Shinhwa Celebrates 16 Years of Being ‘Here’ with Fans [03/23/14]

I see it as a waste to leave them collecting dust, so I share with you these much overdue reviews.

Enjoy :]

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Please don’t take the photos out from this blog. 

We’ve come across the realization that sixteen years is a very long time.

Baby Jaemin from Baby Diaries is now a high schooler.
Four different South Korean presidents have been inaugurated into office.
Idol group members promoting now were born when Shinhwa debuted.
And speaking of Shinhwa – they’re still going.

On March 23, Shinhwa held the 2014 Shinhwa 16th Anniversary Concert – Here at the Olympic Park Gymnastics Stadium, celebrating their sweet sixteen with the people who made it all possible – the fans.

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The fans, however, were not met with all six members with the unfortunate circumstances surrounding Andy, but with Andy’s absence, each remaining member tried that much harder to fill in the empty space, all the while remembering their youngest throughout the entire concert.

Shinhwa brilliantly opened up with ‘Scarface,’ which was quickly followed by ‘Venus’ and ‘Brand New,’ making all the fans cheer, especially for the latter two songs, which marked significant points in the group’s career.

What was noticed right off the bat was that Andy’s parts in the songs were smoothly edited out with new music arrangements. While it may have seemed a bit upsetting that Andy was taken out of the concert even in audio form, this was the Shinhwa members’ thoughtful consideration for their sixth member; they didn’t want Andy to be replaced by anyone else.

With so many years of experience, Shinhwa blazed through a total of 24 songs, which included big hits like ‘Perfect Man’ and ‘Hey Come On.’ But the group also took fans back to the past, which they called ‘Reply 1998,’ performing songs from their earlier albums like ‘Desire’ and ‘Jam#1.’ The group captivated its audience with flawless and emotional performances of ‘Hurts’ and ‘On the Road,’ as well as ‘Mannequin’ and ‘Move With Me,’ which the members showcased for the first time on stage.

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In between performances, the members greeted fans like family, not shying away from making fun of each other and acting completely silly, getting as close as they could before spitting profanity at each other.

Jun Jin at one point addressed the fans to stop postponing their marriages to participate in Shinhwa promotions and to just do it with their husbands. Just not when you’re pregnant as Kim Dong Wan remarked.

The concert was filled with the usual fan service with random hugs between the members, winks, and hearts that had the fans going wild, especially when the members came to eye-level with fans in the lowered stages in the standing sections.

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And who could forget the completely nonsensical but hilarious VCRs that have become a part of Shinhwa’s concert tradition. ‘The Shinhwa Squadron From Hell’ featured a story of five soldiers who served in the Vietnam War and lived to tell the tale, although with some lingering war trauma.  The members spewed out random song lyrics from ‘Shooting Star,’ ‘Hero,’ and even EXO’s ‘Growl,’ making the entire stadium roar in laughter. Shinhwa also paid tribute to Andy in the video with the presence of kiwis.

The members later came up on the screen, dressed as old grandpas who were balding and losing sight, continuing the hilarity. But the point of the VCR came at the end when these touching words appeared: “It’s not ‘Is it already 16 years?’ but ‘It’s only been 16 years’ for us. With each other, with everyone, we’d like to be together forever.”

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Throughout the show, Shinhwa thanked the fans for believing in them and asked for fans to continue believing in them. Referring to Andy’s absence, Kim Dong Wan stated, “There were many concerns with this concert. We’re holding this concert with great success, but there were probably both satisfaction and dissatisfaction that came along with it. This is something that not one voice, but the voices of the six members and many staff members contemplated and decided. Please don’t hate one company or one person but ď to trust and watch over us for a long time.”

And that trust was confirmed with all the orange that brilliantly shimmered in the stadium for two days with a total of approximately 27,000 fans in the audience.

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Lee Min Woo at one point looked out into the audience, saying he has wondered how much longer he could hold concerts. “The answer is forever,” said Lee Min Woo, but of course, Kim Dong Wan broke the sentimental mood by chirping, “Unless somebody dies.”

For the next three hours, the entire stadium was filled with energy and laughter as Shinhwa closed off the concert with exciting encore performances of ‘I Pray 4 U,’ ‘Stay,’ and ‘Yo!’ that had everyone standing and dancing.

After the live band and dancers were recognized, everyone took a bow, but the concert wasn’t entirely over yet.

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“It is our birthday after all, so we have a present for you, but everyone must close their eyes,” said Shinhwa.

As many fans have hoped, Andy appeared on stage, warmly greeted by the Shinhwa members and thousands of fans, who quickly burst into tears.

“I didn’t have the courage to come up on this stage to face all of you, but I wanted to sincerely apologize to everyone. I’m sorry to the fans and the members,” said Andy with tears in his eyes. He added that he really missed the fans during his time of self-reflection and he’ll work hard to make up for his mistakes.

The Shinhwa members then emphasized that they will be back with a new album in October, with not five, but all six members.

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In this concert, not only did Shinhwa showcase the years of experience that have piled on top of each other, but the group kept its promise to meet with fans every year, which is far more important.

Lee Min Woo once explained that the concert was named ‘Here,’ to signify the actual concert hall in which Shinhwa held their first concert in 2001, their see-you-later concert in 2008, and their comeback concert in 2012, but was it really about the venue?

Not really.

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The 2014 concert was about being here.

Shinhwa, for Andy.
Shinhwa, for the fans.
And the fans, for all six members of Shinhwa.

It is this trust that has allowed Shinhwa to boast the title as the longest-running idol group in the history of K-pop for the past sixteen years.

And if the fans can continue being ‘here’ for Shinhwa, it won’t just be for sixteen years, but for the next sixteen years, or perhaps, even more than that.

So yes, the ‘Here’ concert wasn’t exactly complete because it lacked the presence of one member, but in the sense that the five members each stepped up for Andy, spotlighting the strong bond created over a priceless period of time, and the fact that the fans filled in the large stadium to support the group regardless, the concert was as perfect as it could’ve ever been.

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Photos: Green Tea Graffiti, with permission (check out their review here!) + the korean bubble

Please don’t take the photos out from this blog. 

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