The post Look at Them Now: P1Harmony Share Tour Highlights and Talk Future Concept Plans appeared first on Consequence.
Two-thirds of the way through the P1Harmony show in Nashville on Sunday, February 12th, the sound suddenly cuts out in the middle of “Nemonade,” an upbeat, highly choreographed track. The members of the K-pop group — Theo, Jiung, Intak, Soul, and Jongseob — take only the briefest of glances at their leader, Keeho. Blink and you might have missed it. Then, without missing a beat, they all keep going, finishing out the song a cappella.
P1Harmony debuted in the fall of 2020 out of FNC Entertainment. Their current tour, the “P1oneer Live Tour,” is their second trek in the US, where the mood — and full-to-the-rafters crowd — at the Grand Ole Opry made it clear how quickly their global reputation is growing. While Nashville is far from a country music monolith these days, the venue of choice, decorated with photos of Hank Williams, Minnie Pearl, and Dolly Parton, put the act square at the center of one of the most historic institutions in the city. The band, though, arrived ready to embrace it.
Ahead of the show, the six members sit down with Consequence backstage at the storied venue. Keeho pulls out his phone to show off the slick black cowboy boots he’d purchased downtown earlier that day. Soul taps him on the shoulder with an urgent message — Keeho, born in Canada, translates throughout most of the interview. “Soul wants me to tell you that McDonalds is really good here,” he relays. Behind him, Soul nods, wide-eyed and absolutely serious. “The french fries especially.”
Flash-forward to the end of the set when the members appear for an encore in custom denim jackets embroidered with their names, an outline of the iconic venue, and the tour title. Jiung emphasizes at multiple points during closing comments that Nashville had become his favorite city over the course of the weekend, accepting a cowboy hat from the crowd. “I want to buy a house here!” he says, promising that the group will be back.
“We’re constantly thinking, ‘How can we be better than the last tour?’” Keeho explains. “We wanted to give people a reason to come see us again.” The middle portion of the set features an opportunity for the group to split up into solo stages and sub units, in which Theo covers Dean’s “21,” Intak and Jongseob trade bars during a rap stage, Soul shows off his vocals in a cover of Jung Joon-Il’s “Hug Me,” and Jiung shimmies across the stage in a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Love Never Felt So Good,” flanked later by Soul and Keeho.
Keeho reveals that the setlist decisions and much of the stage direction are courtesy of Theo, who enjoys being part of the creative decision-making process. Beyond Keeho’s role as leader, many of the other positions within the group are flexible, but Intak often steps in when it comes to choreography and dance details. Soul, meanwhile, gets the chance to show off his b-boy skills throughout the show.
The members explain that they enjoy learning from each other, even when it comes to sharing what’s at the top of their very different individual playlist at the moment. Keeho, who lands vocal runs seemingly effortlessly onstage, unsurprisingly loves SZA; Jongseob, meanwhile, has been spending time lately with Led Zeppelin and Earth, Wind & Fire. Jiung shouts out the new Lil Yachty record.
For P1Harmony, the fans, known as P1ece, are an essential piece of the puzzle. While acknowledging that every night on tour is special, there are a few memories that jump out in particular — Theo recalls two fans at the show in Reading, Pennsylvania who knew all the choreography for “Breakthrough.” Later, as with the Nashville show, the members spent one song in Reading weaving through the audience. They fall into laughter recalling a fan who was so shocked to see Theo behind her that her reaction was to “cuss him out,” as Keeho puts it.
The idea of a full crowd at a venue like the Grand Ole Opry for a K-pop show (on Super Bowl Sunday, no less) might have seemed almost impossible a few years ago. But the rapturous, fully engaged audience for P1Harmony speaks to their growth as an act as much as it speaks to the state of K-pop reaching the global mainstream. This show is loud, and big, and unapologetically P1Harmony — and to that point, Keeho gets ahead of one question, sharing that people often ask what makes their group special in an industry with so many groups to explore. “I always say that if you know you know,” is his answer.
After what they dub the “special live version” of “Nemonade,” the act takes a moment to catch their breath. “I thought there was something wrong with my in-ears; I almost collapsed,” Keeho tells the crowd. The members agree that there was one major highlight of the small technical difficulty: They showed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they were absolutely singing live. “We proved it!” Jiung yells out triumphantly. A moment later, they choose to take “Nemonade” from the top and finish out the song in full with even more energy.
Bright, engaging, and charismatic onstage, the members of P1Harmony are friendly, relaxed, and familiar with one another behind the scenes. Towards the end of the interview, the conversation diverts into the subject of television and competitive game shows — Keeho, who didn’t have cable growing up, is positive he could school the rest of his bandmates on The Price Is Right, despite the fact that prices have changed since he watched the show every Saturday as a child. “The economy!” he exclaims, tossing his hands up. Jiung, meanwhile, is positive that if he were to head out into the wilderness without any tools, he could outlast the rest of his team.
“We’re starting 2023 on such a high note, and such a positive note, that I really want our fans to look forward to the rest of the year,” Keeho shares. “We have so much prepared and so much planned, and hopefully this tour will manifest to even greater things in the future, especially this year.”
When asked what is still on their bucket list when it comes to future eras, the members reveal that they want to try a cowboy concept. We’d like to see it — Keeho has his boots already, after all.