K-Pop — Dreamcatcher Recall

Recap: Dreamcatcher’s 2021 Halloween Concert Entertains K-Pop Fans With XR Stage Tricks, Costumed Treats, And Spooky Levels Of Talent

Dreamcatcher takes a group shot of just one of many stage outfits for Halloween Midnight Circus. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

(Note: You might wonder why there are no clips or images from the concert itself in this article. That’s because I prefer to support Dreamcatcher, preferably through official channels, so only official images and clips are included in this write-up. The soon-to-be-release VOD from “Halloween: Midnight Circus” is on sale, so if you want to see the video footage, please support them by making a purchase if you haven’t already!)

Dreamcatcher’s 4th online concert is in the books, and this time around, the group that built their fanbase on a dark, horror-based concept decided to do an entire show for fans on one of the darkest, most horror-based holidays ever in Halloween. Even though we did get a bit of that vibe during last year’s Seven Spirits concert with costumed solo stages, it wasn’t actually on Halloween itself.

That’s why this time around, Dreamcatcher leaned into the Halloween look and feel, building on the creepy feeling elicited by July’s “Summer Holiday” album release to create a circus-show atmosphere enhanced by XR (augmented reality) stages, their now ever-present live band, and a second year of costumed solo stages that promised to top last year’s. And despite a couple of minor issues (one of which was a periodic audio/video desync of a second or so at times, which MyMusicTaste is making up for with a repeat live concert broadcast), the result was an almost three-hour entertainment show that had a great mix of expected performances, fun surprises, and outfits that had fans talking long after the show ended.

As always, I’m here to help cure your post-concert blues by providing a recap of everything that happened for Halloween Midnight Circus, so without further ado, let’s get into Dreamcatcher’s spooky treat to their fans. If you want to navigate quickly between sections, you can use the links below:

Concert Part 1: XR-Enhanced Titles and Iconic Dystopia Performances

Dreamcatcher takes a group photo in front of their augmented reality stage. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

Songs Performed:

  • Odd Eye (XR)
  • Scream
  • BOCA
  • BEcause (XR)
  • Whistle (XR)

After a fun introduction video that had the viewer seeming to be taken on a walking tour of Dreamcatcher’s haunted circus grounds, Dreamcatcher kicked things off by displaying, once again, their performance stamina and stage presence, clad in brand-new. sharp-looking white outfits with black ribbon sashes with both the Dreamcatcher and InSomnia logos and their names. A run-through of the Dystopia series of title tracks, a few opening comments and teases for the show, and a couple of “Summer Holiday” album tracks were performed, including the live performance premiere of B-side “Whistle” complete with a brand new choreography that we’ve since learned through vLive was planned out by not only Performance Director Hwang Sooyeon but Gahyeon as well. The incorporation of chairs into this performance, which I don’t believe Dreamcatcher has ever done before, added to the feel of the song, made all the more impressive by the fact that it’s one with a quick beat requiring some equally quick reflexes to pull off.

Dreamcatcher’s XR-enhanced performance of “BOCA” during KCON:TACT Season 2. Source: KCON official

The performances of “Odd Eye”, “BEcause”, and “Whistle” also showed off the XR (augmented reality) enhancement stages that attempted to add to the atmosphere and feel of the performance being in a haunted circus ground, a spooky house, or in the case of “Whistle”, amongst the stars themselves. This, like a couple of other things that Dreamcatcher were doing for this concert, was part of what seemed to be experimental ways of making performances that we’ve already seen fresh and different. Having seen Dreamcatcher’s XR-enhanced performances at KCON:TACT Season 2, I already knew a bit of what to expect — an augmentation, and not an addition, to an existing performance. While the presence of this stage and the other logistics of live band and costuming necessitated that these portions of the show were pre-recorded, this wasn’t something that bothered me terribly much, and I think what we saw was a nice first attempt at showing what was possible (the presence of a ghostly purple wolf walking the XR circus grounds, for example, or the opening of a door into Dreamcatcher’s haunted hotel performance of “BEcause”). If they choose to continue with these enhancements in the future, I’ll be interested in seeing how they build on it, but either way, Dreamcatcher themselves require no augmentation to perform well through multiple songs.

