Chicago Ateez Concert Worth the Wait

In a word, Ateez fans are unstoppable. Neither the two-year wait nor the bitter chill of 28 degree Chicago winds could keep them from lining up, around and down the street from the Wintrust Arena for Ateez’s The Fellowship: Beginning of the End tour.


On January 18, eight member Korean boy group Ateez performed to a sea of 10,000 fans, called Atiny, wielding light sticks, banners and signs to support their favorite members. The sold out show offered a bombastic setlist of 27 songs, including newer title tracks like “The Real” and “Fireworks (I’m the One)” and album deep cuts like “Rocky” and “Good Lil Boy.” Of course, that didn’t make the show a nonstop party. Show closer and recent comeback “Turbulence” brought a particularly emotional message to fans who had been waiting for this show since it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic: “It’s okay to be here, just as we are/just like now tonight.” 


As high as expectations were, ATEEZ vastly exceeded them. Although a knee brace could be seen through youngest member Jongho’s ripped jeans at one point, his dancing was never visibly affected. In fact, he had all the energy of the rest of his team, especially Wooyoung, who hit every step and pose like it was as easy as breathing. Another standout was Mingi, whose brief hiatus from the group seemed to leave him with a confidence that made his already impressive bars even more spectacular. Regardless, the team moved together like a true pirate crew, celebrating the treasure they found yet always searching for more. High quality video intermissions (referred to as VCRs in the K-pop community) and interactions with the audience brought the show to around three hours, but seemed to pass in minutes.   


As an added perk, soundcheck access and a hi-touch experience were available to those with extra money to spend. Per COVID-19 regulations, the hi-touch was more like a walk-wave, as the boy group stood behind a plastic screen and greeted eager fans with blown kisses, thumbs up and friendly waves as they walked by. While it was a practical solution, in retrospect it felt as though the members were animals in captivity, especially when a couple of them looked like they clearly wanted to go back to the hotel and sleep.


And who could blame them? Ateez has the talent, coordination and poise that is to be expected from a K-pop group, perhaps even moreso. But, what separates these eight young men from other idols is an unabashed passion and swagger that refuses to be ignored. Their performance felt more like a rock show than a K-pop concert, from the way San roared encouragement at the audience to the visceral screams the crowd responded with.


When the concert was postponed in 2020, Atinys were unexpectedly forced to wait to see Ateez perform. In 2022, Ateez further proved they’re something worth waiting for. 


Tickets to the remaining dates of the tour can be found here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s