The beautiful and historic Fox Theatre was the place to be this past Saturday, as the global K-pop girl group sensation ITZY came to Atlanta on their first world tour titled “CHECKMATE.” The sold-out show was a jam-packed two-and-a-half-hour event filled with joy, fan chants, community and most importantly, incredible performances. The five members of the group performed 20 songs and prepared five encore performances with energy and inspiring levels of stamina.
Though it was a seated event, long lines zig-zagged around the venue as fans anxiously waited to see their beloved idols. Unfortunately, it did rain during the wait, but that did not damper the excitement or friendliness, as many fans would share umbrellas and laugh at the situation.
After all, this would be ITZY’s first time in the United States since their 2019 showcase tour when they had just debuted. It was also the group’s first time in Atlanta, and fans, also called MIDZY, wanted to have a memorable and welcoming first concert with the girls.
Once inside as the concert started, it did not take too long for ITZY members to captivate the audience. As the barrier between the group and the crowd lifted, it revealed a chess game set design and the girls adorned in dazzling gem-encrusted white outfits meant to match their royalty concept. This concept was further pushed with the leader, Yeji, pushing over a human-sized chess piece, signifying the start of the show as she had just achieved the position of checkmate, thus ending the game.
The show began with some beloved B-side tracks that fans highly anticipated hearing live such as “Sorry Not Sorry” and “SHOOT!” ITZY’s live locals were unparalleled and it was incredible to hear them sound nearly identical to their recordings, especially since they were also dancing at the same time. After a few group songs, the night moved onto solo stages, which entailed each member covering a song of their choice. Ryujin was the first member to take on the stage alone, and she covered Doja Cat’s track,
“Boss Bitch,” with some lyrical changes to make the song more personal to her. Dressed up in a large faux fur coat, Ryujin exuded boss energy as she captured the attention of everyone in the audience with her excellent rapping and dancing.
The other members came back to talk to the crowd and take a short breather before moving on to the next stage. The girls looked like they were barely breaking a sweat, and only had a few “talk” times, showing that they have incredible stamina to be able to perform with so few breaks. They then performed some fan favorites like “ICY” and “#Twenty” which brought a refreshing sunny vibe to the rainy autumn day. Yuna and Lia were up next for solo performances and they stunned the audience with their covers of Conan Gray’s “Maniac” and Taylor Swift’s “Red.”
Yuna emerged riding a bicycle while singing, before abruptly kicking it over to match the frustration of Gray’s lyrics. With somewhat angry lyrics about being hurt by a former lover accompanied by a joyful beat, Yuna perfectly captured the energy of the song. She would switch from a Cheshire-like smile to an angry expression to her genuine grin all in a matter of seconds.
Lia was up next for her solo performance and she slowed things down with a beautiful rendition that would make a loyal Swiftie proud. At first, she stood still in the center of the stage, with a single spotlight lighting up the venue. As the song progressed, she moved across the stage as blue and red strobe lights switched on and off depending on the lyrics. MIDZYs raised their arms and light rings to sway along with her melodic voice.
The quintet came back out for the third set of the night with outfit changes to perform “WANNABE.” They were dressed brightly and colorfully to match the concept of the next set of songs which included their self-love debut song, “DALLA DALLA” and their recent song “SNEAKERS.” Both songs are very bouncy, fun and unapologetically ITZY.
The final two solo performances were right after, starting with Chaeryeong’s take on Ariana Grande’s “bloodline.” It was a powerful and energetic performance that showcased every aspect of her talent and solidified her position as one of the best dancers in fourth-generation K-pop. This solo highlighted the confident Chaeryeong that MIDZYs love to see.
The final solo belong to the group leader Yeji. She wowed the crowd with Dua Lipa’s “Hotter Than Hell.” While she did not perform a lot of choreography like many were expecting, she captured the attention of the thousands in the venue with her charisma. She roamed around the stage and interacted with fans, all while belting out impressive high notes with ease.
The show ended with some of their most popular songs like “Not Shy” and “LOCO,” and the group was definitely not shy as they wowed the crowd with their performance, especially with their iconic dance breaks.
It seemed like every MIDZY was on their feet and singing along, causing the whole venue to shake and fill with joyful melody. Following these songs were the encore performances, which were very cute and allowed the group to show their appreciation for their fans through their lyrics and fan interactions.
“CHECKMATE” was an unforgettable show and it was a joy to see these talented girls doing what they enjoy and gaining so much success and love globally. ITZY is special and they have only just gotten started. If this first tour is any indication of what they are capable of, it is clear that there is a bright future ahead for the group.