It’s not often I attend a concert and leave thinking that the artist I just saw can really do anything, but that’s just how I felt after attending the Melbourne concert of Kim Sejeong/김세정’s 2023 1st CONCERT TOUR: The 門 (meaning ‘The Door’).
Kickstarting in South Korea back in September, Australia was the final country in Kim Sejeong’s first ever concert tour. Performing across Asia and in Australia specifically thanks to ACY Live and Jellyfish Entertainment, Australia is not only one of two countries that were lucky enough to get more than one concert date (the only countries that have two concert dates of The 門 Tour are South Korea and Australia), but we were also the grand finale!
With Melbourne being the second last show of her tour, Kim Sejeong made sure Australian Sesang (fandom name which means ‘world’) felt welcome and entertained.
The Melbourne concert was held at Festival Hall on Friday the 17th of November and when I arrived, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Circling the Festival Hall venue, I was a little confused about which door to go to. The door number on my ticket was not visible on any of the entrances outside the venue and after asking security where I was supposed to go, I ended up in line with a few others that were just as perplexed as I was. While lining up, we watched as the door numbers were manually changed by venue staff and soon after, everything made sense.
Upon entering the venue, I was greeted by a couple of Sesang that had their own assigned table set up to give away fan made photocards and stickers to attending patrons. Distributing fan support gifts as part of the Kim Sejeong Australian Community, I was thoroughly impressed by their kindness, professionalism (I had to double check that they were fans and not event staff because they were so good!), and the quality of their gifts, particularly the photocards that provided a variety of different Kim Sejeong photos to choose from.
I’m aware that providing fan support gifts take a lot of time, money, and effort, so I’m really delighted that the promoter kindly worked with the fan community, allowing them a section inside the venue to distribute their gifts which added more joy for attendees at Kim Sejeong’s Melbourne show. I am certain that many K-Pop fans would agree that collecting fan support gifts is part of the fun and experience at any K-Pop concert.
The Kim Sejeong Australian community representatives also provided patrons with pens and paper so that they could write messages to Kim Sejeong. These would be collected and compiled into a message book to be gifted to her after the tour.
Making my way to my seat, I was surprised to find the Festival Hall floor carpeted. As strange as it sounds, I’ve never seen the Melbourne staple concert venue with a carpeted floor before. It was like the venue had smartly dressed up for the occasion.
I also found on my seat and on every other seat around me with a Melbourne poster, a banner, and a lightstick with the tour name on it. This was a happy surprise! Considering that concert tickets stubs are hard to come by these days, it was nice to have these items included, providing patrons something that we could physically hold, take home, and keep. I also noticed a photo wall with the promotional tour photography and art of Kim Sejeong with the Melbourne tour date. I liked that this provided the perfect photo opportunity for Sesang and K-Pop fans alike. There’s nothing better than getting a photo of you attending a concert, after all.
Production wise, the staging for Kim Sejeong’s The 門 Tour was minimal yet effective. There was a total of three large screens on the stage with the middle screen placed further back to form a path entrance for Sejeong. At the centre of the stage there was a frame made to appear like an abstract door and this rectangular frame was Kim Sejeong’s stage entrance.
With the concert divided into several parts, each segment was separated by lovely video interludes for fans to enjoy while Sejeong needed to change her microphones or her outfits. Speaking of her outfits, for the Melbourne show Kim Sejeong wore a gorgeous white a black number, a floral green dress, and a black top with tartan skirt for the encore. Whenever she would get changed and reappear, Sejeong always made an effort to lovingly chat to her fans for a bit before getting into the next song. A highlight of our chats included Sejeong laughing and finding a sign of her face next to a cat with a similar expression that had in Korean text asking, “Which one is Kim Sejeong?”.
There were four notable videos of the show; the first was prior to the artist stepping on the stage. Kim Sejeong is shown a stylish room happily playing a game of Jenga with herself. The clip showcased her stunning visuals and cheeky persona. The second was a ‘letter’ where Sejeong affectionately addressed the audience while reflecting on her journey thus far, acknowledging her unique greetings and time in both I.O.I and Gugudan. This was displayed by Sejeong’s audio being played while the screen showed what she was saying in English subtitles. The third I found funnily self-aware, with Sejeong saying in the video that she was here to speak to fans while she (current version of her) was backstage getting changed.
The fourth video had Sejeong spinning a wheel and playing a game of ‘Truth or Dare’. This had Sejeong at one point embarrassingly admitting that she accidentally spoiled Marvel’s Avengers: End Game to a patron in the bathroom at the cinema. Sejeong stated that she had been crying after watching the movie and was washing her face while expressing to a friend how sad she was about what happened in the film. Then someone emerged from a cubical and commented that they had now been ‘spoiled’ because of her. To this day, Sejeong is still very sorry to that person that she didn’t mean to spoil the movie for!
When we weren’t watching video interludes, Kim Sejeong’s stage presence was more than enough to see her charm and personality. Entering the stage through her special door, the screen provided gorgeous, animated art throughout the night, matching every song that she was singing.
Her entrance with ‘Whale’ displayed a kaleidoscope of colour that was visually stunning, even showing a magical whale that appeared to be flying, swimming around her, and through her door. The song itself isn’t about the animal but is more a metaphor of hope in a time of darkness while searching for light. With uplifting beats, a catchy melody, themes of comfort, forgiveness, and finding solace in our memories, ‘Whale’ was a wonderful choice to begin the concert with.
Kim Sejeong has no bad songs and with flawless vocals, for the duration of the 3-hour concert Sejeong consistently impressed with her charisma, humour, and beautiful voice. Highlights of her set included ‘Teddy Bear’ when Sejeong sweetly sung to a teddy bear plushie and even commented that with every show the bear on stage has always been different. ‘Send A Letter’ also sounded so beautiful and was one of my favourite tracks that Sejeong performed live. With both songs, Sejeong appeared to hit the high notes with ease.
