K-Pop — Dreamcatcher Recall

Dreamcatcher Fills Fans’ Hearts With More Love And Memories In Touring Return To Midwest USA

Louisville, Chicago, and Minneapolis create more unforgettable moments as K-Pop’s Dreamcatcher continues its 2022 World Tour through North America.

Dreamcatcher greets fans in Chicago during their 2022 Apocalypse: Save Us World Tour, July 7th, 2022. Source: PhoenixRed

Dreamcatcher’s North American leg of their “Apocalypse: Save Us World” tour continued this past week, this time coming through the Midwest portion of the US. Back in 2019, the only city that Dreamcatcher stopped in for this part of the country for Invitation from Nightmare City in the USA was Midwestern hub city Chicago, but a larger fanbase and greater international presence meant that this time around, we’d see more than just the 3rd largest city in the country on the touring plan. Both Louisville in Kentucky and Minneapolis in Minnesota would be graced by Dreamcatcher’s presence this time around, allowing more fans local to both areas (and, of course, outside of them) to see and hear Dreamcatcher live and in the flesh.

As I attended the Chicago show, I’ll be focusing a lot of my recap on that day, but know that as usual Dreamcatcher absolutely killed it on stage in all the Midwest stops they were in. Let’s get right into all the latest from the tour this past week!

Dreamcatcher performs “Locked Inside A Door” in Louisville, Kentucky, USA during their 2022 World Tour. Source: YerinTheQueen

Though Louisville wasn’t a city that some fans thought would be among the first to be thought of to be added to a K-Pop tour list, Dreamcatcher fans quickly proved that there was just as much desire and dedication to see the group as any other city in the US. Some fans camped, literally setting up tents the night before the show in the hopes that they would be able to properly secure a good spot to see the group on-stage, and the line would only grow from there, despite a pretty oppressive summer heat throughout the day.

Dreamcatcher with their best “dropping the rock album soon” group picture from Louisville, Kentucky, USA. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

For Dreamcatcher’s part, they matched the red hot heat with crimson outfits of their own, highlighted with a bit of black to round out that rock group look. Another packed house and couple of hours later, and Dreamcatcher inked yet another city into their expansive portfolio of tour stops, leaving fans at the Old Forester’s Paristown Hall exhausted from the long line wait but satisfied and feeling like it was totally worth it.

JiU takes a nighttime picture from an overpass along the Chicago River in Downtown Chicago, IL, USA. Source: minjiu_u

This brings us to Chicago, where the group and tour staff had a bit of a break from the schedule due to the July 4th holiday. I was definitely glad to see that the group got a chance to take a walk around and see some of the sights in the downtown area, which has some of the best skyline architecture and tourist activity possibilities in the city. JiU and Dami in particular got to walk a few places that have been part of Chicago’s iconic identity as a city for years.

Director Zakky Kim takes a fun picture (with equally funny caption) with SuA and Handong in downtown Chicago, IL, USA. Source: zakkykim

It was also nice to see the group and staff having a good time getting some leisure time to mess around after a bit of a whirlwind schedule to kick off the tour. Zakky Kim, an experienced live show producer/director/writer/songwriter/actor who according to SuA is serving in a Director role for this tour (and who we also saw working with them for their Primavera Sound appearance), had a fun time with SuA and Handong prowling the Chicago streets, even creating an Instagram story where he acted like a fan who’d just met them by happenstance. By the way, Director Kim, great choice visiting the Chicago Music Exchange — it’s a must-stop for any music/guitar enthusiast and I hope you had a good time.

Lineup outside the Radius Chicago on July 7th, 2022 to see Dreamcatcher. Source: PhoenixRed

So it was that when show day finally arrived on July 7th, the group was, hopefully, well-rested and ready to deliver another great show in Chicago. Remembering the lineups that started at around 2pm last time in 2019, I opted to try to get to the Radius Chicago a bit early, just to ensure that even though I had secured tickets to the front section of the venue, that I’d have decent position. Not surprisingly, the increase in Dreamcatcher’s fanbase meant that the line was already coming out of the venue premises by the time of my arrival in the early afternoon. According to the front-most folks who’d gotten in, the earliest line denizens had begun waiting around at 6:30am in the morning — not quite the camping from Kentucky, but fairly close. The fact that general admission was furthest in the back, instead of having a chance to be right up to the stage, probably factored into this, but InSomnia were no less dedicated for beginning their line in the wee hours of the morning as opposed to the previous night.

