K-pop stars Seventeen shine on stage

The Korean pop group returns to Chicago after 3 years for their third world tour



The stage is bathed in an orange glow as fans patiently wait for Seventeen to arrive. The band opened at the United Center on Aug. 25

Flashy outfits. Humor and audience engagement. Fire bellowing from the side of the stage. Am I at the circus? No.

I attended the Chicago leg of K-pop group Seventeen’s world tour, Be the Sun, which contained all of these embellishments and more. The thirteen-membered boy band arrived in Chicago’s United Center on Aug. 25 with a bang.

For all the love Seventeen showed their fans by interacting with them and putting on a great performance, Carats reciprocated the group’s happiness and energy”

True to their tour’s very name, Seventeen first erupted onto the stage in a fiery blaze to perform “HOT”, the title track off their latest repackaged album “Sector 17”. In studded black leather jackets, they energized the arena with enthusiastic dancing and powerful vocals. As the end of the song neared, every attendee was on their feet, despite the cramped space and the steep bleachers of the second and third levels.

First impressions matter, and after performing two more energetic songs that floated between the genres of K-pop and punk rock, Seventeen lined up on stage to properly introduce themselves to the audience. I was especially impressed with the members’ eager attempts to cross the language barrier and connect with their fanbase, named ‘Carats’. Only a couple of members were fluent in English, but all tried to say a few words or sound out phrases without relying on their official translator.

Another defining trait of Seventeen are the subunits of their main band, or teams: the Vocal Team, Hip-hop Team, and Performance Team, each with four or five members. After introductions, the teams performed two unit songs of their own. While all did an excellent job, my favorite had to be the Hip-hop Team’s “GAM3 BO1,” which incited thousands of people to chant the catchy chorus of “Game, game, game, game, game boy” at the top of their lungs, an equally fun and deafening experience.

Seventeen then decided to bust out fan favorite songs from earlier albums. Decked out in red jailhouse outfits, this ment included a lot of impromptu moments, such as two members free-styling Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”, and an inside joke culminating in a whole arena of Carats barking at member S.Coups.

For the finale, Seventeen projected their fans onto the mega screen to dance to “Snap Shoot” and “Aju Nice.” As they said cheery goodbyes, faking fans out for two encores, they waved to the audience until the stage’s divider had fully closed to stamp an end to the two-and-a-half hour show.

As a fan of Seventeen for over a year, I thought the night was truly unforgettable. For all the love Seventeen showed their fans by interacting with them and putting on a great performance, Carats reciprocated the group’s happiness and energy.

Due to COVID restrictions around the world, Seventeen had not been able to hold a concert in America since 2019, which is the case for many other overseas artists. After their debut in 2015, the self-produced group became a K-pop success story; the band rose to prominence despite originating from a small entertainment company and early expectations of failure. Over their seven-year-long career, they’ve sold millions of records and gained millions of fans, as well as worldwide acclaim.

Understanding the limited time, fans of all ages fervently jumped and danced, and many even waved Seventeen’s official lightstick, the Caratbong. The concert was a warm welcome back to the internationally loved artist, and I’ll personally look forward to seeing them in Chicago again.