Act: Lovesick opener: a retrospective

The following article is going up far too late due to a combination of factors. Just in time for Hueningkai’s 20th birthday, here’s a non-comprehensive report of a tour Tomorrow X Together fans spent years waiting for.

On July 7, Tomorrow X Together kicked off their first world tour, Act: Lovesick at the Rosemont Theater. The crowd was hype from the moment they walked through the door. While Chicago MOA waited anxiously for the concert to begin, the group’s music videos played on the screens that would later broadcast high concept VCRs and their shining faces. During these videos, the crowd cheered and fawned over their favorite members. When Tomorrow X Together finally graced the stage, they positively roared.

One such fan was Lupe Vargas, 20, who had also attended the New York City date of their 2019 Star in US showcase tour. As a pre-debut fan, she was more than happy to see how far the boys have come in three years.

“I felt like I was growing up with them, you know?” Vargas said. “When I first saw them, I was 16 or 17…at first, it was like 1,000 people and now it’s 5,000. It was crazy to see them improve so much and have…a bigger set list.”

At the time of their showcase, Tomorrow X Together had only released their debut effort The Dream Chapter: Star. Over the past three years since, they’ve released five mini-albums and two full-length albums. the most recent release, Minisode 2: Thursday’s Child, showed a darker and angstier side of the group than ever before just in time for the start of the world tour.

The strongest aspect of the Chicago concert outside of the performance had to be the VCRs, video interludes that keep the audience entertained while costume and set changes are made. Except, rather than fill time, the VCRs truly enhanced the performances by using the medium to tell a complex and heart-breaking story: that of misfits who came together to make a better tomorrow only to have time and the real world kill the fairytale The imagery used was nearly biblical at times, down to fire and brimstone raining down onto their paradise. Bookending the setlist with “0X1=Love Song (I Know I Love You)” and “Good Boy Gone Bad” was a particularly genius decision, as they perfectly encapsulate naive boys ensnared in a toxic relationship finally escaping and coming out the other side bruised and broken. The performance of the rock remix of “Can’t You See Me?” was particularly powerful, as the magic island the boys inhabited has burned to the ground. Now, all they can do is walk through the flames.

Unfortunately, the show wasn’t exclusively about great performances and building a compelling story. The journey to get to the show was quite stressful for many MOA from the moment tickets went on sale. According to Vargas, the main issue fans ran into while trying to secure a spot at a show was the impossible task of beating bots to the best seats.

“Bots, during presale, were able to buy eight tickets at a time,” she said.

Another downside that was expressed by Vargas was the event’s security, which she said she wished would have been “handled a bit differently.” This was further compounded by the fact that she also attended the New York City date, where concert attendees had to walk through metal detectors.

“They just had those scanners,” she said. “I feel like, considering it’s such a small venue, they should have had metal detectors. Especially since they knew the boys were walking into the crowd, they should have done something more to prevent any sort of danger.”

While Vargas trusts “some people aren’t gonna harm them,” her desire for stronger security wasn’t unfounded. Not only did a man jump onstage during their Dallas stop, but members Beomgyu and Hueningkai both received death threats on the social platform Weverse days before the Chicago date.

Nevertheless, the show went on for fans like her and Genesis Blatchford, 18, who experience this show as her first concert.

So, how was it?

“At first I was anxious because I didn’t know anyone and I was by myself,” Blatchford said. “But, it was amazing. I would talk with the people next to me in the venue and it felt like we had been friends for a long time.”

Blatchford’s favorite tracks to hear live were “Ghosting” and “Thursday’s Child Has Far to Go,” while Vargas preferred “Blue Hour” and “Crown.” Other high points in the concert included “LO$ER=LO♡ER,” which delighted the audience with not only the uncensored version of the track but also a car themed to the music video onstage. The Ashnikko-produced track “Frost” was manic, sexy fun that really captured how far the boys have come since their “Cat and Dog” days. Ballads “Maze in the Mirror” and “Anti-Romantic” gave the quintet an opportunity to showcase chilling vocal harmonies unique to many groups in modern K-pop, once again proving their merits as leaders of the fourth generation.

Not only did the show utilize visual storytelling and their own music catalogue to dazzle the crowd with a heart-wrenching story, but it showcased the growth these five young man have experienced since their first tour. While it’s been well over a month since this concert and they’ve long left the US for the Asian leg of their tour, it’s the kind of concert that is not easily forgotten.

This was a sentiment echoed by Blatchford, whose position in the crowd didn’t stop her from enjoying the performances.

“Even though I was towards the back it was amazing,” she said. “I’ve never felt so happy.”

Tickets to the remaining dates of Tomorrow X Together’s Act: Love Sick World Tour can be found here.

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