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Inside Beat

If you love K-pop, you have to see TWICE at least once

TWICE’s world tour made it to New Jersey — here are our thoughts. – Photo by @JYPETWICE / Twitter

Superstar girl group TWICE has been an unstoppable force for the past two years. From selling out stadiums to breaking its own records for physical album sales, its international expansion has rewarded them with plenty of success. Most recently, on July 6, TWICE performed at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, becoming the first girl group ever to sell out the stadium.

I was fortunate enough to be one of the more than 50,000 ONCEs to attend this event, sitting high up in the nosebleeds. The day was unusually hot, as TWICE members commented multiple times throughout the concert, but that didn't do much to deter the enthusiasm of ONCEs. Thousands of fans were waiting in the brutal heat for merchandise, soundcheck and access to general admission.

Both on the way to the concert and at the venue, ONCEs were giving out freebies like photocards, bracelets and any small trinkets to take home as souvenirs. There were also several boxes with pastel-colored banners adorned with encouraging messages, a common occurrence at K-pop concerts. People were dressed to the nines in modern Y2K, Barbiecore, and various other fashion trends as people snapped pictures and took their seats.

After a slight delay in the starting time due to surrounding traffic, TWICE took to the stage and began its extensive setlist. The stage glowed red as the members started with an explosive dance break before segwaying into the English version of its most recent title track, "SET ME FREE." Without missing a beat, the group transitioned into "I CAN'T STOP ME," the title track off of its second studio album, "Eyes Wide Open."

TWICE took a break to introduce themselves to the audience and engage in more casual conversation with fans. Each member's introduction was punctuated with screams and cheers as the girl group wondered in amazement at the arena's size and inquired if ONCEs were OK due to the heat.

The music started up once more with the song "GO HARD," which the members explained is better when the stage is in the dark. This was followed by "MORE & MORE," which employed the use of creative setpieces, "MOONLIGHT SUNRISE," an all-English release and "Brave," a b-side off of the mini-album "BETWEEN 1&2."

After another break to chat with Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Jihyo and Chaeyoung, the arena's energy reached one of its highest levels during the short member solo stages. Dahyun first blessed the stage in an ethereal white gown and played a piano cover of "Try" by Colbie Caillat. Tzuyu danced to a cover of "Done for Me" by Charlie Puth, and Sana to a cover of "New Rules" by Dua Lipa.

Momo and Mina's solos had gone viral on Twitter several times, only heightening my excitement. Momo was up first, covering "Move" by Beyoncé. When she took the stage in all her swagger and confidence, I felt the screams of an entire stadium of ONCEs reverberate in my chest.

When she shed her jersey to reveal a sparkly denim set, only then to start dancing on a pole, the crowd's energy exploded. Mina followed with a cover of "7 rings" by Ariana Grande.

The second act of the show was ushered in by the use of a live band, launching into more gritty versions of the group's three popular songs, "Feel Special," "CRY FOR ME" and "FANCY." Fireworks punctuated the end of "Feel Special," blanketing the entire arena in a golden haze. Jihyo displayed her vocal prowess by singing the bridge of "Feel Special" acapella.

The rock version of "FANCY" was something I didn't expect but absolutely needed. TWICE has been reinventing its image since its debut, and using a live band to bring its beloved songs to a new audience was a great move.

After "The Feels," Sana, Momo, Mina, Dahyun and Tzuyu took to the stage to chat with ONCEs as the rest of the members prepared for their solo stages. Jihyo performed "Nightmare," a dark power ballad off of her upcoming solo album "Killin' Me Good," set to release this August. Jeongyeon took to the stage in a neon green jacket and performed "Juice" by Lizzo, and finally, Nayeon performed the song "POP!" off of her album "IM NAYEON."

The third act opened with "Queen of Hearts," another b-side from "BETWEEN 1&2" before shifting to what I believe was the best part of the concert: a more than 10-minute medley of TWICE's most popular title tracks.

The ease at which the members performed these songs made this much more enjoyable, especially as the camera panned to various members to do their rendition of the viral "shy shy shy" line from "CHEER UP." Act three ended with a nearly 1-minute-long stream of fireworks, bringing smiles to everyone around me.

Act four was short, with only two songs: "When We Were Kids" and "CRAZY STUPID LOVE." While "When We Were Kids" is far from my favorite TWICE song, the members singing more heartfelt ballads always brings me joy. The aforementioned pastel-colored banners also went up during this time with the message "ONCEs love for TWICE will last forever."

It was during the final break that TWICE revealed a few spoilers for upcoming comebacks and releases. Mina, Sana and Momo are set to debut in a new subunit, "MiSaMo," in a few days, and as Nayeon playfully revealed some of the choreography, the three members got into formation and to do the same.

TWICE is famous for its encore, employing the use of a spinning wheel to decide the three encore songs. The first song to be performed was "Scandal," followed by "Like Ooh-Aah," to the stadium's delight. Finally, the b-side "FIREWORK" was performed (but not before "Scandal" was spun two more times), and with that, the members took a picture and said their goodbyes. Here, during the encore, TWICE donned casual wear and appeared to provide more fan interaction than in the previous acts.

TWICE's performing skills are where its members shine the brightest. TWICE's ability to connect with the audience and adapt to any environment is what has allowed the group to persevere and flourish.

My review frankly doesn't capture how happy ONCEs were to see their favorite girl group sing on one of the world's biggest stages. TWICE takes every compliment, critique and adoring praise in its steed, working to grow and constantly promising to do better things for ONCEs. TWICE is truly one in a million, and if you ever have the chance to see the group live, you absolutely should.

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