Following BTS‘ not-so-shocking announcement in 2020 where they shared that they would be going on an extended group hiatus in order to both focus on their solo careers and undertake their mandatory military enlistment, I made a decision to wait for the group to return before attending my first concert in what would have been over a decade at this point. However, it was midway through this point — when all seven members were now in the military and I had nothing to do but wait out the next six months — that I decided that enough was enough and that waiting for my favourites, whom — judging from their past tour schedules — may not even come to my country. Deciding it was clearly a waste of time and I should just try my luck at attending one. It was during this thought process — and a short googling session related to nearby Kpop concerts — that I stumbled upon a Facebook page with the sole focus of advertising and promoting upcoming Kpop concerts throughout my country. My initial thought was to book a concert for either IVE or Eric Nam. But IVE tickets had been on sale for a while with only nosebleed seats still available, while Eric Nam was still receiving backlash from an Israel-related scandal at the time. So I instead chose to wait for the next mainstream Kpop artist to announce a tour and that artist just so happened to be ITZY, JYP‘s middle child in terms of currently active girl groups, and aside from a few title tracks — namely ‘Dalla Dalla‘ & ‘Not Shy‘ — was the one whose music I knew little about at the time, but a group whose music always somewhat interested me.

It was on the 25th of March that ITZY officially brought their ‘Born to Be‘ World Tour to Sydney, Australia. Their second stop on the Oceania leg of the ‘Born to Be‘ tour following a successful show in Aukland, New Zealand on the 21st of March, and one more show set for Melbourne on the 26th. This would be the group’s first-ever time visiting the region for a show, as well as their first tour without main vocalist Lia, who is currently sitting out of group promotions for health-related reasons. The concert I personally attended was in Sydney, as I could justify it as both a recreational trip in order to see the group, and a personal trip, in order to visit relatives in the city. In the days leading up to the concert, I went from spending a day without the internet by meeting my new favourite kid cousin (yes, I can have favourites), to accidentally crashing my Uncle’s birthday party.

Now as for the concert itself, it was held in an area of Darling Harbour that I am relatively familiar with at the International Convention Centre just opposite the Chinese Garden of Friendship (yes, this is a legitimate place). The doors officially opened at around 6:30 pm, while the show itself was slightly delayed. As a result, we were given a VCR preview reel of other JYP artists to watch while we waited for the show to start. Of all of the groups shown — aside from ITZY themselves — it was STRAY KIDS & NMIXX that received the biggest reception. The show, while slow to start, kicked off with a bang at — according to my discord chat logs — a little after 7:30 pm with ‘Born To Be‘, ‘Racer‘ & ‘Kidding Me‘!

Opening with ‘Born to Be‘ was probably the best choice that the group had made in terms of the set-list design. Not only did the track open the concert with a bang, but it also helped explain why choosing a live band for the ‘Born to Be‘ world tour was honestly the best idea since sliced bread! This could be seen throughout the entirety of the concert. The band members acted as the perfect accompaniment to the group’s performance but also didn’t overshadow the group’s performances. The group had chosen to perform with a live band this time because they, according to Yuna, wanted to present an ITZY “with a richer sound”.

However, if there was one thing I would change from the opening set-list, it would be switching the order in which ‘Racer‘ & ‘Kidding Me‘ were performed. Going from a high-energy rock-heavy song like ‘Born to Be‘ into a song like ‘Racer’, even with the effective instrumental-base transition between ‘Born to Be‘ & ‘Racer‘, I felt like it was somewhat lacking the punchiness that ‘Born to Be‘ & ‘Kidding Me‘ displayed throughout the intro and felt that it would have fit better as the outro of the opening set in order to set up for the opening ment.

