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Enjoying "La Dolce Vita" with ONEUS

By Kya Brogdon | 15 April, 2024

Arizona Financial Theatre - Phoenix, Arizona (April 8th, 2024)

After watching ONEUS on stage for the first time during We Bridge in 2023 and getting to see them briefly in South Korea while they promoted their Pygmalion album, I’ve been waiting for the US leg announcement of their second world tour in hopes I would be able to finally see them headlining. Fortunately, the touring companies were finally on my side, and gave ONEUS one stop in Phoenix, Arizona for the La Dolce Vita tour. Approximately two weeks shy of a year since the first time I saw them, my friends and I arrived at the venue ready to check in for all the benefits that come with the VIP packages we were able to secure. 

We checked in and receiving our VIP lanyards and wristbands, and then spent the afternoon hanging out with other TO MOON’s (ONEUS’s fandom name), chatting with new friends about what stage we were the most excited for, exchanging freebies with other fans, and taking photos of our outfits. Around 4pm we started filing into the venue, following the numbers on our wristbands.

My friends and I were in the 70s, which ended up being the second row from the barricade for soundcheck seating. While everyone was filing in, we were surprised with an early appearance of the members who came out on stage to chat with us. They welcomed everyone in, and then the members took turns asking fans questions and reading some of the signs brought to the show. Member Xion even took the opportunity to show off his light up shoes and mickey mouse socks, giggling at the reaction fans and the other members gave him. They performed three songs for their soundcheck set; a rock version of their debut song “Valkyrie”, one of my favorite b-sides “STUPID LOVE”, and their soft ballad “Epilogue.” Keonhee commented on the energy during soundcheck, and even teased fans ONEUS should do the full concert right then so they could capitalize on how much energy was brought from such a small crowd. Despite fans’ agreement, ONEUS unfortunately had to end soundcheck. Fans said their goodbyes, the boys left the stage, and VIP holders  were escorted back into the main lobby of the venue, offering  first access to the merch stand - another perk of the VIP package.

After securing merch, my friends and I gathered off to the side to open up our new photocards, plushies, lightsticks, and more. All around us there were people trading photocards, taking photos of their latest additions to their collections, and enjoying the time we were able to spend with fellow fans. Seeing everyone walk around in their outfits - some in recreations of ONEUS’s comeback concept photos or stage outfits, others in merch or custom made clothing - taking photos of their photocards and lightsticks and banners all around the venue made me really appreciate how all-in K-pop fans go during concerts. I hadn't been able to attend a concert since November 2023; I didn’t realize how much I missed the feeling of being surrounded by people who love the same genre of music as I do until I was standing in the Arizona Financial Theater.

Upon the start of the show, we VIP package holders and regular ticket holders alike took their seats. Our seats were much closer to the stage that I had imagined, and we excitedly counted down the few remaining minutes standing between us and the start of the main event of the evening. The lights dimmed, and the opening notes to ONEUS’s most recent release “Baila Conmigo” rang through the venue, bringing the crowd to their feet. Transitioning straight into “Erase Me” followed by “Simulation” and “FULL MOON,” the first set of songs for the concert were absolutely packed with energy both from the members and from the audience. Having seen them perform at We Bridge, I knew their stage presence was absolutely top tier, but the La Dolce Vita opening set blew my expectations out of the water. Seeing them perform in front of a crowd full of their own fans brought an extra level of quality and vibrantness to their stage presence, and I found myself already missing them before the show was even a quarter way over.

After introducing themselves and commenting on how packed the venue was (this theater is just over triple the capacity size compared to where they played when they came to Phoenix last year), they transitioned into their next set of songs. Transporting fans on what the members would later dub “ONEUS’s free trip to Korea”, they performed some of their iconic tracks featuring traditional Korean melodies and instruments; “Intro : Window”, “LUNA,” and “LIT.” The whole audience seemed to love these songs just as much as I do - I’m positive the fan chants and the shouts of “가자” (which means “let’s go”) were loud enough to be heard all the way out on the street. Despite the intensity of the dances throughout the night, the boys’ energy remained high; it was easy to tell how much practice and hard work they put into preparing for this tour. Even though Phoenix fell at the end of the tour, ONEUS never let their power waver. 

After performing some anthemic ballads like “Unforgettable” and “STUPID LOVE,” and some more hype tracks like “COME BACK HOME” and “Twilight,”  the show took a bit of a slower turn as staff members brought out stools for each of the members to sit on. Audience members took their seats as well, and the opening notes of “Epilogue” echoed through the venue. Waving our lightsticks and phone lights in the air, the quieter  pace was a welcomed break from all of the jumping and dancing done through the earlier songs - both for the audience and the members. Playing their second slower song of the night, “Halley’s Comet,” the members took turns leading the audience in synchronized swaying of our lightsticks to match the beat of the song. 

The concert became upbeat again for the closing minutes. ONEUS brought incredible performances of some of my favorites like “No diggity” and “BBUSYEO,” and during their extra long rendition of “Shut Up 받고 Crazy Hot!” they all somehow found an extra burst of energy and ran up and down the aisles of the venue, high fiving fans and even taking the time to sing into their phones, ensuring every single person in the venue felt their appreciation. They did this at past stops, but I really didn’t expect them to do it tonight, given the set up of the Arizona Financial Theater and how many staircases and levels there are in the venue (something the members also commented on before deciding to run around anyway). During ONEUS’ last moments on stage, to help placate the high emotions of another completed show , member Xion expressed his hunger and his craving for In-N-Out, which promptly led the whole venue erupting in cheers of agreement. The bittersweetness of the ending of the show was enhanced by the emotional lyrics of their ending track “Last Song,” a collaboration they did with the band ONEWE. Watching the members wave goodbye as everyone sang “I wanna wanna do it again / 숨이 차도록 널 원해 / 그동안 나를 일으켜 준건 너였잖아 / I wanna love you love you once again” (translation: “I wanna wanna do it again / I want you so much until I’m out of breath / It was you who have helped me stand up / I wanna love you love you once again) was nothing less than tear jerking. 

The end of the show brought the final  two perks of our VIP package - a hi-wave and group photo with the members. After lining up with other VIP package members, fans were led out to the lobby of the venue where the boys were waiting to greet us. Being able to tell them to their faces how great they did and how incredible the show was was a very special moment, and one that I won’t easily forget. Wrapping back around through the venue, we were then split into groups of eight for our photos with the members. After a few quick poses, I once again was able to tell the members how much I loved their performances and how proud I am of them. Keonhee responded with “No, you did amazing!” which made me giggle. This was the first time I’ve gotten to experience these types of perks after a show, and I can definitely see why so many people spend the extra money to be able to see their favorite artists in a more intimate setting, even if it’s only for a few brief moments. 

From start to end, ONEUS put on a stellar performance that I have not stopped thinking about since. This was only their second tour in the U.S., and their growth both in their performances and their fanbase within the US since just last year is amazing to see. I hope they will be included in upcoming festival lineups like KCON, and I can’t wait for them to release more music to add to their already golden discography.

Congrats on a successful tour boys! TO MOON can’t wait to see you again. 

All photos by Kya Brogdon


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