K-Pop: ONEUS Concert Pasadena

Official promotional image for ONEUS’ ‘REACH FOR US’ tour featuring Kim Gunhak (Leedo), Son Dongju (Xion), Lee Keonhee, Lee Seoho, and Yeo Hwanwoong. Copyright goes to RBW.

Hey! Hallie here!

My sister and I finally got to the ONEUS concert we’ve been waiting for for almost four months now! This concert was amazing, and not just because ONEUS is a highly underrated group with excellent songs and impressive choreography. It left a major impression on me because this was the most intimate K-Pop concert I’ve ever been to. This was a fairly small venue and they really took advantage of how personal the size made the concert feel. During one song they walked up and down the aisles to interact with TOMOONs, and during every ment they turned on the lights in the house so they could see and make eye contact with TOMOONs as well. My sister and I were only a few rows back from the stage and we were also placed on the side of the aisle, so we were able to interact with them far more than any other K-Pop concert we’ve been to. (I got a wave from Hwanwoong as he walked beside me down the aisle!) There was so much to love about this concert that I can’t wait to discuss, so let’s get into the set list!

Beginning of Concert:

The concept of this concert was really interesting. In the opening videos we switched between an intense forest scene where a hand reached out towards the boys for help, and a really wholesome forest scene with bright colors and even a bunny (Which of course Keonhee was holding). In the wholesome scene a hand also reached out for the boys, and though the situation seemed less dire, Leedo’s eyes instantly turned red and morphed the scene back to the dark forest. The whole purpose of the video seemed to be to represent ONEUS’ duality as well as to portray a “monster within” theme. This could have easily been a full story, but it was kept to just the opening video. Still, it was definitely intense enough to run seamlessly into “Bring it on”, one of ONEUS’ more intense songs. I always think it’s a smart idea to start out a concert with a hype song to set the tone and energy, and “Bring it on” is definitely one of their more high energy songs. I especially like that the song starts with spoken dialogue from Leedo in his deep register, which was the perfect way to get fans to freak out before they had even started singing.

“COME BACK HOME” isn’t as much a hype song as it is just really intense, and with the high energy already established, I loved that they placed this one early in the concert as well. It’s one of my favorites and has some of their best choreography, which includes a few lifts and a running tackle. Having them be at peak energy for this song was essential. After this was “BLACK MIRROR” which was a little bit jarring considering its more fun, lighthearted sound and feel, but the choreo still utilized their beginning-of-concert energy really well. Their intro ment came next. As I said above, the intimacy of this venue made all of their ments feel like a genuine conversation with TOMOONs, particularly because lights in the theatre came up during their ments so they could see us. Their introductions weren’t long but they were all very adorable, particularly Keonhee’s who couldn’t stop referencing ‘La La Land’.

Middle of Concert:

The next section started with “Who Got the Joker?”. In my experience, most K-Pop groups don’t perform album introductions live very often, but I was really hoping ONEUS would be an exception because of how amazing their introductions usually are. Luckily, I got my wish. “Who Got The Joker?” has some of the best vocals in any of their songs and I was so happy to see it performed. From there they went into “FULL MOON”. “FULL MOON” is their sexy choreography song. So yeah, I think I blacked out for part of this song. Next we got into some of their still high energy, but more nostalgic, easy-listening songs. These were “STUPID LOVE” and “Skydivin'” which blended together seamlessly and weren’t too jarring of a transition from the more sultry “FULL MOON”. Plus, it was nice to have this break from the intense feel we had had so far in the concert. Here we had another ment that was memorable because it consisted mostly of Leedo terrorizing Xion by being a caring hyung. After this ment we got the specialty stages they’ve recently done on a few award shows.

Specialty Stages and End of Concert:

They started out with their cover of Blackpink’s “Pink Venom” which I personally believe is better than the original, partly because ONEUS absolutely kills girl group choreography. Then they went into “Sexy Back”. This was not a sung cover, but a dance cover of the Justin Timberlake song as performed by Leedo, Seoho, and Hwanwoong. Some people were comparing this stage, and the inclusion of chairs for it, to Magic Mike. I wouldn’t say that’s an unfair comparison. Next we went into their ‘Top Gun’ inspired dance medley. This dance medley is a spectacle. The group work here, from the fake fighting at the beginning to the entire airplane made up of members of ONEUS and their backup dancers, is incredible. I especially want to shout out Hwanwoong for leading major parts of this dance with impressive ease.

