Back for another exciting year, KCON 2018 LA Presented by Toyota was set with a stacked lineup full of both rookie artists and established seniors. Held in the same venue as the past few years, KCON filled the Los Angeles Convention Center with more than 94,000 fans over the course of three days. When it came time for the concert, the Staples Center gladly hosted only a part of said guests for the day 1 M! Countdown concert. With the lineup including groups Wanna One and Twice, who both boast enormous fan power, the arena was full with the screams of fans for the entire night.
Starting off the night’s set was fun-loving girl group Momoland, fresh off the enormous success of their popular singles “Bboom Bboom” and “BAAM.” They emerged from underneath the stage in altered matching uniform outfits and their infamous light up shoes to get the crowd hyped with a remix of “BAAM.” While performing “Bboom Bboom,” the girls spread out to each side of the zig-zag stage so they could see all of the KCONers dancing along. They were so happy to finally perform in the U.S. and their cheerful vibe was infectious.
The following performer was MMO Entertainment’s concept-bending boy group IN2IT. They kicked off their set with the animated funk single “Sorry for My English.” With the choreography featuring hip swings and cheeky record-spinning motions, they had the crowd dancing along in no time. They closed their segment of the show with their 2017 single “SnapShot.” While a different feel than “Sorry for My English,” “SnapShot” also utilizes similar point moves to emphasize the lyrics. It was fun to see the audience following their “SnapShot” camera choreography.
After IN2IT’s lively set, the Korean hip-hop legends Dynamic Duo rose from under the stage for a more chill song. Within the set called “Groovy Town,” Dynamic Duo performed “Hot Wings,” a song originally featuring Hyolyn. Around the middle of the song, day two performer Chungha unexpectedly appeared on one of the stages to finish out the song with Dynamic Duo. Wearing an ethereal black lace dress with red polka dot detail, Chungha complemented the performance perfectly with her angelic vocals.
Following that exciting collaboration from the ever so experienced Dynamic Duo, KCON gave us a look into rookie performer Mia’s life. Showing a video of Mia’s participation so far in the industry, including Mia’s experience on the MNET show Breakers, we were able to see who Mia is and what her performance would be like. She came onstage after the short intro video and performed “Blind,” a very laid-back song she debuted on Breakers. After Blind, Mia took a bit of time to talk to the audience and then performed “City of Stars” from the soundtrack of the movie La La Land. It seemed like a full-circle moment for the singer, as she said that a year ago, she was a KCON audience member herself.
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Golden Child, a rookie group that just debuted in just last year, was another bold pick chosen to perform at KCON. While they have a good fan base built, they were definitely less experienced than most of the other artists at KCON. Fortunately, they had already shown their talent at KCON NY, so many people were looking forward to their stage. They started their set with their new single, “Let Me.” The song’s happy energy brought everyone to pay attention to GolCha (the group’s nickname), if they weren’t already paying attention. After this, the group took us back to their debut and performed the catchy “DamDaDi.” The widely appealing song had many people dancing and singing along. These boys may be new to the scene but it looks like they’re here to stay.
Even though one special stage had already happened during the show, there was another surprise in store prepared by three members of Twice. When the lights came on, Jihyo, Tzuyu, and Momo emerged in one of the corner stages. And when the music started, it became known that the girls were doing their famous cover of Beyoncé’s “End of Time,” complete with the iconic original choreography. It was a lively, sexy departure from Twice’s original content that was welcomed by the fans in attendance.
Leaving the more intense performances to their juniors, the balladeer duo Davichi then took the stage and gave us heavenly calm vocals with a little bit of sass. They were perfectly able to bring the crowd down from the high they felt during the special stage, while still maintaining their attention. The two women performed their song “Nostalgia” that was newly released in July. They also performed the now-classic Descendants of The Sun OST “This Love” from 2016. They ended their set with the popular disco-esque track “8282,” which brought everyone’s clapping hands out.
Calming R&B being his specialty, Crush was a great choice for KCON to assign to the middle of the night’s performances. He began his performance with the song “Bittersweet.” a single released this past May. Switching up the order of performers, his frequent collaborators Dynamic Duo came out after Crush sang “Bittersweet” to perform their hit “BAAAM.” After “BAAAM,” Crush was brought back on stage and the labelmates spoke briefly to the audience about how great it was to see their LA fans. Although both acts have many collaborations they could have performed, the next song in their set was Dynamic Duo’s 2011 song “Friday Night.” Crush offering up his silky vocals for a special performance of the classic track is another example of special stages that can be seen at KCON.
After Crush and Dynamic Duo brought us a hip-hop set, Twice were back in the building. The group is known for their charismatic and fun performances, and KCON LA was no exception! The girls started their set with their newest single “Dance The Night Away,” and —cue overused pun— they really had everyone dancing the night away. IAs the song is extremely high energy and seems seriously difficult to perform, it was a surprising opening song. The choice to start out showing off their stamina and choreography skills was bold, and they were of course top notch.
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After taking a moment to talk to the crowd and doing a segment where they danced with audience members on the screen, the girls launched into their April hit, “What is Love?” During this track, you could feel the camaraderie between the fans throughout the venue, but it was nothing compared to the enthusiasm radiated during their next song: “Likey.” “Likey” is a track that no matter who you are or where you’re from, if you’re a K-pop fan, you have some sort of relationship with it. You may hate it, but if you love it, you really, love it. The entire arena was jamming along to the L-hand choreography. For a song that is only almost a year old, it holds so much power, and it was an impressive spectacle.
One of the most anticipated performers of night 1 was vocal powerhouse Ailee. The singer enthralled the guests of the Staples Center with her breathtaking vocals and dance-worthy songs. Ailee, known mostly for her vocal prowess, surprised a lot of the crowd as she performed some of her more upbeat songs instead of ballads, which many people tend to recognize her for. She was definitely not playing around and showed KCONers everything she’s capable of. It was very evident that Ailee is born to perform, as she was having an amazing time on stage and couldn’t stop smiling. It was truly a sight to see.
Wanna One was the final act, and as soon as the lights went down after Ailee, the Staples Center lit up with Wannables (the group’s fans) holding up their lightsticks in preparation for the boys’ final performance in the U.S. prior to their upcoming disbandment. It was a bittersweet set filled with most of their hits so far, and the arena was consumed by fan chants throughout Wanna One’s time on stage.
They started off their performance with their latest single, “Light.” Wannables definitely identified with the lyrics at that moment —especially:“When I saw you today/The feeling of butterflies was bigger than the familiar feeling.” For the next song, the boys launched into their debut track “Energetic.” Everyone in the crowd was clearly feeling it since the entire venue lit up. Up next was their more gentle tune “IPU (I Promise You)”. Performing this sweet song dedicated to their fanbase softened the blow that most Wannables in attendance must have been feeling due to the bittersweet nature of their appearance at KCON LA.
To conclude the night, the 11 boys once again had the audience jumping and dancing along to their high-energy bop “Burn It Up”! The song was a perfect way to end their set and KCON 2018 LA overall. The hard-hitting chorus and bridge were amazing to witness live, and it is so evident how hard Wanna One work to put on a great performance for their audience every time. It’s a shame they will be disbanding soon, but the new chapter brought upon by their journeys into new groups will definitely be interesting to watch as all 11 members are crazy talented.
As night 1 sadly came to a close, the fact that there was still one more concert night to enjoy livened up the ambiance. As KCON continues to grow and impress audiences across the world every year, we are excited to partake in KCON’s expansion every year.
What’s your favorite performer from night 1 of KCON? Let us know your picks and thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.