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Concert Part 2: Emotional Ballads and a Surprise Medley

Dreamcatcher’s promotional group photo for Halloween Midnight Circus. Source: _mymusictaste

Songs Performed:

  • Polaris
  • A Heart of Sunflower
  • Emotion
  • (Medley) Eclipse (Korean ver.) + Full Moon + Wind Blows

After some more comments and an introduction of the live band, Dreamcatcher decided to go the ballad route, performing three of their best feels-inducing songs across their discography in “Polaris” from 2019’s “Raid of Dream”, 2021’s recent heartstring-puller “A Heart Of Sunflower”, and 2017’s “Emotion”. After such intense choreography to kick off the show, slowing things down and showing off emotional vocal power and color seemed to be appropriate, with the bonus that this was also the live band premiere of “A Heart Of Sunflower” as well. It was definitely a Dreamcatcher lightstick waving moment for sure if you had one, especially with the background LED stage screen showing off each member in literal portraits on a wall.

Dreamcatcher’s MV for 2021 Japanese release “Eclipse”. Source: Dreamcatcher official

But of course, the band wasn’t going to be brought out just to do ballads. The group kicked off a medley of live-band rock-based songs from their discography, starting off with a surprise — a Korean language version of late 2020/early 2021 song “Eclipse”, sung for the “King’s Raid” anime as one of its openings. Fans have gotten Korean versions of Dreamcatcher’s Japanese releases before — their 2019 first fanclub meeting unveiled the Korean version of Japanese title track “I Miss You — but given that Dreamcatcher Company has yet to negotiate with a new partner for their Japanese releases it wasn’t clear if they’d even be allowed to perform any of those tracks. That question was answered with a resounding yes, and it was great to hear how “Eclipse” hit different in Dreamcatcher’s native language. 2018 fan song “Full Moon” and 2021’s extended promotions B-side “Wind Blows” rounded out the mix, making for a more pure rock-based closure to this part of the concert set that brought up the energy level once again just in time for the group’s costume solo stages.

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Concert Part 3: Dreamcatcher’s Member-Unique Solo Costume Stages

Dreamcatcher takes a group photo while in their costumes for solo stages. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

Songs Performed:

  • SuA (as a plaster-cast Statue) — EXO’s Kai, “Mmmh
  • Dami (as chef Alfredo Linguini from Ratatouille) — Zico, “Artist
  • Gahyeon (as Cinderella) — IU, “Twenty-Three
  • Yoohyeon (as Red Guard/Kang Saebyeok from Squid Game) — Blackpink’s Rosé, “On The Ground
  • JiU (as Black Swan from Black Swan) — Blackpink’s Jennie, “Solo
  • Handong (as Catwoman) — Chungha, “Snapping
  • Siyeon (as Fullmoon from Full Moon wo Sagashite) — Sunmi, “pporappippam
  • Group Costume Performance — “Alldaylong

After last year’s Seven Spirits concert and its memorable costume solo stages, Dreamcatcher knew that with a concert happening on Halloween, they had to do what they could to exceed expectations for what was being done. That’s why I think it was great that before these solo stages were broadcast that we got to see a behind-the-scenes planning and interview video with the group, with the dual purpose of taking a look back at all of Dreamcatcher’s costumed appearances in the past (spanning busking events, fanmeetings, and concerts) as well as providing insight and teases into the choices behind each song and costume. This is the kind of stuff that makes me, as a Dreamcatcher fan, appreciate the company’s willingness to let the members have a significant amount of input and agency to create their own unique solo stages, but also of the members’ hard work. It’s not easy to plan out, practice, and perfect a solo performance stage in costume while also trying to ensure the song being performed is covered well, so it was a welcome addition to the concert.