Dreamcatcher fans, stretching out into the sidewalk and down the block, wait outside of the Radius Chicago closer to show time to get into the venue. Source: PhoenixRed

After reports of fans needing to hydrate a bit better at previous stops, I brought a cart filled with bottled water to hand out in line to thirsty fans. The weather listed “mostly cloudy” but as anyone from the Windy City will tell you, Chicago weather is a changeable beast, and “mostly cloudy” turned out to be sweltering and humid. It made me glad to see a bunch of thankful fans, and even gladder to know that the friends I’d made from the Dreamcatcher Discord prior to the show were kind enough to save my line spot while I did the handouts. A tip I always tell first-timers to concerts (especially K-Pop concerts) is always to take the time to make friends with your fellow fans if you’re comfortable doing so, whether it’s in line, beforehand, or during the show. Helping each other out so that everyone has a good experience seeing an artist like Dreamcatcher makes everything better, and is, from a practical standpoint, mutually beneficial — so be sure to do it. I had a lot of great conversations with fellow fans, and got quite a few compliments on the custom Dystopia/Prequel combination Dreamcatcher tattoo I’d gotten last year.

Dreamcatcher fans get more excited to enter Radius Chicago as 6pm doors opening rolls around in Chicago, IL, USA. Source: PhoenixRed

The Radius Chicago, a re-imagined former warehouse-turned-venue-for-live-events, is relatively new to K-Pop, and Dreamcatcher was their very first K-Pop show. The venue is hosting a number of other groups this year, including DPR, Brave Girls, LOONA, and (G)-IDLE, so we InSomnia were the guinea pigs. I’d say for the most part, with a couple hiccups, the staff did well, with only a parking confusion mishap not entirely their fault and a bit of line management disorganization the only blemishes. Thankfully, even though the lineup was a bit of a blob rather than an organized effort, the enforcement of different sections meant that everyone would go where they needed, and have a good chance at seeing the group properly.

My view for most of the Dreamcatcher show in Chicago. Source: PhoenixRed

I think I secured a pretty good spot, don’t you?

I’ve never been much to try to compete with the rush to center stage, and stage left or right is just as viable if you’re able to get to a decent position for some pictures and some video. I emphasize the “some” here, as I’m an old school concertgoer and prefer to watch the show rather than record or take pictures of it most of the time. Live events are, in my opinion, harder to enjoy if you’re not, well, live and paying attention to what you’re actually seeing as opposed to what you’re recording, but hey — as long as you’re not obstructing or making someone else’s experience bad, I’m good with those on the other end of the recording/picture-taking spectrum. Media memories, after all, can be just as valuable to some fans as your own.

Radius Chicago fills up as fans arrive to their sections for the Dreamcatcher show. Source: PhoenixRed

I certainly found the venue on the inside to be memorable as well as comfortable. Even when everyone was in, the separation of sections plus the high ceiling meant that the venue was cooled appropriately, a boon after hours in the heat outside. Audio acoustics proved to be great throughout the facility, with a mix of Dreamcatcher instrumental song versions and latest hits coming through multiple speakers without being oppressive to the ears. Bars serving water and alcohol were easy to see, and the merchandise booth was clearly labeled, with staff available for questions and quick answers. Having space to move around and not be packed in like hot sardines in a can is always a bonus for a live show.

