The mighty EDM, future-pop duo, The Chainsmokers, has hit the Korean stages again. Visiting Korea for the third time since performing at the 2014 Ultra Pool Party and 2015 Global Gathering Korea, the duo successfully filled two concert locations in Busan and Seoul for their own tour this time round. The two concerts, a part of their Memories Do Not Open Tour, was held on two consecutive weekdays: September 11 and 12. Their visit was sponsored by Hyundai Card as a part of their Hyundai Card Culture Project.
The Chainsmokers started out in 2012 with current members Andrew Taggart and Alex Pall. They had initially made remixes of indie bands and released a few singles. Their breakout single “#Selfie” was released for free in December 2013, and re-released in January 2014, after which it garnered international popularity and topped the Dance/Electronics Songs chart. They had then released multiple singles including “Roses”, “Don’t Let Me Down”, and “Closer”, which peaked the charts, reaching top ten, top five, and number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 respectively. They have also received the Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in February this year, and following their win, they released a collaborative single with the British band Coldplay, titled “Something Just Like This”. The song peaked the charts at number three and broke the records for most viewed lyric video within a day with nine million views. They released their debut album in April titled Memories...Do Not Open and have ever since been on their tour.
Fresh from the success of the Busan show behind, The Chainsmokers welcomed the crowd rushing into the Seoul concert venue, the Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium, on the second show day. The concert was expected to start at 7:30 p.m., which was a tight schedule for many coming from work. The show started with the opening act by DJ Nick Martin, with the audience still trickling in. He hyped up the crowd with a party set consisting of remixes of popular songs such as David Guetta’s “Titanium” and Major Lazer’s “Cold Water” (featuring Justin Bieber), until The Chainsmokers appeared on stage after about an hour, playing “The One” and “Inside Out”. The fact that their concerts have not had a fixed playlist — as they often change the order or the way they play their songs — heightened the anticipation as the show proceeded. They also showcased some reinterpreted covers, ranging from Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, Calvin Harris’s “How Deep Is Your Love”, DJ Monaco’s “Everytime We Touch”, to the Lion King OST “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”.
The enthusiastic audience, both in the standing pit and the seats, were on their feet, jumping to the fast-changing beat. The atmosphere warmed up even more when the duo started letting out their hit songs in an unpredictable manner. Many were unable to recognize the songs during their unfamiliar preludes, but burst into excited smiles once they could identify the songs. They let out “Paris”, “Roses”, and “Don’t Let Me Down” before stopping to introduce and invite a surprise guest on stage. It was BTS, the Korean idol group known to have worked with The Chainsmokers on a track in its own upcoming album. They performed “Closer” together. Though it was a pleasant surprise to see a popular idol group on stage, it did not add to the show itself — both because many fans had been looking forward to the song being played only by its creators and because the song was not rehearsed properly together by the two parties.
With the bewilderment at how “Closer” was played aside, the duo proceeded to play another favorite tune, “Something Just Like This”. All of this was accompanied by bright laser beams and a witty pop-art style backdrop video, which added to the immersiveness of the stages. The show ended on a high note with an encore performance of Coldplay’s “Yellow”. The audience lit up their phones in response. After the show finished, many could be seen at the merchandise booths as well as the photo lines, which reflected how many had to rush into the concert without having time to enjoy the booths beforehand.
The Chainsmokers have taken the scene and genre by storm. Though tumbling through controversies/criticism on their poor attitude towards women, they still have managed to gain popularity through their music. Their catchy but unique tunes, along with relatable lyrics, have attracted countless music fans worldwide. Though the show had its shortcomings with the weekday starting time as well as a disappointing guest performance, The Chainsmokers managed to quench their fans’ thirst with their fantastic performance.