This post comes a lot later than I had hoped. It has taken me a while to get my ideas down into a post and life has been busy as well. This was my third year at KCON NY. I must admit that I was disappointed with the lineup. The way I saw it, there were too many new groups, NCT 127, UP10TION, KNK, and SF9. There were also 2 girl groups, GFRIEND and TWICE, neither of whom I cared for. I flew halfway across the country to see HIGHLIGHT. But now, I can honestly say this year’s KCON was the most fulfilling experience.
I was very fortunate this year. I had gotten pretty cheap concert tickets since I had to consider my flight costs as well. But it turned out that one of my friends had tickets that she was unable to sell and ended up giving them to me for free. These were not just any seats. These were the best possible seats. I was at floor level and able to watch the performances on stage as opposed to on the screens.
Having never experienced all the “extras” like fan engagement, and red carpet audience, this was all a special treat. Zion.T always seemed larger than life and being able to see him in person was especially memorable. Seeing KNK and SF9 on the red carpet made me realize how much effort it must take to make groom these young people for the idol life. Highlight are ambassadors for the Pacheyong Olympics and therefore participated in multiple events through the day.
The performances on Day 1 were pretty impressive. I really want to like KNK but they haven’t really found a musical identity. They were good performers though. SF9 stole everyone’s hearts. They have been putting out consistently good music and seem to be a fun group. As I mentioned in a previous post, Zion.T gave an incredible performance. The only girl groups I had seen prior to this were AOA and MAMAMOO. By comparison, GFRIEND seemed terribly dull. Their performance was fine but they looked extremely uncomfortable and there seemed to be very little fan interaction.
The last performers of the evening were, my faves, HIGHLIGHT. To be completely honest, theirs was not the most captivating performance but they more than made up for it by being the lovable idols that many of us have followed since their BEAST days. Despite being a “rookie” group, they had nothing to prove. Their performances were not dazzling like those of the younger groups. Instead they gave us a great performance as expected from experienced idol group. The best part was they performed BEAST tracks. It left quite a few of us teary eyed.
The second day went by like a breeze. I feel like I did not do much on Day 2. Even though, I did not have any particular favorites performing, what I did see was excellent. The venue was packed with TWICE fans. And I finally understood why they have a such a huge fan following. Their performances were awesome and their fan-service was note-worthy. NCT 127 gave an explosive performance and I can see why SM is putting a lot of resources into this project. CNBLUE gave a performance that was completely fitting of their image as an older group. For me, their performance, was the most memorable.
I experienced much more than I ever imagined and I was perfectly content after Day 1. I just sat around and had good conversations while others used my tickets to get the fan engagement and red carpet experiences for their faves. My friend who introduced me to K-Pop got to watch her favorite, CNBLUE from those awesome seats. The best part was to be able to give away tickets to a lady who brought her grand-daughter to KCON. I got to sit next to her as she experienced K-Pop for the first time. There was something super fulfilling about seeing all these people be so happy.
There was a huge CD sale on Day 2 and I got my hands on BTOB’s Complete (!!!!!), HIGHLIGHT’s Calling You, BEAST’s Highlight, SHINEE’s Odd, and B.A.P’s Noir. Overall a very satisfying haul.
It was definitely a dream come true to watch HIGHLIGHT live. Just yesterday one of my friends described them as “a bunch of human shaped dollops of charisma.” Was their’s the best performance? Not really. It was all about the shared experience with others who never expected to see these guys perform again. A few of my friends became new NCT 127 and SF9 stans. I am almost too old and lazy to learn names of new idols especially those with so many members. If I had to pick a new group to follow, it would probably be KNK. Their music has not completely won me over, but I see the potential there especially if they continue to stick with the same producer.
Overall, it was just a wonderful experience and I am very thankful for have been able to go. KCON LA has an incredible lineup but I am so content with my experience at NY that I do not feel too bad about being unable to go. I hope to attend again next year and have an even more enjoyable experience.
Did you attend KCON this year? What were your thoughts on the performances?