KIM JAE JOONG: Special J-PARTY Fanconcert ‘I’M TWENTY’, Festival Hall, Melbourne, May 8th 2024 – Live Review

Presented by Hanshin Entertainment and AElement, with assistance specifically for the Melbourne show from Luky Entertainment, came the 2024 KIM JAE JOONG Special J-PARTY Fanconcert ‘I’M TWENTY’ in Melbourne on Wednesday the 8th of May 2024 at Festival Hall. This concert marked the very first performance of Kim Jae Joong not only in Melbourne but in Australia, with his ‘I’M TWENTY’ Tour being his first ever visit to our shores.

Arriving before doors opened, I noticed fans excitedly lined up outside the venue, some with fan made items being given as gifts to others. This was a wonderful gesture from long supporting Kim Jae Joong fans and made me excited for what was to come. Despite the event being a Melbourne fanconcert, not everyone who attended was from Melbourne! In fact, generations of fans had flown in far and wide to be at this momentous event from countries including South Korea, Japan, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore! As soon as the doors flung upon and patrons filtered in, SVIP and VIP ticket holders collected their allocated pack of photocards before taking their seats.

Festival Hall was arranged in an organised seated set up and I was grateful for this upon finding my own seat. I had access to the soundcheck portion, and when Kim Jae Joong casually took to the stage, he seemed very calm yet keen to meet with his Australian fans for the first time. The soundcheck songs consisted of snippets of ‘INSA’ and a cover of Korean rock band YB’s ‘A Flying Butterfly’. During these two songs alone, I was thoroughly engrossed by Kim Jae Joong’s powerful voice and it was only soundcheck!

When it was time for the fanconcert to officially start, patrons eagerly took their seats and lit up their Kim Jae Joong lightsticks that they had prepared earlier before welcoming Kim Jae Joong with a loud and warm supportive cheer. But not before a continuous shot video was played on the big screen on the stage, displaying Kim Jae Joong walking through a room as time and seasons changed. The clip, practically a short film, was super impressive! I had wondered about how this video was made and thankfully, later in the performance we managed to see a behind the scenes look on how this incredible clip was created, through a continuous shot style filming! It was very cool to watch.

Kickstarting with solo versions of songs ‘Hug’ and ‘MIROTIC’ from his TVXQ! days, Kim Jae Joong had Melbourne patrons captivated and stunned by his impressive vocals and stage presence. The talented artist was natural on stage and masterfully commanded the Melbourne venue with his presence.

Jae Joong proudly commented that ‘Hug’ was his debut song and it felt weird to be performing it in in Melbourne 21 years later. Although he advised he was very grateful to finally be performing in Australia, he still couldn’t believe it was his first time playing in our country. Kim Jae Joong also commented that there were no direct flights from Seoul to Melbourne which was well received by the Melbourne audience with lots of laughs. Sharing that he travelled for 21 hours including a layover to get here, he was relieved to finally be with Australian fans after so long.

During the song ‘Drawer’, the way the stage was set up made it look like Kim Jae Joong was an ethereal being floating amongst clouds and lit by a full moon. It was stunning! As the night went on, the performances became more powerful and superb. Kim Jae Joong serenaded the room with ‘One Kiss’ and ‘INSA’, the latter song accompanied with screen visuals that cleverly displayed Jae Joong with angel wings, and he shook the room with rock song ‘Mine’, and Japanese music legend HYDE’s produced track ‘Breaking Dawn’.

With the vocal ability to sing a variety of music styles, Kim Jae Joong dynamically impressed even more when he switched in between Korean and Japanese songs seamlessly while his vocals mesmerised everyone, soaring across the room and reaching the greatest of heights. This was particularly evident with ‘For You’, the aforementioned cover of YB’s ‘A Flying Butterfly’, and the song ‘You Know What?’. Although accompanied with a live band throughout the fanconcert, I relished the moments when the band would pause and allow the room to be engulfed by Kim Jae Joong’s stunning vocals.

When patrons were encouraged to stand, they were dancing during ‘Let The Rhythm Flow’, ‘Kiss B’ and ‘Good Morning Night’, the latter of which Kim Jae Joong happily jumped around and repeated the chorus a few times to extend the good vibes in the room. The energy in the room during this moment was genuinely joyful and fun.

