[RECAP] Krazy K-Pop Super Concert: Artists Give Their All While Organizers Give Only Some

The highly anticipated and first-ever Krazy K-Pop Super Concert shook up a storm in New York last weekend, boasting a lineup of newcomer and veteran K-Pop acts. The concert, which took place on August 26 at UBS Arena in Belmont Park in New York, featured an exciting set of headliners including CRAVITY, AB6IX, Kwon Eunbi, and IVE, along with the Monsta X subunit, Shownu & Hyungwon.

Well-timed to K-Pop’s rising popularity in the United States, the organizers of the Krazy K-Pop Super Concert promised to “make history” and provide fans with an “unforgettable pre-concert experience.” VIP packages included exclusive meet-and-greet photos, an artist stage check, and an end-of-show send-off to bid farewell to the artists as they left the venue. With KCON LA 2023 being held just a week prior, Krazy K-Pop Super Concert had big shoes to fill as the first event of its kind on the East Coast since 2019. Although they boasted fewer acts than KCON, the Krazy K-Pop Super Concert provided fans with an accessible way to see their favorite artists perform that didn’t involve flying across the country.

Despite the hype around the event, the Krazy K-Pop Super Concert left much to be desired.

VIP ticket holders began the day waiting in line for hours in the heat of the August sun. They were then directed to stand in a separate discombobulated line for another hour inside the venue as they waited for the meet-and-greets with their respective chosen artist. Meet-and-greet packages were advertised as having five fans per photo with the artists. However as attendees got closer to the photo-taking area, they were informed that the sessions would be 10 people per photo. Some took to Twitter to express their disappointment at the “disorganized” planning and lack of communication from the concert organizers.

Following the chaotic meet-and-greets came the pre-show artist stage check. The energy of the concert improved significantly as the audience was able to experience more intimate and laid-back performances from the artists. YouTuber JRE (JustRandomEveryday) and Korean-American rapper and Unpretty Rapstar contestant Grazy Grace were introduced as the event’s MC and translator, hyping up the crowd in between stage check performances.

Although the majority of the concertgoers were still trying to make their way inside the venue, the show had to begin. New Jersey and New York-based K-Pop dance cover groups Trust and Maizon Dance opened the show, engaging the audience with lively K-Pop dance medleys. Jinsol Woo, founder of jewelry brand OHTNYC and K-R&B musician, then took the stage as the last opening act before the headliners. A highly anticipated performer, Jinsol proved his abilities in both style and artistry with a high-energy stage of original songs that explored genres of Jersey club, alternative rock, and R&B. His most gripping performance included a violin solo that was met with lively cheers from the crowd.

Cr. UBS Arena/Dennis DaSilva

Finally, the main show began with CRAVITY, a nine-member boy group under Starship Entertainment. Consisting of members Serim, Allen, Jungmo, Woobin, Wonjin, Minhee, Hyeongjun, Taeyoung, and Seongmin, the nonet kicked things off with the energetic track, “My Turn.” The heavy bass and empowering lyrics commanded the audience’s attention and left them hyped up for the rest of the set. Transitioning into “Baddie,” the group showcased their fierce vocal and rap skills with the pop-rock track from their fifth mini album Master: Piece.

The group then took the time to individually introduce themselves to the audience, a choir of screams from Luvity, CRAVITY’s fanbase, echoing after each member’s turn. After visiting New York during their recent Masterpiece world tour back in June, CRAVITY expressed their excitement to be returning. Allen, one of the group’s English-speaking members, took the lead in hyping up the crowd, declaring, “It feels so good to be back in the Empire State!”

MCs JRE and Grazy Grace then took the stage alongside the group, asking questions about what the fans should look forward to from them in the future. Seongmin took the chance to promote their upcoming sixth mini album Sun Seeker, which is due to be released on September 11. As the youngest member, Seongmin was met with coos and cheers as Luvity doted over him.

Riding the cheerful momentum of the crowd, CRAVITY continued their set by performing “Fly,” an upbeat and youthful pop song that had the crowd “shake, shake, shaking” along as they jumped and danced around the stage. The good vibes carried on as they performed their English single “Boogie Woogie,” a groovy summer anthem with an addicting bass line. The members took their time interacting with the crowd for this number, getting fans to wave their hands along to the music and sending finger hearts to Luvity in the stands.

To close off their set, CRAVITY performed “Groovy,” the bright and funky title track of their latest release, Master: Piece. With an LCD screen displaying swirling, multicolored shapes behind them and a perfect accompaniment of bright red and white lights flashing around as the members danced, the group made a memorable exit as the first set of the concert came to an end.

Cr. UBS Arena/Dennis DaSilva

Next to take the stage was AB6IX, a boy group consisting of members Woong, Donghyun, Woojin, and Daehwi. Starting with the moody alt-pop dance track “Loser” from their latest mini album The Future is Ours: Lost, the members demonstrated their impressive vocals with clear high notes and smooth riffs. They then transitioned into “Savior,” a darker track with deep synths and a robust hook that highlighted main rapper Woojin’s skills.

