Live Recap: KCON LA 2019 – Staples Center, LA (17.08.2019)

This year KCON 2019 LA expanded to four days with two nights of concerts at the Staples Center.

By the time KCON Day three arrived, fans were more than ready for the first concert!  The theme for KCON 2019 was Dreams, highlighting rookie teams as they showcased their skills on M! Countdown. MC Danny Lim, now a veteran KCON pre-show host, opened up Saturday’s concert by introducing Seoula the KCON 2019 Cover Star K Champions. They danced to ATEEZ’s ‘Hala Hala’ and killed it.

The pre-show continued with MNET’s global male idol debut project World Klass. Two teams, KLASS team and WORLD team, battled it out on the floor. KLASS team danced to ‘What do you Mean?’ by Justin Bieber and WORLD team danced to ‘Bad Guy’ by Billie Eilish. As we voted for our favorite team, the lights dimmed, KCON reminding us to put our cameras away.

With loud screams of excitement, the center screens of the stage were lifted to reveal the 8 members of ATEEZ (A TEEnager Z) wearing black, blue and burgundy suits – the official concert had begun. Their attire reminded me of Michael Jackson’s signature style of ankle pants with white socks and black shoes. Their special stage was a cover of Block B’s ‘Very Good’; for a moment we got to re-live ‘Very Good’ through ATEEZ.

LOONA, the twelve-member girl group under Blockberry Creative, was undoubtedly one of the favorite acts at KCON LA this year and the stadium exploded in screams as they covered BTS’ ‘Not Today’. It was hard to hear their performance amongst the screaming cheers, but everyone was up from their seats in excitement.

To our surprise, Aron and Ren part of NU’EST, who appeared at the very first KCON LA back in 2012, were our MCs for half of the night. Aron expressed feelings of being overwhelmed by the fan’s support during KCON LA this year. From the humble beginnings of KCON at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater back in 2012 where there was 25 convention programs, 55 panel guests and 6 artists. KCON LA has grown to 243 convention programs, 245 special guests, and 17 artists – three of which could not make it because of visa issues. Aron revealed that as of KCON LA 2019 the accumulated number of audiences has surpassed one million.

AB6IX (Absolute Six) was next on the lineup and started their performance with ‘Breathe’. Woojin, who was injured, walked on stage for his part and sat down on a high chair, but that didn’t stop him from being part of the performance as he would swing his chair around and raise his hands up in between parts. During their brief talk we got to admire the black satin attire the boys were wearing, and I can attest that Daehwi in his black satin ruffled shirt looked especially handsome. They moved on to perform ‘Shining Stars’ and ‘Hollywood’ to the fans delight.

One could not hold back excitement as IZ*ONE members Jo Yuri and Kim Chae Won surprised us with a duet of ‘Love Will Show You Everything’ by Jennifer Love Hewitt as their special stage. The duo complimented each other so beautifully and everyone in the audience was in awe.

It was still ladies time though, as MOMOLAND was next. They exploded onto the stage with their song ‘I’m So Hot’, and despite having three members missing (Taeha, Daisy and Yeonwoo) their performance was cute and on point. During their break they sang happy birthday to JOOE who was so happy, and made the cutest face when the audience congratulated her. Replying, “Thank You LA, I love You!~” she made a heart with her hands which touched us all. They finished their performance with ‘BAAM’ and ‘BBoom BBoom’, which had the whole venue dancing and singing along.

HAKUNA MATATA YEAH!!! ATEEZ was back appearing on stage wearing white suits for their second set. During their talk break they mentioned being happy to be back in LA after performing at the Globe Theater this past March. They opened with their summer hit ‘Wave’ and had the crowd dancing and singing “HAKUNA MATATA YEAH!!!.” All the members had the biggest smiles and their energy was through the roof; their stage presence was something else! They kept sending kisses and hearts to the fans, and it was the most interactive performance of the night. Continuing with ‘Dancing Like Butterfly Wings’, ‘Say My Name’, and finally with ‘HALA HALA’.  Run, don’t walk if they stop through your city – they are incredible and will leave you wanting more.

LOONA once again took the stage to perform their songs ‘Butterfly’, and ‘Hi High’. The ladies dressed in black with crop tops danced their hearts out to the most beautiful and synchronised choreography of the night from all the girls groups in the lineup. The soft tonality in ‘Butterfly’ was a personal favourite.

Of course, KCON would not be KCON without a Random Play Dance. Dancing to BTS’ ‘Fire’, NCT127’s ‘Cherry Bomb’, and Seventeen’s ‘Thanks’, they ended their set spread out onto every part of the stage saying hello to their fans. LOONA’s performance was so impressive and I loved their entire set.

FNC’s SF9 (Sensational Feeling 9) kept the energy up as they opened with ‘RPM’. With sexy black and white attire ensembles, they hit the stage hard. Though I tried to focus on their complex and sexy dance moves my focus may have waned through the glimpses of exposed skin. After their first song, Ro Woon lead an audience in a wave and later KCON picked two members to perform something for the fans. Taeyang said he was a sexy dancer and danced to ‘Señorita’ by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, while Ro Woon showed us his vocals and sang a piece of ‘All of Me’ by John Legend. They played a Blind Dance to ‘RPM’, and before continuing they threw autographed t-shirts to the audience. ‘O Sole Mio’ was a blast from the past and it was nostalgic seeing them perform it. They ended with ‘Now or Never’ and ‘Play Hard’. Their dynamic performance ended way too soon but KCON still had more to offer.

We had new MCs on the floor this time with Daehwi and Donghyun from AB6IX. Daehwi asked fans, “Are you having the time of your dreams now?” Immediately, the audience responded with screams! Donghyun asked Daehwi, “What did you prepare [for the audience]?” before Daehwi pulled a finger heart from his jacket melted the crowd, “I prepared endless love”. Daehwi had the cutest laugh after getting shy!

IZ*ONE was back as twelve members and made their way up to the stage in red and white costumes. The ladies opened their set with ‘Violeta’ and ‘Highlight’, though their choreography was a tad weak in comparison to some of the other performances. When they sang ‘La Vie En Rose’ all the fans began to squeal and it was great to see them really enjoying themselves.

It was the veteran’s time to close the show. NU’EST came on and lived up to the excitement that I was waiting for. This was their second time together as 5 at KCON LA after 7 years. For some of the members it was their third time since NU’EST W was part of the lineup last year. They sang ‘Dejavu’ for the first time as five, and it was a tearjerking moment for waiting L.O.Λ.Es. They followed their set with ‘Love Paint’, and hearing Baekho sing his parts was truly a dream come true. In ‘R.L.T.L.’ the focus was on Minhyun and Aron and it reminded fans who had waited how much we had missed Minhyun’s visuals and voice. They ended their performance with their latest release ‘Bet Bet’, and this time the highlight was for JR and Ren. After their performance I felt my lifespan increased by tenfold; yet, my heart was heavy as night one of KCON came to a close. As it has become custom with KCON, the confetti flew as all the artists came out to greet their fans. While everyone danced and screamed for all the acts, the ladies overall owned the night.

As apropos of the theme of Dreams, it was clear that many dreams came true this night. But KCON was not yet over and wait until you read about the second night with artists VeriVery, ITZY, fromis_9, MAMAMOO, Stray Kids, N.Flying, and Seventeen!

Photos Courtesy of KCON and CJ ENM