EXO-hausted but still going strong: Understrength EXO bedazzles fans

PHOTO: One Production

Although the night was still young, members of K-pop boyband EXO looked ready to retire for the night and drop dead in their hotel beds.

No, it was not because the idols were getting on in age — their average age is 26.

Perhaps their visible fatigue was due to efforts to make up for the absence of three members. Vocalists Xiumin and D.O. are currently serving compulsory military duty in South Korea while dancer Lay is in China for work engagements.

In between segments of their EXplOration concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Sept 15, the remaining six members spoke honestly about their physical condition.

Sehun stated, through a translator, “Some of you may have noticed that I wasn’t in my best state today,” while leader Suho bluntly revealed that dancer Kai had difficulty breathing after his solo performance.  

Indeed, the stars were notably tired as the concert progressed, with many of them sweating profusely, gasping for air or sometimes just looking plain exhausted.

Still, the show must go on. The well-loved group soldiered on despite their fatigue and gave fans a night that they would never forget — full of laughter, stunning performances and heartfelt memories.

Despite having to make adjustments to their choreography and music due to the absences, the remaining six members’ energy and charisma blew away any doubts from naysayers.

The infectious beats and rhythm of Tempo had fans waving their light sticks enthusiastically. Other hits such as Love Shot drove fans — known as EXOLs — insane with its seductive dance moves, while the old-but-gold Growl made everyone cheer and scream their hearts out.

The solo segments were also impressive, with the crowd gasping at the sight of Suho stripping to reveal his muscular abs during Been Through and Chen’s melodic vocals lulling everyone to sleep with the ballad Lights Out.

THROWING STUFF AT EACH OTHER

Near the end of the concert, absolute chaos ensued, but in a good way.

During the encore segment of the show, EXO autographed plastic balls and threw them into the crowd.  

In return, EXOLs threw a variety of toys at their idols, from small bags with angel wings to stuffed toys (it is a K-pop tradition for fans to throw stuffed toys onto the stage.

It was cute to see EXOLs fangirling at the balls while EXO members themselves fanboyed over the assortment of presents they received. Case in point: rapper Chanyeol’s obsession with the slinky he picked up.

The playful but warm relationship between EXO and their fans is definitely a factor behind EXO’s continued popularity in the K-pop world, seven years after their debut in 2012.

NEVERENDING LOVE FOR SINGAPORE

Although this was EXO’s fifth time performing in Singapore, they still had endless love for this tiny red dot.

Suho seemed to be the Singapore ambassador for the group, with his confession of how Singapore was his favourite place met by delighted cheers.

The leader of the group also mentioned that he wore red for his solo outfit because the colour represented Singapore and revealed in English that he "(had gone) to the Merlion Park to watch the night view”.

Meanwhile, Sehun revealed the boyband ate chilli crab the night before and they would be going out after the concert to find more local food to eat.

The other members also discussed how they were disappointed to be spending only one day in Singapore, given that the other tour stops such as Japan and Thailand had two or more concert dates.

EXO next performs in Bangkok on Sept 20, the sixth stop of their tour.

wongxuemin@asiaone.com

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