Even as cold rain fell gently from the sky on Sunday, Sept. 22, fans were lined up outside the Rosemont Theater near Chicago, IL. They were there to see Day6, a five-member boy band from South Korea, and the excitement was palpable even from the parking lot.
South Korean boy groups usually bring to mind meticulously choreographed dance routines set to songs written by outside composers. While this is often true, it certainly isn’t for Day6. Not only does this group write all their own songs, but they play their own instruments. The leader of Day6, Sungjin, and the oldest member, Jae, play rhythm and lead guitar, respectively. Wonpil, a 24-year-old with a sharp jawline and dark brown hair, plays keyboard and synths. Bass duties are handled by Young K, a red-haired 25-year-old who is often referred to by fans, and Jae, as Brian. The youngest member of the group, Dowoon, is the band’s drummer. Day6 brings to mind 5 Seconds of Summer more often than, say, Stray Kids or Got7.
Nevertheless, the band has proven their worth beyond the usual K pop mold. They have amassed 1.1 million followers on Twitter from people all over the globe since debuting in 2015. This particular concert didn’t sell out, but the fans, called MyDays, were no less passionate. They came to the venue with huge fans decorated with pictures of their favorite member, called a bias. It’s not uncommon to see MyDays wearing their bias’s name on a headband or holding a banner with a message for the band. Some even shelled out large amounts of money to purchase seats in sections that would grant them access to a Hi Touch, an experience where fans get to briefly interact with members of the band after the show. Whether fans got Hi Touch or not, every MyDay was ready and anxious to see one of their favorite bands live.
Once tickets were scanned at the door, a line for merchandise stretched from the table near the door all the way to the ushers who checked tickets and guided attendees to their seats. In the theater proper, a large screen glowed blue with the word “GRAVITY.” In just a few hours, attendees would be in the same room as literal idols many have only previously seen behind a screen. When the house lights went down, an introduction video played on the massive screen and inspired a choir of excited cheers and shrieks from the crowd. Then, one by one, each member walked on stage. Not a single MyDay was in their seat as they began opened with the opening track of their latest album, The Book of Us: Gravity, “Best Part.”
As the night went on, interrupted only by solos from each member and segments where they would address the crowd, they wowed the audience with hits like the bitter and remorseful “Congratulations” and the award-winning track “Time of Our Life.” A remix of the reflective “Days Gone By” that included samples of “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran, as well as deep cuts from earlier albums like “Colors” and “Blood,” kept the setlist fresh and unpredictable. The only complaint from the crowd came after the show as a result of Day6 neglecting to play what is arguably their biggest hit, an angsty break-up anthem called “Shoot Me.” Day6 performed songs from the Shoot Me: Youth Part 1 album, including “Warning” and “Feeling Good,” but many fans still wanted to hear the title track. Regardless, each song was played with remarkable energy, whether it was the sensual “So Cool” or the remorseful and contemplative “I Need Somebody.”
With each song, each member brought something fresh for the audience. Lead guitarist Jae bounced around his spot with a goofy grin as he shredded each line like it was his last, often with Young K mirroring his movements. Close to Jae, Sungjin often lip synched somebody else’s part while bobbing his head happily and strumming his guitar. Wonpil’s fingers danced between the keyboard and synth pad while singing each part with a kind of subdued gravitas that can only come from years of dedicated practice and a passion to play. Even Dowoon, who rarely sings or speaks, entertained MyDays with more than just his impressive drumming. A joyful expression painted his face for the majority of the concert, exhibiting not only his love for his craft, but for his band and their fans.
At the end of the night, Day6 took their final bows in a seemingly endless shower of confetti. Fans who didn’t get merch at the beginning of the show lined up at the merch table once again while those who sprung for Hi Touch stayed in the performance space to wait for their idols. Others collected confetti off the carpet to save for later. Some simply enjoyed the concert and left. Regardless of the taste and experience of MyDays, the energy never faltered.
No matter what songs were and weren’t on the setlist, or what kind of ticket each fan held, there was something for everybody in attendance. At the end of the day, the show was a fun and rewarding page to add to this chapter in The Book of Us.