15 Years On, SHINee Are Still Performance Kings


Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

In honour of SHINee’s 15th anniversary, Let’s Talk K-Pop‘s Jenna Guillaume spotlights some of her favourite performances from one of the best groups in the world.

There’s no doubt SHINee is one of the best groups in the world. Debuting in May 2008, the boy group celebrated their 15th anniversary in the past week — a huge achievement in K-Pop or, well, any music industry. One of the reasons SHINee has had such staying power are their incredible live performances. Each member is amazing in their own right, and when they come together they create something even more special.

To celebrate 15 years of SHINee, I wanted to dive into some of their best live performances, with the help of some dedicated fans…

‘Replay’ on SBS Inkigayo

Take the title track from the EP. ‘Bite Me’ features bold lyrics like “just come kiss me and bite me … leave the mark on my neck that it’s yours”. (At the press conference for Dark Blood’s release day, the members teased the album was “dark”, “sexy”, and “mature” and… yeah, they weren’t kidding.)

Filmed on location in a castle in Poland, the music video for ‘Bite Me’ sees the members emerge from coffins like true vampire princes to deliver impactful, sultry choreography. There’s even some tango duets with female backup dancers; a somewhat bold move in the all-too-frequently gender segregated world of modern K-Pop.

It’s a fitting teaser for the rest of the EP, which is infused with breathy vocals and a deep sense of yearning. The album is an exploration of love, heartbreak, loneliness, sacrifice, and devotion. Intro track ‘Fate’ kicks things off with a long, powerful spoken section that builds to a catchy chorus, and speaks of a “love wrapped up in blood”. ‘Bite Me’ is next on the album, followed by ‘Sacrifice (Eat Me Up)’ which, as you can probably tell by the name, extends the vampire theme even further; exploring an all-consuming desire.

‘Amigo’ at SMTOWN Live in Tokyo

It’s always exciting when groups perform different versions of their songs live, and this “rock” version of ‘Amigo’ is one of the best examples of the new dimension it can add. Fully showcasing SHINee’s range, the performance is absolutely electrifying — and that’s even before the members start FLYING THROUGH THE AIR. Iconic.

‘Spoiler’ at SHINee World Concert III

The opening song for this concert tour sets the tone in the best and most impactful way, giving a taste of what’s to come and showing just how good SHINee can be.

“The performance starts with Jonghyun getting, quite literally, catapulted onto the stage, and the other four members following suit as their lines are introduced. The energy is so high, you can feel it radiating through your screen, all while pyrotechnics enhance your viewing experience dramatically,” says a Shawol who goes by Cheese Stick online. “It is a performance that makes you thirst for more.”

‘Dynamite’ at SHINee World Concert IV

‘Dynamite’ is the right name for this explosive performance (sorry, I had to). It’s intense, high-energy, fun and really, really hot. If you’re particularly sensitive to hip thrusts (it’s me, I am) then this choreo will leave you feeling quite fragile. And, oh yeah, there’s also the part where Minho RIPS OFF HIS SHIRT and performs the rest of the song half-naked?!

“This one gives you a great taste of everything,” says Eb, a Shawol in Sydney. “Jjong’s legendary vocals, Onew’s honey vocals, Key serving cunt, Taem with the best hair of his life and then there’s Minho and his abs. Top 5 best ab reveals.”

Sherlock’ at SHINee World Concert IV

SHINee has done a number of incredible ‘Sherlock’ performances, but this one is peak perfection, from the fun visuals (and fireworks) to the powerhouse live vocals and, most of all, the impressive choreo executed beautifully.

“The run/leap choreography is how you should start your day every morning,” says Eb. “Also, the source of the iconic ‘SHINee’s back’ gives me goosebumps every time.”

‘Excuse Me Miss’ at SHINee World Concert IV

Okay, okay, okay, another one from this concert but what can I say — the guys were particularly on fire during this tour. This performance is just dreamy and fun and — okay, yes, again, pretty damn hot. Key is completely mesmerising taking centre stage, but it’s Jonghyun and Taemin’s dance duet that’s absolutely scream-inducing. Melbourne-based fan Diem told me that when she was introduced to this performance, she watched it every morning for a month straight. “What I love most about this performance is the intensity between Jonghyun and Taemin’s eye contact… sexier than the body waves, bum wriggles, and Minho’s hip thrust combined.”

(Note: the bum wriggles and hip thrusts are pretty great, too, though.)

‘Ring Ding Dong’ at SHINee World Concert V

‘Ring Ding Dong’ is an addictive song — the kind that burrows into your head and takes up residence for at least 5-7 business days. Seeing it performed live takes it to a whole other level — forget your head, it sinks into your heart and gets your blood pumping in time with the beat. This particular performance of the song is SHINee at their confident make-it-look-easy-when-it’s-really-not best. Minho’s platinum hair also means a lot to me, personally.

‘Don’t Call Me’ on Studio Choom

While Studio Choom doesn’t have a live audience for the performers to play to and feed off, their videos allow viewers to focus on and fully absorb the choreography and dance performance of guests, offering a different experience that can enhance your appreciation of both the songs and the artists. This is never more true than with SHINee’s ‘Don’t Call Me’ performance — it displays the members’ impeccable dance skills and irresistible charisma to perfection.

‘Kind’ on IU’s Palette

If ‘Don’t Call Me’ on Studio Choom allowed SHINee’s dance skills to shine, then their turn on IU’s Palette does the same for their vocals. This stripped-down performance of ‘Kind’ sees the members sit in a row on stools and simply sing — although really, there’s nothing “simple” about it. The performance is both moving and memorable, showcasing the unique vocal talents of each member (with a particular shout-out to Onew’s high notes).

P.S. This is obviously by no means an exhaustive list, so sorry if your fave is missing (honestly, there are enough iconic moments to fill a book!). Feel free to @ me to discuss the many other iconic performances of SHINee!

 This article first appeared in Let’s Talk K-Pop, Junkee’s Substack for K-Pop news, reviews, and general enthusiastic fangirling. To get weekly newsletters straight to your inbox, head over to Substack and subscribe.

Main Image Credit: SHINee, SM Entertainment