by Ian Storck
After several postponements and rescheduling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kpop group MONSTA X finally brings their No Limit Tour to America, and it’s well worth the wait.
It’s a beautiful night in downtown Chicago and the sidewalks of the theater district are packed with the long and winding line of attendees eagerly waiting to get into The Chicago Theatre. Inside, the Monbebes (the MONSTA X fandom) ready their lightsticks and begin their cheering early as the large video screens show hype videos for the upcoming show. As the lights finally go down, with the final intro video playing, the cheering of the packed theater rises until the video wall splits open and the current five members of MONSTA X take the stage, opening the show with “Gambler,” fan-favorite “Dramarama” and one of their latest comebacks “Rush Hour.” (The sixth member, Shownu, is currently serving his mandatory military service in South Korea)
After a quick introduction, the group dives back into their extensive discography, bouncing between genres, from their pop ballad “One Day” to their upbeat dance tracks “Burning Up” and “Play It Cool.” They round out the first half of their show with “You Problem,” a catchy and fun track from their second English-language album, The Dreaming. Another video plays, showing interview footage of the members discussing their tour, fans, and the feelings after the pandemic. The demeanor in the video is almost melancholy, reflecting upon the past two years and inability to perform, but it’s clear that they’re excited to finally be back in front of the fans.
After a costume change, the group returns to the stage to slow things down, taking a seat on illuminated risers and performing “Find You” and “AND,” two of their popular ballads. Admittedly I prefer the upbeat dance tracks and heavy raps, however this gives the members a chance to really show off their vocal abilities without much distraction. The show up to this point has felt incredibly brisk, and I’ve barely noticed just how much time has passed. The next segment of the show introduced are the individual stages, where each member performs their solo tracks. Hyungwon showcases his dancing through “Wildfire,” I.M. hypes the crowd with his emotionally-laden rap tracks, Minhyuk brings the energy and laughs with “ONGSHIMI,” Kihyun’s vocals soar in “Rain,” and Joohoney gives intense performances of “Smoky” and “Voices.”
It’s been well over an hour and the energy has never wavered a bit, from either MONSTA X, or the fans. Back together, the group performs “Mercy,” “Love Killa,” and their latest comeback “Love.” They take the time for the members who wrote the songs to explain their inspirations, and it’s a nice insight into what they want to convey when writing their tracks. As they announce that they’re onto the last few songs, the crowd cheers for more. It’s been so long of a wait for this show, and they want to savor the experience. Instead of winding down with slower songs, the group ramps everything up to the maximum. It’s appalling how much energy they have as they dive into some of their wildest, EDM-inspired tracks including “BEASTMODE” and “ZONE.”
Returning for an encore after a short break, they offer one more heavy hitter of a track with “Stand Together,” before giving their final speeches to the crowd and performing “LOVE U” as their final song. What made this show stand out to me is how fun and natural the members acted on stage. They seemed very happy to be back to playing live shows, and took every chance they could to interact with the crowd and have fun between songs. This is a can’t miss tour for kpop fans, especially after being apart for so long.
Follow MONSTA X on social media and check out the remaining tour dates below: