Looking down at the sea of purple lights in the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie, I waited in curiosity among the excited fans who proudly are called “Arohas” by the Korean idols they were anxiously waiting to see, ASTRO. ASTRO consists of six members: Cha Eunwoo, Moonbin, MJ, Jin Jin, Rocky and Yoon Sanha. For me, I have only heard a few songs, seen two music videos, and watched a few clips from variety shows (mainly because they were forced upon me). I didn’t know what to really expect from their performances and I haven’t been to a k-pop show since Big Bang’s “Made” Tour in 2016 and before that, a few shows while I was an exchange student in Korea in 2013. ASTRO was not a group that was from the era I grew up in. But, they did not disappoint.
ASTRO dances with precision and with purposeful movements, which reminded me a lot of the group that debuted back in 2010, Infinite. This is a testament not only to them, but also to the skills of their youngest member that doubles as their assistant choreographer for some of their songs, Rocky. The best choreography of the night was to their song, “Butterfly.” But the choreography that caught my eye the most was to “Crazy Sexy Cool.” Not because of the dance itself, but of the well-timed visuals behind them that played perfectly with the choreography, adding to the overall performance. Their best performance overall was to “Moonwalk.” It was filled with high energy, charisma, and the audience was pulled in. If anyone thought that this group was just “cute,” they smashed every bit of that image with that one performance. Then they later killed you with cuteness during their “Merry Go Round” performance. They audience, including myself, loved every second of their show and it was great to hear the audience sing along and yell out the fan chants.
Throughout the concert, they showed off their vocals, their rappers threw down their bars, and they drew the audience in with their dances. But, there were three things during the concert that were new to me. The first was the amount of time they took to talk to the audience. Yes, it is normal throughout the concert to speak to the audience: introducing themselves and interacting with the audience as if they are having a conversation. But, it would usually last only a minute or two and be done two or three times. Not for five minutes or more and not more than three. These guys, they gave you their time and attention. They wanted to fully express their gratitude towards their fans, have fun with the audience, talk about their time in Dallas, ect. It was nice. Secondly, they used a translator. All of the members can speak some English, some better than others. But there was a translator off to the side that translated for the audience. I have been to a number of Korean shows in America. Never once have they used a translator. They tried their best to speak English, but 9/10 went straight back into speaking mostly Korean, which alienated a lot of their fans in the audience. I did feel a bit bad for the translator, because the boys would sometimes get too excited and talk over each other, which made it a little hard to relay to the audience what they were saying.
Lastly, I got to experience celebrating a birthday with a performer. The fans had prepared a banner for the youngest member, Yoon Sanha. After his introduction, everyone held up the banner and screamed out their birthday wishes. Later during the show, they brought out a birthday cake and everyone sang happy birthday. It was a sweet moment. They even acknowledged the fans that had greeted them at the airport the day before just to tell him happy birthday.
By the end of the show, I was officially a fan of the group. They had recently released their first full-length album, “All Light” and it is a solid album. I recommend checking them out, even if they aren’t the type of artist you would usually listen to. You never know. You might end up liking their music as well.