EXO Kai — “Mmmh” MV. Source: SMTOWN
SuA as a plaster-cast statue for Halloween Midnight Circus. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

After anchoring last year’s costumed solo stage performances with her all-out Hellboy costume and MAMAMOO Hwasa “Maria” performance, it looks like SuA wanted to lead things off to show how she committed fully to another costume, and playing a literal statue that comes to life for the performance definitely met if not exceeded that bar. SuA wanted to “look cool”, and as such, picked this costume from a field of candidates based on how big the members’ reactions were (which makes me wonder what crazy stuff didn’t make the cut), and going so far as to not only look but move like a statue for the choreography was just another level for Dreamcatcher’s main dancer. When you make a statue of something, they’re a legend and likely, look cool to the artist who makes them, so if that’s what SuA was shooting for here, she certainly succeeded.

I’m not as familiar with EXO’s Kai, which made my appreciation of SuA’s performance of “Mmmh” a little less than it perhaps could have been, but this is both good timing (as a Korean outlet recently confirmed he’s dropping a comeback before the end of the year). Kai’s solo debut was in 2020, and this year, SuA’s all-around personality, dance control, and vocal presence, especially during this performance, show that she’s making a decent case to do so herself someday.

Zico — “Artist” MV. Source: Stone Music Entertainment
Dami as Chef Alfredo Linguini from the Pixar movie “Ratatouille”. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

Next up we had Dami, who wanted to perform a song that played to her rapping strengths and was also not terribly “wacky”, as other members certainly would have that covered. While I kind of think that Zico’s “Artist” is perhaps a little bit wacky in and of itself, the main feel of the original is bright, fun, and most of all, multi-dimensional in its rap flow and variation — a perfect display for Dami’s main rapper skill. Dami didn’t disappoint for this song — she proved why most fans of her are drawn to her aggressive rapping stage presence and rhythmic-focused delivery, and managed to communicate the fun nature of the lyrics.

But I think it’s also important to see how subtle her costume and song choice potentially was in terms of telling her own story and feelings about her craft. Whether Dami sees herself as Chef Linguini, the well-meaning but sometimes struggling aspiring cook, or Remy, the rat who seeks to overcome stereotypes and established images to prove he can be seen as a credible culinary artist, remains to be seen, but both appear to have elements of Dami’s own journey through finding her musical identity in both rap and in composition. It also helps that the crux of Zico’s “Artist” is essentially to be unapologetically yourself, not to get caught up in making money and fitting into a box to succeed, and focus on doing what you feel is right for yourself to succeed — all things Dami has spoken about in the past when talking about her craft. If my suppositions are right, this is a nice, multi-layered choice of song and costume from Dreamcatcher’s main rapper.

IU — “Twenty-three” MV. Source: 1theK
Gahyeon as the Disney princess version of “Cinderella”. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

Gahyeon actually revealed to fans something that I didn’t really perceive in her previous cosplays — she’s always played a princess, whether that was Snow White for the 2018 Sinchon Busking, or Princess Jasmine from Disney’s “Aladdin” for the 2019 1st fanclub meeting, or Mermaid Mera from “Aquaman” for 2020’s Seven Spirits concert. So in continuing the series, Cinderella seemed to be a logical choice for Dreamcatcher’s youngest member to continue her trend of “cute and elegant”.

Covering IU’s “Twenty-three” seemed to be more than a personal song preference for Gahyeon, though. Reflecting on her past performances, especially the one where she performed a more “mature” choreography for “Coming of Age/Adult Ceremony”, Gahyeon talked a bit in the behind-the-scenes video about her identity and her changing aspirations. This kind of makes “Twenty-three” more than just about Gahyeon’s age, but also, like IU’s song lyrics and about Cinderella’s story, about finding herself and who she is. It made the performance she ultimately gave for the song have quite a bit more meaning than normal, although I also think fans probably know Gahyeon pulled off the “cute and elegant” goal pretty well.

