Happy tears onstage and off for iKON's emotional debut concert
With a touching back story, a handful of great dance songs, and near constant airplay in South Korea, iKON are being promoted as K-pop's next major boy band. As part of the Korea Joa project, DramaFever was able to attend iKON's unforgettable debut concert at Olympic Park, Seoul last week. The band has evolved over the last couple of years in public, having first lost on the K-pop competition TV show Who is Next: Win and then re-formed as a seven-member group on another reality show, Mix & Match. Fans have followed iKON's ups and downs on TV, and it added up to a very emotional show for the group and the (huge!) crowd alike.
If you haven't heard iKON yet, give a listen to two of their current hits, "Rhythm Ta" (performed twice during their debut show) and the sweet ballad "My Type":
Before the show began, each member of the audience received a white chunky bracelet with the iKON logo. In a short audio skit, iKON explained that throughout the show, the bracelet would vibrate and blink different colors, prompting you to wave your hands back and forth. Honestly, it's really hard NOT to wave your hands in the air like you just don't care when that thing prompted you. It was (enjoyable) K-pop mind-control and a lot of fun. After the show, it was still warmly glowing pink as beaming fans gathered outside the stadium!
As the show began, a nostalgic montage telling the band's life story erupted into iKON's grand entrance on a double-decker truck performing "Welcome Back." Take a look:
As a group with a small but strong library of songs to draw from (their first full album comes out in November), iKON was supported during the night by two K-pop greats, Epik High and Jinusean. After Epik High's cameo, something unusual happened. The house lights were raised and the show came to a standstill while an official came out to speak to the entire audience. What was going on? It turns out that the crowd in the mosh pit was getting a little too excited, and people were being crushed at the front of the stage. A rumor went around that someone had fainted. For about fifteen minutes, the crowd was encouraged to stand back and give each other some room. Finally, the official said that iKON were waiting patiently backstage to perform, but they couldn't until everyone moved back a few steps. That seemed to strike a chord, and the crowd on the floor stepped back as everyone else applauded them.
The show continued, with another taste of Welcome Back. Then in one of the set pieces of the night, iKON appeared on an enormous bridge, singing "M.U.P" (Make You Proud), and continuing with the nicely staged "Airplane:"
One of the more unusual segments of the night was a (fairly long) onstage basketball game in which iKON got to show their skills versus seven fans pulled from the audience. The game lasted for several rounds, eventually with the basketball hoop rotating on stage to make it a little more difficult. I admired the fans who were actually able to make shots moments after being pulled at random from the crowd. That's a lot of skill! It was definitely different, and opinions verged on whether it was a charming and fun part of the night, or just overly complicated.
Another highlight of the night was a throwback to iKON's Mix & Match days, "Just Another Boy," which (along with the buzzing bracelets) brought the crowd to their feet.
At the end of their energetic, emotional and really fun night, iKON posed for a massive selfie with the crowd. Thanks for an amazing show, iKON, and thanks to Korea Joa for making it possible for us to see it! We're looking forward to their first full album Welcome Back, due next month.