Tomorrow X Together’s first solo concert has been a long time coming. It’s been two-and-a-half years since the fourth-generation leaders made their debut but, so far, they’ve had to make do with showing off their developing performance skills in limited ways. Two months after they debuted, they held a six-stop showcase tour in the US and were booked for festivals and fashion shows in America and Japan. Then, when they were hitting their stride musically and likely ready to take things up a notch, the pandemic hit and forced them online.
- READ MORE: Tomorrow X Together: “We tell stories of our generation, a generation at the crux of growth”
It’s a shame that ACT:BOY follows suit – in-person, it would be spectacular. Watching it through a screen, with piped-in crowd noise and flashing lightsticks in the seats around the stage representing TXT’s fans MOA, is bittersweet – “It’d be a lie if I said I’m not at all disappointed about our first concert being an online one,” Beomgyu admits as the show wraps up. The five-piece – completed by Soobin, Yeonjun, Taehyun and Hueningkai – are brilliant, though, nailing their complex choreographies with ease and injecting fresh life into songs that are now old, familiar favourites.
The setlist runs in a largely chronological order, making the group’s growth all the more obvious. ‘Crown’ and ‘Blue Orangeade’ remind us of TXT’s beginnings as refreshing young rookies, while the likes of ‘Can’t We Just Leave The Monster Alive?’ and ‘9 And Three Quarters (Run Away)’ already feel like nostalgic classics. The latter, though, gets an update, the original’s spellbinding sparkle amplified and twisted into a thumping call to escape into TXT’s magical world.
As well as old favourites, ACT:BOY presents a chance to see some of the band’s newer songs performed live for the first time. There’s ‘Frost’, from ‘The Chaos Chapter: Freeze’, which they seamlessly flow into after a burst of a gorgeous ‘Eternally’. On record, the Ashnikko co-written track is unpredictable and experimental, but TXT keep things tight while maintaining the spirit of the song in their delivery. ‘Dear Sputnik’, meanwhile, plays out before a backdrop of planets and flowers and its choruses feel stratospheric; full of relief and gratitude at finding someone who is “my fate”.
Although the concert progresses mostly along a recognisable timeline, it’s also split into different moods. “So far we went through dreams and confusion,” Yeonjun points out towards the end of the show, “Throughout ACT:BOY we’ve shown you different colours.” It’s an observation that makes sense when you consider the first half of the event is full of bright, energetic tracks while the second steps into darker territory. For every cute moment like ‘Cat & Dog’, there’s a contrasting one that’s brooding or angsty later. Even the between-song VCRs change from wholesome and calm to ominous and shadowy.
After a tender performance of ‘Nap Of A Star’ and ‘Magic Island’, the stage glows red and things take an eerie turn. Where ‘Can’t You See Me?’ was before ablaze, now it simmers and smoulders, the members’ intense facial expressions matching the remixed track’s unsettling energy. It’s a masterful example of how dialling back movement can make a performance more impactful and, when Yeonjun eyeballs the camera at the song’s end, a chill jolts down your spine.
TXT keep the ferocity going with a flawless version of ‘PUMA’, embodying the wild power of the titular big cat. Later, they lean into their recent rock star era with ‘0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You)’ and ‘LO$ER=LO♡ER’, both letting Taehyun’s dynamic, urgent vocals shine. All five members capture the attitude needed to pull off the tracks’ concepts but there’s a rawness to the Seoul singer’s voice that lends itself particularly well here.
The only thing that’s missing from the show (aside from more tracks from ‘Minisode1: Blue Hour’) is the physical presence of MOA. Despite them only being able to attend virtually, though, their energy is still felt – “We might be apart physically, but we’re still together at heart,” Soobin assesses at one point. TXT take the time to pay tribute to them in penultimate track ‘MOA Diary (Dubaddu Wari Wari)’ that brings the infectious vibrancy of the first half of the concert back and set to full blast. “TXT’s first live, ACT:BOY, wouldn’t have made it this far without the support of MOA,” Hueningkai notes afterwards.
While that’s true, neither would the group have achieved as much as they have without the hard work captured in their rarity ‘Sweat’, which ends today’s show. Fittingly, they give their all for the concert’s final throes, Taehyun whipping his towel above his head to usher in a track that’s both hype and heartfelt. Here’s hoping TXT can show off their magnificent performance skills in the flesh ASAP.
Tomorrow X Together played:
‘Can’t We Just Leave The Monster Alive?’
‘9 And Three Quarters (Run Away)’
‘20cm’/‘Fairy Of Shampoo’
‘Cat & Dog’
‘Angel Or Devil’
‘Nap Of A Star’/‘Magic Island’
‘Can’t You See Me?’
‘0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You)’
‘MOA Diary (Dubaddu Wari Wari)’