Stray Kids Marks End of Maniac Era

Words + Photos by Emma Vurdien

April 5, 2023

8 countries, 20 stops - Stray Kids' 42 show tour concluded with 2 sold out stadium shows in Los Angeles (BMO Stadium). Years prior to this tour, in 2019 and 2020, the group embarked on their first global tour, named District 9: Unlock, which encompassed 24 performances across Asia, the United States, and Europe. Regrettably, the majority of these shows had to be either canceled or rescheduled due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to return to tour and to see their fans called 'Stay' was both major and hugely important for the members.

The moment of awe arrived towards the conclusion of Stray Kids' epic three-hour encore concert on a Sunday night, marking the triumphant finale of their Maniac world tour that commenced in Seoul last April. In a touching surprise, dedicated fans had prepared a heartfelt homemade video, projecting their deepest sentiments towards the boys across the expansive outdoor screens of the venue.

In the video, a fan had spoken those words with a tender sincerity: "The more that something means to you, the less words you have to describe it." This sentiment profoundly resonated with Han and shed light on his personal experiences that he often mentions in his songwriting. These unnamed emotions gradually take root within us, forming deep, invisible connections through subtle actions.

It's in the way Stray Kids set aside their microphones to bellow "we love you!" at the top of their lungs, only to receive that love back tenfold from their devoted fans. It's in the simple act of signing "thank you" to the on-site sign language interpreters, and it permeates through the countless fan-made bracelets, photocards, and banners exchanged amongst the crowd before the show begins. These gestures speak volumes, serving as unspoken expressions of the profound significance that Stray Kids holds for their fans and the genuine bond that exists between them.

Stray Kids frequently allude to the secure sanctuary they've forged alongside their fans, affectionately calling it their "haven." Within this haven, everyone is encouraged to embrace their true selves without reservation. Their music serves as a joyful tribute to these individualities.

“Thank you for loving us, thank you for supporting us, and thank you for being Stay.” - Han

“I don’t want this night to end." - Bangchan

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