Live Review: GOT7 “Turbulence in LA” – Pasadena Civic Auditorium (29.01.17)

JYP Entertainment’s multinational K-pop group, GOT7 wrapped up their five-city Turbulence in USA 2017 Fanmeet Tour on Sunday night near Los Angeles, California. Subkulture Entertainment brought the boys to Pasadena on January 29th after a whirlwind stops in Miami, Washington D.C., Chicago, and Houston.

The Pasadena Civic Auditorium was packed full of faithful “IGot7s” ranging from school age, to twenty somethings, and even included a few parents. Many came equipped with light sticks and all brought high levels of anticipation.

Ear-shattering screams rang through the venue as the boys emerged in a striking assortment of costumes coordinated in black and red. Requisite idol skinny-jeans topped with lightly sequined jackets of denim or velvet created effective visual unity with enough variation that even those in the nosebleeds could tell each member apart without aid of the screen projections.

GOT7 then treated the crowd to a short but intimate set of hits interspersed with variety-show style antics characteristic of the fanmeet concert format.

The staging was simple: a massive screen for a cyc carried HD projections, stools were used for ballads but the stage was otherwise bare, and light cues were uncomplicated. The focus was clearly on the performers, not the production.

The boys brought a relaxed and happy vibe to the house and their bright MCs helped them shine. The idols seemed less interested in the choreography of their older songs (they were heavy on the loose and casual side in their dancing, “Just Right” seemed to get off to an especially rocky start but there may also have been a mic issue in the mix), but they tightened things up nicely when they finally arrived at their latest single, “Hard Carry.”

In between paired songs came fanmeet activities: first a Q&A where members selected questions from a poster board adorned with notes posted by fans ahead of the show. Then a round of “Guess The Song” where the boys tried to identify their own songs after a only few beats of airplay. Youngjae took the crown with five correct answers, losers were punished by inhaling helium and singing.

The final variety installment brought seven lucky raffle-selected IGot7s up on stage for a modified form of hacky sack. Points were awarded by the number of consecutive hits boys and girls could manage, volleying was unattempted. (Team Mark edged out Team Jinyoung by a single point, for those keeping track.) It was surely an exhilarating, terrifying, awkward, and magical moment for the seven ladies on stage as they endured this team building exercise turned public spectacle. Everyone was rewarded afterwards by a short break for a behind-the-scenes/making-of clip of the “Hard Carry” music video. Then the boys reemerged for a few final songs. A single song encore with Home Run followed the ubiquitous confetti cannon finale burst, and then the boys waved themselves off stage to prepare for VIP fan engagements.

This may all sound incredibly silly to anyone not versed in the concept of K-pop fanmeets or Korean variety show entertainment – regardless, even the most stalwart skeptic would be hard pressed not to have fun watching these shenanigans unfold live. The majority of GOT7’s members are fluent or proficient in English, so language barriers were nearly removed and the boys have a very chummy affect which makes them seem more like really fun humans, rather than untouchable idols – all this is to say, the fanmeet format works well for this group and they sell the concept with conviction.

If you ever have a chance to see them live, you’ll be glad you got it!