Super Junior: D&E 2023 World Tour Fan Con: DELight Party, Festival Hall, Melbourne, Saturday October 21st 2023 – K-Pop Live Review

For the first time in their long and storied history as performers, the members of Super Junior’s subunit D&E have touched down on Australian shores for their 2023 World Tour Fan Con: DELight Party.

Super Junior or SuJu, are one of the industry’s most well-known and decorated groups, debuting in 2005 with the digital single ‘Twins (Knock Out)’. In the 18 years since, the 10-member group has spawned a number of collaboration units, with D&E being one of its most popular and successful.

The 2-piece Super Junior unit is made up of members Donghae and Eunhyuk, the group’s lead vocalist and main rapper respectively, who had their debut as a duo in 2011 with the single ‘Oppa Oppa’. Since then, the pair has released 3 studio albums and 5 EPs across Korea and Japan, with their most recent full length Korean album ‘Countdown’ hitting airwaves in 2021.

At Melbourne’s Festival Hall, the normally small stage had been extended into a large catwalk. Super Junior’s fans, E.L.F. (an acronym for Everlasting Friends), surround the catwalk as they waited for their idols to begin their soundcheck. Donghae and Eunhyuk came out on stage dressed casually, greeting the lucky VIPs enthusiastically as they ran through their songs ‘Need U’ and ‘Share My Love’.

When the venue opened to the rest of the general public patrons, it filled with E.L.F. brandishing their shining blue Super Bong lightsticks. Donghae and Eunhyuk hit the stage in glittering black and white sequined suits with matching blue microphones to perform their opening songs ‘Zero’ and ‘B.A.D.’ from the albums Countdown and Danger.

Following a VCR film and a quick costume change, D&E performed the Korean version of their single ‘Sunrise’ and ‘’Bout You’ from the 2018 EP of the same name. A concert and fan meeting hybrid, the performances were broken up by a series of on-stage games and activities as part of a 99-second relay challenge where the members had to complete 5 challenges in the short time frame.

After three hilarious attempts, and the crowd’s insistence that they failed, the Super Junior members lovingly joked that the show was over before pretending to wrap up and walk off stage. Following this was a segment where the members read short fan letters off post-it notes, giving a special shout-out to an E.L.F. from Hong Kong and singing Donghae a belated birthday song.

Fan meetings are a somewhat rare event on Australian shores, typically reserved for the Korean and Japanese fanbases where attendance is reserved for official members only. The addition of the games and fan letter segment gave the DElight Party a very unique and fun atmosphere.

At one point, when a fan offered D&E $10k to find them in the crowd, the boys even went to the effort of unsuccessfully checking a number of fan IDs in hopes they would find the fan, which made for a hilarious moment. Where a typical K-Pop concert is broken up with speaking moments and pre-recorded videos, the lengthy fan interactions felt intimate and appropriate, especially considering how long many of their fans have been waiting to see them live.

Donghae and Eunhyuk, the seasoned performers that they are, barely seemed to break a sweat on stage. Unlike many K-Pop groups and soloists, D&E only displayed minimal and simple choreography for the songs that needed it, allowing the evening to spotlight their almost two decades of vocal experience. Supported by a live band, the songs of Super Junior D&E felt much bigger than the venue they were performed in. Traversing pop, rock, and ballad influences, the duo deftly showcased their skills, using the catwalk stage to get as close to the Melbourne audience as possible, often venturing out through various parts of the show.

The DElight Party had a live translator present to assist the group members in the speaking portions, but one doesn’t spend that long in the industry without picking up a little bit foreign language along the way. Both Donghae and Eunhyuk made efforts to speak English where they could, maintaining their light and comedic personalities while interacting with fans, with laughter rippling throughout the venue. It felt very telling of the bond between these idols and their fans with so man in the venue having followed Donghae and Eunhyuk since the beginning of their careers.

Closing the show with ‘Need U’ and ‘Hello’ from their Japanese debut, as well as their unit’s debut track ‘Oppa Oppa’, shortened versions of full group Super Junior songs ‘Mamacita’, ’Bonamama’, and chart-topper ‘Sorry Sorry’, D&E returned to the stage after the show to treat lucky VIP fans to an intimate and sweet goodbye session. Taking the time to affectionately and kindly thank their fans, the two happily shared how fortunate they felt to have come to Melbourne. Quickly learning our iconic “Aussie Aussie Aussie – Oi Oi Oi” chant after a moment of endearing confusion, Super Junior’s Donghae and Eunhyuk implored their dedicated concertgoers to stay healthy and stress less so that they could meet again soon.

Proudly presented by Happy Together, Hanshin Entertainment, Aelement and Box Live, Super Junior’s D&E put on a short but fun memorable show of the 2023 World Tour Fan Con: DELight Party at Festival Hall in Melbourne on Saturday October 21st for fans and tag-alongs alike, showing just a glimpse of the talent and charisma of one of Korea’s longest-running and most beloved boy groups.

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Photography by Jozo Zhu.

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