The group then took the opportunity to catch their breaths in between songs and address the crowd. “We had no idea so many people would show up,” Donghyun exclaimed in Korean. “It’s an honor to see so many people who love K-Pop globally.” 

Cr. UBS Arena/Dennis DaSilva

Woong then took the reins, teaching a dance to go along with their next song “The Answer” that ABNEW, AB6IX’s fanbase, and audience members could participate in. Before starting their next stage, Daehwi commented, “New York has the best energy!”

The MCs came out once again to ask various questions including, “What has changed about AB6IX in the past year?” to which Woojin and Daehwi responded by cracking jokes about their hair colors, getting their first perms, and aging. The members then lamented that New York wasn’t a stop on their upcoming The Future U.S. tour, but Donghyun encouraged ABNEW to attend their other stops anyway. Daehwi joked that Donghyun would pay for everyone’s plane tickets.

Cr. UBS Arena/Dennis DaSilva

Their next song “Blaze showcased a more relaxed, R&B side to them that had the crowd bobbing their heads before the beat dropped into a more energetic EDM chorus. To conclude their set, AB6IX performed their debut single “Breathe,” a deep house track that builds into a catchy hook with elements of trap. With the crowd dancing along and wanting more as the lights went black, the song was a solid choice to close out their performance. 

Cr. UBS Arena/Dennis DaSilva

The third act to perform was soloist and former IZ*ONE member, Kwon Eunbi, accompanied by four backup dancers in her U.S. debut. She started off her set with a bang, performing the hit single “Underwater,” which recently saw a resurgence on the Korean charts after her performance at the Waterbomb Festival in Seoul went viral. A pop-dance song that features an Afrobeat rhythm and deep house elements, the song showcased her powerful vocals and instantly charmed Rubi (Eunbi’s fanbase) in the audience.

She then introduced her next stage, debut single “Door” from her first mini album Open, although the MCs were notably absent, and English translations for what she was saying were not provided. Eunbi displayed her versatility as an artist with the song’s electro-swing track fusing jazz with pop, exhibiting to the audience that her music doesn’t fit in a bubble.

Eunbi continued proving her versatility by performing “Glitch,” the genre-defying title track off her sophomore EP Color which combines elements of UK garage and house. Fluorescent colors and flashing strobe lights were the perfect backdrop to the eclectic choreography that combined aspects of complicated whacking, voguing, and tutting. A standout performance of her set, “Glitch” reached a thrilling climax with a heavy dubstep bass drop.

After her three non-stop performances, Eunbi caught her breath as the MCs reappeared to ask her some questions. One question in particular left audience members scratching their heads: “How do you feel about reverse migration?” 

Fans could only assume this question was mistranslated into English and meant to ask about the resurgence of her single on the charts. Eunbi confidently answered back in Korean, “I had no idea ‘Underwater’ would receive so much attention from you guys. Thank you so much for the love and I will continue to do even better from now on.”

Cr. UBS Arena/Dennis DaSilva

The soloist also took the time to promote her current radio show, Kwon Eunbi’s Young Street, on which she is a DJ. Continuing on with her set, Eunbi took the time to interact with the crowd while singing “Beautiful Night,” a free-spirited pop-rock track that had Rubis jumping up and down in delight. To conclude her set, she performed her latest single “The Flash,” an upbeat dance track that showcased her impeccable stage presence and solidified her as a solo act to watch.

Cr. UBS Arena/Dennis DaSilva

IVE, one of the most anticipated acts of the super concert, followed soon after. As the silhouette of the six-member girl group appeared on the unlit stage, Dives (IVE’s fanbase) rushed out of their seats to get a clearer view. Cheers and excited murmurs erupted from the crowd as deep purple lights and atmospheric fog announced the members Yujin, Gaeul, Rei, Wonyoung, Liz, and Leeseo’s arrival. As the bright lights finally lifted to reveal the members in all their preppy glory, the unmistakable whistle of their first song began. “Kitsch,” the edgy bubblegum pop pre-release off their first studio album I’VE IVE, was met with instant recognition as fans sang along to the lyrics about confidence and self-love.

The group seamlessly transitioned into one of their most critically acclaimed songs, “After LIKE.” Fans instantly began singing along to the disco-influenced pop track at the top of their lungs. Rappers Rei and Gaeul particularly shined in this performance, showcasing their impressive rap skills during the instrumental break.

The liveliness of the audience did not die down as the group caught their breath, with Dives cheering for each member so loudly that their words were almost completely drowned out. The members shared their excitement at visiting New York for the first time and their desire to explore sights like Times Square. “We really want to revisit New York as soon as possible,” exclaimed Wonyoung, hinting at NYC being a possible stop on their upcoming world tour.

The lights dimmed once again as IVE prepared for their next song, their debut single “Eleven.” An energetic and rhythmic track, the performance highlighted the group’s synchronicity and musicality in their dancing and iconic choreography. The group continued on with their hit streak, performing another commercial and critical success, “Love Dive.” Dark, dreamy, and ethereal, the performance specifically exhibited the group’s powerful vocal ability through strong high notes and clear riffs.

