On the Day 1 of KCON NY 2018, the weather was very inviting. There was an overcast but that didn’t seem to dampen the crowds excitement. The lines were long with anxious fans waiting to receive their tickets and possible hi-touches and red carpet participation!
KCON featured a new segment called “Star Live” talks in which that evening’s performing idol groups would join fans for a half an hour to answer questions. A huge stage was set up in the K-Culture Area and fans would eagerly gather to show their love for their favorite idol groups. Dance competitions were held and panels discussed on the evolution of K-Pop. And I believe this was the first LGBTQ+ community, K-Pop panel! There was anything and everything for fans to do!
On the evening of the first concert, the crowds hustled in and we were introduced to Danny Lim who was the official MC for the evening. He introduced Jun (JunCurryAhn), a YouTube star who is well-known for his K-Pop violin covers. Jun performed his first official single “When I Call” showcasing his wonderful voice and dance moves. eSNa followed and filled the center with her strong vocals and sass performing “Me, Today,” “Ah Oop,” “Ah, Shit;” she is well-known for writing songs such as “Piano Man” for Mamamoo and “Some” for Junggigo and Soyou.
Next, came a teaser for the audience, a Pentagon and Stray Kids giveaway. Jun and Danny each had towels signed by the two groups and tossed them into the audience of screaming fans. A cute and animated comic-book type video done by the groups attending KCON NY 2018 was shown to the audience setting rules for the fans to follow and hyping everyone for the show to come. DJ Ginjo played a series of remixes ending with a “Sorry, Sorry” remix to which Super Junior dramatically entered. Choi Siwon, a member of Super Junior, announced that he would be MC for the rest of the show and then introduced Stray Kids. Stray Kids bursted onto the stage with a hardcore rap. The stage lit-up hyping the crowd further. When the fan’s screams and the song ended the group introduced themselves and announced that it was their 90-Day Anniversary while mentioning their debut single “District 9.” The rookies continued their set with the songs “Mirror” and “Hellevator.”
Next on stage was the soulful, jazzy, and beautiful Heize. This was her first time appearing in New York! She sang “Didn’t Know Me,” “Star,” and “Don’t Know You.” She glittered in her beautiful sequin dress and lit up the stage with her melodic soothing voice, capturing the attention of the audience. A duet from Seulgi of Red Velvet and Yesung of Super Junior followed where the two sang “Darling U.” Two members of Stray Kids, Bang Chan and Felix, announced the next act, Pentagon. It was Pentagon’s first time in New York. We didn’t know much about Pentagon but it was quite obvious they caused a stir in the audience. Pentagon sang “Shine,” “Gorilla,” “Can You Feel It,” and “Pretty Pretty.” During their introductions, they played a game with the audience where they would freestyle rap about various topics such as “Romance” and “Lucky.”
Excitement grew bigger in the audience as they knew the two remaining bands and headliners were coming on soon. Tension grew. The lights were low and then… Red Velvet entered the stage performing “Bad Boy” followed by “Red Flavor,” the crowd went crazy. As they introduced themselves, in the adorable way only Red Velvet could, the girls informed us that we were all going to be part of a game they called “Wish Roulette” where fans sent in requests they’d like each member to do. Next they did a live photo game with fans where the idol would pose and randomly selected audience members would copy that pose. Red Velvet finished up their set with “Rookie” and “Peek-A-Boo.” The fans applauded loudly and screams echoed throughout the arena. Then at the end of Red Velvet’s set as the girls exited the stage, you could hear a pin drop because we all knew who was coming next! But wait!
Siwon appeared on the stage once more to introduce some special performances by Pentagon and Stray Kids. They followed a theme that was set for the evening which was called “Passion” which the two groups definitely gave off. The fans embraced the performances in anticipation for what was yet to come.
We waited patiently, we enjoyed all the fellow artists and our patience was rewarded… Super Junior takes the stage opening with a remix of “Black Suit.” The screams hurt my ear drums! Tears were rolling down fan’s cheeks. It was them. Truly them. We had not seen them perform in New York City in ages.The long-time group introduced themselves, (as if they needed an introduction), and played a dancing game with the audience. They teased us it would be better than RV’s. Similar to that of Red Velvet’s, Eunhyuk would dance a certain move and randomly selected fans were to copy them. It was a blast! Fans knew the choreography well since Super Junior has always had iconic dance moves that anyone could do. The group proceeded with “Lo Siento” where Leslie Grace appeared on stage causing the entire center to scream in joy. Super Junior thanked Leslie for all of her great work and hugged her goodbye before continuing with a mix of all their iconic songs such as “Bonamana,” “Sorry Sorry,” “Mr. Simple,” and one their earliest songs “Miracle.” The crowd was uplifted and nearly in tears again as the nostalgic K-Pop days felt like they had returned. I could hear fans saying, “SUJU was my first love”
The KCON NY 2018 Day 1 finale ended in it’s classic style with all the groups coming out in order (Stray Kids, Heize, Pentagon, Red Velvet, and Super Junior) waving and thanking fans for attending. They held selfie sticks so we could enjoy them further on social media. They all bowed. Confetti exploded and fell. The center was filled with happy fans and the chatter of numerous conversations about the first night’s performances. Well done KCON, well done.
Photo courtesy of KCON USA