Photos & Review by Angela Leung
January 12, 2023
New York, NY
It was a cold, rainy day in New York City but the excitement for this show was enough to bring up the heat. On January 12th, kpop sensation ONEUS kicked off their Reach for Us World Tour at the Apollo Theater. This stop marks the group’s third time in New York City and their first performance of 2023. Prior to the start of the show, fans (or To Moon as they are affectionately called), expressed their eagerness to see this group as they clutched their lightsticks and merch. Some were also seen carrying banners with messages or their biases’ names printed on them. Since their debut in 2019, ONEUS has been continuously growing with a dedicated fanbase and impressive discography.
As the clock struck 7:30pm, the lights dimmed as an intro VCR started playing on the stage LED display. Members Seoho, Leedo, Keonhee, Hwanwoong and Xion made their grand entrance with the opening track “Bring it on” off their Trickster EP. A blindfolded Hwanwoong showed off a mini dance bit before the rest of the members transitioned into “Come Back Home” and “BLACK MIRROR.” ONEUS kicked it off with their synchronized choreography which included high jumps while they were accompanied by their backup dancers.
Taking a breather after their opening sequence, the members stopped to give a quick introduction in English and Korean. Hwanwoong cheekily exclaimed, “The outside weather has nothing to do with how it feels right now because you guys are so hot in here!” and he wasn’t wrong about that as fervent screams could be heard throughout the venue. They proceeded to keep that energy going with their next tracks “Intro: Who Got the Joker?” and “FULL MOON.”
Another VCR started playing on the screen which gave the members enough time to change their outfits and prepare for their next stage. The audience immediately got up from their seats and began singing along to the upbeat tracks “STUPID LOVE” and “Skydivin’.” When the members encouraged the crowd to cheer on, fans never failed to reciprocate.
During their 2nd ment, Xion stated, “One thing’s for sure is that these stages will make you guys faint,” as the group did a cover of Blackpink’s hit single “Pink Venom.” Seoho, Leedo and Hwanwoong showcased their captivating dancing skills with a cover of “Sexy Back” and to say that that was met with a warm response is definitely an understatement. They were then joined by the rest of the members for a Top Gun inspired dance medley
A cascade of crimson lights enveloped the stage as ONEUS slowed things down for a bit with the ballad “Red Thread.” Amongst all the fast tempo tracks they’ve performed so far, it's with a heartfelt song like “Youth” where the sentiment could be felt through their singing. Fans waved their arms in unison while admiring all the members’ stunning vocals.
Following up after a performance of “Incomplete,” a VCR gave the audience clips of ONEUS during their younger years and glimpses of them at their record label RBW’s practice room. It was nice seeing the brotherly bond these members have shared and the time they’ve spent together. These adorable clips garnered affectionate “awww’s” throughout the crowd of To Moons.
The anticipation was there when the group returned with their title track “Same Scent,” given that it was from their recently released EP Malus and the first time they’re playing it for their U.S. audience. You could hear the room being filled with fans singing along to the lyrics in English and Korean. As Keonhee mentioned, they’ve worked hard preparing for these stages and were waiting for the day to finally share them with us.
It is safe to say that ONEUS is a group that does not shy away from incorporating elements of Korean culture into their music. An image of a temple with the Hanja sign: 月下美人 (translation: a beauty under the moon) was projected on the LED display followed by the sound of a gayageum (traditional Korean stringed instrument) which indicated the start of their notable track “LUNA.” The group majestically danced along to the choreography which involved swift fan movements that really complemented the vibe of the song. They segued into “Lit (Road to Kingdom Ver.),” further showcasing their Korean culture with the rhythmic beats of drums and LED visuals of traditional architecture.
As the show was nearly coming to an end, ONEUS made sure the time spent was well worth it as they teased the crowd with hints leading up to their next song “To Be or Not to Be,” which featured a performance that erupted in loud cheers due to Seoho’s acrobatics. “No diggity” was another fan favorite with its infectious breakdown and addictive melodies.
After their final VCR, ONEUS came out for the encore stage dressed in tour merch as they performed an English version of “Life Is Beautiful.” They then gave a heartfelt speech in which each of the members expressed their sincere thanks and desire to return here again. As Leedo gave his closing remark, “We’ll come back to make even better memories with you guys,” the members posed for a picture with To Moons to commemorate this moment. This two-hour show ended on a high note with their last song, coincidentally titled “Last Song.”
We wish ONEUS a happy 4th year anniversary and many more fruitful years to come. Make sure to catch them at a show near you!