For the second year running, the organizers of the immensely popular global Kpop convention, CJ E&M, have brought KCON to the east coast of the United States. And, this time it’s a lot bigger than last year, with two full days of all things Hallyu. Dubbed KCON 2016 New York, the 2 day event was held at the grounds of the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, which is just over the river from New York City.
After fans from the area, and from as far away as Arizona and Ohio had had their fill of dancing, panels, eating mandu and other Korean treats, as well as sharing their love for Kpop with one another, they filled up the Prudential Center arena to the brim for the 1st night of the convention’s concert featuring Ailee, Seventeen, Dynamic Duo, Crush, and BtoB.
But before the concert, select fans had the opportunity to see the performing Kpop artists up close during a red carpet event.
The concert began about 7:30 PM when Danny Im, formally of the YG Entertainment boy group 1TYM and also known as Danny from LA, took to the stage as the show’s MC. He welcomed everybody to Kcon in NY/NJ, and then gave a shout out to a school in Harlem,NY called Democracy Prep, which has a mandatory Korean language program.
At this, a short video of the students of Democracy Prep played on the big screen showing them immersed in Korean culture and Kpop. Then a dance team arrayed on stage in multi-colored outfits, presumably from the Democracy Prep community, danced to a medley of Kpop songs including Red Velvet’s “Dumb Dumb,” Wonder Girls “Tell Me,” “Change Up” by Vixx, “Trespass” by Monsta X, and Big Bang’s “Bang, Bang, Bang.” They thoroughly warmed up the crowd in the pre-show.
— KCONUSA (@kconusa) June 24, 2016
Ailee and Rap Monster from BTS then appear on the stage arm-in-arm, and Ailee starts out saying how much it feels good to be back home. Rap Monster mainly spoke in Korean and Ailee in English, but all to the delight of the fans in the light-flooded arena.
To start things off proper, the 12 member boy group Seventeen first showed a music video that looked like it had just been filmed recently, because they wore the same outfit from the red carpet event, white suits with black strategically placed stripes. As the video wound down, two of Seventeen’s members came on stage simultaneously in a ball of light, on both ends of the stage.
The others showed up at the center of the stage, after the other two had dazzled the audience with some dance moves.
Seventeen performed some of their hottest singles including “Pretty U,” “Mansae” and “Adore U.” During their introduction, the members of showed the audience how to dance to the chorus of Mansae. Seventeen’s performance was energetic, intense, and filled with theatrics.
Seventeen done with their stint, a video of the solo artist Crush plays on the screen and shows him arriving in NYC and greeting fans at the airport.
Crush then came unto the stage slowly from below, wearing a comfortable jeans outfit complete with jacket and loose fitting pants.
When Crush introduced himself, he started out with “hi I’m Crush.. nice to meet you.” But, then as he struggled to find the words to express his feelings correctly, being at Kcon in New York, he suddenly stopped and yelled “let’s go!” And, the music started up for his next performance.
Crush may have been on stage alone, but his tremendous vocals and the immense melody of his music filled up the cavernous arena. It’s hard to describe, and it’s just extraordinary.
He performed his collab track with Zico called “Oasis,” helping out a bit with Zico’s rapping part, before spraying the audience with water. The audience delightfully ate up the entire performance with shrieks and screams.
Crush also performed “Woo Ah,” a soft and sultry ballad. Then labelmate Gaeko of Dynamic Duo joined him on stage for a rap verse, during which Crush passes the time seducing the audience with dance moves.
Without much ado, Korea’s Miss thing herself, the homecoming queen, Ailee and a crew of four foxy silhouettes appeared on stage. After a few sultry and seductive moves, Ailee’s amazing vocals ripped through the arena with her last comeback single “Mind Your Own Business.”
With the crowd loving every moment, without warning even before Ailee hits the first chorus, the music cuts off, leaving Ailee’s beautiful voice alone singing a capella. Not stopping for a moment, she continues singing till the end of that part of the song, and the crowd erupts in cheers and screams.
Smiling, Ailee escorts her crew off stage to figure out the situation. Unable to contain themselves, the crowd begins chanting “Ailee!” “Ailee!!” Ailee!!!”
When Ailee returns, the song starts again, and it’s basically a treat for her loyal and devoted fans. Since, they got to hear the beginning of the song, twice.
When Ailee introduces herself to the audience, she apologized for the technical difficulties, joking saying it was a welcome-home gift.
For her next song, Ailee continued joking with the audience that if they didn’t sing along she would just walk off the stage. And everybody laughed with her. She then performed “Don’t Touch Me,” from her 3rd Mini Album called “Magazine.”
While performing her debut song “I Will Show You,” during a very brief pause in the song, Ailee blows a kiss to the heavens.
As Ailee winds up her set, her four dancers walk off stage, and Ailee is left alone. And, the crowd busts again into chants of Ailee! Ailee!! Ailee!!!. Touched, she says “it’s such a blessing to come home and be welcomed like this.”
Then, she says her last song of the night is for everyone to party. Ailee finishes for the night with “U and I.” The energy is infectious, as Ailee’s incredibly robust vocals reverberates through the arena.
Then Rapmon comes on stage and introduces BtoB.
In their rose-pink suits, BtoB alight onto the stage slowly from below, and sing a soft and sweet ballad, making fans to wave their light sticks in the air. And, then when it’s the turn of each member to feature vocally in the song, and is shown on the big screens, the fans in the audience would scream loudly when it’s their favorite member’s turn.
When BtoB introduced themselves, they said the song they just performed was from their first show win, called “Way Back Home.” And, they also said it was their first time at Kcon. BtoB’s 1st win came after an inordinately long time since their debut in 2012. So that song means a lot to BtoB and their fans called Melodies.
BtoB also performed “Beep Beep,” “All Wolves Except Me,” and other hits which are all very melodic with very 90s RnB beats. Their recreation of that 90’s era, from melody, harmony and even the dance moves, was a beautiful sight to behold. Their music is soft, smooth and rather dancey in a two-step kinda way.
BtoB also thrilled the audience by singing a capella a One Direction song called “History.” They focused on the part of the song that goes “you and me have a whole lot of history.”
After BtoB was done, the special MCs actress Park Bo Young and actor Im Su Jung came on stage.
And, when we thought we had seen the last of them, super group Seventeen invaded the stage once more, wearing smart looking navy-blue blazers with gold trimming, over black buttoned up shirts and pants. They then attempted to dismantle the stage with their vivacious choreography as they performed a tripped out remix of Super Junior’s “Sorry Sorry,” and BigBang’s “Bang Bang Bang”.
— #예쁘다 (@stoptae2k16) June 25, 2016
After Seventeen left the stage, leaving the audience breathless and in awe, Ailee comes back on stage with Rap Monster. She asks him about his influences. To which he responds Drake, Kanye, and did a special shout out to the legends of hip-hop from the New York area, Nas ,Jay Z and the Notorious B.I.G.
At this the Ameoba Culture DJ booth is then rolled out, and out comes Dynamic Duo’s Gaeko and Choiza. They commandeer the stage with their dynamic sense of hip-hop and it’s essence, bouncing from one end to the other, hyping up the crowd.
Gaeko and Choiza performed their hit tracks including “Shoot” and “Baaam.” The members also taught the audience how to say “Uriga nugo,” which means “who we are.”
And, there it was! The first night of Kcon 2016 New York was a wrap! Led by Ailee, all the performers and MCs came out and said their thank yous and good-byes to the ebullient crowd.
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