It’s been a loooong while since I’ve published a concert recap, but that’s because it’s been a long while since I’ve been to a concert! My last one was SuperM in February 2020 – mere days before Covid upended the world. So… who would be the group to coax me out of this long lull? Bias List favorites Golden Child, of course!
Ah, the power of Golcha. Not just anyone can get me on a plane, and it takes a real special act to get me on a plane while the plague is still circulating. But, I’m very happy to have traipsed down to San Jose for the opening of their first U.S. tour.
With this tour, I get the sense that Woollim Entertainment is feeling out the U.S. market in the hopes of bigger and better things in the future. The venue was quite intimate and the production bare bones, but we all came to see Golcha and their colorful personalities (+ immense talent), so they could have been performing in front of a blank wall for all I care. The guys are incredibly fun to watch. All their personal quirks come out in the performances. It’s clear they’re having fun, and that energy is infectious.
Golden Child has never been marketed to the U.S. in a major way, so I was nervous to see who (if anyone) would show up for the concert. But, the house was packed and the crowd was great. The group said they picked the setlist together and tried to include songs from every album, but I felt like they were definitely targeting some sounds they assumed an American audience would prefer. I was disappointed to see no Genie, Lady, Let Me or It’s U, but I understand we can’t have a full concert of bright Golcha songs at this stage of their career. Their discography has become more diverse than that.
Musical highlights for me were Burn It (I mean… duh), Breathe, Pump It Up, older b-sides like Sea & What’s Happening, the (as far as I’m aware) first live performance of Bottom of the Ocean, the Wannabe/Without You/One trilogy performed as a medley/remix (they looked exhausted after this one), and of course the DamDaDi encore.
They also performed ballads I Know and That Guy during the concert and pre-show soundcheck, and basically confirmed what I already knew: These. Guys. Can. Sing. I mean, hearing Joochan’s voice in person is something else, but everyone in the group is a strong vocalist. It’s one of the reasons I became a fan, and why I was so eager to see them perform live again. A killer live vocal is one of life’s greatest joys.
But when it comes to Golden Child, humor has always been one of their biggest charms. Led by variety-master Jangjun (who managed to bring playful poses even to the heartfelt ballads), the guys made the lengthy comments in between songs just as entertaining as the performances themselves. We got impromptu musical performances (where poor Bomin was dragged into Joochan’s madness), pop song covers and a couple awkward moments after several of the members’ stage outfits tore. It seems like Woollim needs to step up their wardrobe budget!
As far as concert operations go, I can’t speak for general admission, but I loved the way Studio PAV handled the VVIP tier, offering a “no line” policy where your ticket number guaranteed your space regardless of when you arrived at the venue. For those on the fence about this tier, I’d highly recommend splurging. You’re part of the fan-sign, where you actually get to chat with the group for a while. The idea is super intimidating (especially if you’re socially awkward!), but the guys are really nice and easy to talk to and there’s something to be said about actually getting to meet your idols as people – to look them in the eyes and thank them for all they do and all the happiness they bring to so many people. It’s the cherry on top of a great K-pop concert night.
Here’s to more live experiences as we all begin to awake from our long hibernation!