One of the coolest things about the KCON concert is that it stretches across multiple nights. If you get the combo tickets, you’ve got two days of artists to look forward to. By Sunday, things feel familiar. You’ve got your same seat but there’s a different roster waiting to perform.
I was a little frustrated with Saturday’s concert despite some of my favorites being part of the line-up. But whatever kinks may have snarled up the pacing were pretty much fixed on Sunday. For me, night two was a far more enjoyable show overall. Things moved at a clip (the concert was closer to 2.5 hours than 4), there was a nice mix of styles that kept things feeling fresh and the audience seemed a little less ‘shouty-for-shouting’s-sake.’
Some of the same games and features made a return on this second night (I could do without the raffles and emoji contests, KCON), but they didn’t seem to drag down the show until the very end when poor NCT Dream were pulling raffle tickets and slips of paper from multiple boxes when they’d probably rather be… you know… performing.
There’s already been a bunch of online discourse about the brutal schedule that The Boyz (and I think Dream, too?) were working under. Basically, they flew in from Korea and performed at KCON only hours later. I don’t know about you, but I can barely catch my airport shuttle after a long flight. I can’t imagine busting out intricate choreo in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans. But, these guys are as professional as it gets. If they were tired, you’d never know it from their stages.
The Boyz, in particular, brought tons of energy. I wasn’t a fan of most of the songs they chose to perform (though Maverick sounded much better in the context of an arena), but when they got to The Stealer I instantly remembered how incredible they can be. Maybe that’s why I’ve been so hard on their recent music. Their performance level is too high to be wasted on throwaway tracks. The Stealer was one of the night’s biggest highlights. The precision of that choreo is something else.
Poor NCT Dream were down Mark and Haechan, but it was interesting to see how the others picked up their slack. For me, their set was very comparable with The Boyz in the sense that I’m not partial to songs like Hot Sauce or Glitch Mode, but when they perform a total banger like Hello Future or Beatbox they really set the stage alight. I was holding out a dim hope for My First And Last to make an appearance, even though I knew it was unlikely. Alas, they didn’t perform anything pre-2021.
Every year at KCON, there are two kinds of artists. There are the big guns that often fly in right before their performance and leave shortly after, and then there are the smaller acts that stay for days, working the convention floor. They’re the groups you might run into randomly in the hallway (happened this year with INI!), and to me they’ve always been the heart of the KCON experience. My group this year was TO1, whose Drummin’ has become an unexpected “song of the summer” contender. Their performance was a huge highlight, bringing the kind of ‘young Golcha meets Block B’s H.E.R.” energy that has always been appealing to me. They looked like they were having a blast, and when they dressed up in cowboy gear for a boisterous cover of PSY’s That That, the audience joined in their energy.
The other big highlight for me during night two was WJSN. As the most established group of the whole weekend (seriously, the oldest group this year debuted in… 2016?!?), I was miffed they didn’t get to perform more songs. But, the one-two punch of Last Sequence and As You Wish was super, super good. These ladies know how to sell a big dance anthem.
Other acts had smaller sets. STAYC did the most with a two-song performance (RUN2U for the win!) while NMIXX showcased their versatility with a cover of Seventeen’s Aju Nice. Also, I think I’m somehow starting to (gulp) like O.O. Help me! It kind of went off in the arena.
LOONA returned for their second KCON LA and picked a few great songs to perform. I was especially happy to hear Voice, which might just by my favorite full-group LOONA track. P1Harmony didn’t make as big of an impression on me, but I think that’s just because I would have preferred to hear Scared or Siren over their two most recent tracks.
All in all, 2022 was another successful KCON. I’m happy the convention and concert are back on their feet after a too-long hiatus. I’ll leave you with a couple of cool songs that I heard about a million times this weekend since they’re tied to promotional videos. I’ll be downloading both. Yes, KCON’s advertising overlords got to me. I’m not immune to the MNET system, as much as I like to (lovingly?) complain about it!
Thank you for sharing your experience in these types of events Nick! It is great to have a look from your perspective, you always bring a really interesting view to the kpop scene. Being a South American fan I can only dream of attending KCON one day… or any kpop concert for that matter haha but in the meantime I really enjoy these blogs. I have been reading your page for years, might start commenting more often lol.
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and mind u tbz were 2 hours late to kcon so they had to go there right from a 12 hour flight therefore they couldnt do a soundcheck/rehearsal and the styling team had to basically do everything in under 20 mins…….and they STILL managed to do all of that like it was nothing. theyre insane
(also then shouting out eric in the crowd was so sweet i hope he can come back soon his personality in tbzs songs is dearly missed)
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Ah you’re so lucky. I’ll be there one day…one day
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Thanks for sharing! This was super fun to read!
And I can’t agree harder with this comment on The Boyz “Their performance level is too high to be wasted on throwaway tracks.” 😭😭 With their numbers and formations and impeccable choreo they can do SOOOO MUCH MOOOOOORE!! They need to come alive on stage with their performances and for that they need to get back to the style of songs that really highlight them as a team!
Also I see you there with that remark on O.O 💀💀 I feel ya… I too was so convinced initially on how I didn’t like it. But I can’t live in denial anymore with how I keep singing it and feeling happy about it.
Also these girls are crazy good at performing and if it can reach me through the screen I bet sitting up so close would have definitely pulled you in lol. And from what I saw on YT they did the Aju Nice cover so well! I’m glad that they are being given the opportunity to cover stronger material that suits their performance levels! (This is what I want for Purple Kiss lol 😓😭)
And now I should go dig up some of those Drummin stages! I liked the song but missed out the live shows so maybe now’s a good time to check them out! 🙂
if only chan hadnt worn that damn durag…..
So awesome that you got to attend! It sounds like a very cool experience. I’m hoping I might get to go next year- just have to make some IRL friends who are into Kpop so I don’t have to go alone, haha!
(Btw, I feel you about O.O.! It’s been a real slow-burn grower for me. I pretty much hated it at first listen but FINALLY broke down this week and downloaded it after having it stuck in my head for literally six months lol)
I just watched The Boyz KCON 1min video and it’s a ‘Maverick’ rock remix?? And also they have ‘The Stealer’ rock version??? Holy….
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