After having performed multiple tours all over the world, both before their official debut and after, KARD finally took their first steps in New York City as a group. The four member team, consisting of Big Matthew (BM), Somin, J.Seph, and Jiwoo, showed their U.S. fandom, Hidden KARD, what they have been missing. The 2,100 capacity Playstation Theater, right in the heart of Times Square, might as well have changed their name after this show to ‘The House of KARDs’ because the co-ed group owned the place that night! There is no doubt KARD knows how to put on a great performance despite still being newly debuted earlier this year.
Fans gathered from all over the east coast, with some traveling a great distance, to be there in the Big Apple. Having already missed out on the first round of concerts in the U.S., dedicated fans were not willing to miss the chance yet again! Before the show, fans were seen with KARD’s official first album, trading merchandise, and practicing the dance moves of their favorite songs.
Just as the lights went down, the music of ‘Don’t Recall’ played over the speakers. Screaming fans couldn’t hold themselves back from the excitement knowing KARD would be gracing the stage at any moment. The song finished, and the screaming intensified as Hidden KARDs eagerly awaited the members to take their first steps on stage for the evening. Finally, after what seemed like forever in the eyes of fans, the introductory VCR played clips from KARD’s music videos with members names written across the screen. The anticipation turned into hysteria as soon as the video finished, and the co-ed group took the stage. After getting into position, the music of their ‘Don’t Recall (Hidden Version)’ began.
Immediately, fans were singing along and doing the unique dance they had been practicing all evening. BM started off strong and intense, as per usual for the leader, but after seeing so many fans in sync with him, smiling was inevitable. Members Jiwoo and Somin were graceful yet bold, and J.Seph had an effortless flow to his moves that would be hard to mimic. Before fans knew it, they were diving right into the next song, KARD’s first hit ‘Oh Na Na,’ and even the other members started smiling! Somin, in front with a large smile, looked into the crowd in awe. BM was seemingly caught off guard by the amount of fans screaming his line “You lookin’ for a man that’s realer” at the top of their lungs!
Once the song finished, KARD went backstage to cool off for a short moment. Everyone was having a great time already as we rolled right on into the Q&A portion of the fan meet. Danny Lim, of KCon hosting fame, greeted fans and had the group come back out to introduce themselves officially to the jam-packed venue. “What’s good NY?! We didn’t expect a lot of turn out today.” BM admitted his astonishment at how many people truly showed up. All four members were so thankful to be able to perform in New York. “Let’s have a lot of fun, ok?!”
Danny asked some warm-up questions where we found out the members were able to explore SoHo around their busy interview schedule the day before the show. Unfortunately, they were not able to do any shopping, but three of the members were able to enjoy some Manhattan street food while J.Seph enjoyed pasta on his own. The crowd soon learned Jiwoo is the only member to have visited NY before thanks to her brother, who studies in the state. Later, the audience was shocked to find Jiwoo’s brother in the upper balcony enjoying the show right alongside fans!
The box full of fan questions got passed between the members with BM starting us off. First question of the night was about what super hero BM would want to be. Unsurprisingly, the King KARD chose Superman. “He’s got everything. He’s got the super powers, he can fly, he’s married to Wonder Woman…”. It was such a great question, each member answered as well. Somin chose Iron Man, Jiwoo would like to be the Goblin from the famous Korean drama, and J.Seph decided on Spider-Man so he could sling across Manhattan with ease. Continuing on, Somin’s question was about KARD’s favorite American foods. Somin & Jiwoo quickly responded the street food they had the day before was their favorite. However, BM announced he loves American burgers. Danny chimed in to inform BM of the NYC famous Shake Shack which ultimately helped J.Seph decide Shake Shack was now his favorite American food.
Jiwoo was asked what artists the group looked up to and was happy to announce she admires Beyonce and loved the song ‘Formation’. J.Cole was a favorite for BM. Somin looks up to both Tinashe & Ariana Grande, while J.Seph follows James Ingram. J.Seph picked the question “What ability would you want from the other members?” After some thinking, he looked at BM and easily said he would like BM’s physique, power, and masculinity. Jiwoo also took time to deliberate, but said she would like J.Seph’s humor & ability to make people laugh. Somin would like BM’s English and swag. BM then proceeded to mini-dab and, at the joking request of the audience, began to explain what a mini-dab was. BM then told everyone he would want to be Jiwoo because “she got mad swag,” which gave Jiwoo the cue to mini-dab herself.
Pulling the Q&A chairs away and moving forward, fans were happily greeted with a beautiful rendition of the 2013 American hit ‘The Monster’ (feat. Rihanna) by Eminem. Somin’s angelic voice left the masses with their jaws on the floor! The lights combined with the beautifully fitting choreography along with the 3 members that shared Eminem’s rap were all done so well. Outsiders would think this song was made to be covered by KARD! Finalizing a great cover. Then, BM shifted into dance mode for a short dance solo.
