Red Velvet get their much overdue flowers at Wembley Arena

A triumphant UK return for a girl group with a remarkable legacy.

A summer tour feels so right for Red Velvet. Long hailed the Summer Queens of K-pop, they arrive at OVO Arena Wembley following an appearance at Spain’s Primavera Sound in Barcelona. It’s their first performance here since a stop at MIK festival last summer and their first European headline tour ever.

Approaching a decade as a group, it’s about time they made their way to European stages. Still, there’s a lot of love for Red Velvet in London, and with an impressively versatile discography and vocals that rival the best of the best, painting the town Red (Velvet) is no problem.

Splitting the show into two acts, ‘R’ and ‘V’, designed to showcase their prominently pop ‘red’ and R&B leaning ‘velvet’ sides in equal measure, the ‘R’ half kicks off with last year’s ‘Feel My Rhythm’, a track that balances delicate vocals with a harsh trap beat. Visually, it’s ballet-inspired, seeing the girls appear on stage in pink bedazzled tutus, ushering in a run of sugary sweet early hits (‘Ice Cream Cake’), soulful retro deep cuts (‘Oh Boy’) and classic 90s R&B balladry (‘Eyes Locked, Hands Locked’).

For a group with a relatively ballad-heavy discography, they forgo almost all of them in favour of a hit-loaded bonanza. The midsection sees the four-piece (usually five, Irene, Seulgi, Wendy, and Yeri, completed by the currently absent Joy, who instead appears in flashes on the big screens to rapturous applause every time) do capital-F Fun with those iconic big summer bops ‘Queendom’ and ‘Red Flavour’. Even in the uptempo numbers (which, of course, come with equally bouncy choreography), the girls’ vocals are never compromised; even the confetti and streamer cannons aren’t enough to distract from Wendy’s epic final chorus belting.

Slipping seamlessly into the ‘V’ portion, introduced by a VT showing the group switching from white outfits into black, they return to the stage in girl-crush-ier black leather and lace attire for the sassy, runway ready ‘Pose’. Here we’re introduced to their sultry side through cheekier, chantier singles like ‘Peek-a-Boo’ and the timeless electro-pop of ‘Bad Boy’. Closing with ‘Psycho’, it perfectly mirrors the theatricality of the opening number, the darker side of ‘Feel My Rhythm’’s coin.

Since BTS’ hiatus began (yes, we are shoehorning that in), girl groups have been on top. Big Three graduates Blackpink and Twice have had an enormous year, and the new generation crop are set to follow in their footsteps, so Red Velvet getting their flowers on this tour is well overdue. A double encore featuring fan-dedicated ‘My Dear’ and the zany ‘Zimzalabim’ brings a close to a triumphant UK return for a girl group with a remarkable legacy and an indication this cake’s risen just perfectly.