After the fun we had at last year’s KCON concerts, I vowed that we would get better seats next year. Not any of those insane packages or whatever, but just one level better.
And I was fully prepared to do just that but then ONE WEEK BEFORE KCON TICKETS WENT ON SALE, BTS TICKETS WENT ON SALE. I honestly didn’t think we would even be able to do both, assuming I could even get BTS tickets. But then by some stroke of Kpop fate, I scored 2 BTS tickets and since they were so high up and still face value, they were pretty reasonably priced. But, not free, which is what they would have had to have been for us to even consider getting KCON upgrades, haha.
So, we were back up in our P3 seats again this year (which is actually very close to where we’ll be sitting for BTS in the fall) and it was fine, more than fine, because I didn’t think we would even be able to go! I felt very grateful.
And, with the exception of G-Dragon, I don’t need to be down there by the stage getting showered in Kpop sweat – this lifestyle is way too rich for my blood at times and I’m more than context looking down from the arena heavens!
Before dropping us off at the Prudential Center like a good Papa H, we had dinner at Top’s Diner, which I found on Yelp and thought it was going to literally be a diner but then we walked in and it was totally pimped out inside! There was a really nice bar/lounge area, and then the rest of the dining area was like Upscale Diner themed.
We had a great waitress and I had a LOVELY Cuban coffee, oh mami, it was so fucking good and I wish I had one in front of me right now because that would certainly help me write this faster. I’ve never had a Cuban coffee before and I can’t believe I wasted so much time. Now I have to research cafes in Pittsburgh to see if I can a fix anywhere.
Anyway, I had a very decent veggie burger here but it was so hearty that I had to take half of it to go, which is good because I knew without a doubt that I would be hungry post-concert and the one thing our shitty hotel actually had was a mini fridge. Hard to believe. But, I guess the regulars need a place to keep their 40s cool.
Three cheers for Tops! I’ll have to remember this for the next time we’re in Newark, which unfortunately will be once a year if we continue going to KCON unless they finally find a way to actually move it to NYC.
Coleslaw was not great, though.
Doors were supposed to be at 6:30 so that’s when we got to the Prudential Center, but of course it was a typical clusterfuck of disorderly lines, confusion, and literally no signage to direction from staff members. Why, KCON, why you do dis? This is the 8th (I think?) annual KCON at this point and you would think by now they would have this down to a science. But instead everyone was asking each other which line they were in and the most popular answer was “no idea, dawg.”
Chooch and I got in the first line we could find an end to, and it was so fucked up because it snaked around so many times that we were actually starting out facing the opposite direction of where the entrance was.
I’ll spare you the nail-biting details, but we were in line for nearly an hour (the concert was slated to start at 7:30 so that wasn’t a heart-stopper or anything) and fucking RAN to our seats once we got inside, just narrowly making it on time. There were still a lot of people out there too once the concert started so that’s really shitty and uncool. I don’t know who’s at fault here, KCON of the Prudential Center staff, but that shit’s gotta change. Part of the benefit of having seats is that you don’t have to camp out to make sure you get a good spot, but even still, if we had arrived any later than we had, we would have missed part of the pre-show. We should have been able to roll up at like 7:15 and just go inside, it was so absurd.
Also, a big Fuck You to the people who bring actual backpacks into those places because that holds the line up so much! WHY DO YOU NEED SO MUCH STUFF?!
The highlight of the line was probably when Chooch saw some girl with some stackable Bambi plushes and he yelled, “I LOVE BAMBI!” at her. She smiled nervously. I guess it was like the time I rushed up to some broad at Riot Fest one year to scream, “I LOVE EMAROSA!” because she was wearing an Emarosa shirt. She was like, “Oh! You startled me.”
That’s…that’s what I do.
Here we are, getting ready for the show, lightsticks in hand!
Guys, day one had a stacked line-up:
- Red Velvet!
- SUPER JUNIOR!
I will try to summarize this as succinctly as possible because I know I can get super word-slutty. So I will give you a quick description of each group/artist and post a video for each one, cool? And it will be the official KCON videos, because trust me, mine are awful and I only recorded 30-60 seconds of each group for my own weird sentimental benefits.
