My weird side-angled view, lol. The advantage was that we got to see NCT before anyone else though!
Ever since the NCT127 concert two weeks ago, I have been putting off writing about it because (a) I’m still riding that high and frantically searching YouTube for fan videos from the concert and (b) I don’t even know how to begin! I feel like I always start these things by saying some wishy-washy sentiment like, “It’s so hard to explain…” but you know what? No, it really isn’t so hard to explain because I bet any person reading this can relate in some way to that fucking euphoric feeling of seeing your favorite band, especially if it’s one that you don’t get to see very often or haven’t seen at all before, and then that inevitable crash of post-show depression that follows. This is what connects us! We might not agree on the band/group/etc. in question, but the feeling is the same.
So…you know exactly how I felt on this night of October 13th, 2022, and also right now as I relive it!
I am honest to god quietly crying right now (and also laughing at the fact that I’m crying!) because I love these boys so much. I want to protect them and I want all of the good things to happen to them.
I first saw NCT in 2017 at KCON NY (actually was in Newark though, at this same arena!). They were still rookies then and I only knew a little about them. At that time, I was wholly-invested in their big brothers, SHINee, as you might know! But when Chooch and I saw them on this stage that night, I was blown away. I started paying close attention to the music and MVs after that, but it wasn’t until maybe 2018 or 2019 when I also started watching their content.
If you don’t know, most Kpop groups put a TON of extra content online. YouTube is full of “comeback parties” and vlogs of their daily lives. I think what really hooked me was watching all of the vlogs that NCT127 filmed while on their last US tour in 2019. I already knew all the members by that point, but that was what solidified me as a card-carrying NCTzen (their fangroup name!). Seeing them on this stage that night, in real life, after spending the last several years obsessing over them, learning the members of ALL NCT units, hemming and hawing over who is my latest bias, and just rooting for them with my whole heart, it was a lot. It was a lot for everyone there that night, I think! The number of tears that I shed and screams that scraped my throat that night…that was also a lot.
- Interlude: NEO Zone
- Kick It
- Cherry Bomb
- Elevator (127F)
- Love Song
- Another World (Taeil Solo)
- Love Sign (Taeil & Haechan duet)
- Run Back 2 U (Jonny, Taeyong, Yuta, Jaehyun dance performance)
- Highway to Heaven (English version)
- VCR: Running 2 U
- Vibration (Mark solo)
- Moonlight (Taeyong solo)
- The Himalayas (Mark & Taeyong rap duet)
- VCR: Lipstick
- Lipstick (Jungwoo solo dance)
- Focus (with Johnny solo dance break OMFG)
- Lost (Jaehyun solo)
- Butterfly (Yuta solo)
- The Rainy Night
- White Night
- Back 2 U (AM 01:27)
- The Reason Why It’s Favorite (Doyoung solo)
- Favorite (Vampire)
- Regular (English version)
- Love on the Floor
- Love Me Now
- 2 Baddies
- Dreams Come True
- Promise You
(And now I’m crying again. Cool. It’s fine. This is fine. I’m fine.)
Every single second of the night was my favorite. But if I had to choose several isolated moments:
- HAECHAN. Literally, seeing Haechan in real life was everything. He’s my ult bias across the entire NCT universe, and it was hard for me to focus on my actual NCT127 bias (Jaehyun, who started out as my bias wrecked only to be in danger of being wrecked himself!). Haechan is just…this is so fucking lame and I’m going to sound like a grandma from the 1960s, but he is JUST SO DAZZLING. His movements, his face, his HONEY VOCALS. No one sounds like Haechan. No one. He is OOAK.
- Finding out that NCT’s labelmates AESPA was in the audience!!!
- Mark Lee coming so close to being my new bias wtf, he is just a fiery ball of charisma.
- Taeil’s “We always thankful and we love you” moment – an inside joke for all czennies!
- The awesome people around me!
- Having my lightstick synch thanks to the friend I made in the seat next to me!
- THE ENERGY. IT WAS PALPABLE.
- Screaming the “BRRRRRRAaaaaa” part of Regular and SKRRT part of Lemonade!!!!
OMG this part! OK so I tried really hard to avoid videos from the LA show that happened the week before this because I didn’t want anything spoiled. So I had no idea that they did this super cute lightstick dance to “Breakfast”! I was SCREAMING.
I’m just going to put this out there, but I think Mark and Taeyong’s chemistry together as rappers is like a New Gen T.O.P. and G-Dragon. Their rap styles are so distinct that even if you aren’t a NCTzen, you can spot an NCT song by the rap line alone. Anyone who says Kpop is homogenous either isn’t paying attention or doesn’t want to accept the fact that there is a wealth of talent in South Korea and frankly, their artists are just performing at levels that Western artists can’t touch.
OK LOVE ON THE FLOOR. (And poor Taeil’s shoes preventing him from climbing up.)
This is nowhere near as incredible as it was when they performed it in Korea and Japan because the US just can’t handle those kinds of stages, I guess, lol. But this was still…yeah.
The last song before the encore was 2 Baddies and I swear it felt like the arena suffered structural damage from our maniacal screaming. THAT SONG. THAT FUCKING SONG.
After the lights came on, I reluctantly made my way out of Section 127 into the swarm of NCTzens, and found Henry creepily leaning against a wall. He immediately started whining in real time to me about his seat sitch and I was just like, “Bro-ski, I do not CARE, let me SAVOR THIS MOMENT without dropping your bitchy anvil on it.” Fuck!!
Once we got outside, Henry’s mood had totally seeped into my skin so then I was feeling mopey too but he finally realized that he was, once again, ruining my life, so he quickly swerved and said, “Hey come on, let’s go stand over there and wait for NCT to leave. I didn’t call the Uber yet.” I made him suffer for a few more minutes before finally walking over to the area near the loading zone. We found out by accident that this is where the artists leave the arena back when we saw Stray Kids, because it was taking us so long to get a ride back to the hotel that we just happened to still be standing across the street when their cavalcade of black vans pulled out.
We must have only waited for about 20 minutes, but it was chilly and drizzling. Still, it was totally worth it to stand with my fellow NCT stans in total anticipation of not being able to see anything aside from our distorted reflections in the rain-streaked tinted windows.
Yeah, it was worth it.
Henry was even nice and gave up his spot to an older lady who was so appreciative – Kpop Dads know when to take one for the team, you know?
I didn’t realize this until days later, but apparently Aespa was in the first van!
(Um OK I’m crying again, hold please. What is my problem lol.)
Oh man, what a night. I hate Newark so much but I would make (Henry make) that drive 127 more times if it meant even seeing NCT for a minute. They are so special to me, it makes me feel actually physically ill.
When we got back to the hotel, someone on our floor had Haechan peeking out from under their door and I was so jealous! I do sometimes wish that I had friends here who were into this but I guess Henry will do. And my one and only kpop friend (Veronica in LA!) and I made a pact that we WILL be attending a kpop concert together in the future. I suggested that we just go to Seoul and see NCT127 there and she did not say no, lol!
Do I regret spending $DONTMAKEMESAY.IT on a ticket? NOPE. I will never, ever regret spending money on music.
(Or vacations and amusement parks!)
At least I will die rich in experiences lol.
(Probably while lying in the fetal position on the futon Chooch throws into the corner of his basement for me because I’ll be too poor as an old retired* lady to live on my own.)
*(Or to retire.)
[DISCLAIMER: None of the YouTube videos are mine. The Flickr ones are, though.]