Lollapalooza has really been going for a piece of the K-pop pie the past two years as the genre takes a hold on America. According to NPR, the U.S. is one of the biggest importers of Korean pop music, just behind Japan and China — and if the screaming crowds at Lollapalooza 2023 are any indication of larger trends, it’s here to stay.
Tomorrow x Together made history at the festival again Saturday as the first South Korean boy band to headline the event (following BTS member J-Hope, who was the first South Korean artist to headline in 2022, and NewJeans, who played Thursday, notable for being the first Korean girl group to play the festival).
Tomorrow x Together also famously played the fest in 2022, at Perry’s Stage, though the group’s performance Saturday was a major upgrade. The five members remarked on the back-to-back appearances, saying, “It’s such an honor to be here again. … Chicago is a very special place for Tomorrow X Together,” and adding, “It reminds us of last year, one of the most meaningful, memorable concerts we’ve performed.”
The act prepared in earnest for the occasion, earlier in the week, sharing footage of rehearsals on TikTok. The singing and choreography were on par for the main event and had many dedicated fans dancing right along with their every step. As the video cameras panned over people in the crowd, they settled on one person who made a handmade poster that said she had traveled 2,000-plus miles to see TXT.
Also enhancing the set was a crew of talented backup dancers and a band of four musicians, who each got their own dedicated intro on video screens (a nice gesture given that K-pop bands often introduce themselves at their shows).
Most notable of the song selections was “Happy Fools” in which the band was joined by special guest Coi Leray who appears as a featured collaborator on the track. Wearing a cropped “I (Heart) TXT” T-shirt, Leray was just as animated as the boy band and twerked her way through the song.
Other highlights included “Can’t You See Me?” with a good round of fireball pyrotechnics, “Thursday’s Child Has Far to Go” with the whole crowd waving light sticks in unison and the slowed-down ballad “Blue Spring,” written as an ode to their fans, which naturally had many faces crying.