By: Hannah Waitt
A bright blue glow pulsed through the crowd as the lights dimmed in the Staples Center. After a long day of wandering around the Los Angeles Convention Center and gathering various promotional goodies from booths, meeting online fan friends “irl”, and dancing all day, fans were ready, nay, desperate for the concert to begin. The sound of sirens signaled the beginning of the night as MONSTA X opened with their debut song, “Trespass” to the raucous roar of a full arena. The group could not have asked for a better venue at which to make their debut stateside performance. Though the group hasn’t been around for long, their powerful hip-hop performance style seems to have hit home with fans of stylistically similar groups like BTS and Block B.
Up next, GOT7 took the stage one by one, performing various martial arts tricks and flips under individual spotlights. The crowd went into a frenzy as they opened their set with “Stop Stop It”, followed by the group’s latest single “Just Right”. Halfway through their set, GOT7 stopped to introduce themselves and also apologize for Jackson’s absence from the show, with Mark exclaiming, “Let’s make Jackson regret the fact that he couldn’t be here!” As GOT7 continued with their set and closed it out with a group performance of JJ Project’s “Bounce”, it’s likely that they made any K-pop fan who wasn’t in attendance that night regret that they couldn’t be there.
GOT7 was followed by SISTAR, whose signature summer sound had fans up and out of their seats to dance along. The group kicked off their set with their newest single, “Shake It” before transitioning into “Touch My Body”. Bora notably had the loudest cheers from the American audience, but the group as a whole deserves recognition for their solid live vocals, which were on point throughout the show. The group, or more specifically, Hyorin, further flexed their vocals with the performance of one of their more mellow B-side tracks “Lead Me” before finishing their set with “Loving You” and “Ma Boy”.
Proving that he had no need for the pomp and circumstance that accompanies most K-pop acts, Roy Kim took the stage with nothing but a microphone and a guitar to perform “Home”. As he faded in and out of an opera-esque bellow, he put a spell on the crowd that temporarily lulled everyone in the stadium out of their calamity and into a calm trance. After his first song, Kim took a break to dedicate his set to UNESCO, an organization that promotes Women’s and Girls’ Education and gender equality, a gesture that left the crowd impressed and thanksful for Kim’s philanthropic efforts. The highlight of his set came when SISTAR member Soyu took the stage alongside him to perform a well-harmonized duet cover of Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat’s “Lucky”.
What followed Roy Kim’s set was first confusion and then chaos, as MONSTA X and GOT7 performed a dance battle of epic scale before the headliners of the night took the stage. When Super Junior appeared, the blue ocean once again washed over the stadium as fans squealed in delight for the group’s opening performance of “Twins”. What was perhaps most impressive about Super Junior was their ability to make the stage their own. They worked the arena like the veterans that they are, leaving the audience feeling as if they had just attended “Supershow LA” with the other groups merely opening for the main act. Their performance was all at once relaxed and yet polished, giving off the arrogance of practiced experts while maintaining the humility of a group who has seen it all and is thankful to have done so. Super Junior completed their set with an easy finesse, eliciting multiple laughs from the audience with jokes between songs along the way before closing the night out with their latest hit, “Devil”.
All in all, the first night of KCON performances in Los Angeles was one of the best in the event’s history. The diverse lineup of K-pop’s heavy hitters left fans of all ages and origins satisfied, exhausted, and ready for the last day of KCON.
Tags: GOT7 KCON 2015 MONSTA X Roy Kim SISTAR Super Junior