The Best Moments of KCON 2022’s Day One Concert
A recap of the five most exciting moments of the jam-packed show!
#5: Bebe Rexha’s Surprise Appearance
Pop icon Bebe Rexha performed her collaboration with ITZY’s YEJI And RYUJIN, “Break My Heart Myself,” and she received a warm welcome from the K-pop-fan-filled crowd. Bebe gave the love right back, hugging ITZY and saying she loves them after their performance. The girls showed a natural chemistry and were a great example of how K-pop and western pop artists’ collaborations deserve to rise in quantity and global acclaim. It was a fitting performance for the ten-year KCON anniversary concert, sending a message about how far K-pop has come. K-pop went from being considered a niche interest back in 2012 to a widely-loved type of music that has won over fans of all kinds of pop music.
#4: Kep1er’s “Dream Stage”
Earlier in the day, Kep1er fans got to audition for the chance to perform the “WA DA DA” choreography at the concert alongside the group, and twenty winners were selected for this dream-come-true experience. Not only was it a touching performance to watch, as the fans positively glowed with joy and amazement, but it was also highly entertaining, The chosen fans performed the song’s official choreography as in-sync and impressively as the members of Kep1er did; a stage that could have looked messy turned out to look professional and effortless.
#3: The Covers
Kep1er peaked the crowd’s interest early in the evening with their cover of “La Vie en Rose” by IZ*ONE. This was a particularly meaningful track choice, since “La Vie en Rose” almost went to CLC, and it would have been the group’s big break. CLC member Yujin, now a member of Kep1er, got to finally perform this song in front of a massive crowd, and the top-notch performance was met with the rapturous applause it deserved.
Another meaningful cover was ENHYPEN’s rendition of “Permission to Dance” by BTS, their seniors from the same parent company.
Lastly, LIGHTSUM turned from their sweet, youthful selves into fierce alter egos, taking on the personas of the (G)I-DLE members in their “TOMBOY” era.
K-pop stars paying tribute to the artists who came before them is always a highlight of KCON, and this year was no exception.
#2: ATEEZ’s Set
To say ATEEZ started off the show with a bang would be an understatement. They seemed to pack a concert’s worth of artistic choices into a setlist with less than ten songs. Intense and detailed dance performances were paired with head-spinning rap deliveries and top-tier vocals. Their costume-like ensembles helped them embody different characters and amped up the drama. The theatrical aspect of their set was played up in a particularly mesmerizing way when Seonghwa confidently wielded a sword, a never-before-seen look in his eyes as he transformed into the protagonist he embodied.
Another role they took on during their set: old ATEEZ! They revisited some of the songs that serve as snapshots in time for their meteoric rise, like “Wave” and “HALA HALA.”
Overall, ATEEZ proved they can be chameleonic in their stage presence, varied in their sonic scope, and capable of generating ear-splitting crowd enthusiasm. They left everything on the stage and proved their potential to exponentially expand their quantity of admirers in the coming years.
#1: All Things Stray Kids
After over three hours of extremely high-energy performances, it would make sense for the atmosphere to simmer down as fans grew tired (especially those who had traveled to KCON from different time zones!), but Stray Kids ensured everyone stayed wide awake all night long. They were the perfect choice for a final act, giving the show the adrenaline jolt it did not necessarily need but from which it certainly benefited! They powered through “MANIAC,” “Thunderous,” “Back Door,” and “God’s Menu,” each number treated like their grand finale. Their commanding, self-assured stage presence was downright captivating, and their mental presence while performing was evident.
Stray Kids’ showmanship proved to be versatile, as several members were MCs earlier in the night. Felix and Hyunjin stood onstage to announce part of the night’s agenda, and although they certainly turned on the charm, Bang Chan cranked it up even more during his solo MC bit, tossing roses into the crowd and grinning from ear to ear as he expressed his genuine pride in being a presenter.
Stray Kids’ palpable energy and likeability left viewers wanting more, making this performance both memorable and a persuasive case to attend a full-length Stray Kids concert as soon as possible!
For more KCON coverage…
A new episode of 17 Carat K-Pop covers the highlights and lowlights of this year’s KCON, an in-depth review of different parts of the experience, takeaways to keep in mind when attending KCON in the future, and more!
Also, my general convention overview is out now and can be read below!
Photos courtesy of CJ ENM and KCON USA