April 8th, 2012 was the official debut of the worldwide famous K-pop group EXO. That means today marks their eighth anniversary since debut! EXO has come a long way since the very beginning of their career, fighting against prejudice and the thoughts that SMTOWN didn’t need another boy group at the time. Within a couple of years, however, they had proven everyone wrong when they established themselves as one of the most important groups of the K-pop movement.
While EXO has always excelled at amazing concepts, starting things off from pre-debut days with an intricate, detailed, and planned far in advance concept of being from EXO Planet, it seems one of their all-time greatest strengths comes in the form of breathtaking live performances and stages. From the lights and settings to their great costumes, from the ability to deliver those powerhouse vocals to pulling off some of the hardest choreography in K-pop (all while making it look deceptively simple), EXO never seems to fail when it comes to their live stages.
In no particular order, check out a few of our favorite live stages from EXO below!
1) “Lightsaber” Live At Tokyo Dome
Let’s be honest for a second. The EXO’rDIUM is one of the greatest concerts in K-pop history. Not only was the set list perfection, SMTOWN spent major money to build an incredible, never-before-seen stage that left fans in awe. We’re talking giant rainstorms falling from the ceiling, aerial dancers, moving stages, and— of course— lightsabers. This stage gives a bit of a preview of all of those things rolled into one at this concert at the Tokyo Dome. The combination of water mixed with the lightsabers and lasers is truly stunning.
2) “Artificial Love” Medley
More rain falls in this stage. However, it falls slowly and softly— a fitting backdrop for the pure sensuality of this 14 minutes stage. The exaggerated, slow dance movements, the smooth vocals, the canes as props, the sexy gazes, and those hip rolls make this stage unforgettable. Plus, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention black-haired Lay. Welcome to EXO-L heaven, everyone!
3) EXO’rDIUM Finale Medley
To finish off one of their concerts, the group did a high-energy stage that went seamlessly from one song to the next. Allowing them to run all over the stage, interact with both each other and fans, and be playful and carefree as the show was drawing to a close, this is definitely a favorite stage of fans. Plus, Chanyeol is sitting there casually playing the guitar. What more could you want?
4) “El Dorado” Live At Tokyo Dome
This. Stage. Is. Perfect. Truly, there are no words needed. Just sit back and enjoy the show as you listen to Baekhyun effortlessly hit those high notes. Wow! We’ve marked the exact moment below, so just click play.
5) 2016 MAMA Performance
Oh 2016, we remember you with such fondness as you were still full of OT9 feels. EXO did an amazing stage performance of “Transformer” and “Monster,” mixing it up with cool dance breaks and remixes. Not only were they amazing onstage together, Kai and Sehun also rocked a dance collaboration. Plus, they looked sexy, fierce, and breathtakingly gorgeous with absolutely perfect outfits, hair, and makeup. Thank you, stylists for giving us the perfect cherry on top when it came to this performance.
6) “One and Only” Water Dance
When SMTOWN built EXO that giant water stage, they intended on getting their money’s worth out of it… and thank goodness they did. Not only is the track “One and Only” incredibly beautiful in and of itself, the song closes out with Kai, Sehun, and Lay all dressed in white shirts and dancing in the rain. Dripping wet, they dance with such poise and grace as the finale comes blowing in with huge puffs of smoke that make for one of the most beautiful stages ever. This is what I live for, fellow fans.
7) “The New Age of EXO”
EXO’s performances at MAMA are always incredible, but this was the start of MAMA giving them the spotlight at the time with long, fancy stages, and the chance to even brag about their comeback. Entitled “The New Age of EXO,” the stage was a promise to fans that better things were to come as they began a new chapter in their careers after a change with members. This was also the moment where Kai grabbed the attention of the K-pop community and earned their respect as a dance with his now-famous solo stage “Deep Breath.”
8) “Baby Don’t Cry” Live in Seoul
I know what you’re thinking. “Another water stage?” This particular stage, however, was the first water stage to capture the hearts of fans. EXO performed this version of “Baby Don’t Cry” during their Exo’luxion tour. It’s not just the water that gives it a unique appeal, however. It starts with the gorgeous vocals of the group as they sing one of their most beloved ballads ever. Chanyeol comes up amidst a lighting change to deliver his rap before aerial dancers grace the stage, hanging from huge streams of cloth and showing off their poised moves. Only then, do the EXO dancers take their place as the stage drops to reveal big pools of water. Dancing on a slippery stage is hard, but dancing in standing water? Well, that takes some serious skills when making it looks effortless and easy.
9) Pyeongchang 2018 Closing Ceremony
EXO became the first K-pop group to ever be invited to perform at the Olympics when they closed out the ceremony as the big act for the finale. Starting off with a beautiful solo stage by Kai, who blended modern dance with a traditional sound and vibe, the group soon came out in ATVs and dominated the stage as the world’s eyes were upon them. As a group that was first deemed a failure when they debuted, imagine the joy and pride they must have felt to have been the group invited to represent Korea in front of the entire globe. They performed “Growl” as requested by the Olympics since the mascot was the white tiger of Korea, before going into their newest hit “Power,” a song that was played throughout all the stadiums and venues during the Winter Games.
10) 2017 MAMA In Hong Kong
To top off the list, we’ve included EXO’s amazing stage at the 2017 MAMA in Hong Kong. So long that it’s split into two videos, the group had all eyes on them as they started off with their sexy, seductive hit “The Eve.” They then performed other songs, such as “Ko Ko Bop,” before closing it out with one of their remixes of “Power.” More special segments were scattered throughout, including a devastatingly beautiful dance solo from Kai. In other words, it was everything I love about EXO right in one stage. After watching it, you won’t wonder why EXO is known for delivering such amazing live stages and performances.
BONUS: “Obsession” Stage by X-EXO On “EXO THE STAGE”
Well, well, well. As it turns out, we haven’t been stanning EXO all these years, but we’ve actually been stanning X-EXO or the fake EXO. However, these clones are the ultimate bad boys, and we’re here for it! For their comeback with “Obsession,” EXO performed as both EXO and X-EXO, pulling off two concepts with ease. While I dearly EXO, I must admit some severe partiality for the bad guys X-EXO and their heavy makeup and rockstar attitude. Check out one of their amazing performances below!
Looking at the photo below, it’s not hard to see why EXO is famous for their live performances! Which one of the performances on this list did you enjoy the most? What other EXO stages would you add to the list? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting to us @whatthekpop1!
lee1086 is the co-founder and director of What The Kpop. When not writing or editing articles, she is watching K-pop music videos or K-dramas. She is a huge fan of Super Junior, as well as EXO and SHINee! She also loves G-Dragon, Red Velvet, Monsta X, and more. When not obsessing over the flawlessness of Donghae or trying to decide if her SHINee bias is Taemin or Key, she is playing the piano, loving on her dog, watching every fancam of Kai ever known to man (did her bias show too much in this article?), and hanging out with her family and friends.
Featured Image: SMTOWN