For the eight-member group, ATEEZ, their voyage began in 2018 and has since continued to amass a colossal global following and a myriad of awards and achievements. From January 30-31, thousands of their fans (ATINY) flocked to the Forum in Los Angeles, CA for the final two shows of their 2022 The Fellowship: Beginning of The End U.S. Tour. The journey began in Chicago and continued on to Atlanta, New York, and Dallas before mapping their course and setting their sights on their final destination – Los Angeles. The City of Angels etched treasured memories into the group’s hearts for being home to their first concert on their flagship 2019 The Expedition Tour. Returning with a larger venue and a reignited passion for the stage, ATEEZ poured their heart out to deliver a two-day, show-stopping performance.
Stunning theatrical performances, unmatched showmanship, and creative stages are just a few words to describe these final concerts. Hongjoong, Seonghwa, Mingi, San, Wooyoung, Yeosang, Yunho, and Jongho, made their grand entrance with “Wonderland (Symphony No.9).” The powerful, militaristic anthem caught the public’s attention on the reality program, Kingdom: Legendary War, for its stunning visual performance and seamless fusion between Dvorak’s classical piece Symphony No. 9 – “From the New World” and ATEEZ’s 2019 track. Sporting bejeweled military attire, the octet fearlessly conquered with an elaborate and stunning theatrical performance that featured archers, pyrotechnics, and Seonghwa brandishing a sword and marching forward toward the sea of fans who had eagerly waited for this day to come.
During their official introductions, the group addressed Jongho’s injury sustained on the first day of the LA shows. While walking offstage, the maknae sprained his ankle resulting in his absence for the remainder of the night. At the start of the second day, Hongjoong explained, “Despite his condition, [Jongho] strongly wished to join the stage tonight for the last show … If Jongho does need to leave to take care of his condition, we hope you guys will still support us for the rest of the show.” Fans responded to Jongho’s tenacity with cheers that re-energized the members as they transitioned to fan favorites “Pirate King” and “Say My Name.” The opening set showcased ATEEZ’s innate talent for the stage and set the tone for the rest of the night’s festivities.
During their meant Yunho brought up the film, La La Land which led to him and Seonghwa singing a snippet of “City of Stars” for their impromptu Hollywood audition. Yeosang added, “We are not Hollywood stars, but we are already ATINY’s stars.” ATEEZ moved on to perform “Treasure” and “Promise” for their stars and Hongjoong’s mesmerizing stage presence and persona stole the show. “Promise,” which Hongjoong once praised for best illustrating ATEEZ’s journey, sings of their bond and aspirations to face the future together.
After a brief outfit change, the octet returned onstage in an all-white ensemble, signaling the transition to a more upbeat stage. Projecting the boys on a summer day at the beach, the set captured the joys of a vacation getaway with “Utopia,” “Better, “Still Here, and “Wave.” It was impossible to not get into the groove of the music. During “Wave,” ATINY were happily chanting along to the lyrics such as “건배~건배! (cheers~ cheers!)” and the iconic “Hakuna Matata” chorus. The members felt the enthusiastic reaction from the crowd as they wandered around the stage to vibe along with them. Carried away by the moment, San nearly missed the ending group choreography and had to make a mad dash across the stage to rejoin the rest of his members.
“Since we’re in a dream-like situation, shall we show a dream-like performance?” Seonghwa teased. The next set kicked off with “Inception (SMA Remix),” “Deja Vu,” and a stunning performance of “Take Me Home.” Beginning with San’s mesmerizing blindfolded intro, “Take Me Home” boasted one of the most creative stages of the night with the use of moving mirrors to unveil hidden members throughout the performance. Fleeting like a shadow against the candlelight, the members vanished from the stage one by one with clean and satisfying transitions.
The following performances can be simply summed up by Hongjoong as “unforgettable.” The set brought together the likes of “Desire” and the crowd-favorite, “HALA HALA.” “We always talk about what ATINY would like,” San shared. “I think that’s how we can show a variety of performances for ATINY!”
