Everyone knows that spending an evening at a KCON concert is pretty much one of the most amazing experiences any K-Pop fan could ever have, aside from actually meeting a bias in person. It’s just one of those experiences that pretty much every K-Pop fan in the world dreams of being a part of, at least once in their life, and for good reason. KCON has a way of bringing some of the biggest names in K-Pop together for a concert like no other.
With this being my 4th KCON in 3 years I knew, as I walked into the Staples Center on Saturday night, that this year’s concert were going to be epic. Not just because it was KCON but because KCON 2016 marked the 5 year anniversary of this most incredible Hallyu convention. With such a milestone to commemorate, there was no way KCON was gonna drop the ball on this year’s concerts. Knowing that, I was practically bouncing in my seat as I waited for Saturday night’s concert to start. When the house lights finally dimmed, I was one of the tens of thousands of voices who raised in a deafening cheer as the moment we’d all been waiting for had finally arrived. This was it! It was time! Oh someone help! Even a month later I’m still so excited I feel like I could jump out of my skin! (Though maybe that’s the coffee…)
JuNCurryAhn was the first to take the stage that night, opening the evening with his performance of BTS’ “Fire.” He was as fantastic as ever and I would have loved to have seen him perform more but there was so much more yet to enjoy, I could hardly be sad about a very brief opening act. Especially not when ELUPHANT took the stage next. Oh gracious! I kind of had a bit of a moment when these two showed up on-stage. Part of it had to do with the fact that they’re pretty much the godfathers of underground hip hop in Korea and to watch them and think of all the young artists out there who have influenced by their work… Ugh. I get emotional just thinking about it! The other part of my moment was knowing that I’d had an interview scheduled with them on Friday and things just got so wonky with our schedules that it ended up never happening. *sobs* As disappointed as I was about the interview, I had no problems squealing myself silly as soon as they started in on “Fly Me to The Moon.” (I know, it’s so hard to imagine me squealing myself silly over anything!)
As is always the case at a KCON concert, there were quite a few sponsor messages and such we had to endure before the evening’s festivities really got started. Every year they’re the same. Some lucky person wins a trip to Korea. KCON Merch is tossed into the crowd. Toyota makes sure you know they’re a major sponsor. Blah. Blah. Blah. The only part of this segment that was new was the awarding of a music scholarship, presented by the head of CJ and the Qincy Jones, to one very lucky girl. As awesome as it was to see this young lady be recognized for her talent and hard work, I honestly sat there wondering how the heck she managed to stand on stage next to such intimidating figures without passing out.
With the awards presented and the commercials finished, it was finally time for the evening’s concert to begin. Once again I joined my voice with the tens of thousands who filled the Staples Center, squealing like a banshee as the opening video began to play. Having been at the Red Carpet just a couple of hours before, I knew Lee Min Ho would be making an appearance at this evening’s concert but that didn’t stop me from nearly having a heart attack when he walked out on stage to welcome everyone to KCON 2016 LA. I swear, that man has some sort of voodoo magic that he works when you see him in person. All he has to do is breathe and you feel like you heart is going to explode.
Needless to say, I was walking that fine line between life and death by the time I.O.I appeared on-stage. Lucky for me, their performance was just what I needed to bring me back from the brink. Their performance was so much fun! It was exactly what I needed to give my poor fangirl heart a chance to steady itself. The bad news is, Dean was next in the evening’s line-up and well… That was the end of the zombie!
It took all of 2 seconds of Dean’s singing to turn me into a puddle of fangirl goo. I kid you not, I spent the entirety of his performance flopped over in my seat, clutching my heart, trying to figure out why in the world this boy wasn’t at the top of my bias list. His voice is just… *ugh* His performance was just… *sigh* I wish I could tell you more than that but my brain went so much to mush, it’s a wonder I can remember this much. Talk about having a moment!
Once again I was saved by the appearance of a girl group as Dean disappeared and GFriend took the stage. Having seen them perform in Toronto, I knew we were in for a treat with this set and I was right. These girls really are a group to be admired as they are all so very talented. I had a lot of fun cheering for them as my overly-fangirly heart settled back into a more normal rhythm. For all of a minute. Yup. A minute. And then my heart went as wonky as a 2-legged donkey, thanks to KCON’s special stages-o-death and Zico.
Anyone who knows me knows I have a certain weakness for Zico. He’s one of those idols who I truly idolize, not just because his stupid growly voice makes me swoon like you would not believe, but because I truly admire him as a person and have mad respect for his talent. That being said, when he popped up out of nowhere and he and U-Kwon started in on “Boys and Girls”… ACK! I just… I couldn’t… I… OH HELP! I’m swooning all over again! Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Zico’s special stage. And that moment when Dean showed up and they performed “Pour Up” together… Ohhhhh! I just can’t even go there. My poor heart’s about to explode as it is!
