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Seventh year into career, NCT Dream declares the start of its era

Sept. 13, 2022 - 09:53 By Choi Ji-won

K-pop boy band NCT Dream conducts a concert "The Dream Show 2 - In a Dream" at the Olympic Stadium in Jamsil, Seoul, on Sept. 8. (SM Entertainment)
K-pop boy band NCT Dream held its two-day concert in Seoul and declared the start of the "NCT Dream era."

Titled "The Dream Show 2 - In A Dream," the event kicked off on Thursday at the Olympic Stadium inside the sports complex in Jamsil, southern Seoul. It was the act's first in-person concert in two years and 10 months since their last show in 2019 at the Jangchung Arena in Seoul.

The Seoul Sports Complex was painted in the act's symbolic color of lime green on Thursday as some 60,000 fans flocked to the venue. It was the biggest concert the boys were holding since their debut in 2016.

Kicking off the first night was "Buffering," the title song of the band's latest release, 2nd LP "Glitch Mode." Fans roared out screams as the seven members came down to the stage on a lift.

The night was indeed a dive into a dream for NCT Dream and its fans, as they connected through 29 songs that wrapped up the six years of growth of the teenage boys into grown up men.

Few hours ahead of Thursday's concert, the seven members -- Mark, Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle and Jisung -- conducted a press conference at the venue.

K-pop boy band NCT Dream conducts a press conference ahead of holding its concert "The Dream Show 2 - In a Dream" at the Olympic Stadium in Jamsil, Seoul, on Sept. 8. (SM Entertainment)

"To be honest, I have very mixed feelings right now," NCT Dream's leader Mark said in beginning the press conference.

"I dare to say that this concert wasn't accomplished easily. We all have different thoughts, but at least for now, we'll all be taking the stage with a grateful heart. We don't take for granted at holding our first-ever concert as '7Dream' here at this stadium, and hopefully our fans could have fun," Mark added.

"The Dream Show 2" was the second concert by NCT Dream but the first one the group was holding as a full septet, referred to as "7Dream" by the members and fans. The first concert in 2019 was held without Mark, as he was officially "graduated" from the band according to its system that used to discharge members when they reach the Korean age of 20.

On Thursday, NCT Dream made its debut at the city's biggest concert venue, the Olympic Stadium. The shows was originally set to take place at the slightly smaller Gocheok Sky Dome in Guro-gu, Seoul, in July, but the dates were postponed and the location changed after some of the members were confirmed to have COVID-19.

"When we first heard of the news (of venue change), we were surprised and also worried about whether we'd be able to fill up the space as it was the first time the seven of us were holding a proper concert together," Jeno said. "But all that concerns vanished as we started the preparation and we just had fun."

The key difference in the new venue came with the environment.

"Our movements on the stage changed a lot. Gocheok Dome had many installations on the stage, such as the wires, that we couldn't use here, so we had to think about how we could show a better peorformance without those tools. Also, as the space is much bigger, we worked on how we could make NCTzens feel closer to us," Jaemin said, referring to their official fandom, NCTzens (read as "cizenies").

K-pop boy band NCT Dream conducts a concert "The Dream Show 2 - In a Dream" at the Olympic Stadium in Jamsil, Seoul, on Sept. 8. (SM Entertainment)

The members stressed the significance of "7Dream" and said the show will center around the septet showing a synergy as a full group.

"The concert will remind fans of the old 7-piece NCT Dream. We've placed many points that could show our synergy and there'll be songs of a variety of genres, so please have fun," Renjun said.

With seven heads throwing in ideas, completing the final setlist for the concert was no easy job.

"It took a long time and we had a lot of clashes in opinions in deciding the setlist. We were doing many stages first time as '7Dream' so we all had so much things we wanted to show," Jeno said.

Jisung, who Mark says had put in the most effort in preparing the setlist, said, "I always think about how the fans would react and also on how I wish the shows will be directed. But the foremost goal is the satisfy the fans, and we all have different opinions about that. I really enjoyed discussing about it and sharing our opinions this time."

NCT Dream debuted in 2016 under the nation's biggest K-pop label SM Entertainment with its first single "Chewing Gum."

The act is the third subunit to be launched from NCT (short for "Neo Culture Technology"), a 23-member boy band that was formed with the goal to mix and match the members into an unlimited number of subunit groups according to different cities and concepts.NCT Dream originally debuted as a group of teenagers with an admission-and-graduation system, but the concept was later scrapped with Mark, who graduated in December 2018, rejoining in April 2020.

K-pop boy band NCT Dream conducts a concert "The Dream Show 2 - In a Dream" at the Olympic Stadium in Jamsil, Seoul, on Sept. 8. (SM Entertainment)

In looking back on their journey, Mark said, "I think our team is like an icon of growth, and we've become so because we've worked to always be at our best state right now."

Chenle piped into say, "What makes me the proudest is that, even though we're seventh year into our career, we're still really ambitious and we work hard. Although we've aged and we now have to shave more, apart from such physical changes, our mind is still as passionate and energetic."

The boys may have in store a world tour following the Seoul concerts, as "The Dream Show 1" had been the title of the group's first world tour held in 2019-2020. But as for now, Mark said there was no set plan.

"If we do go on a world tour, that will be a first tour as '7Dream,' and wherever we go, I think it will all be just fun that we could travel together to different countries. We haven't had much chance to go abroad together, and I look forward to playing Mafia game in the hotel rooms and making other memorable episodes," Mark said, making laughters burst out from the crowd of journalists.

Haechan said, "The seven of us dropped our first full-length album together and now we're holding our first concert as a septet. We'll finally be able to see our fans more with all the obstacles gone, and as we'd focused our activities inside the nation until now, hopefully we'll be heading outside more to see our foreign fans. I hope this marks the start of the 'NCT Dream era.'"