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[Herald Review] Pre-pandemic glory is back: Stray Kids bring crowd noise and fan chants to its second world tour ‘Maniac’ in Seoul

Stray Kids wrap up three live sessions in Seoul, will head to Japan and seven cities in US for its next world tour stop

 
Boy band Stray Kids perform during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)
Boy band Stray Kids perform during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)

Fan chants, sing-alongs and clapping were absent during the past two years due to the pandemic. But the boisterous noise of crowds and chants by concert-goers filled the Jamsil Indoor Stadium Sunday night as K-pop sensation Stray Kids took the stage for its second world tour “Maniac” in Seoul.

Sunday’s concert was a jam-packed three-hour event. The eight members performed 23 songs and prepared four encore performances to satisfy their fans. The setlist was composed of the group’s biggest hits and exclusive unit performances.

As the clock struck 5 p.m., eagle-eyed fans took out their clappers to greet the boy band. After a minute of clapping, the sold-out auditorium turned red as a video with the word “Stray Kids” came on the LED widescreen. At the same time, the light sticks held by fans also turned red, signaling the moment that they had been waiting for.

Decked out in fancy spider-shaped gold jewelry and black outfits, Stray Kids emerged on the stage as the stage fog cleared, and opened the last day of the three-day concert with its mega-hit “Maniac,” released in March. 

The night took a majestic turn as the eight-member band performed “Spider Web” and “Red Lights.” Just like the lyrics, which declare “I’m going crazy,” the thrill and energy were palpable in the sold-out arena. During the performance, fans shouted “I love you” out loud, which is what they missed out on the most during the COVID-19 era. 


Boy band Stray Kids perform during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)
Boy band Stray Kids perform during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)

Boy band Stray Kids perform during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)
Boy band Stray Kids perform during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)

“What’s up, Stay?” the bandmates said out loud in unison, calling out their official fandom’s name in front of their fans for the first time in two years. Bang Chan took the microphone and said, “I’ve done two concerts before today, but I’m still nervous and excited. Welcome to Stray Kids’ second world tour.”

He also greeted fans who were watching the event virtually via the online live concert streaming service Beyond Live: “I know you guys are watching this from all over the world. I hope you guys enjoy it and have some good food while watching the show.”

Stray Kids raised the energy level even higher by connecting with fans while performing “Easy.” Laser lights canvassed the packed venue with different colors, and the light sticks changed in sync with the stage lights. Fans chanted along whenever the “all in” verse came out of the speakers. 


Boy band Stray Kids perform during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)
Boy band Stray Kids perform during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)

The band continued to electrify the stage with energetic performances of “All In,” “District 9” and “Back Door.”

“Are you having fun? Shake your hands if you are,” Chan said as he came down from the stage lift for the band’s “Charmer” performance. The bandmates started jumping along with the frenzied up-tempo beat of “B Me.”

Stray Kids brought fans in sync through its “Lonely St.” performance, where Stay, the band’s official fandom, and the eight members became one by putting their hands up and down. The band ended the first half of the concert with “Side Effects.”

The second half of the concert started with the band’s spirited performance of “Thunderous” as a video played on the screen with the words, “Stray Kids everywhere around the world. You make Stray Kids stay.” It beckoned fans to revel in the high-energy and joyful atmosphere.

Clad in traditional hanbok, Stray Kids took center stage to perform its megahits “Domino” and “God’s Menu.” After three songs in a row, Han shouted, “I love you.” Later, while the band performed “Cheese,” the crowd sang “Yeah yeah yeah” together with the band. In turn, the K-pop act chanted “Stay” in response to the fan chant.

The band ended part two of the show with “Yayaya + Rock,” where fans all stood up to let out their whoops of joy. 


Bang Chan, Lee Know, Seung-min, and I.N of boy band Stray Kids perform “Waiting For Us” during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)
Bang Chan, Lee Know, Seung-min, and I.N of boy band Stray Kids perform “Waiting For Us” during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)

Stray Kids upped the ante by showcasing two special unit performances. The vocal unit -- Bang Chan, Lee Know, Seung-min and I.N -- appeared in white suits and flowers that covered the stand mics to sing “Waiting For Us,” a ballad track on its “Oddinary” EP released in March.

Clad in black leather jackets, hats and pants, the rap unit -- Chang-bin, Hyun-jin, Han and Felix -- took the baton and gave a hardcore hip-hop performance with “Muddy Water,” another sidetrack from the album. Also, Hyun-jin dropped a spoiler about a possible duet song between him and Felix by singing a line of the tandem’s unreleased track titled “Beautiful.” 


Chang-bin, Hyun-jin, Han and Felix of boy band Stray Kids perform “Muddy Water” during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)
Chang-bin, Hyun-jin, Han and Felix of boy band Stray Kids perform “Muddy Water” during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)

One of the most electrifying performances of the night was the finale. The group opened the last part of the concert in white tweed jackets and delivered a thrilling mix of charm and bravado with “Silent Cry, “Hellevator,” “Double Knot,” “TOP” and “Victory Song.”

As the last song ended, tears welled up in Chang-bin eyes, and Lee Know took over the microphone to give the group’s final remarks.

“I’m not crying,” Lee Know said, laughing. “I think we get to experience a plethora of emotions in our lives, from happiness to anger. You guys took your valuable time to come to see us, so we always try to give positive energy. I’m happy right now,” he said.

“We’re not so impressive, but it’s amazing how we can influence a big group of people. The eight of us are always trying hard to give our best. I would also like to use this opportunity to thank our staff members,” he added.

Seung-min chimed in, saying, “Thank you for making us better people every day.” 


Boy band Stray Kids perform during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)
Boy band Stray Kids perform during its second world tour, “Maniac,” in Seoul on Sunday. (JYP Entertainment)

The show came to an end with “TA,” “Miroh,” “Star Lost” and “Haven” as the bandmates came up to stage for an encore wearing t-shirts with the word “Maniac” on them.

The “Maniac” tour marks the band’s second international tour since it last hosted its first-ever world tour, “District 9: Unlock,” in 2019.

The group kicked off its world tour in Seoul on Friday. After Seoul, it will head to Japan to perform a series of live shows in Kobe from June 11-12 and Tokyo from June 18-19. Then Stray Kids will fly out to the US to hold live sessions coast to coast in Newark, Chicago, Atlanta, Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Oakland and Seattle from June 28 until July 14.

By Park Jun-hee (junheee@heraldcorp.com)
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