After a quick VCR segment, the group returned to the stage with the goal of giving ATINY an unforgettable final show. Starting with “Answer,” ATINYs were enthralled by San’s sinfully captivating stage presence in the song’s intro. Following suit was “Declaration” with a stunning dance break by San and Wooyoung. Seonghwa’s commanding voice in the opening for “Fireworks (I’m The One)” had fans screeching throughout the arena as they all bopped along to the powerful yet slow EDM tempo. On command, the crowd put their hands up for “Good Lil Boy” and moved their bodies to “To The Beat” before letting loose during “THANXX.”
Next was the stage that evoked the loudest screams of the night. Holding his mic with one hand and wielding a champion belt in the other, Mingi burst onto the stage during “Rocky,” baring it all with a fully unbuttoned shirt and vibrant red boxing robe. It goes without saying that Mingi was the focal point of the song and Hongjoong even teased that the song was to be named after him instead of Rocky Balboa. Not allowing fans to recover, ATEEZ immediately closed off the set in style with their bombastic new song, “The Real (Heung Version).” The song embraced Korean culture and ATEEZ’s musicality with the fusion of traditional instrumentals, electronic sounds, and trap beats. Ending with a cacophony of sexy vibes, pyrotechnics, and a club-bumping beat, the set ended with a newfound adrenaline boost to energize everyone throughout the night.
As the members prepared for their encore stage, an intimate interview video aired the members’ reflections on their concert experience thus far. When recollecting their first concert, San shared that they found strength in each other. “Even though we were out of breath, our hearts were filled with happiness. We tried to encourage each other by making eye contact.” The video took a sobering turn as they delved into their reactions to the sudden postponement of their first world tour, The Fellowship: Map The Treasure in 2020. Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tour was brought to an abrupt halt and the members, who were already in Spain for their first show, were forced to return to Korea. Yeosang shared that it felt like their hard work was all for nothing while Wooyoung recounted that he was too apologetic to even lift his head and make eye contact with the fans who saw them off at the airport. With the relaunching of their voyage with this new tour, ATEEZ hoped to mark this chapter as the beginning of the end to the grief and sadness, and the start of a new, happier journey with ATINY.
The encore stage embodied ATEEZ’s gratitude for their fans’ unwavering support through a series of heartfelt performances. The set began with “Eternal Sunshine,” which Hongjoong wrote to empower their fans during difficult times. In the interview video he shared, “I wrote in the lyrics that we will be eternal… Because I wanted our fans to think of us and remember this moment even though we can’t see each other.” They continued with “Dancing Like Butterfly Wings” before pouring their hearts out with a moving performance of “Star 1117.” The venue was illuminated by the ATINY light sticks and cellphone lights as the crowd swayed along to the music and sang the Korean lyrics in unison. The members were so touched by the sudden gesture and barely contained their tears as the song came to an end. It was at that moment they realized that, despite the distance apart, their bond with their fans will truly be eternal.
During the final ment, the members shared their last thoughts and reflections of the tour. Mingi expressed the group’s shared sentiment, admitting that he still remained speechless and really touched by the crowd’s participation in the last song. San wholeheartedly declared that no language barrier could bar the unwavering outpour of love that they just felt from their fans. “I know it’s not easy to sing in Korean, but you guys do it for us, always. I’m really thankful for that.”
Yunho added that they had all made a lot of memories in LA during their trainee days. To everyone’s surprise, Yunho announced that KQ Entertainment’s trainees, KQ Fellaz, were in attendance and gave words of encouragement to their younger labelmates. “I hope you guys don’t give up and you push forward… whenever you guys are having a hard time and want to give up, don’t forget that I’m here for you guys.”
Meanwhile Wooyoung, Seonghwa, and Yunho reflected on their pre-debut days. Wooyoung said that he came from a normal household, lived a normal life, and was just an active child with a passion for dance. Seonghwa confessed that he had trouble loving himself during his trainee days. However, both affirmed that would not be who they are today without the love and support that they received from ATINY.
Not wanting to end on a sad note, Hongjoong made a grand announcement – ATEEZ will be returning to LA later this year. Although details could be divulged, the uproar of screams of excitement showcased that ATINY will be ready for their timely return. With the closing performance of “Turbulence,” ATEEZ finally wrapped up this chapter of their expedition. Whether for their own tour or another activity, ATINY will continue to anticipate their return and the next chapter of their journey.
Photos taken on January 30, 2022.