day concerts were sold out including the obstructed view seats. During the six days, 84,000 EXO-Ls (EXO fans) attended the concert while fans who failed purchasing tickets online set up tents at the Stadium for field sales. EXO entertained the audience for three hours and a half, performing 37 songs in total.
With the revised worldview narrative of 9 supernatural powers (instead of 10 after Tao left the group last year), the opening video explained how EXO-Ls (and all other human beings!)—needed these “perfected aliens” who came to save the earth. Soon after the screening, Baekhyun appeared at the center of the hexagon stage and heralded the grand opening of EXO’rDIUM. As soon as Baekhyun—who is in charge of “light” among 9 supernatural powers—stroke the stage floor, a massive shockwave spread out from the center to the periphery of the auditorium. Let me correct this—not a shockwave, but a constellation of light beams emitted from the new official EXO light sticks of the audience.
Prior to the concert, SM Entertainment released a new official LED light stick and recommended EXO-Ls to purchase it for a better concert directing. The new technology applied to the new light stick was called “Beatlight”—at the concert, SM’s performance director Shim Jaewon was able to control the power and colors of each light stick based on the audience seats. Throughout the concert, the colorful movement of light sticks became a significant part of the concert directing. What was impressive was SM Entertainment’s trust in EXO-Ls’ loyalty of purchasing the light sticks for the concert, because the light stick was not included in the ticket purchase. Along with the new LED light sticks, the concert demonstrated the ultimate luxury of stage settings along with seven large LED screens, pyrotechnics, strobes, 15 meter-height rain curtain, LED floor screen on the two side-stages, and 215-meter-long LED bar that surrounded the third floor.
EXO’s musical styling ranged from funky disco to dance pop, R&B, EDM, and hip hop. They opened their show with the representative SMP-style debut song “MAMA” and quickly segued to “Monster” where Baekhyun showed his sculpted abs during his solo dance break. Throughout the show, Baekhyun occasionally mentioned how hard he worked out to make his abs (“The concert will be over soon… But I am so happy right now. I can have pizza and everything!”) and how much he wished to have pizza (Right after the concert, he uploaded a selfie with pizza on his Instagram account, and the pizza website server was down for a while by EXO-Ls who tried to order the same pizza menu that Baekhyun ordered). Because Kai, the “center” of EXO, injured his ankle on the second concert, the acoustic medley of “My Lady,” “My Turn To Cry,” “Moonlight,” “Love Love Love,” “Lady Luck,” “Call Me Baby,” and “Monodrama” unexpectedly gave an opportunity for him to join the stage instead of other aggressive dance performances. “One And Only” was another highlight as Lay and Sehun (and Kai on the first day) danced in the rain on the hexagon-shaped thrust stage. While “Let Out The Beast” provided a short EDM festival-like moment, “Do It Together” exhibited Chanyeol, Sehun, and Xiumin’s rap skills on trap beat. They also demonstrated individual talents in solo dance (Kai, Lay, Sehun, and Baekhyun), acoustic and electronic guitars (Chanyeol and Lay), DJing (Chanyeol), and acting (Chen, Baekhyun, Xiumin, and Suho), which exemplified the ideal type of multitalented idols.
After their charismatic appearance in the beginning of the show, the members fully took the home advantage and communicated actively with the audience. Members called themselves “oppas” and the audience “my babies” and teased EXO-Ls who put cold packs on their faces by telling them, “You won’t have to worry about your pores.” In a video interlude, Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin (or so-called “Reservoir Idols: Chen Baek Xi,” presumably parodying Quentin Tarantino’s film “Reservoir Dogs”) appeared as good-for-nothing punks who were chased by Suho who played quadruple roles of flyer distributor, street cleaner, security guard and yogurt seller. Baekhyun’s dragging as a girl in the video was a typical tease in K-pop, although Xiumin mentioned that “You have to give up everything to impersonate a girl.” Throughout the show, EXO-Ls passionately applauded to the group and often sang along or shouted fan chants for each song.
With the six-day sold-out concert, EXO added another important achievement in the K-pop history by becoming the first artist to perform six times at the Olympic Park Gymnastic Stadium in Seoul, Korea. More important to remember is the near-perfect chemistry among the performance director Shim Jaewon, EXO members, and EXO-Ls that lit the six nights.
- White Noise
- Artificial Love
- (Acoustic Medley) My Lady+My Turn to Cry+Moonlight+Monodrama+Call Me Baby+Love, Love, Love+Lady Luck
- What If
- Tender Love
- Love Me Right
- One and Only
- Girl X Friend
- Do It Together
- Full Moon
- Drop That
- EXO Keep On Dancing
- Let Out the Beast
- Lucky One
Photos courtesy of SM Entertainment