Dreamcatcher opens the show with 2021’s “BEcause”. Source: PhoenixRed

By the time Dreamcatcher, clad in a denim-consistent-yet-uniquely-casual fashion style, arrived right on the dot at 7:30pm, fans had filled in and were hyped, cooled off, and excited to see their favorite group, and they didn’t disappoint. The stage darkened, and “Intro: Save Us” blared out to massive cheers from the crowd. As Dreamcatcher’s shadowed silhouettes filed onto the stage, the cheers grew to a crescendo that continued right into the first notes of 2021 album “Summer Holiday” title track “BEcause”, with each member receiving their own crowd “pop” as they performed their iconic parts from the song. Even through my earplugs, I could tell that the energy was high from the very beginning, and rarely abated throughout the set.

JiU spots me for a heart motion as I’m taking photos. Source: PhoenixRed

Obviously one of the best parts of a live show, especially one that is a K-Pop live show, is artist and fan interaction. The industry is built in part on a parasocial relationship between artists and fans, and while there are of course pros and cons of such a strategy, when it comes down to it many K-Pop artists genuinely appear to love being able to be in front of a live audience and to get that dynamic interaction as much as their fans are. Because Dreamcatcher’s set list was B-side heavy, many of the songs did not have set choreography, meaning that the group, when not singing, was able to rove around the stage and wave to fans and give them that bit of non-verbal communication that speaks volumes as to how much they mean to them. My close-to-the-stage spot meant that several times I had a great opportunity to film or take pictures or wave back to the members of the group. It’s a nice way of feeding off the energy Dreamcatcher brings to the show and for them to get some of it back from us in turn and is part of why the live experience is just one that should absolutely be attended if you get the opportunity.

Yoohyeon grabs a phone from a fan and concentrates as she works it expertly to get video of herself before handing it back. Source: PhoenixRed

The distance and height to the stage meant that the phone pilfering of the previous tour stops by Dreamcatcher wasn’t quite as prominent, but there were still moments where a couple lucky fans got to have some media taken of the group by the group themselves. Seeing this first-hand showed me just how deft the group has to be in the moment to be able to handle someone else’s phone, ensure they know how to use the video or photo options (in another l language no less), then take the media and hand it back. Whether we see more of this from the group remains to be seen, but I continue to be impressed by Dreamcatcher’s ability to command such dynamic stage interactions and perform their parts during songs.

Yoohyeon takes her turn at “No Dot” in Chicago, IL, USA. Source: PhoenixRed

And of course, the best part of these dynamic interactions for K-Pop is how varied the “ment” (or talking) portions of the show can get from city to city. The solo medley portion of the tour, where each member got to throw a signed bingo ball to the crowd and then highlight their solo song from 2022’s “Apocalypse: Save Us”, has been one of the most popular and well-remembered from all the shows so far. SuA’s “No Dot” cover contest has been a prominent and well-remembered part of this segment, mostly due to the fact that she’s challenged other members to do or freestyle the choreography from her chorus. The song has an aggressive, sultry concept attached to it, so it’s been fun watching the members of the group go way, way over the top on purpose with it to humorous and entertaining effect.

Gahyeon goes all-out during her cover of SuA’s “No Dot” during the Dreamcatcher show in Chicago, IL, USA. Source: PhoenixRed

In Chicago, we got more than the other stops had so far, with SuA going twice, and Siyeon and Yoohyeon reprising/revising their previous cover attempts. But it was Gahyeon who stole the show here, as she hadn’t had the opportunity to perform a “No Dot” cover til now. Even though she’s tried her best to break out of the “cute maknae (youngest member)” stereotype over the years, and has on several occasions, sometimes you just have to validate it in front of a live audience, and that’s exactly what she did.

