Hello all! (Yes, I recycled that header image from “Marry U” – it really is a SS1 promo image, but the white suits seemed appropriate for that song/video.) This week, we’re going to cover Super Show 1, the first tour that Super Junior did, stopping in Seoul, Bangkok, Shanghai, Nanjing, and Chengdu, from February 2008 through March 2009. (There’s a huge gap in there – the second half of the tour is the Chinese part and two subunits debuted during the gap. This was only a total of 10 tour dates.)
My copy of Super Show 1 is about 2 hrs 40 minutes long, so I’m going to split it up into 5 chunks of 30-ish minutes and review/commentate across 5 days. It nicely works out this week to be Monday-Friday, though I’m planning on doing all six Super Shows and it’s not likely that’ll happen that way in the future.
Important note before I get into this: I, as I have said before, am not Korean or Asian in any way shape or form, and I have a very visceral creeped-out feeling about fanchants. Something about the planned, coordinated, synchronized yelling feels really weird to me; if I had to guess it’s because it makes fandom seem like a programmed monolith instead of a group of independent individuals. Also, yelling over songs annoys me, and it sort of feels like the fans decided that the song wasn’t good enough the way it was, and they had to “improve” upon it by adding their own lyrics. I am aware that I am in a vanishingly small minority of kpop fans in feeling this way, and I’m also aware that most/all kpop idols really LIKE the fanchants, and I’m also aware that my opinions are based on speculation that has little to no basis in reality. Thus, in the interest of not spending five days of blog posts screaming in frustration, I am going to try to ignore the fanchanting to the best of my ability. Also, other than the first and second ones, all of my copies are Japanese, which are a little less chant-heavy, so that’ll make it a bit easier on me.
Also, gifs! ALL OF THE GIFS.
This is the only Super Show that I’m writing up without watching it first!
All the other Super Shows I have start with footage of the crowd/arena – this one starts with LIGHTS CAMERA PIZZAZZZZ! It’s very similar to Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck’s “On with the show, this is it!”, except instead of animation and dancing, it’s just still images with LENS FLARES AND SPARKLES. Aside from that, with that tinny bombast, it also reminds me of direct-to-TV videos from the late 90s. Or like, your high school’s video yearbook (which for me, is also late 90s). And it is weird to see this in a Kpop concert video.
I will say though, that initial flush of screams when the opening video gets going (in the actual show, not this Looney Tunes shit) never gets old. Doesn’t really matter what musician(s) it is, an arena full of screaming girls is spine-tingling. Someone who I am guessing is Yoo Youngjin welcomes everyone to the show, and then we start the EXO “Mama” video. Church bells and dudes in hooded robes. In, uh, France. We can tell cause there’s an Eiffel Tower. And also Sydney. And maybe that first one was Rome. And it’s a solar eclippppppse so of course all the members are staring directly into the sun, because that’s what you do. These sky effects are Don’t Don-esque, honestly. Annnd now the members are all falling off tall buildings–oh and they have wings! Or straight up turned into birds, I guess. And there’s Lunatic Pandora floating in the sky along with some buttrock (don’t tell me we’re doing Yesung’s song no no no). “SYU – PEO JYU – NI -EOOOOOOOOOOOO” goes Yoo Youngjin. Everybody touches down and walks toward the camera in dramatic slo-mo. Youngjin yells everyone’s name. (Kyuhyun was in this right?… yes. there he is) Not sure what order this is supposed to be in – not age, definitely. SHINDOOOOOOOOOOOOONG. WE. ARE. SUPER JUNIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR. the first. concert.
1st Song: Twins (Knock Out) Starts at 4:49.
Of course “Twins” is first. What’s interesting about “Twins” is that, for the longest time, Kyuhyun did not participate whatsoever in live performances of it. Even though he was, you know, there. In earlier shows I could pass it off as “he didn’t have time to learn the choreography” but, I mean, years went by.
Live singing!!! Or some of it pretty clearly is. Heechul not, at least on his first line. Kangin HAS A WEIRD BLONDE HALF-MOHAWK THING WTF. And Siwon and Leeteuk have little baby ponytails. There is clearly a lot of hair gel going on here, I wonder how well that holds up under lights and sweating. Do they just get re-gelled every time they go off stage? Is their hair like concrete by the end of the night?
Oh man, Yesung’s YEAAAAH at the end of the instrumental break. File under “things he can’t do anymore.” Big scream for Heechul exposing his shoulders.
