Turning into Super Men
Breaking all sterotypes of a typical boy band, Super Junior are now men who never say die. By Raine Koh.
The lights went out and the entire Putra Indoor stadium was illuminated by a sea of sapphire blue light sticks. Super Junior was in Malaysia! It doesn’t matter that only ten of them could make it – at that moment, Super Junior was going to give their all. Kibum has stopped being involved in album promotions since 2009, Kang-in was on hiatus from all Super Junior activities after his drunk driving and assault incidents while Hankyung is in talks with his lawyers to leave the group and SM Entertainment. With flawless choreography, superb vocals and bright smiles, the “Super Show” must go on.
From a casual observer’s point of view, Super Junior operates less like a boy band and more like a self-sufficient talent agency. Firstly we have the deejays and variety show regulars (Leeteuk, Kang-in, Eunhyuk and Shindong), then we have the actors (Kim Kibum, Siwon and Heechul), the dancers (Donghae and Hankyung) and finally, the singers (Kyuhyun, Ryeowook, Yesung and Sungmin). But honestly, all the members are able to crossover in other areas as well. That is probably the charms of Super Junior – you can’t put them in a box. While other boy bands were more concerned with looking cool, Super Junior was already sacrificing their image doing wacky experiments in their own variety show, Explorers Of the Human Body in 2007.
Debuting in the Korean pop scene in 2005 with originally 12 members under SM Entertainment, the public was shocked at the sheer number of Super Junior members. Intended to be a project group, Super Junior members were never supposed to be permanent, with older members “graduating” and new members added each year. However, Super Junior, the called Super Junior 05, was gaining in popularity and many fans expressed their disapproval over changing members. When 2006 came along, Super Junior 05 became Super Junior with one additional member, Kyuhyun. Thus the 13 were complete. The group then went on to win the title of “Best New Group of 2006” in South Korea’s top music ceremonies.
“Other people won’t understand but when only 10 or 11 of us are on stage, we feel the difference. We would think how much cooler and better the performance would be if 13 of us were on stage,” remarked Donghae, during MBC Come To Play, a Korean variety show.
Trials and Tribulations
Although having 13 members does have its perks, it also comes with its fair share of troubles.
Heechul was involved in a car accident in 2006 where he fractured his femur and required metal rods to be inserted in his leg. In 2007, four members (Kyuhyun, Leeteuk, Eunhyuk and Shindong) were involved in a car accident. Kyuhyun and Leeteuk had major injuries, with Kyuhyun suffering from a fractured hip and broken ribs, slipping in and out of consciousness for the first few days.
When Kyuhyun finally was able to comeback with the others on stage, leader Leeteuk remarked during the video, Making of “Don’t Don”, “we are very grateful that he is back. We hope that now on, no matter what, we can go through it together.” Thankfully, everyone has now recovered, even though Heechul’s leg still gives him problems at times, which is why he does not participate fully in Super Junior’s dance performances.
One cannot mention Super Junior without mentioning their fanclub, E.L.F, which stand for everlasting friends. With pearl sapphire blue as the group’s official colour, E.L.F is one of the biggest fanclubs in Korea. They became infamous in 2008, when thousands of them sat in front of the SM building in a silent protest. The reason for the protest was because SM Entertainment had intended to add more members to Super Junior. In the end, the new members (Henry Lau and Zhou Mi) were not added to Super Junior, however they became part of the Mandarin sub-group, Super Junior-M.
Sorry, Sorry for Making You Scream
After more than a year of sub-group activities, Super Junior finally returned as a full unit in March 2009. The title song of their third album, “Sorry, Sorry”, with its catchy chorus and signature dance moves became a hit in Korean and abroad. Super Junior has returned as sophisticated men and the result was 250,000 copies sold, making it the bestselling album of 2009.
The boy band is now recording their fourth album. This writer was watching an old interview filmed in 2008 (Arirang Showbiz Extra). Leader Leeteuk remarked back then, “I wish Super Junior could stay together forever. Although it’s just my selfish derire, I hope all the members feel the same.” especially with Hankyung’s departure from the gourp becoming a reality, but we know the remaining members will overcome these difficulties. As member Eunhyuk stated on his web blog in Febuary 2010, “I’m sorry, but we (Super Junior) will never die.”
(Below is the writer’s fan account of SS2 in Malaysia.)
I have a confession to make. This is the third “Super Show 2” I’ve attended, the first two
being in Seoul last year. This time, I had the privilege of attendning the press conference which took place
a few hours before the actual show.
Super Junior arrivedd at the scene. Decked in their concert outfits, they greeted the press warmly. Despite bearing polite smiles, the members looked clearly fatigued from their packed schedule: They had rehearsed till late last night while member Siwon had just arrived in Malaysia a few hours ago due to his drama filming (Siwon is the lead in a new Korean drama series, Oh! My Lady).
At the press conference, the host asked a few questions which were answered by the group’s leader Leeteuk. He said, “Fans can expect a party-like atmosphere from the concert and Super Junior will even dress up as girls! Please enjoy the show as it is going to be lots of fun.” This is the third time the group is in Malaysia, but the first time they are holding a full-scale concert. Leeteuk adds, “We now have the opportunity to be close tothe fans. This is the first time, of all our visits to Malaysia, where we can really connect with our fans.”
About four hours later, we saw Super Junior again. This time, whatever tiredness they displayed during the press conference had vanished. With the opening song, “A Man In Love”, the whole stadium lit up with sapphire blue light sticks and loud cheers from the fans. What I liked about Super Junior concert is that they are always highly interactive. No matter how big the stadium is or where you are seated, one member is always in front of you, covering that area.
This is definitely one of the benefits of having so many members in a boyband. One of Super Junior’s highlights is that they are very entertaining and never afraid to make a fool of themselves. Be it dressing up as a baby, random animals or as girls, they always go all out and put themselves on the line in their performances.
The concert breakdown can be grouped into – Opening and closing acts, solo performances, sub-group performances, dance acts and comedic skits. Performing hits from their three albums and sub-group activities, each song packed a punch both visually and vocally. Even the video interludes shown are impressive in their delivery.
One of my favourite performance was during “Don’t Don” where they showcased a fight scene on stage. The members did look the happiest when five of them cross dressed as girl group f(x) and sang “Chu”. The crowd’s favourites were Super Junior-M’s hot track “Super Girl” and the undefeated “Sorry, Sorry”. Most of the guy fans in the audience (yes, there was quite a number in the stadium) were extremely excited when the introduction for the latter started to play.
Having reportedly spent RM$6 million (SGD$2.5 million), I have to give the concert organisers props because the sound, stage and lighting quality were exactly the same as the “Super Show 2” I caught in Seoul. However, it is a pity that there were only 10 members on stage. I felt the difference especially since I saw the 12 of them perform previously and the fact that Hankyung will never perform with them again brings a tear to my eye.
The concert ended with a closing speech by Leeteuk, which was translated into English by Siwon. Throughout the three hours of non-stop dancing, singing and performing, the members never fail to entertain. We find out later via his web blog that Leeteuk was very sick during the concert. But fans watching him that day would never have guessed from his energy level and never-failing smile – that is the prefessionalism of Super Junior. They are normal guys with a super attitude.
As Singaporean fans wait anxiously for them to one day come to our sunny island, let’s anticipate the fourth album of these super dudes!
Source: Teens Magazine Singapore, May 2010 issue
Scans & Shared by smileloveee @ SJ-World.net
Tags: Super Junior