When not being floored by Kim Jae Joong’s phenomenal vocals, the Korean artist impressed with his professionalism and interacted with the Melbourne audience during fan segments ‘Believe It Or Not’, a truth game with Kim Jae Joong, and ‘Jae Joong the Secret Counsellor’ which had Kim Jae Joong reading through fan submitted content for Kim Jae Joong to provide advice for. When one fan shouted, “I love you!” to Kim Jae Joong, the Korean singer replied back instantly, which inspired the rest of the room to shower him with love and praise too.

I loved the Secret Counsellor segment as this showcased Kim Jae Joong’s quick wit and cheeky sense of humour, which in turn provided opportunities for hilarious moments. One fan even queried how truthful she should be with her mum for travelling from Japan to Australia to attend his concert when she had told a half-truth that she was visiting friends. In response, Jae Joong stated, “You’re 38! Do whatever you want!”

This segment was interactive, fun and hilarious, and also displayed just how comfortable Kim Jae Joong was with his fans. A serious message and excellent advice was also shared by Jae Joong, stating that “Love has no borders”. If anyone was going to take anything important from this segment, it would be that.

After the fan section, Kim Jae Joong was ready to jump into the next song and realised that his band weren’t ready yet and were still coming back onto stage. Discovering this, Jae Joong stated to his band members “Balli-balli!” meaning “Hurry, hurry” in Korean. This made for another hilarious moment which fans ended up repeating to Jae Joong for the remainder of the night.

If the room wasn’t filled with enough happiness already, Kim Jae Joong surprised Melbourne patrons by running up and down the aisles of the venue to get up close and personal with his fans and this gesture was met with many cheers of delight.

There was also a moment throughout the show where Kim Jae Joong thought he was taking a group photo with the audience and instead was surprised with cake and a lovely fan video prepared by long supporting and dedicated Kim Jae Joong ‘Boss Baby’ (fandom name) fans. Although, the sign said, “Happy Birthday”, Jae Joong commented his birthday was in January, a comment that was instantly welcomed with much laughter. The cake and the lovely fan video were gorgeous gestures to commemorate Kim Jae Joong’s mighty achievement of 21 years in the music industry.

Honoured yet incredibly humble and grateful, Kim Jae Joong shared that he was a little embarrassed yet proud at the same time for his past years in the industry, emotionally sharing that, “I didn’t give up, I tried my best and I’m happy with that. Because of your long support I was able to make it this far.” In reaction to the cake itself, Jae Joong said, “When I see these kinds of stuffs, I can never retire now!”, a comment which was met with thunderous laughter and applause throughout the Melbourne venue. Kim Jae Joong then affectionally shared, “Whenever you guys feel down, just look at me because I’ll never give up!”. Jae Joong also commented that this Melbourne event made for a memorable first ever concert in Australia.

Although my favourite moment of the night was when Kim Jae Joong performed my favourite Japanese song, the HYDE penned Mika Nakashima hit ‘GLAMOROUS SKY’ which had me elated and singing along to every word, there were no bad moments at this concert. Ending the concert with beautiful songs, ‘I’ll Protect You’ which had patrons singing along and making for a very sweet moment, the final song ‘I AM U’ made for the perfect conclusion to a wonderful night.

Thankful for his journey and this event in Melbourne, Kim Jae Joong bowed for a long time to each side of the stage, expressing his genuine gratitude and sincerely acknowledging that his career is thanks his fans, their love and support. As Jae Joong bowed, the passionate Melbourne audience roared, it was a mutual declaration of love that I really appreciated witnessing between fans and their favourite artist. However, with Kim Jae Joong – it really felt heartfelt and special.

It was a true privilege being in Kim Jae Joong’s presence and witnessing him artfully embrace the room with his charm and outstanding voice. I’m not sure when Kim Jae Joong will be back in Melbourne, but this concert alone was a historical personal milestone for Kim Jae Joong regardless. On top of already celebrating a long and wonderful career, this event was a fantastic achievement for Kim Jae Joong to have finally played in Australia.

The 2024 KIM JAE JOONG Special J-PARTY Fanconcert ‘I’M TWENTY’ in Melbourne was held on Wednesday the 8th of May 2024 at Festival Hall. Unfortunately, the tour is now over but for more information on Kim Jae Joong, please visit:

Photography by Grant Alexander.

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