Following up this zombie-killing special stage was Amber and gosh darn it! My poor heart just wasn’t ready for such an assault! I love Amber so much. I’ve always wished I could see her perform in person so to have her skateboard her way on-stage that night was a literal dream come true. When she performed “Shake that Brass” I sang and danced along and when she sang “Borders” my heart darn near exploded. Ugh! Talk about an emotional moment!
Riding such a wave of intense fangirl emotions, I thought I might get a bit of a break during the next performance and maybe have a chance to get my rather emotional self back under control but NOPE! KCON decided that was the perfect moment to throw in another special stage and before my poor brain could even register what was happening WHAM! ASTRO showed up out of nowhere and I was so shocked and overwhelmed by their sudden appearance I darn near threw my phone! Not knowing how to handle this sudden attack I did the only thing I could do. I squealed and screamed and might have possibly cried a little bit and sang and danced and had the time of my life! And then Turbo appeared and they took the energy in the room and cranked it to eleven.
Oh my word. Talk about fun! Turbo burst onto the stage with energy high, took that concert and made it into a party! I swear, I’ve never had so much fun as I did during their performance. It. Was. AWESOME! Seriously. I can’t even begin to describe to you how much fun Turbo’s set was. It’s one of those things where you just had to be there. All I can say is that these guys far exceeded any of my expectations and felt me feeling very, very happy. (And not just because they ended their set with a giant dance party with ASTRO and GFriend… Though that was epically awesome!)
By this point in the evening, I was riding such a fangirl high, I didn’t know if I’d ever come down again. I was having so much fun, I didn’t think anything in the world could ever top what I’d experienced thus far. And then Block B showed up. And they started singing “Toy.” And I lost it. As in completely and totally melted down into the most utterly fangirly state of being humanly possible. Completely unable to keep myself together I had to hand Lola my phone and ask her to take photos for me because I knew that if I tried, it’d go flying and I’d end up beaning some innocent person sitting 12 rows in front of me, in the back of the head. I think at this point I should probably offer Michael (Mr. Popo) and Lola both an apology. I’m afraid my fangirling was a bit… Enthusiastic, might be the word I’m looking for here. Ridiculous might be another. Either way, they were the poor souls sitting next to me and well, all I can say is, I’m sorry.
Lucky for me, Michael and Lola are both very lovely, good-natured people who are very forgiving when it comes to moments of intense zombie fangirling and it’s a good thing too because after Block B came SHINee and well… Let’s just say the phone had to be stashed in my bag because neither Lola nor I could keep it together well enough to be trusted with it. At least we had a little bit of warning before SHINee actually appeared on-stage. With them being the last act of the evening, you know they had to make a very grand and dramatic entrance which gave me enough time to accept the fact that my death was upon me and attempt to mentally prepare. As if I had any sort of mental capacity left…
With my heart pounding and my mind a mushy mess, SHINee appeared and my soul disappeared. Transported to a world that can only be described as fangirl heaven, I watched SHINee’s performance with a heart so overflowing with happiness that there are no words to describe it. To say that SHINee’s performance was amazing would be an understatement. It was perfection, in every way, and yes, I’m totally saying this as one whose heart has been completely stolen by those five boys. (Biased is my middle name, didn’t you know?)
To end the evening on such a high note was both a stroke of genius on KCON’s part and a dangerous gamble, as it left me with ridiculously high expectations for Sunday night’s concert. Would the following evening’s concert be able to live up to the standards I now held or would it leave me feeling disappointed? After all, walking out of the Staples Center Saturday night, I felt as if I’d just experienced the most amazing night of my life. Would I be able to feel such strong emotions twice in 24 hours? I honestly had no idea but I was more than ready to find out!
Of course to get to Sunday’s concert, I first had to wrap up Saturday and make it through a whole new day of convention shenanigans. A task I was totally up for. But first, I needed food. Coincidentally enough, I had a business dinner at a KBBQ place right after the concert which meant I had a whole lot of food waiting for me by the time I found the restaurant. Woohoo! While I can’t really tell you much about the dinner, I can tell you that I was the designated meat griller for our table and that grapefruit soju is dangerously delicious.
Meeting up with my friends after dinner, we headed back home, all of us utterly exhausted. Having such a full, yet amazing, day had finally caught up with me and by the time we got home, I was so beyond ready to crash. Falling into bed as soon as we got home, I was out. Unfortunately my excitement must have seeped into my sleep because a couple of hours later I was up. Completely unable to fall back to sleep, I just laid there, in the dark, cursing at my stupid brain for waking me up so darn early. I knew right away that I was going to need two things to get me through my day: coffee and another smug Suga smile. Clearly the lack of sleep was already affecting my brain.