Blackpink Rosé - “On The Ground” MV. Source: BLACKPINK
Yoohyeon as Red Guard/Kang Saebyeok from the Netflix series “Squid Game”. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

Yoohyeon talked a bit about how her past cosplays and solo stages have tended towards the cute, either because of her personal likes for cute things or just as a natural function of her stages being cute and whimsical things. We certainly got that during last year’s Seven Spirits solo costume stage, where she sang a Taylor Swift song dressed as Woody from the movie “Toy Story”.

This year, it seems, Yoohyeon decided to switch things up, picking both a serious cosplay (a combination of a Red Guard and determined older sister Kang Saebyeok from the recently viral South Korean dystopian survival drama “Squid Game”) and a bit of a serious song in Blackpink Rosé’s “On The Ground”. These were good choices on a variety of levels — first to show that Yoohyeon really can do something that isn’t cute and is deadly serious when she wants to, and second to show off that Yoohyeon is still the most practiced English speaker on Dreamcatcher by covering an all-English song, and one that speaks about dealing with adversity. I’d maybe dispute only slightly that Yoohyeon has played only cute characters — there was likely nothing cute about how she apparently betrayed JiU’s character in the “Deja Vu” music video, after all — but I think she pulled off the rugged look and hellbent-on-success character she was portraying.

On a side note, a nice little touch that someone saw was that the numbers on the backup dancers’ tracksuits match the dates of title track song releases. These are the little things that make these performances special.

Blackpink Jennie - “Solo” MV. Source: BLACKPINK
JiU as Black Swan from the movie “Black Swan” and ballet “Swan Lake”. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

JiU said she picked her cosplay to match the song she was covering, and picking the dark and somewhat psychotic “Black Swan” to match the independence and brash post-breakup attitude lyrics of Blackpink Jennie’s “SOLO” seemed to be highly appropriate. Of all the Dreamcatcher members, I feel like JiU embraces the idea of costuming as a departure from your normal character the most, and seeing her as a bloodstained Alice (2018 Sinchon busking) or the somewhat haughty Audrey Hepburn (2019 first fanclub meeting) are far cries from the kind and gentle-hearted leader that fans are used to seeing on camera, making Black Swan a natural progression (or at least a completely opposite presentation from bunny cop “Judy Hopps” from last year’s Seven Spirits concert). These sorts of projects are things that JiU, from what she seemed to talk about in the behind-the-scenes video, prefers to plan out carefully and ensure the right vibe is achieved. That was definitely the case here.

Costuming aside, you have to have some degree of assertiveness and independence to be a good leader, and JiU has that in spades when the cards are down when it comes to Dreamcatcher. Her performance of “SOLO” accentuated this, combining a small amount of ballet-type elegance with the independent sensuality that was on display in Jennie’s performances of the song. The result, besides me never thinking we’d hear someone as bright and happy as JiU singing the subtle other word that “bichi” in “bichi naneun solo” (I’m shining solo) sounds like, is a presentation that highlights that JiU doesn’t need to depend on anyone for her own success and well-being.

Chungha — “Snapping” MV. Source: Stone Music Entertainment
Handong as Catwoman. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

If you’ve been reading my articles regularly, you might have seen that I have talked constantly about how much more confident Chinese member Handong has been ever since returning from competing in her country’s “Youth With You” survival show back in 2020. From speaking to making herself known, to her singing and performance, the Handong we got back was a Handong ready to prove that she could showcase the talent and personality that her fellow members always have said is there, but which in the past may have somewhat not always been apparent. The one missing piece of that return was choreography, something that due to the time constraints surrounding her return to South Korea and the Seven Spirits concert, Handong couldn’t show off. This time around, as Handong said on the behind-the-scenes video, she wasn’t going to let that opportunity pass her by, and picking both a costume and song matching what she wanted to show off — in essence, her whole self from a performance perspective — was her mission this time around.