Cr. UBS Arena/Dennis DaSilva

For the group’s finale, they performed their latest pop-EDM-influenced single “I Am,” another stand-out that spotlighted Liz’s and Yujin’s vocals. Wonyoung and Leeseo amazed the crowd with their enticing stage presence as the set came to an end, proving that despite being a relatively new group, IVE has much more in store for their future.

Cr. UBS Arena/Dennis DaSilva

Headliners and K-Pop veterans Shownu & Hyungwon, a subunit of six-member boy group Monsta X, kicked off their set with “Love Me A Little” as the stage’s sensual purple lights and fog doused the duo. The self-produced title track of their debut EP The Unseen featured a sultry jazz-R&B sound with a deep bassline, all highlighted by Shownu’s equally sexy choreography that had the audience on the edge of their seats.

The duo then progressed into their next track “Who Do U Love?,” a pop-R&B English single that gripped fans, known as Monbebes, and non-fans in the crowd with its seductive groove and synth. The lyrics could be heard all throughout the arena as the audience sang along and Mondoongies (the Monsta X lightstick) waved in the air. Although usually performed as a sextet, Shownu and Hyungwon proved their power as a duo with this performance.

Before moving on to their third song, Shownu and Hyungwon took a moment to greet the audience and lament how much they missed seeing Monbebes. Bright blue tones then overtook the stage as the backtrack for their song “Play Me” began, more upbeat and electric than the previous performances. This track in particular showcased Shownu and Hyungwon’s sleek and smooth dancing abilities. They slowed things down in their set with “Slow Dance,” a chill dream pop track with hints of 8-bit scattered throughout. The duo took time to interact with fans on each side of the arena, serenading Monbebes and dancing unseriously with each other on stage.

The MCs returned before Shownu and Hyungwon’s final performance to ask the duo about their upcoming activities as a sub-unit and group. Hyungwon took the reins to tease, “Maybe our next plan is our unit concert in New York, Monsta X concert in New York, releasing our new album…we wish!”

The duo goofed off with each other by flexing their muscles in a bodybuilder pose to show off their physiques. They also demonstrated the key elements of their dance break which they called “breaking their bones,” doing a humorously exaggerated version of their choreography.

Cr. UBS Arena/Dennis DaSilva

Soon enough, it came time for the sub-unit’s final performance of “Wildfire,” a brooding blend of orchestral music and EDM into one masterpiece of a song. The duo’s intense stage presence combined with their polished dance moves brought the Krazy K-Pop Super Concert to its grand finale. As the passionate fire visuals displayed on the LCD screen behind them fizzled out and the fierce red stage lights faded to black, fans in the crowd were left with one burning question: Is that it?

With no hints of an encore, no final goodbye from any of the artists, and no concluding remarks from the MCs or well-wishes from the concert organizers to have a good night, audiences were left to assume that the concert was really over as the fluorescent lights of UBS Arena came back up. Fans began steadily leaving their seats in confusion despite the fact that Shownu and Hyungwon’s set was slated to end around 10:30PM, meaning the concert had seemingly ended an hour earlier than expected. Although each artist was scheduled to perform thirty-minute sets, each performance lasted only fifteen to twenty minutes, with five songs each. Fans with VIP packages were also confused since the exclusive send-off of the artists was scheduled to begin at 11PM and there had been no official announcement of where it was even supposed to take place within the arena.

Emails announcing the send-off location were apparently sent during the artist’s performance. However, since most people weren’t checking their emails during the concert, attendees were left scrambling. The line for the send-off, held behind only a retractable belt stanchion barrier, grew longer and more crowded with waiting fans as the minutes ticked on and on with no signs of the artists coming out.

After around 30 minutes, Kwon Eunbi began making her way down the designated artist path, with staff and suitcases in tow, to say goodbye to waiting fans. As the excitement at sending her off died down, fans were left waiting once again until it was revealed that none of the other artists were coming out. The news spread like wildfire down the grapevine of the send-off line, leaving disappointed groans and murmurs of desired refunds in its wake. As staff came around to confirm this sudden cancellation, fans dejectedly descended the escalators to exit the arena with the realization they were not going to receive what many paid hundreds of dollars for.

Although AB6IX confirmed prior to the event that they would not participate in the artist send-off, some fans speculated that the artists who were supposed to be sent off were not made aware of that portion of the night at all. One clue that led fans to this conclusion was the fact that members of CRAVITY apparently started a live video on Bubble back at their hotel while the super concert was still happening.

The overall artist performance quality of the first ever Krazy K-Pop Super Concert was spectacular, with all artists truly establishing themselves as worthy of calling themselves “super.” But the day was racked with logistical issues, accusations of false advertisements, low turnout, and broken promises. If the Krazy K-Pop organizers want to create an established and popular K-Pop concert brand, they are going to have to do a lot of work to improve and regain the trust of fans.

As the event organizers “diligently investigate” what caused the show to not meet expectations and process fan feedback, only time will tell if audiences are ready to give the Krazy K-Pop Super Concert another chance should it return.

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