Live Review: iKON ‘Continue’ Tour – Festival Hall, Melbourne (27.10.2018)

Most concert reviews will begin with an introduction of the show, including a description of the artist, or maybe a few small observations of the venue or the audience. However, to truly articulate the incredible power of this particular show, I am compelled to start right at the end.

Indeed, the electric encore performances were still a vividly fresh memory, the lights of festival hall had turned back on, and teams of iKONICs were grouped around the venue, crowded over towels and t-shirts that had been thrown into the audience, swapping photos and videos of their favourite moments. With lengths of gold and silver streamers wrapped around my shoulders and strewn across the floor, a very slight ringing in my ears, and the refrain from ‘LOVE SCENARIO’ threatening to never leave my head (potentially forever), I felt invigorated, ready to take on the world.

The concert held a particular level of strength and power; it was straight-up fire; iKON’s hip-hop heavy tracks, spit-fire raps, and infectiously catchy smash-hits made for a show that was full of an incredible, indelible energy.

This same energy could only be rivalled by the pre-show buzz from their expectant audience; carrying signs and bearing KONbats (iKON’s official light-stick), iKONICs were clad in varying shades of red, like a uniform. Together, a sea of bright red light sticks, the audience was united in their love for the group.; quickly filling the venue to full capacity, everyone passionately practiced their fan-chants to the videos that played on the large screens in the lead-up to the live performance.

Before too long, it was the real deal; all seven member stormed the stage in different, yet dazzling dark cherry jackets, aptly performing ‘BLING BLING’. This was followed by ‘SINOSIJAK’, a track that that serves like a promise between iKON and their audience – Bobby raps, “쇼는 시작 됐고/음악은 흐르지 Yo/너네 함성소리가/내 피에 물을 지펴 (The show has begun/And the song is playing yo/Your cheers/Set fire to my blood)”.

The riotous cheers continued with a rock version performance of their break-through smash-hit ‘RHYTHM TA’. In unison, the red-sea were banging their heads amidst the deep-bass rhythm and the faultless flurry of rap choruses. This song, in itself, is a hip-hop masterpiece; seeing it live, however, is a masterful thing to witness. Indeed, the group were a few minutes into introducing themselves to their all-knowing audience, and I was still standing there, mouth-to-the-floor, feeling something like shock, yet closer to absolute awe. My mouth was eventually roused into a smile at the mention of Friday night drinks on the Yarra River, and outings to Brighton Beach. Keeping in theme, performances of ‘COCKTAIL’ and ‘ONLY YOU’ brought along strong holiday imagery.

As the vocal line left the stage in preparation for their next performance, B.I. and Bobby took to the stage, orchestrating a ‘LOVE SCENARIO’ sing-off. Dividing the audience into two teams, Team B.I. and Team Bobby successively shouted the first few lines of their catchy single, trying to win for each respective number –  the losing side would result in one of the members having to do a series of push-ups on stage – which really begs the question, were there truly any losers? Unable to choose, the competition resulted in a quick game of gawibawibo (paper-scissors-rock), with Bobby quickly getting to ground to complete his punishment.

After a short video, JU-NE appeared on stage, wearing white as he begun the opening lines of ‘PERFECT. Jae, DK, Song, and Chanwoo followed-suit, looking equally as angelic. This performance was like a bookmark, marking a distinct difference amongst the rest of their setlist; this tender ballad accentuated and showcased the strength of their vocal prowess.

Very quickly, however, this tenderness was disrupted by the hard hitting solo track, ‘ONE AND ONLY’. B.I. appeared on stage where he truly belongs – on a throne, bathed in red lights. His talent is tremendous, his musicality envious; his sense of rhythm was faultless, making him all the more sexier as he commanded the attention the audience in a series of strong raps. Equally matched in skill was Bobby, following the leader with his own individual track ‘HOLUP’, delivering fast-paced rhythms that had the audience in a frenzy. Together, the two rappers reunited in ‘ANTHEM’. Towards the end of the song, the rest of the members emerged from behind stage to join them, before launching into a powerful rendition of ‘B-DAY’.

The sexiness continued, with all members taking to a performance of ‘MY TYPE’ whilst seated in a row of stools across the stage. RUBBER BAND’ was next, before another brief intermission broke up the concert. At this point, the concert was jubilant enough, yet Bobby’s announcement that he had just become an uncle drew a larger series of magnificent cheers across the venue. After the boys each declared their love for each other, the group performed ‘BEST FRIEND‘. To much joy, B.I. performed the whole song in a bright yellow onesie, a stark contrast form his solo performance only minutes ago. This was followed by a phenomenal performance of ‘EVERYTHING’.

At the end of the song, the lights went out. Very quickly, all attention was on the two large screens at either side of the concert hall; a compilation video of news stories and performances appeared, heralding an introduction to the next song. Something akin to pride welled in the hearts of iKONICs across the room as it became increasingly clear that ‘LOVE SCENARIO‘ was up next. The short video introduction highlighted the strength (and true magic) of the song. You could only just hear iKON over the singing from the audience, who had been warmed-up previously. The whole hall was swaying and dancing together,

The swaying continued as the group performed their latest hit ‘GOODBYE ROAD’, a song that explores a softer, much more emotional side. These moments of gentleness were followed by intense jumping, with the audience moving in unison to addictive beat of ‘KILLING ME‘. The movement did not wane throughout the song, the stamina of iKON and iKONICs put to the test as everyone rocked out to ‘FREEDOM‘. 

As promised the septet returned to the stage with a rendition of the fan-song ‘JUST FOR YOU’. Appropriately, this is where the fan-event took place, the whole audience reaching for their small banners as they swayed along to the mellow tempo of the song. There was an incredible sense of celebration as the boys continued to croon through ‘ADORE YOU’, and made a repeat performance of ‘LOVE SCENARIO’. The party continued as the boys amped up the energy with the dance number ‘DUMB AND DUMBER’ before cranking it up once again with ‘FREEDOM’. Remarkably, as the show was sure to end, there was no sense of melancholy. Rather, there was an atmosphere of immense joy; this is a testament to how truly incredible iKON’s Australian tour was.

Exuding a distinctly strong “YG” sound, iKON are one of those groups who has a bit of everything for everyone, while keeping to their signature style; gritty hip-hop dance tracks, bass-heavy EDM songs, interspersed with a few tender ballads, and fair share of incredibly catchy smash-hits, iKON are tremendous.

It was not just a live show, it was a musical journey, an experience full of energy.

SETLIST:

  • BLING BLING
  • SINOSIJAK
  • RHYTHM TA (Rock Ver.)
  • COCKTAIL
  • ONLY YOU
  • PERFECT (VOCAL LINE)
  • ONE AND ONLY (B.I. SOLO)
  • HOLUP (BOBBY SOLO)
  • ANTHEM (BOBBY AND B.I.)
  • B-DAY
  • MY TYPE
  • RUBBER BAND
  • BEST FRIEND
  • EVERYTHING
  • LOVE SCENARIO
  • GOODBYE ROAD
  • KILLING ME

Encore:

  • JUST FOR YOU
  • ADORE YOU
  • LOVE SCENARIO
  • DUMB & DUMBER
  • FREEDOM

Photos courtesy of Award Entertainment and YG Entertainment.