Live Review: KCON Australia 2017 DAY 2 – Qudos Bank Arena (23.09.17)

Day 2 of KCON Australia 2017 began with high expectations. The previous day had brought Australian K-Pop fans laughter, games, fanservice and top-quality songs to boot – it is not an exaggeration to say that there were big shoes to fill! Former U-KISS member Kevin Woo was once again our MC of the pre-show and had the crowd cheering their lungs out before the concert even began. The official show started out with a collaboration special stage between Monsta X‘s Jooheon and Shownu. The duo performed ‘Kang Baekho’, a track which showcases Jooheon’s rap skills as he takes the lead on the microphone before Shownu steps onstage to steal the audience’s attention with a dance solo.

After Jooheon and Shownu were finished hyping up the audience for the final night of KCON, we welcomed back SF9 who had amazed everyone during Day 1 with their hypnotising choreography and incredible synchronisation. I will admit that during the weeks prior to KCON I had been slightly disappointed that the same rookie group would take up a slot for both days. That being said, after seeing them perform during Day 1 I was more than ready to welcome the whole team back with open arms! Their tracklist for Day 2 – ‘Easy Love’, ‘Roar’ and ‘Fanfare’ – was almost exactly the same as the day prior, but the team at Hello Asia agreed that none of us cared because their performances are worth seeing again and again.

Our first MCs for the night were Kang Daniel, Minhyun and Daehwi of Wanna One, and Australia gave them a welcome hotter than the concrete in January! They introduced the next ‘K-Pop Hero’ whose performance would apparently blow us out of this universe… a special stage by Cosmic Girls! The group put together a cover of two Kylie Minogue hits, ‘The Locomotion’ and ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’. It was so nice that Cosmic Girls took the time out of their busy schedules to practise the lyrics and choreography of an Australian classic. UP10TION were up next to perform ‘Runner’, ‘Dangerous’ and ‘White Night’. ‘Dangerous’ is a highlight in terms of choreography – it looks like it must be extremely tiring to perform, yet the members remained professional and didn’t let the difficult dance take away from their vocals. ‘White Night’ is forgettable in comparison to the two songs it followed, which is a shame because UP10TION started off on such a high note (literally – their vocal line is incredible!) I have to wonder why they didn’t sing ‘Attention’ which is one of their more well-known songs for a reason.

Monsta X’s Kihyun and I.M. joined the stage as our next MCs and had some fun interacting with the audience through ‘K-Pop Random Play Dance’ where they had fans dancing along to hits by EXO, BTS and Twice. The next act was Cosmic Girls who performed ‘Happy’, ‘Secret’ and ‘Catch Me’. Starting off with the bright and perky ‘Happy’ made for an abrupt change from all the low voices we had heard since the start of the concert, though it definitely had everyone dancing along. During Hello Asia’s interview with Cosmic Girls last year Exy noted that she wishes the group were remembered as a “versatile performance group”. Their performance of ‘Catch Me’ definitely allowed them to meet that goal, with the song’s much tougher sound and focus on powerful choreography making everyone in the audience realise just how multi-talented these girls are.

Wanna One were next up with ‘Energetic’, ‘Wanna Be’ and ‘Burn It Up’. I can see why Wanna One have been so widely loved since their days on Produce 101 Season 2 with their sharp dance skills and fan-service brightening up the stage. During the group’s talk segment Daehwi was quick to note that it was in fact Kuan-Lin’s birthday! With a jam-packed Qudos Bank Arena singing the happy birthday song as loud as they could, I’m sure it was a birthday Kuan-Lin will never forget.

Our final act was the one and only Monsta X who joined the stage to incomparable applause and cheers! They performed ‘Shine Forever’ (such a catchy song!) and ‘Beautiful’. There was a game segment wherein the Monsta X members had to pretend to propose to a randomly-chosen fan: I.M. was charming the whole audience right from the start with his smooth pick-up lines – “Angel, why are you here? How about heaven?” while Kihyun tried to win the fan over through a serenade. Wonho was the last member to try to win the fan’s heart. He walked off the stage to give fan a hug and even took a selfie with her! The group gave an energy-filled performance of ‘Ex-Girl’ and ‘Hero’ before all of the Day 2 acts returned to the stage to wave goodbye to their fans.

If it wasn’t already there, KCON Australia 2017 definitely put Australia on the K-Pop world map. We saw a range of idol groups give their very best to put on an unforgettable show and I for one would say that they succeeded! Not only were the headline acts just as brilliant as we had all anticipated, but even the rookie groups were jaw-dropping in terms of song quality, choreography and stage manners. Here’s hoping KCON will return next year – time to start saving up! Let’s KCON!