Concert Review: ATEEZ bringing the Heat in Phoenix

The first K-Pop group to perform at the Desert Diamond Arena, ATEEZ and ATINYs (ATEEZ fandom name) brought the heat on the Nov. 10th Phoenix show! Hongjoong, Seongwha, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, Wooyoung, and Jongho make up the 8 “pirates” of this 4th-generation male idol group. I had the privilege of attending the Phoenix show with a VIP ticket/soundcheck package. As ATEEZ wraps up the North American leg of their The Fellowship: Break the Wall Tour soon, they left an impressive mark on leaving ATINYs an unforgettable night they received from the 8 “pirates”. 

With the VIP ticket/soundcheck package, I and my fellow ATINYs who had this were given early access to the venue. By the time I entered the venue, my fellow ATINYs and I wasted no time finding a good spot near the barricade. I ended up standing behind 2-3 people near the barricade (toward the end of the runway). While waiting for our 8 "pirates" to come out for soundcheck, I started conversing with other ATINYS around me. An unspoken rule in K-Pop concerts is that it’s a networking event in itself. Some of the ATINYs I conversed with have their own K-pop fan merch clothing lines and/or hosted cup sleeve events. In return, I exchanged ATINYs with my music journalism articles while I followed their fan merch clothing lines on social media. 

(All Photo and Video Credits: Cielo Perez)

The “captain” of the ship, Hongjoong appears first on-stage in soundcheck with his bomber green/yellow jacket followed by other “pirates”. He and the “pirates” warmly greet ATINYs with their signature greeting, EIGHT MAKES ONE TEAM. In soundcheck, ATEEZ gave us VIP-holders 3 songs as a preview to their setlist. Wave, My Way, and Say My Name was the 3 songs the “pirates” performed for the ATINYs. Some artists tend to stage in one area of the stage during soundchecks. However, that wasn’t the case for ATEEZ as they went all around the main stage, runway, and the smaller stage near the general audience. 

Soundcheck finished in 30 minutes. My fellow ATINYs and I had time to get food/water, use the restrooms, or get merch. I got myself a LIGHTINY Ver. 2 (ATEEZ official lightstick) from the merch line since I didn’t buy one before the concert. Before the show officially started, a group of male trainees dubbed KQ Fellaz gave us a 2-song setlist performance. Their 2-song setlist performance hints KQ Entertainment (ATEEZ’s head label/agency) may debut a new boy group in the future. 

Dressed in black cloaks, ATEEZ opened the show performing New World with bright red lights shining down upon the “pirates”. The “pirates” proudly introduced themselves after their Sector 1 performance. When Mingi introduced himself to ATINYs, he shared with us that Phoenix was originally going to be his rap name. He spoke about how Korean rappers tend to choose US cities as their rap names. In between songs, he and the “pirates” would sneak in Phoenix-like gestures to entertain ATINYs.

The “pirates” didn’t start walking towards the small stage when they performed The Ring. San’s iconic red/black suit shows his bare back as it parallels the same energy The Ring conveys the message to ATINYs. Known for his exceptional facial expressions and stage presence, his dance skills have come a long way since he first debuted. Before debuting in ATEEZ, San mentioned in the past he didn’t know how to dance! 

Out of the ballad performances, my personal favorite was MIST. The lyrics are about if the path we take is the right one for us. I felt the connection to these lyrics because sometimes the path we choose can be scary at times but there’s hope toward the end. Jongho’s signature high notes are highlighted in the chorus of MIST. 

WIN and I’m The One-HEAT-TOPPING Version are my top favorite high-energy songs. For WIN, ATEEZ brought out their true pirate concept with flags and a ship serving as a backdrop for the performance. Before the chorus hits, the lyrics “우리 배는 편도로만 가'' is sung by Wooyoung before the beat drops on their dance break and gets the crowd pumped. The same goes for I’m The One-HEAT-TOPPING Version. Yunho and Yeosang’s smooth-as-butter vocals serve as an asset in this song. At some point during this performance, Hongjoong kept coming over to my section of the stage and inviting us to cheer along with him!

I came into this concert being a casual ATINY. I’m the type to surprise myself by buying tickets before knowing who the artist is. With ATEEZ, I would 100% see them in concert again. Some K-pop groups tend to keep their fan interactions limited. As for ATEEZ, the “pirates” did an excellent job by walking all around the main stage, runway, and small stage so ATINYs could interact with them. Despite being from a small entertainment agency in South Korea, ATEEZ was able to make a name for itself in the last 4 years. They continue to dominate the 4th generation of K-pop music and aren’t afraid to show their vulnerable self to ATINYs. 

ATEEZ banner project by @ATEEZxAZ

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