Interlude 1 starts at 8:09.
Wine in a glass. Casino chips. Cutting a cigar. Shuffling cards. Flicking a lighter.
2nd Song: Rock This House Starts at 8:37.
Interlude is still playing over the start of this…? I linked this performance on the actual “Rock This House” post – it’s a weird concept with the guns and everything, and seguing into this from “we are gentlemanly mature men with casinos and women.” They do that idea a lot better in at least one other Super Show that I can think of. This one sounds live too–oh god, Shindong’s hair is sporadically bleach blonde and it looks like WORMS. Oh they’re all sinking into the stage, must be time for more gel.
Interlude 2 starts at 11:49.
Scary mafia man! Or like, kung fu bodyguard or something. or I don’t know. Oh snap Hangeng, Donghae and Siwon are gonna beat up a whole parking garage. Oh and I guess Yesung…? or okay, everyone? This is so much better when they recycle this idea in SS6. Kibum yells a lot. Now we’re back to the show and he’s still yelling.
Back to the film. Still fighting in the parking garage. I swear they’re reusing shots. Someone doing the backflip off the pillar.
3rd Song: Don’t Don Starts at 13:40.
Man, again, they are cutting in and out between the intro to “Don’t Don” and this stupid parking garage fight film. It doesn’t rhythmically sync up and I don’t like it. They are recycling shots in this fight film! Wtf, how lazy. (and here comes the fanchanting. Actually no, they’re mostly just singing along, and out of tune, because this is a song where you can either sing directly along if you’re an alto (aka me), or put it up an octave if you’re a high soprano, but if you’re anywhere in the middle it’s gonna stretch you on one end of your range or another.)
You know, it’s funny how much more I buy “we are angry rock men” when they don’t have stupid blonde hair. Hey, Henry’s here, lip-syncing (string-syncing?). I don’t know what they were chanting all the way through that but it damn well better not have been some “only 13” bullshit.
4th Song: A Man In Love (Remix) Starts at 18:08.
Photoshop filter alien man turns into a bird and we’re off into “A Man In Love.” Frontloading the show with singles, aren’t we? I know “A Man In Love” isn’t the single off the Don’t Don reissue, but shh it’s better than “Marry U” and that was on the original album anyway in a slightly different format.
Are there going to be video transitions between every song?
Also, now that we’re past “Don’t Don”, do we get dancing Kyuhyun now? :3 Was he recovered enough? They’re moving too fast I can’t count them …. no? Unless that’s him in the back (I can’t tell), they just had nobody sing his line. Empty space in middle of stage, what the christ. Oh here he is coming out of the floor with a hump, and then going back down. Come baaaaack. Kangin’s got a deep v-neck on like on the cover of aforementioned Don’t Don reissue and I think he got a scream at the end of his line because of it. Leeteuk pulls his jacket off his shoulders while wearing a long-sleeve shirt underneath, and bias aside, it’s not quite the same as Heechul doing it with a tank top on. Or hell, even Kibum doing it with also a tank top.
Interlude 3 starts at 23:32.
Sungmin sleepy in a four poster bed. Kangin and his NIPPLES in a bathtub with rose petals. He sinks under the water and turns into less nippley Siwon, who then gets in the shower, because that makes sense. Shower Siwon turns into nippley Eunhyuk, who turns into Leeteuk putting on cologne, who turns into Hangeng, and Donghae, and then Hangeng again getting dressed? was that even Hangeng the first time? WHERE IS KYUHYUN. Oh there he is, putting a jacket on. Spritzes some cologne and smirks into the camera. What an asshole. Now he’s Shindong, then Heechul, putting on a necklace. Ryeowook grabbing keys and heading out. Turns into Kibum. Kibum in the elevator turns into… someone with gigantic hair. Yesung.
5th Song: Mirror Starts at 26:34.
Can Kyuhyun be on the stage for all of this one please? It’s a ballad, no dancing required. Wtf are they all wearing t-shirts with neckties printed on them? Whoa Siwon out of tune. Sungmin out of tune too, BADLY. I swear most of the earlier songs were live singing but there weren’t so many pitch problems. Do they somehow sing better when dancing? How does that make sense? God, Kangin’s hair is so terrible. Yesung doing some iffy falsetto runs. Kangin appears not really to be trying to sing on the choruses. They didn’t show Heechul enough, he probably wasn’t trying either.
And with that – we’ll see you tomorrow for the next part of this!