Unfortunately, the transition into the next songs was jarring again. The members all left the stage and we thought we were going into another break, but they walked back on stage a second later with microphone stands now set up. Which means slower songs! I love both “Red Thread” and “Youth”, and Seoho’s vocals here in particular were mind-blowing to hear in person, but I wished they would have found a better placement for the slow songs. They ended this section with “Incomplete”, which isn’t quite slow but does transition out of the slower songs well. In this section we also got a few VCRs. One VCR was an interview with the boys that almost purely dealt with their mental health and the pressure they feel constantly. I really liked that they were being upfront about this kind of serious topic, and especially that they covered how much both excitement and anxiety goes into preparing for a tour like this. Another VCR showed more behind the scenes of the tour that also addressed the serious amount of both physical and mental work that went into the tour, while still giving us some sillier moments. Though neither showed a story, I really did enjoy the honest look into how the boys are doing mentally.

The next section started with another intro! “Into: EDEN” is gorgeous, and the strong vocals there made for a nice pairing with “Same Scent”, one of ONEUS’ most popular song and probably the song that got the most cheers throughout the night. During the next ment Xion was slow to come out on stage. None of the members seemed to know what was going on, but they filled the space by casually talking about their anticipation for the next few songs. After the concert Xion revealed he wasn’t feeling well throughout the entire thing and apologized for his performance. Honestly, no one noticed. The fact that he was late coming out for this one ment was our only hint. I’m in awe of how well he did and I hope he’s getting rest now. After the ment they went into my favorite song, “LUNA”, complete with gorgeous fan choreography. They also did the Kingdom version of “Lit”, which is more intense than the original but carries the traditional sound of the song, which meant we got both of their most traditional-inspired songs placed perfectly back-to-back. They did another ment here to let us know that we only had two songs until the end of the concert, but that always means an encore’s coming afterwards. In the meantime they closed out with “To Be or Not to Be”, another dramatic song with amazing lifts in the choreo. Keonhee absolutely stole the show with his solo moments in this song as he was lifted above the other members. They closed out with “No Diggity”, another hype song. This song almost blew out my eardrums with how loud it was, but it was easy to see how badass they felt performing this one.


Then we had an encore VCR where the boys had prerecorded messages for TOMOON from when they were practicing for the tour. They really focused on their nervousness surrounding the tour in this VCR. I was surprised at this point that all of the mid-concert VCRs were interviews or behind the scenes videos, but I actually wish more groups would do this. It helps the fans feel closer to them and come away from the concert with a better appreciation for the members. Their final set of songs began with “Life is Beautiful”, which is just a really adorable song to begin an encore with. They kept house lights on for the encore, and as usual, the boys were in comfier outfits for it to make the encore feel more casual. Especially with the personal feel of the venue, it felt like the boys were singing “Life is Beautiful” directly to us. They then did their ending ments where they thanked us for the energy, especially because this was their last US stop on their tour. Keonhee also took the time to thank their staff and praise them as much as possible, which I always appreciate. They then warned us to sit down and stay seated for the next song, because they would be walking the aisles!

They sang “Last Song” as they walked through the audience, another nostalgic, heartfelt song that they initially performed with their brother group, Onewe. During the song both Keonhee and Xion walked past me so I could hear up close how beautiful their voices are. Hwanwoong in particular was the member everyone was waiting for because he was the most involved in fan interaction. He took selfies with several people, posed for several more pictures, and either high fived or waved at everyone he could possibly reach. I was very happy to get a wave from him! Because this was their last stop on the US branch of their tour, they decided to give us another performance of “No Diggity” once they got back on stage. My eardrums were blown out again, but I’m very grateful I went on a night where I could see them perform an extra song! Seeing the members leave after a concert that felt so personal was heartbreaking. I do want to shout out Keonhee though, for asking the ASL interpreters how to sign “I love you” to the group of deaf fans just before leaving the stage. All the members were such sweethearts and I’m so glad I got to see them. I do hope they get enough recognition that they can book bigger venues in the future, but I’ll always be grateful that I went to see them at a time where direct contact with the audience was possible.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


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