Afterwards, Somin and Jiwoo took the stage briefly to introduce the beginning of unit stages. J.Seph and BM were up first with their ‘Right Now’ hip-hop duo performance. “Everybody say BM! Everybody say J.Seph! Everybody say N.Y! MAKE SOME NOISE!” filled the venue as the crowd was pumped with hands in the air and the screams of excitement! Time flew as the duo left the stage and a lovely VCR began on the large screen having each member tell their own story of their journey into music. The songs that were playing in the background were a big treat for all, but many did not know, or even realize, that the background song playing while BM was on screen was actually written by the leader himself!
The hip-popping ‘I Can’t Stop’ was followed by the next unit stage, which was briefly introduced by BM and J.Seph. Both of which were almost more hyped for the girls’ cover than the audience! In beautiful white shimmering outfits, Jiwoo and Somin performed the popular Bruno Mars tune ‘Versace on the Floor.’ With no choreography involved, the emotions could be seen through their singing, making the experience so much more intimate. With each high note that was hit, Hidden KARDs screamed in amazement! The crowd waved their light sticks and phones in the air to the beat of the song. Jiwoo and Somin waved out to fans with smiles on their faces showing how happy and appreciative they were for their ecstatic fans .
The group, as a whole, came back onto the stage to perform covers of Ariana Grande’s ‘Side to Side’ as well as a very fitting ‘Empire State of Mind’ by JAY-Z (feat. Alicia Keys.) It seemed New York was on the members mind to be choosing such a song for their tour this time around! The last of the covers were completed, and it was time for a more fan engaging events. Danny Lim joined KARD back on stage and had pre-selected fans come up to play a dice game for prizes. Fans took a large balloon die into their hands and tossed it in the air. Whatever number was rolled corresponded to one of the following prizes: a wake-up call recording, selfie with a member, a Polaroid with all the members, being serenaded to by a member, signed poster with a hug, or a signed album. One of the fans had mentioned during her introduction that it was her birthday; so she was able to roll first. As a gift to her, Danny asked what number she wanted to win and happily “helped” the die to roll to that number. As her wish was granted, she requested J.Seph to serenade her. After some time and vocal practice, J.Seph shyly looked into her eyes and sang. The other fans played and also won their prize of choice. As the winners walked back to their seats, KARD decided to have a fun mini-photo session for fans. Fans made requests for poses as the group walked from one side of the stage to the other. Jiwoo chose a very interesting take on a modeling pose to the amusement of fans! Shortly after, fans geared up for the next song as the fan meet began to wind down.
The sounds of ’Rumor’ rang across the speakers and the audience went crazy! KARD got into place and as BM started, Hidden KARDs screamed “Are…you for real?” right along with him. Light sticks, fan signs, and phones were waving yet again with each beat of the song. Smoothly transitioning into their official debut song, ‘Hola Hola’ took over! Fans had been waiting to see this song performed since it came out earlier this year, and after experiencing it live, the wait was well worth it! The bold dancing and upbeat tropical house track meshed perfectly together, which mesmerized the fans in front of them. Fans started chanting “K…A…R…D.!!..K…A…R…D!!” as the group took their leave from the stage. Hidden KARDs were not ready for the show to end!
KARD, now in their official tour t-shirts, ran on stage one last time as a thank you to everyone who came. Performing ‘Don’t Recall’ and then finalizing the night with the more hip-hop track they composed for their fans, ‘Living Good (Special thanks to.).’ Fans were ecstatic at the constant energy flowing from the stage! BM got the audience to jump in their seats and pumping their arms in the air before coming to a close. The team of four took their last bows and waved goodbye to fans after a quick group photo. Stating they were thankful was obviously an understatement to the way each member truly felt.
The fan meet was over for New York, but that didn’t stop fans from still dancing and singing their favorite KARD songs in Times Square! The crowd was already talking about how amazing the concert was! Memories of this show will rest in the hearts of fans for years to come!
Overall, ‘Wild KARD pt.2’ in New York was a major success. The show was loads of fun for everyone and fans can’t wait for the next tour!
A huge thank you to DSP Media and SubKulture Entertainment for bringing KARD back to the USA and for giving us this wonderful opportunity. Thank you to BM, Jiwoo, Somin, J.Seph and staff for your extreme dedication and hard work. Also, thank you to all the fans who came to show their support!
Make sure to check out the photo album HERE!
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Written & Photographed by: Rachel Bibb
Edited by: Ying Leung