KCON 2015 Sunday Recap: Shinhwa, AOA, Zion.T, Crush & More Shut Down Staples Center

Courtesy of CJ E&M
KCON Finale Day 2

Like the two days before it, KCON's biggest iteration to date rolled on with more panels, workshops, booths, giveaways and events centered around South Korean music and the country's overall culture scene. The three day extravaganza -- its largest to date -- once again culminated with a concert in Los Angeles' Staples Center. Super-hot actor Kim Soo Hyun (who shot to fame after starring in the Korean drama Moon Embracing the Sun) opened the show by remarking, "I'm a bit nervous ,but very excited and happy to be here...I was so surprised to see all the L.A. fans who are showing their love for all aspects of Korean culture."

With that, Red Velvet opened the show with their first U.S. performance to date. The girl group focused on their upbeat tracks, including hits like "Ice Cream Cake" and "Happiness," but also gave treats like of an adorable, hug-heavy cover of Pussycat Dolls' "Stickwitu" along with "Something Kinda Crazy," a standout cut off their debut EP Ice Cream. The girls were solid openers, but it became clear that there were still some microphone issues as they performed -- though not as bad as the day before.

Block B quickly followed with the hip-hop boy band showed all the different sides of their team as leader Zico kicked off with his solo track "Tough Cookie" before the outfit's splinter trio Bastarz (made up of P.O, U-Kwon and B-Bomb) performed their single "Conduct Zero."With looks ranging from street-inspired to formal, the guys all showed off their personal styles but also looked uniform with a red, black and white theme. Their moves during tracks like "Her" and "Nanrina" were super-polished, but still had a sense of cool and calmness about them -- much to the crowd's delight.

AOA entered the stadium from the ground floor, dressed like lacrosse players with a whole cheer squad running in with them. The girl group ran through their string of smashes including "Like a Cat" and new single "Heart Attack," but also included 2013 single "Confused" which likely very fun for longtime fans. The septet commanded a fervent response as fan chants echoed throughout "Heart Attack" while member Choa's voice boomed through the stadium. The girls stumbled a bit while talking to the crowd as member Mina introduced herself, then followed by leader Jimin asking her band mates if they should intro themselves to the crowd, which followed by Mina essentially repeating herself -- but it came off more as a cute mistake than an awkward mishap.

Similar to how Roy Kim offered a refreshing change last night, the final two acts changed things up from the K-pop most fans in the YouTube age are most familiar with as model Irene Kim and singer-songwriter Eric Nam introduced Zion.T and Crush to a huge response -- likely fueled by the former's new single "Yanghwa BRDG," currently topping the charts in Korea. The R&B superstars bopped through their smooth collaborations before Crush stepped away to let his partner perform a song Zion described as a "story of my life," a.k.a. "Yanghwa BRDG," which became a duet between the crooner and Wendy of Red Velvet -- a performance where her four band mates watched incognito from the VIP area in black hoodies, though their bright skirts gave them away to watchful fans.

The duet set off a slew of special stages that included a performance of AOA's Jimin, where she rapped through her solo hit "Puss" (but opted out of spitting all the explict lyrics) with a DJ and two backup dancers, followed by Zion.T, Crush and Block B's Zico teaming up for a performance of Crush single, "Oasis." 

The concert ended with with Shinhwa, the superstar veteran boy band who are currently the longest-running K-pop act with 17 years under their belt. After a video introduction that hyped the band as "legends" who will stay together for 20 or 30 years, the band hit the stage greeted by a different type of roar erupting throughout the Staples Center, a deeper howl, perhaps from the longtime K-pop fans who fell in love with the scene during the '90s when Shinhwa first debuted. The guys brought out an impressive display of male and female backup dancers to assist them through a setlist that ranged from the '90s ("T.O.P ") to the early aughts (2001's "Hey, Come On!") and singles from this decade (2013's "This Love" and "Sniper" from earlier this year). Another production flaw was made clear when the band tried talking to fans in Korean, but there were no captions on the accompanying screens, despite that being done for earlier acts, which could be very frustrating for fans who have waited years to see the band live and understand what they had to say.

As all the acts came to say goodbye to KCON -- that again ended with some hugs between friends (Red Velvet's Joy and Seolhyun of AOA) and respectful bows (everyone made sure to get face time with Zion.T and Crush) -- it became clear that the fest's promise to fans that they'll "See You at KCON 2016" will be a commitment to catering to not only to the YouTube generation, but Korean pop culture fans of all types, ages and interests.

 

[WATCH] Relive the awesomeness. #KCON15LA was unforgettable. Are you ready for #KCON15NY?!

Posted by KCON on Monday, August 3, 2015

THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.