Making sure fans were reminded of her dance ability that she’s maintained since her K-Pop rookie days, Sejeong showcased her dance skills during the songs ‘Jenga’, ‘Top or Cliff’, ‘Warning (Feat. IIIBOI)’, ‘밤산책 (Do dum chit)’, and ‘Voyage (항해)’.
A crowd favourite segment of the night was when Kim performed an OST medley which included ‘Meet Again’ from her show The Uncanny Encounter, ‘If Only (만에 하나)’ from TV show The Legend Of The Blue Sea and ‘All of My Days (나의 모든 날)’ from the popular romantic K-drama Crash Landing On You. But Sejeong received the biggest reception when she performed the song that followed the medley, ‘Love, Maybe (사랑인가 봐)’ from her own romantic K-drama series, Business Proposal.
What made the moment even more wonderful was that on one of the big screens behind her, footage was shown from the beloved popular drama that Sejeong starred in. Whilst enjoying Kim Sejeong’s sweet vocals, fans were gushing in their seats and reliving all the great moments that Kim Sejeong’s character Shin Ha-ri and her love interest Kang Tae-moo played by Ahn Hyo-seop had together in the little video clip.
During her fan request segment, Kim Sejeong performed her own track ‘Swim Away (오리발)‘ which required a little participation from the audience, Yoonmirae (윤미래)’s ‘Black Happiness (검은 행복)’ which had Sejeong rapping, I.O.I‘s goodbye song ‘Downpour’ that had fans reflective and emotional, Nikki Yanofsky’s ‘Something New’ which she initially covered in her group Gugudan, Banana Girl/바나나걸’s ‘Hip (엉덩이)’ a 90s Korean song that I.O.I covered back 2016 and retitled ‘Hip 2016’, Paul Kim/폴킴’s ‘A Thousand Winds (천개의 바람이 되어)’, and Yoon Jong Shin/윤종신 feat. Jeongin/정인’s ‘Uphill Road (오르막길)’ which I found the most impressive as during this portion of the concert, a fan came prepared with a lyric book which she borrowed to sing many of these tunes.
However, with the latter, she ended up not really needing the lyric book at all and put it away momentarily before graciously giving it back to her fan. The best part about this segment was that every single song she performed was acapella. Unaccompanied, the room fell respectfully silent to take in every moment that Kim Sejeong was singing without music. It felt intimate, sincere, and very special.
While I am aware of Kim Sejeong’s history in Produce 101, I.O.I, Gugudan, and Gugudan SeMiNa, I initially became familiar with Kim through her acting. Netflix’s Business Proposal was my introduction to Kim Sejeong’s talents but Kim isn’t limited to singing, dancing, and television series. She’s also been an MC multiple times, has done theatre musicals, is a philanthropist, and writes her own songs.
Honestly, witnessing Kim Sejeong perform live in Melbourne has only made me become more of a fan of hers. If anything, I would be surprised if she didn’t appear in films in the not-too-distant future. During her Melbourne concert, although Sejeong admitted that she wouldn’t be doing music for a while after the concert tour concluded, hinting at going back to acting which fans were super excitedly reacted in cheers upon hearing the news. I too welcomed this as Kim Sejeong clearly has the talents to do both.
Kim Sejeong also admitted that without acting or singing, she isn’t her, and that’s fair enough. With so many talents at her disposal, it is evident that this all-rounder has worked hard to cover every corner of the Korean entertainment industry and I’m so excited for her future endeavours. I just hope that she finds the time to return to Australia whenever she has a concert tour again.
One of my favourite moments of the night was when Kim Sejeong and her fans had each other singing “Saranghae, saranghae, saranghae!” with the song ‘In the Rain’. It was really sweet but felt so sincere as both artist and fans were essentially telling each other, “I love you, I love you, I love you!”. It’s as if Sejeong purposefully wrote these lyrics for this very moment, specifically created to interact with her fans and to show how much she loves and appreciates them.
For her final appearance, Kim Sejeong performed her encore which included the catchy song ‘SKYLINE’ and it wasn’t long before Sejeong was down in the audience for her final number appropriately titled ‘Let’s Go Home (집에 가자)’. Running to every inch of the venue, Kim Sejeong threw signed balls into the Melbourne crowd and made sure to smile and make eye contact with as many patrons as possible during the song number.
Kim Sejeong’s 2023 1st CONCERT TOUR: The 門, proudly presented by ACY Live was one of the best concerts I’ve seen this year. Minus the venue confusion at the beginning, the event made for a wonderful concert.
I applaud the promoter for providing every patron with essentially a ‘Hi-Wave’ experience after the show, a poster and lightstick. These may be little things for some, but for K-Pop fans these keepsakes and experiences mean the world to us because they’re things that we can cherish and remember always. This also gives fans confidence in future shows from the promoter as these little gestures and efforts do not go unnoticed.
Although a soloist and previously being in large, numbered girl groups so early on in her career, Kim Sejeong never appeared lonely on the Melbourne stage. In fact, she commanded it with her irresistible smile, bubbly personality, excellent dancing skills, and her stunning vocals. When she needed to chat to anyone, she chatted to us – the audience, and at times it felt like we were part of the show.
Kim Sejeong’s 2023 1st CONCERT TOUR: The 門 3-hour concert was so enjoyable and entertaining that I would be shocked if there’s anything she couldn’t do after seeing her talents revealed live. Let’s just hope that Kim Sejeong returns to Australia again someday.
For more information on Kim Sejeong, the Kim Sejeong Australian Fan Community, and ACY Live, please visit:
All photography by VISPENN.