It’s hard to believe that not long ago, ATEEZ were only a trainee group of KQ Entertainment when they went viral on Youtube for their dance performance under previous moniker ‘KQ Fellaz’. 9 months after their debut, this 8-member K-Pop boy group are now travelling the world. With sold out shows across USA and Europe, it was only a matter of time before ATEEZ were to visit Australia. I just didn’t think they’d be visiting this soon.
On Friday the 9th of August 2019, ATEEZ graced the Melbourne stage as part of their first ever tour (and world tour) ‘The Expedition Tour’ at Margaret Court Arena. Introduced by Maddox, show guest and fellow KQ Entertainment artist, the members of ATEEZ; Hongjoong, Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, Wooyoung and Jongho hit the stage in all black matching attire to open their first Melbourne concert and first ever Australian performance with their song “Pirate King”. It didn’t take long for me to be floored by their dynamic stage presence and flawless dance formations, specifically their jump trick in song “Desire”.
Equipped with their nautical concept right down to their compass looking lightsticks for ATINYs, captivating dance choreography and Western infused catchy tunes such as “TREASURE”, “Hala Hala”, “ILLUSION” and “Say My Name”, ATEEZ appeared comfortable and confident on the Melbourne stage.
Introducing themselves for the first time to Aussie ATINYs, the members of ATEEZ hyped up the crowd, were playfully coy and built incredible rapport with the Melbourne audience. From attempting to speak the Aussie lingo with several phrases including ‘G’day mate’, the typical Aussie cheer ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie – Oi, Oi, Oi’ (several times, mind you), going through fan tweet challenges and playfully bickering with each other, ATEEZ really meant it when they promised to Aussie ATINYs that they’d give them a night to remember.
A highlight of the show though would be when ATEEZ did a random dance play to Itzy’s “Dalla Dalla”, “Gotta Go” by Chung Ha, Block B’s “Her” and even (hilariously) viral earworm “Baby Shark”. Despite their limited catalog due to still being a rookie group, the ATEEZ concert never felt dragged out nor did it ever seem to lack content. If anything, I felt the show flowed naturally and believe it would be hard to find someone who attended that did not have fun (considering there was also heaps of fireworks, streamers and confetti). I was particularly overjoyed when ATEEZ performed “WAVE” which is their latest release, a new favourite of mine and catchy as hell. I mean, anything that says ‘Hakuna Matata’ in the lyrics is magic in my books.
With my first time experiencing ATEEZ perform live, I found the members infectiously likable. Despite the show being in an arena, meeting ATEEZ felt very personal with Seonghwa sharing that he used to live in Australia at one point and Mingi also confessing that it was actually his birthday, prompting the Melbourne audience to sing “Happy Birthday” to him.
What I found refreshing about ATEEZ (not only on a K-Pop scale but on a global scale) was that the group played a video of the members interviewing each other which was sweet, intimate, funny and specifically curated for Australian fans. I can’t remember the last time an artist lovingly did something especially for a country in that way. With minor technical issues and Seonghwa disappearing for a few songs advising when he returned that he wasn’t feeling that well but would power through for his Aussie ATINYs, I couldn’t help but be thoroughly impressed by the professionalism of these eight multi-talented performers.
Closing the show with “Dancing Like Butterfly Wings” (which has surprisingly graceful choreography and is a melodious wonder that I haven’t been able to stop listening to since the concert ended), I can confirm that ATEEZ kept their promise; witnessing Hongjoong, Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, Wooyoung and Jongho perform live in Melbourne will definitely be a night that I won’t forget. It may seem pretty crazy that a 9-month-old rookie K-Pop group are touring the world already on their debut tour. But after seeing ATEEZ with my own eyes, all I can see is extreme professionalism, pure talent, hard work and a force to be reckoned with in K-Pop for years to come.
Photography by Grant Alexander approved by KQ Entertainment and is not to be used without permission.