Chungha is one of K-Pop’s most well-known soloists, and part of the reason why that is is because she just has amazing, in-your-face stage presence. You can’t help but be drawn in by how she commands the camera and stage with her vocal work and choreography. For Handong to pull off Chungha’s “Snapping”, itself a song focused squarely on its singer’s emotional chaos, she’d have to ensure she made certain you wouldn’t forget her, and she certainly did that. Aside from picking a costume style that does this, the character of Catwoman has always been a highly independent, knows-what-they-want character, which makes the pairing of that and the song itself perfect for Handong to succeed at showing how much she’s improved. This is an unbridled, unbothered Handong, and the choreography that demands that plus the vocal range needed to deliver high notes we heard during her subunit performance of “Twinkle” back in March’s Crossroads concert, means she did wonderful on multiple levels. As I’ve said before, a confident Handong is only good for Dreamcatcher as a whole, so it’s nice to see the trend continue.

Sunmi — “pporappippam” MV. Source: 1theK
Siyeon as Fullmoon from anime/manga series “Fullmoon wo Sagashite”. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

I’ve always felt that Siyeon has been the one who perhaps is most emotionally attached to her music and her craft. From early interviews to her competition opportunities on both King of Masked Singer and V-1, to today, where she says it’s difficult for her to keep her emotions in check when concerts end, Siyeon has, to me, felt her music in her bones. So it seems only appropriate that she was inspired by the tragic fate but determined mindset of the character of Fullmoon/Mitsuki in anime/manga series “Fullmoon wo Sagashite” and to use that as a costume for her solo stage performance. For those unfamiliar, Mitsuki wants to debut as a singer, but a cancerous tumor and the knowledge from two supernatural spirits that she only has one year to live mean her dreams both have a time limit and are daunting to achieve, so with their help she assumes the stage name “Fullmoon” in order to do so. Pushing forward to achieve your dreams despite adversity seems right up Siyeon’s alley from what we know from how she explains getting into music, so this costume choice makes sense.

To me, this sort of makes the song Siyeon sings, Sunmi’s “pporappippam”, more of a performance piece to highlight her characterization of Fullmoon and the joy she feels when singing, although if you’re familiar with the series, the romantic dilemma Mitsuki faces is somewhat fitting to the lyrics from Sunmi’s song as well. Additionally, all the choreography from “pporappippam” is designed to show this off, and Siyeon did all of that and more, from the step up and lifts to the soft and catchy singing tone, to actually using the iconic angel wings from the series to enhance her performance. This was a great way to end the solo stages because it really felt not so much like Siyeon cosplaying as another character so much as embodying that character’s inspiring attitude and desire to achieve her singing goals. You could tell Siyeon truly enjoyed performing it.

Another group photo of Dreamcatcher’s costumes for solo stages. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

Everyone came together to end things up with a rendition of JiU-composed citypop B-side “Alldaylong” from “Summer Holiday”, and just like last year, the song was entertainingly juxtaposed by everyone having fun with their costumes, from Statue SuA and Catwoman Handong grooving and imitating each other to a stepladder serving for Fullmoon Siyeon to embody that angelic performance vibe to Dami and JiU taking turns singing with stuffed Remy between them. “Alldaylong” is just one of those relaxing songs that chills you out in Dreamcatcher’s discography, and after seven amazing solo stages, we probably needed a bit of a breather. It’s hard to tell if they’ll top themselves next year should they do another concert around Halloween, but considering this is Dreamcatcher, I don’t think I’m worried.

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Concert Part 4: Old Favorites And A Wholesome, High-Energy Ending

Dreamcatcher in Halloween Midnight Circus hoodies after their encore set. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

Songs Performed:

  • Sahara (XR)
  • Deja Vu
  • Red Sun
  • Black or White
  • PIRI
  • You And I
  • Chase Me
  • Tension
  • Airplane
  • New Days

After all the fun and excitement of solo stages, Dreamcatcher returned to the XR stage one last time to perform 2020’s “Sahara”, with a sort of US Old Western set of outfits that looked as comfy as it was stylish. Two non-XR title tracks (“Deja Vu” and “PIRI”) and two B-sides (“Red Sun” and Black or White”) followed, bracketed in parts by a couple of segments in which Dreamcatcher talked about and praised each other’s solo stages, and also did another new thing — a live giveaway to select the 14 winners of the signed hoodies for Package C and VVIP purchasers (resulting in some hilarity as some Dreamcatcher members practically slammed down the selection button in their excitement to give things away).

