After a long three-year hiatus, KCON returned to the Crypto.com Arena with K-Pop’s biggest acts and rising names to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Hours before doors opened for the event, fans eagerly waited to take their seats and inevitably created a line that trailed down the street and wrapped around buildings. The inside of the arena filled up quickly as fans settled in and waited for the performances to commence.
KCON’s first-ever signature song, “POPPIA,” was performed by the notoriously explosive group ATEEZ who put their twist on the anthem with their bold sound and rapping style. Following the opening performance, KCON surprised attendees by revealing that Stray Kids’ Bang Chan was to be the night’s MC. Appearing in a fitted black suit with a handful of roses, Bang Chan proved his charismatic charm by wooing the audience and tossing roses randomly into the crowd.
Re-emerging to start their set officially, ATEEZ continued the high energy with the powerful hit, “WONDERLAND.” After a costume change, the eight pirates set the tone for the night with fiery choreography and sharp theatrics. ATEEZ performed some of their most popular songs such as “Wave,” “Say My Name,” and “The Real” as well as a variety of their newer tracks like “Guerilla.”
Following ATEEZ lively set, the 9-member girl group Kep1er surprised the crowd with a cover of the former group, IZ*ONE’s, “La Vie En Rose.” The rendition sparked emotions of reminiscing from former WIZ*ONEs (IZ*ONE’s fandom).
After Kep1er, LIGHTSUM then powerfully emerged in an assortment of green-themed outfits to perform their cheerful track “Alive.” The group showcased their cute charm to the crowd when performing “VIVACE.” Another rookie group in the lineup, CRAVITY, made their hot KCON debut with “ADRENALINE” and “My Turn.”
The audience then received another exciting surprise when Bebe Rexha joined ITZY’s Ryujin and Yeji to perform a powerful, emotionally charged remix of her track, “Break My Heart Myself.” To add to the night full of unexpected performances, Stray Kids’ producing unit, 3RACHA, composed of Bang Chan, HAN, and Changbin forcefully took the stage to reveal their unreleased song, “YEAH.”
Next, the Japanese idol group, INI, showcased their music and skills for the first time in front of international fans with “Password” and “Rocketeer.” As they introduced themselves and talked about their preparation, their excitement could be felt throughout the venue.
Arguably one of the most notable moments of the night, Kep1er had the opportunity to perform their debut song “WADADA” while dancing alongside twenty of their fans who had won the “DREAM STAGE” competition earlier in the day. The energy radiated from the stage as the idols and fans came together for this incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After an inspiring performance, the fans vacated the stage before Kep1er ended the set with an upbeat stage for their track “Up!”
Enhypen emerged on stage in sharp, black attire before breaking out into crowd favorites “Fever” and “Polaroid Love.” The arena enthusiastically sang along, which created a sense of unity and camaraderie.
Giving fans a moment before another lively act, Stray Kids’ Felix and Hyunjin took the stage to acknowledge the audience’s enthusiasm, share their excitement for the rest of the night, and to give a hint regarding the next performance. After describing a dance move as a hit amongst Gen-Z, the two revealed LIGHTSUM who covered G(I)-DLE’s “Tomboy.” The energetic rendition hyped up the audience as fans could be seen replicating the dance moves around the arena.
Up next, the crowd roared in excitement for ITZY. The five-member group performed a variety of songs from “1min,” to “Surf,” to “WANNABE,” to “DALLA DALLA,” to their most recent title track, “SNEAKERS.”
To close out the first night of KCON, Stray Kids commanded the arena with a hypnotic performance of their hit song, “MANIAC.” The crowd erupted from the moment the eight members emerged from the middle of the stage and continued to sing along with each lyric. Stray Kids performed a few of their other powerful and impactful tracks like “THUNDEROUS” and “Back Door,” before closing the show with the fan favorite “God’s Menu.” Not only the fans but even the other idol groups could not resist shouting the track’s iconic, “Du Du Du.” The final set perfectly wrapped up the performances before all of the groups took the stage together for a final goodbye.
After an unforgettable first night, the crowd eagerly took their seats on night two in anticipation of the performances ahead. The Boyz delivered a powerful opening with an intense production of their song “MAVERICK.” Strong vocals, powerful choreography, and red lights projecting from the screen fully engaged the audience as they sang along. The eleven-member group continued to perform a variety of their most popular songs such as “THRILL RIDE,” “WHISPER,” “Break your rules,” and “The Stealer.”
Up next, P1Harmony elevated the atmosphere with energetic performances of their most recent title track, “Doom Du Doom,” and crowd favorite, “Do It Like This.” STAYC then proved their up-and-coming talents by showing their charm through their songs “BEAUTIFUL MONSTER” and “RUN2U.”
Queendom 2 winners, WJSN, followed with an encaptivating performance of their winning song, “AURA.” They also highlighted their tracks, “Last Sequence” and “As You Wish!”
TO1 next emerged in bright, neon outfits to match their lively personalities. Full of charisma, TO1’s introductions charmed the crowd before they showcased their tracks “Drummin’” and “BOOM POW.”
Another rookie group on the set list, NMIXX, began with an intense dance introduction before striking a pose for their debut track, “O.O.” The lively performance stirred up the crowd in preparation for “Tank.” NMIXX’s strong vocal and dancing abilities gave the crowd a glimpse of their potential.
A highly anticipated group of the night, LOONA, highlighted their range by performing a setlist full of diverse sounds like “Flip That” and “Star.” Earlier in the day, Orbits (LOONA’s fandom) also had the opportunity to compete in a “DREAM STAGE” for the chance to perform the choreography for “Paint The Town” with the group onstage. The lucky fans made the best of the moment by giving it their all and interacting with LOONA onstage.
TO1 returned to the stage to provide fans with a fun surprise. Dressed in retro outfits, the members enthusiastically covered PSY and Suga’s “That That.” The arena roared seeing TO1 playfully perform the viral track. LOONA’s Heejin and Hyunjin as well as NMIXX’s Sullyoon and Kyujin then came together to provide a special collaboration of MAMAMOO’s “Decalcomonie” to showcase the groups’ impressive vocal talents.
To close out the final night of KCON, NCT DREAM played a variety of their hit songs such as “Beatbox,” “Hot Sauce,” “Hello Future,” and “Glitch Mode.” A sea of NCT DREAM light sticks could be seen throughout the arena as fans screamed and cheered for the members. Full of energy and cute charisma, NCT DREAM left KCON on a high note, and fans waiting for next year’s event.
After a long weekend and almost seven hours worth of performances, KCON presented fans with the chance to enjoy groups they already loved and groups they had yet to discover. Another year of lively acts and meaningful memories has officially been brought to a close. Until 2023, KCON.