For their fifth year anniversary, KCON NY presented by Toyota is back on the East Coast with an even bigger and better festival! This year’s convention was increased to a full on two day festival filled with panels, workshops, meet and greets, merchant and fansite shops, food, surprise appearances by your favorite idols, and two nights of concerts!
Even before the convention had officially started, Thursday night was Klub Kcon. Fans filled up the venue in excitement long before the surprise guest was introduced by Danny from KCON and stepped on stage, which turned to be none other than the popular group Seventeen.
Fans screamed and the venue grew hotter as the boys each introduced themselves in a mix of English and Korean. Since it was their first time on U.S. soil, Carats in attendance were more than ecstatic. After their introductions, a brief session of Q & A commenced and the members even taught Danny and the audience how to do a part of their ‘Pretty U’ dance!
The anticipated Friday morning came, and tens of thousands of fans flooded the streets and plaza as they checked in and explored all the tents and booths that occupied the Championship Plaza and Mulberry Street. Although the sun kept beaming down harshly on the fans, their excitement didn’t fade. Booth after booth of fun was awaiting them after all! From the Nongshim Shin Ramyun booth and food workshops with Seonkyoung Longest to fan sign with JuNCurryAhn and meet and greets with J.R.E. and KennyBoySlay, there was always something for fans to do!
This year, KCON introduced their KCON APP, which helped fans keep up to date on events that were happening in real time and allowed for fans to pre-plan their schedule! With so many panels, workshops meet and greets, and performances, the app was definitely a blessing to have!
But not everything is pre-announced as special appearances from artists at various booths, like BTOB at the Toyota booth, took fans by surprise!
As the day grew later, concert time snuck upon the attendees. As fans poured into the 18,000+ capacity stadium KCON All Things Hallyu presented by Toyota X M Countdown was seen on the screen. Democracy Prep Public School’s Korean Dance Team riled up the audience for the anticipated artists.
To everyone’s surprise, Rap Monster of BTS and Ailee were the MCs for show. As the introduced themselves, Ailee—the New Jersey native—mentioned how it was so nice to be back home.
Seventeen kicked off the official start of the performances with an electrifying dance intro which led into an adversely cute performance of ‘Pretty U.’ They also performed their other fan favorites like ‘Chuck’, ‘Mansae’, and ‘Adore U’ before disappearing from sight.
Crush started his eargasmic set with his 2014 hit ‘Sometimes.’ His shy demeanor showed through his awkwardly cute talk session. Even without Zico present, Crush ripped through the song with his beautiful voice and even rapped Zico’s part! He ended his set with one of his most famous songs, ‘Hug Me’ as Gaeko from Dynamic Duo joined him on stage part way through.
The night wasn’t even half way when Ailee re-appeared on stage sporting all black dancing and singing to ‘Mind Your Own Business,’ and even when there was a technical error and the music cut out, she professionally continued her verses—acapella style—before restarting the performance again flawlessly.
In-between her performances of ‘Don’t Touch Me’, ‘I Will Show You’, and ‘U&I’, Ailee gave a heartfelt speech thanking the fans stating that she’s never been nervous before performing until now since it was her home. Fans chanted “Ailee! Ailee! Ailee!” as she soaked it all in while tears threatened to brim over. She also mentioned that she is hoping to release an album in the states and to be able to perform here more.
After, BTOB’s soothing voices filled the stadium as they began with ‘Remember That’ and proceeded to raise the energy again as—Chicago native—Peniel urged fans to get up and join them in their performances of ‘All Wolves Except Me’ and ‘Beep Beep.’ It would not be a BTOB stage without a performance of ‘It’s Okay,’ which they concluded their set with and left the audience with goosebumps with their bewitching vocals.
Im Siwan of ZE:A also appeared on stage with actress Park Bo Young as the riled up the crowd and thanked them for attending KCON NY.
Word of a special stage had been circulating around the KCON attendee community, but no one had a clue as to what it was. Seventeen’s rendition of ‘Bang’, ‘Sorry Sorry’, and ‘Balloons’ did not disappoint at all.
After that, Dynamic Duo’s Gaeko and Choiza took over the stage with their fast lyrics and slick tongues. ‘Baam’ kicked off the start of their stage as it turned into a true hip hop party with ‘Shoot Goal In’ and ‘Rhythm is Life.’
The night ended on an exceptionally high note as Crush joined them on stage for ‘Friday Night.’
As the song neared its end, Seventeen, Ailee, Rap Monster, and BTOB joined the others on stage as confetti rained from above. The show ended with its slogan, “Let’s KCON! Let’s M Countdown!”
As fans filed out of the stadium, talks of how ‘lit’ and ‘awesome’ it was can be heard throughout the stadium and outside the venue. Everyone had come to the same conclusion, KCON NY Day 1 had definitely been a spellbinding experience, and they couldn’t wait for Day 2 to begin!
For more photos from the event check out our Facebook album HERE.
Stay tuned to Officially KMusic for more photos from this convention and coverage from Day 2 and other upcoming tours along with the most recent news and updates!
Source: KCON USA and CJ E&M
Photography by: Ying Leung & Tyler Nguyen
Article by: Ying Leung