Speaking of their opening talk time and introductions, the group members all introduced each other, as well as their band, following the opening set. When each of the members greeted the crowd for the first time, they made the effort to not just speak in English, but also learn some of the local slang words. Ryujin‘s introduction speech, in particular, received the most energetic reception. The crowd literally barked during her speech. As for the fan interaction as a whole, it was conducted mostly in English. Which — while likely rehearsed — still felt very natural and helped to contribute to the energy of the crowd as a whole! From the beginning, I personally thought that Yuna stood out and appealed to me the most, both performance-wise and interaction-wise only for the other three members to settle into the groove as the concert progressed. This was seen through her upbeat personality, calling the energy of the crowd “weak” while attempting to hype everyone up as well as her overall attitude throughout the performance.

via @Ivaansphoto on Twitter/

Now, as I don’t want this review to get too long, I’ll be brushing past most of the setlist and mainly highlighting the songs & performances that I enjoyed the most. Starting with the four solo stages that took place directly following the opening ment, each solo effectively showcased the members’ skills and personalities, with no two songs feeling the same. It was Ryujin & Yuna‘s performances that I enjoyed the most, through Yeji‘s ‘Crown on my Head‘ & Chaeryoung’sMine‘ weren’t too far behind either! For Ryujin, while the message of the song was fun in itself. Plus I highly enjoyed the personality that the idol put across through the song’s delivery. She had a high attitude throughout, which really brought out her personality. Then moving on to Yuna‘s ‘Yet, But‘. I found that her performance helped to cement the happy and bright personality that she delivered throughout the entirety of the concert.

Now moving onto group songs, other than the usual favourites — such as ‘Not Shy‘, ‘UNTOUCHABLE‘ & ‘Dalla Dalla‘ — the superior pre-release, ‘Mr Vampire‘, as well as the attitude-filled tracks such as ‘Swipe‘, ‘Gas Me Up‘, ‘Dynamite‘ & ‘Kill Shot‘ ended up being my favourites. ‘Swipe‘ was one of the few ITZY title tracks that I consequently happened to miss. I enjoyed the attitude-filled delivery and its addictive hook. The performance only helped to further add to the personality of the track. While ‘Gas Me Up‘ & ‘Dynamite‘ showcased the groups’ strong personality that the group continued to deliver throughout the ‘Born To Be‘ concert!

The group officially signed off their officially scheduled setlist with ‘Escalator‘. An apt ending to an already stellar performance. Following this performance, the concert transitioned into a fan interaction segment. For this portion of the show, audience members were required to complete tasks in order to successfully ‘unlock’ the encore performance. Personally, I felt like this aspect of the concert was a well-thought-out detail. It allowed the fans to each work towards a goal of unlocking the special encore stage consisting of four tracks: ‘Love Is‘, ‘Be In Love‘, ‘Chillin’, Chillin’‘ & ‘Dalla Dalla(Extended Outro)‘.

Overall, the concert was a great production despite its obvious limited budget that didn’t allow for effects such as pyrotechnics or complicated set pieces. The concert instead employed various lighting and confetti effects. It allowed for strong performances throughout the show and substantial fan interaction segments littered throughout. I think that if there was ever a concert that could convert you from being a casual enjoyed into a fan, then it’d be this one. As it surely did for me!

I hope to see them return to Sydney for their next world tour as well ~

1. “Born To Be” (Extended intro)
2. “Racer”
3. “Kidding Me”
4. “Mr. Vampire”
5. “Swipe”
6. “Wannabe” (+ Extended dance break intro)
7. “Mine” (Chaeryeong solo)
8. “Run Away” (Ryujin solo)
9. “Yet, But” (Yuna solo)
10. “Crown On My Head” (Yeji solo, extended outro)
11. “Untouchable” (Extended intro)
12. “Gas Me Up”
13. “Dynamite”
14. “Psychic Lover”
15. “Don’t Give A What”
16. “Loco” (Dancers extended outro)
17. “Not Shy” (Extended band intro)
18. “Cake”
19. “Sneakers”
20. “Kill Shot”
21. “Escalator” (Extended outro)
+ Encore:
22. “Love Is”
23. “Be In Love”
24. “Chillin’ Chillin’”
25. “Dalla Dalla” (Extended outro)*


GFX BY @chomp chomp