Dreamcatcher and Monster Band snap a group photo. Source: jim_seungho

After the giveaway, two of the most well known Dreamcatcher title tracks were performed in “You And I” and “Chase Me” to end the main setlist. While much of what was performed here has been heard live before, it was worth noting that the live band arrangements for many of these tracks felt tweaked or re-tuned in order to make them sound even better. We knew from last year’s Seven Spirits concert and from the most recent Crossroads concert that live bands with Dreamcatcher are an amazing combination that present a ton of options, but to me, even these songs that have been performed before felt fresh and new. Whether it was the presence of a couple of new band members, the result of a little adjustment, the sound system, or a combination of all three, every performed song felt like there was something new or interesting layered on top of the main melodies and live band music. It’s a testament to the longevity and depth of these songs that they can be modified slightly to give more of that energy that Dreamcatcher brings when dancing and singing them.

Dreamcatcher with Performance Director Hwang Sooyeon and their backup dancer crew. Source: hwang_sooyeon

We were then treated to one last behind-the-scenes video, showing the group’s progress to get show ready with all these performances with Dreamcatcher Company Performance Director Hwang Sooyeon and their normal backup dancer crew (though there were a couple new additions subbing in for others this time around). While we got something like this last time, this was the first time things were shown specifically with the run of the entire show, along with somewhat of a chronological order of them practicing and getting better at the routines. This kind of stuff is great, because it really highlights just how much work and long hours (even with Dreamcatcher’s efficient, shorter practice style) it takes to get these performances done well for fans. No show obviously goes on without a ton of work, but actually seeing it come together as opposed to just being told definitely hits different.

Gahyeon as Cinderella snapping a photo with the backup dancer crew and Hwang Sooyeon. Source: hwang_sooyeon

With the last video out of the way, we were treated to an encore set filled with high-energy songs, two of which have been heard before in “Tension” and “New Days” and one new entry — “Airplane”, from their latest album and well-suited to being in a set with bright and happy songs from their discography — the perfect send off to their fans and themselves for another well-done show. It’s worth noting that even to a greater degree than last time during the Crossroads concert, Dreamcatcher took the time to celebrate with their backup dancer crew and even pull them to the front of the stage to have their moments in the sun. Besides just simply being courteous and kind, it really highlighted the family nature of the relationship between Dreamcatcher and the many other people it takes to get them to where they’re at today. That they more actively took time to show their backup dancers and band and give them a chance to not be in the background is a testament to their kindness and closeness. In a volatile industry like K-Pop, it seems that such closeknit friendships aren’t always apparent in front of the camera like as shown by Dreamcatcher Company — another good sign that, until otherwise proven, everyone is treated very well there, including Dreamcatcher themselves.

Dreamcatcher with another photo in front of their XR stage. Source: hf_dreamcatcher

With a final bow from everyone after “New Days” and the usual emotional reaction from Siyeon, another Dreamcatcher concert was in the books. After seeing their September performance for the latest KCON:TACT taken from them due to circumstances beyond their control, it was great to see that Dreamcatcher was able to get back on track and get everything set for yet another successful concert. The numbers have yet to come back or be released, but I would say this should have them doing very well, especially given that people now know that individual solo stages with costumes will likely always be a thing if Dreamcatcher has a concert anywhere near Halloween. But besides that, this was yet another evolution in the live concert presentation from the group, and one that I hope they’ll continue to build on (preferably with the ability to tour and see actual fans).

I’ll be back next week with the usual recap of Dreamcatcher activity, but until then, I hope you enjoyed re-living the concert through this summary! If you did, don’t forget to clap, follow, signal boost, and sign up for if you want updates on when I post more about Dreamcatcher. See you next Sunday!

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

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

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