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[Herald Review] Taemin showcases talent as soloist at Seoul concert

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Updated : October 16 2017

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Taemin performs during a concert at Jamsil Gymnasium in Seoul on Sunday. (S.M. Entertainment)
Taemin has pushed the boundaries of his music career, growing from one-fifth of boy band SHINee into a prominent soloist. On the eve of his long-waited return to the K-pop scene with a new solo album, Taemin took to the stage Sunday to showcase the versatility he has built over his nine-year career as a K-pop idol.

Taemin hit the stage with songs from his upcoming album at the “Taemin 1st Solo Concert: off-sick <on-track>” at Jamsil Gymnasium on Sunday. The latest performance follows his sold-out gigs at Budokan in Japan in July and three concerts in Seoul in August.

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Taemin performs during a concert at Jamsil Gymnasium in Seoul on Sunday. (S.M. Entertainment)
The preview of unreleased songs from “Move” proved to be a successful test run, as the 10,000-strong audience was hooked, trying to take in every detail of the new act unfolding on stage. His second solo album “Move” was released Monday.

When the curtain was lifted, the new song “Rise -- Icarus” went off as Taemin appeared with a metallic mask on his face. With his entire head covered, Taemin stirred the audience with haunting dance moves, signaling a dive deep down into his darker side. Other new songs that followed, including “Thirsty” and “Stone Heart,” were sensual R&B music with slick and subtle choreography.

Taemin’s dance moves were kept within a closer radius compared to those of his earlier funk-pop acts, which he described as “condensed energy” in a pre-concert press conference. He also repeatedly mentioned “reserved sexiness” in describing his new album’s theme. His subdued yet poignant movements caught the audience’s attention quietly yet forcefully.

The change in style was strongly felt when he jumped back to earlier songs with bigger dramatic flair. He appeared as a tortured soul tied up in ropes for “Door,” staging intricate choreography by pulling the ropes. In the series of dramatic performances, Taemin moved from scene to scene, rather than song to song, from “Mystery Lover” to “Flame of Love."

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Taemin performs during a concert at Jamsil Gymnasium in Seoul on Sunday. (S.M. Entertainment)
His emotive performance of fan favorites drew a cry of awe throughout the arena. The crowd cheered louder as the longtime K-pop idol’s early hit pop-number performances played out from “Danger” to “Press Your Number.” The dancer-performer lost no time storming around the entire stage, dancing to eye-popping choreography.
The sonic journey to the past culminated with “Romeo+Juliet,” one of the earlier pieces cherished by fans about Taemin, who was then a precocious, diminutive fifth of SHINee.

Demonstrating his growth since his solo appearance six years ago, Taemin looked more confident than ever. He also sang “Pretty Boy” from his debut solo EP, which was his first identity statement as a gender-bending persona formerly unseen in the K-pop scene. The medley of early numbers came to a close with the eponymous title track of his new album “Move,” which showcased how the
“Pretty Boy” has matured into a gentleman of soft charisma.

For the encore call, fans held up a sign saying “Let’s stay together until the end” -- a message from longtime fans who had helped propel his decadelong career that crisscrossed a slew of styles. Noticing the signs in their hands, Taemin said with a smile, “Well, you got me wrong. There’s no such thing as an ‘end’ in me.”

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Taemin performs during a concert at Jamsil Gymnasium in Seoul on Sunday. (S.M. Entertainment)

By Kim Min-joo(mjk625@heraldcorp.com)

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