KCON 2019 LA had reached it’s fourth and last day; day 2 at the Staples Center was about to begin with fans taking their seats, checking their lightsticks, and banners.
Danny Lim, once again opened KCON’s pre-show by presenting Ana, Asiana Airlines’ winner for a trip to Seoul, who wanted Korean BBQ there.
The opening act was JUN (formerly JunCurryAhn) a KCON veteran violinist of K-Pop covers, who was now promoting his latest mini album Limbo as an artist in his own right. He got the crowd warmed up by performing ‘Admit’ and ‘Switch’, and seeing him perform his solo work was thrilling.
The electrifying Seoula kept the crowd going next with a repeat of their dance cover of ‘Hala Hala’ by ATEEZ.
KCON Night 2 was ready to officially begin, and and it did with a bang!
A special stage collaboration with 3RACHA (Bang Chan (CB97), Seo Chang Bin (SPEARB), and Han Ji Sung (J.ONE) from Stray Kids) and N.Flying lit the stage performing rock versions of ‘Gogobebe’ from MAMAMOO and ‘Dalla Dalla’ from ITZY. We could feel the excitement in the air; they had us on our feet, already dancing in the vivacious atmosphere.
The first MC’s of the night were Hoshi and Vernon from b, appearing on opposites sides of the stage giving fan service as they met each other in the middle. With a big smile, Hoshi exclaimed, “It’s always nice to hear your cheers” as the two greeted everyone there.
As the lights dimmed, “TAG TAG TAG TAG/ TAG YOU’RE IT!” filled the air and all of Staples Center echoed in cheers. VeriVery appeared wearing a mix of black and white dress shirts and slacks. The seven-member group debuted at the beginning of this year under Jellyfish Entertainment (also of VIXX). During their brief talk they introduced themselves and Minchan revealed, “I’m kind of nervous to be standing in front of so many LA fans for the first time”; another member said “Thank you for your endless support VeriVery will never stop until we become the next leader of Kpop” They ended their set with ‘Ring Ring Ring’. Their confidence and determination on stage captured the hearts of many that night including mine.
It was the ladies turn next as ITZY was lifted up to the stage! ITZY is a quintet who debuted this past February under JYP. The ladies opened with ‘ICY’, and were wearing the same colourful costumes as their MV. All glowing, they danced to their dynamic choreography effortlessly. At their brief break they showed us different versions of themselves. Yeji was up first and she was asked to express Charisma Yeji and she put on a serious face with a V sign in front of her face; as for Sweet Yeji, she sent us a kiss with a bow; and for KCON Yeji, she yelled, “I love you so much LA!”
She joined Ryujin and Chaeryeong to cover dance ‘Hard Carry’ by GOT7. Yuna and Lia expressed how thankful they were to LA fans and made a heart together and after a few more words they jumped right into ‘It’z Summer’ and ‘Dalla Dalla’. Their set was one of the most loved by the audience that night.
Joshua and S.Coups from Seventeen appeared as the next MC’s, and with endless cheers they introduced the multi-talented N.Flying, but not before Joshua exclaimed “I am actually from LA. LA is my hometown so meeting you guys here makes me feel home sweet home.”
Just like ITZY, N.Flying was lifted onto the stage as Seunghyub played a melodic intro on the keyboard for their hit song ‘Rooftop’. With much anticipation, I was ecstatic to see the guys, the only band at KCON this year, and they completed exceeded my expectations. Right next to me was a fellow N.Fia who pulled out a potato with eyes and a mouth from her backpack for the potato boys! For those of you unfamiliar it was a reference to their single ‘Hot Potato’. She had the biggest smile, dancing the set away with potato in hand. It was a funny and heartwarming moment of the night and I wondered how many other potato lightsticks were dancing around the venue. The band continued their set with a tribute to Queen. They played a medley of their most popular songs, most notably ‘We Will Rock You’, ‘We Are The Champions’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Their set ended too soon, with only one of their original songs played, but we hope that this is only the beginning of their appearances stateside.
Before N.Flying was lowered down, MAMAMOO’s Solar was standing at the farthest edge of the stage in a beautiful light blue dress with a long tail. The audience was surprised and in awe of her rendition of Naomi Scott’s song ‘Speechless’ from the live action Aladdin soundtrack.
Seconds after Solar’s performance, the words “Keep Your Dream” appeared on the screens and fromis_9 started their set. The nine-member group emerged from an Mnet reality show called Idol School. Opening with their summer bop ‘Fun’, dressed in cute dresses that captured summer. Their words “From last year to this year, thank you for your countless support” warmed the hearts of the fans who cheered them on. With choreography filled with a lot of aegyo poses and expressions, this made their set the cutest of the lineup. The ladies finished their performance with ‘Love Rumpumpum’ and ‘Love Bomb’, a pair of songs that had everyone dancing.
STRAY KIDS took the stage next! The stage ascended to uncover the nine-member group under JYP. Wearing a variety of black, red and white ensembles, the guys instantly began their intricate choreography. My eyes could barely keep up with the energy on the stage. While admiring one synchronised set, I was surprised by Bang Chan’s mid-air leap. Their energy, furthered by the screaming crowds, was practically tangible and it was one of the strongest performances of the night. The opening song, ‘Side Effects’, had us punching the air if you know what I mean. In ‘Victory Song’ the fan chants could be clearly heard. Their set would close with ‘Miroh’, which had fans singing “I’m okay” then moving to singing “Na na na na na na na na na na na” for ‘My Pace’; The pace was wicked fast and before we could even process STRAY KIDS’ stage, another Seventeen sub-unit would appear.
Seventeen’s performance unit, made up of Dino, The 8, Jun, and Hoshi, appeared on the pit’s platform. They gave us a taste of their set by singing ‘Highlight’; with their incredible dance capabilities the choreography enabled each of the members to shine.
Following were the beautiful ladies of MAMAMOO. In unique neon yellow, royal blue and white ensembles, their set opened with ‘Starry Night’. With MAMAMOO, the choreography ran second to their incredible vocals. The ladies apologised for Wheein’s absence, assuring us that they would fill in her spot well, and they did. They sang their Spanish infused song ‘Egotistic’ before walking to every corner of the stage to sing ‘Décalcomanie’, where they made an extra effort to greet their fans. Before ending with ‘Gogobebe’, Solar exclaimed, “It’s exciting to see you sing and dance along with us.” So many fans were up from their seats, dancing and singing through their whole set with their moo (radish) themed lightsticks in action.
KCON was almost over, but the excitement in the air wasn’t diminishing. The guys of Seventeen took the stage to close the night. Dressed in black they all spread out onto the stage and opened their almost 30 minute set with ‘Hit’. At their brief talk they played a Teamwork Competition game where they had to match themed poses. Moreover, before continuing they had a surprise for fans throwing a handful of signed t-shirts to the audience. The fans were ignited as Seventeen jumped into ‘Good To Me’, ‘Clap’, ‘Adore U’, and ‘Very Nice’. It’s impossible to stay seated in ‘Very Nice’ and they had everyone jumping in their seats, reminiscent of last year’s ending. Every member took the time to say hello to fans as they reached every part of the stage. When we thought the concert was over, the guys tricked us three times and kept singing the chorus of ‘Very Nice’, even pretending to walk off stage! It was the most playful and entertaining set and everyone loved them.
With this we have reached the end of KCON LA 2019 where all the excitement and passion was left on the floor with every dance, smile, cheer and wave. KCON LA (www.kconusa.com) continues to organise some of the best lineups of KPOP artists around the world. Until KCON 2020 then!
Photos Courtesy of KCON and CJ ENM