Two slogan banners, the top one used as a surprise, handed out for the Dreamcatcher Chicago show. Source: opalmiller13
Dreamcatcher performs 4 Memory in Chicago, IL, USA, and gets emotional seeing red slogans declaring love from fans raised by the audience as a surprise. Source: YerinTheQueen

One of the best, and more emotional dynamic interactions for the Chicago live show, however, was the performance of 2021’s “4 Memory”. A fan had distributed red slogan banners to be held up as a surprise for the performance, with the words “I won’t forget every moment” written in Hangul. The slogan is a response to JiU’s written lyric in the song where she asks not to forget every moment, and it elicited an emotional reaction from Dreamcatcher’s leader and the writer of the song. Letting out a sniffle caught by her live mic, JiU fought back emotion. Meanwhile, Yoohyeon, Siyeon, and the others appeared extremely touched, with Yoohyeon having to retrieve a tissue and turn around to wipe away tears, while on a humorous note, ever-practical Dami quietly corrected those fans accidentally holding the sign upside down. Dreamcatcher would later return the favor at show’s end, with a Chicago-exclusive message of empathy over a recent July 4th tragic shooting that occurred in a northern suburb, proving that, when it comes to Dreamcatcher, this is a two-way street of respect, love, and care. Once again, these are the moments that make live shows, and for which there is no substitute via an online-only or music show performance you see through a computer screen.

Siyeon lets her vocal power be known performing at the Chicago, IL, USA Dreamcatcher show. Source: PhoenixRed

I’ve talked about all these other elements of the Chicago show for Dreamcatcher and not about the obvious, which is the execution of their best setlist for a tour yet in their history. Dreamcatcher is, as always, amazing live, with near-studio perfect vocals (live “BOCA” high note Siyeon, low tone “Silent Night” intro Handong, JiU’s emotional ballad singing ability, and pretty much any Dami rapping part being just some of the highlights I remember). What’s cool about seeing them now, as opposed to when I last saw them in 2019, is just how much each member has grown vocally and from a choreography execution standpoint. Handong is obvious as I never seen her in 2019 due to her stint in China, and her stage presence has grown by leaps and bounds. Siyeon is, if you can believe it, even more stable and nuanced in her vocal execution than before. Gahyeon has truly come into her own as a multi-faceted performer able to slot into any part of a song and carry it into the next portion with gusto. These are only a few elements I’m mentioning, but all the members have just evolved how good they are live, adding to an already-impressive performance skillset. The selection of mostly 2020-and-forward songs is purposeful — not only is it the opportunity for Dreamcatcher to perform songs they’d never performed live for a tour before, but it’s an opportunity to show a growth that they’ve achieved individually and as a group in just three short, yet pandemic-slogged, years.

Dreamcatcher takes their customary group selfie shot in front of 3300+ fans in Chicago. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

In all, it really does have to be witnessed and not heard about, so if you do have the opportunity to go to a live Dreamcatcher show, do so — you won’t be disappointed and if you’re a first-timer, you’ll be blown away by how different it is to experience it “offline” (especially if you follow the concert tips thread I put up on Twitter to handle the practical stuff). Optional events, such as the fansign (which would have been a separate writeup had I was lucky enough to get in it) and hi-wave (which was so very nice to go through but quite short) are just icing on the cake, but the live show shouldn’t be missed. From the staff to the stylists, to the great fellow fans I met to Dreamcatcher themselves, thanks once again for a wonderful show that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Dreamcatcher takes a group photo after their Minneapolis show on July 9th, 2022. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

That show, of course, moves on, as Dreamcatcher performed in Minneapolis (or, as Siyeon coined it as, “Mini Apple”) at the end of the week. Though the venue was the smallest on the tour (at 1,875 people) and had a bit of a climate issue as a result, by all accounts the show was another banger of a live event, with the “No Dot” segment evolving to be a subunit cover and 2019’s “PIRI and 2020’s “Sahara” subbing in for part of the setlist. I’ll leave it to someone who was actually at the Minneapolis show to recap that one, but it seems to me that Dreamcatcher will not surprisingly continue to raise the bar for their live performance for this part of their World Tour.

Be sure to tune back into this space for coverage and a recap of the next portion of the NA leg of Dremcatcher’s World Tour, along with a few content highlights I didn’t get to from the first part of their travels. See you next week at the same time, and hope you enjoyed the Chicago recap!

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Frank Sanchez

Frank Sanchez

Lifetime geek dual-wielding in the tech and games industries for over a decade. Builder of walls of text. Shameless Asian pop lover.