- Stray Kids: Prefacing this with “they were formed on a singing survival show” is kind of dumb because that’s how a ton of kpop groups are formed. But nevertheless, they were formed on a reality show called, well, Stray Kids. They’re on JYP Entertainment which is also home to two of our fave groups, Twice and Got7, so needless to say, this group is tight. I only knew two or three of their songs going into this and Chooch didn’t know any, but by the time they were done, we were both sold. It’s hard not feeding off the crowd’s energy and getting effing hyped, you know?! I love kpop fans so much.
Except for the people behind us. The one, and I started noticing this about 30 minutes, sounded like puberty-pinnacle Peter Brady screaming at the Korean pop music show. At first I was like, “Haha, that’s cute, but I hope they stop doing that after this song.” NOPE. NEVER STOPPED. THEY SOUNDED LIKE A BROKEN FIRE ALARM. And then Chooch was getting mad because he said it smelled like someone behind him was shitting and I’m not saying it was the same person but I’m also not saying it wasn’t the same person.
Still, a minor complaint considering we were treated with such talent all night!
2. Heize: She is not only super fucking beautiful, but she is an extremely talented singer-songwriter. She even self-produces a lot of her own music. She was the only solo artist in the bill this year (last year it was Zion-T) so you know she has huge appeal in this market. And had these subtle, metallic shimmers in her hair that were so cool. I want to be like Heize. :(
3. Pentagon: Guys, I have gushed about them on here before and if there is one group from night one’s line-up that I would stress for anyone reading this to listen to, it’s these boys. I am rooting for them SO HARD. They WRITE THEIR OWN SONGS, and have even written songs for other groups, and they just want people to recognize them for this. When this song debuted last April, I was hooked from the start. Like, 15 seconds in, I knew I was going to watch it 785457 more times that day and learn all their names and read the lyrics and learn the dance (lol, try to anyway). My favorite is E’Dawn, and you probably already know which one he is, but if not, he’s the one that starts out alone on the outer stage with the conductor stick-thing. These guys are no one-hit wonders; they have a bunch of jams in their repertoire (I recommend “Runaway” and “Like This”) but here is a video of them performing my favorite, Chooch’s favorite, and everyone’s favorite:
4. Red Velvet: KCON skimped on the girl groups this year but the ones they gave us more than made up for it. Red Velvet are QUEENS, you guys. They were one of the first girl groups I really got into when I started doing kpop workouts (lol) and I remember being obsessed when I first saw the video for “Dumb Dumb” because it was sooooo quirky. I had some of their videos on at Blake & Haley’s baby shower last year and my friend Kara had to leave the room because she said they were creepy and I wouldn’t go that far but OK. Anyway, they’re on SM Entertainment, which is the #1 kpop agency, a freaking behemoth. Everything that comes out of SM is gold (*cough*SHINee*cough*) and it was such a huge deal to finally get to see these five girls. One of them, Wendy, is American, and when she sang a few lines from Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind,” the hairs on my arms stood up, hoisted themselves out of their follicles, and then walked away, a’quiver. SANG, GIRL, SANG. Sorry, but you get two videos for this one, and the first is when they treated us to Bad Boy with the second half all in English!
5. Super Junior! They were the headliners of the night one, and for good reason: they are fucking iconic in the kpop world! I already wrote about them about here, so I’ll spare you the reiteration. Chooch and I were so excited when they made their grand entrance, and I think it’s safe to say that the tens of thousands of other people there were just as hysterical over it as us! Here you go guys, bask in the legendary greatness that is SUJU:
Henry was so jealous that he missed this!
And as a bonus, here’s a medley they did of their three most popular jams!
In addition to all of this, each group also participated in fan engagements, and there were two special stages: one was a duet with Seulgi from Red Velvet and Yesung from Super Junior, and one was a shared stage with Stray Kids and Pentagon. The whole event just flows seamlessly from one stage to the next so sorry if you have to go to the bathroom, there is no down-time!
I think my favorite part of KCON is looking over and seeing Chooch going ham with his lightstick or capturing his favorite parts of songs on his phone, and smiling through the whole thing. Oh my god, what a great fucking night. And we still had five more groups to see the next night!