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[Herald Review] Twice’s first virtual concert was colorful, tech-savvy and interactive

By embracing top-notch technology backed by a well-knit plot, K-pop powerhouse Twice brought a whole new level of festivity to its first virtual concert Sunday afternoon.

The group’s first official concert since its 2019 world tour, “Beyond LIVE - Twice: World in a Day” showed that the multibillion dollar industry has discovered impressive new capabilities during the pandemic era. The 90-minute pay-per-view set was streamed in 126 countries and marked the first collaborative event from the “Beyond Live Corporation,” a new firm jointly established by S.M. Entertainment and JYP Entertainment to nurture Naver’s Beyond Live into a global platform specializing in virtual concerts.

“We’ve been wondering how our first virtual show would be like, and we are listening to your screaming like a real concert right here, right now. This is amazing!” screamed Nayeon after the nine artists kicked off the show with their energetic hits “Stuck in My Head,” “Touch Down” and “Fancy.”?

(JYP Entertainment)
(JYP Entertainment)
Surrounding the bandmates was a huge screen that showed 200 global fans cheering live from their homes. Their excited screams echoed throughout the hall, sometimes clashing with the singers’ voices. But such rambunctiousness, which could have been a distraction, instead conveyed the heated atmosphere of a real live concert and seemed to energize the bandmates as well. “We were a bit worried about our first virtual concert, but we can hear your voices clearly. We gained strength thanks to you,” said Mina.

The theme of the concert was traveling the world in a day, with fancy digital artwork depicting 16 world cities including Seoul, Bangkok, Manila, Singapore, Los Angeles, Mexico City, New York and Chicago. A “Back to the Future”-style virtual taxi flew over the stage, staying true to the world-tour concept. “Now we get to see Onces (members of Twice’s fandom) around the world in one day today,” said Chaeyoung excitedly.

Sana delighted fans by adding, “We are visiting places we’ve been from last world tour.”?

(JYP Entertainment)
(JYP Entertainment)
Although Jeongyeon remained seated during the performance due to a neck injury, her bandmates redoubled their efforts and successfully pulled off 15 songs that were fashionably rearranged for the concert. Beloved hits like “TT,” “What Is Love” and “Yes or Yes” followed, while songs like “Turn It Up” and “Love Foolish” were performed for the first time.

One of the most tech-savvy moments came during “Yes or Yes,” when a bit of prerecording and some editing tricks doubled the number of members. Watching the white-clad idols and their red-clad mirror images collaborating with each other onstage was truly eye-opening.?

(JYP Entertainment)
(JYP Entertainment)
As the concert rolled out more gimmicks, such as lyrics popping out on screen, a virtual forest from “More & More” and handwritten lyrics from the members from “21:29,” the side chat bar exploded with messages from frenzied fans who were wowed by the new digital experience. The digital communication tool also played an interactive role, as it enabled three global fans to chat live with Twice during the session.

At the end of the show, Twice made a surprise announcement that an English version of “More & More” will be out soon. Global members of the fan community, Once, also replied with a surprise event for the group -- passionately chanting “I love you” in Korean on screen.?

(JYP Entertainment)
(JYP Entertainment)
“I think it was February when we last saw each other, but it was great to see you guys through the video. I hope the circumstances get better soon. In the future, I hope to see more Onces through Beyond Live and our real concert,” said Jihyo, adding that the group had a lot of things planned for its final concert.

“I was worried because our concerts were canceled so that we might not be able to see you guys. But I’m grateful that we could meet through this show,” said Dahyun, while Momo and Tzuyu also thanked fans for giving them strength at this distressing time.

“I feel sorry for being seated during the performances, but I also felt grateful to see each one of you looking happy with us,” said Jeongyeon.

By Hong Dam-young (lotus@heraldcorp.com)
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