It’s been two and a half years since DSP Media’s wildly popular co-ed K-pop group, KARD, last made an appearance in Chicago and fans were more than happy to welcome them back this past Friday night. Braving the cold of a late October evening, fans lined the streets surrounding the Windy City’s Patio Theater for hours, waiting for their chance to meet their beloved idols.
Welcomed to the stage by a theater full of wildly excited fans, KARD kicked off the evening with a high-energy set of group performances that included fan favorites such as “Bomb Bomb”, “Don’t Recall”, “Oh NaNa”, “You in Me”, and “Rumor”. With a crowd that jumped to their feet the second KARD took the stage, it was easy to see the energy in the room fueled the idols’ performance.
Taking a break three songs in, the group’s members: J.Seph, Jiwoo, Somin, and BM, took a moment to heartily welcome their fans to the evening’s show. Of course, as is always the case when a K-Pop group comes to Chicago, there was mention of sampling the city’s famous pizza and the audience cheered as wildly as any group of incredibly proud pizza-loving fans can. Remembering their last visit to Chicago, BM was curious to see how many people in attendance had been to their last show. It wasn’t surprising when a good portion of the audience cheered in response, and the look of appreciation on each of the artists’ faces said it all: Chicago loves KARD and KARD loves Chicago. Embracing that love, KARD wrapped up their first set of group performances and easily transitioned into their solo and unit stages.
While Jiwoo and Somin took some time to chat with their fans, J.Seph and BM slipped backstage to prepare for the next set. When all was ready, BM returned to the stage to wow fans with his solo performance of “OO YEAH””. With the crowd sufficiently hyped, BM invited J.Seph to join him for a duet performance of “Inferno” that set the place on fire. With an audience clearly hungry for more, the guys turned the stage over to the ladies, whose performance of Shawn Mendes’ “If I Can’t Have You” did an incredible job of fanning that flame.
Before the group would reunite to finish off the evening’s show, fans were entertained by a video prepared especially for them by the members of KARD. Wishing to convey their feelings of love and gratitude, each member of the group took a moment to read a heart-felt letter they had written to their fans. While the individual messages were as varied as the members themselves, throughout each wove common threads of love, appreciation, and gratitude. The overall message of the group was clear: without their fans, KARD would be nothing.
Touched by the video, fans were more eager than ever to welcome KARD back to the stage. Of course after playing such a sweet video, the group couldn’t simply return to the stage and keep singing! No, after performing “Knockin’ on My Heaven’s Door” they announced that they had something special planned for everything. While BM teased the audience with hints of what was in store, the rest of the group took time to dole out copious amounts of fanservice, which the audience devoured in seconds.
With the crowd sufficiently hyped, the group moved into their “special” set, which included a cover of Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next” and a cover of DJ Snake’s “Taki Taki”. Both performances were instant crowd favorites but the surprises didn’t stop there. For their third treat, the group divided the audience into two sections and made them compete for a few pieces from BM’s new clothing line, Staydium La. Needless to say, the competition for these pieces was fierce but in the end, three lucky fans walked away with a little more than just a headful of happy memories.
Moving into the next set of songs, the group performed “Dimelo”, “Ride on the Wind”, and “Hola Hola” before taking another break to chat with their fans. Feeding off the crowd’s energy all night, BM decided to ask the audience how long they’d been fans. Starting with their latest release, he began listing some of the group’s most popular tracks, asking fans to cheer when he got to the track that solidified their position as one of the group’s Hidden KARD. Not surprising, a vast majority of the audience revealed they’d been with the group from the very beginning. Touched by their fans’ enthusiasm and dedication, BM decided to take his survey one step further by asking the audience to reveal their age. Starting with the “90s babies”, BM began listing decades, asking those in attendance to cheer when he go to theirs. While the overwhelming majority of the audience was comprised by “90s and 2000s babies”, there were fans in attendance ranging from “60s babies” all the way through “2010s”, a fact that seemed especially touching to the artist. Recognizing the vast diversity of their fans, not only in age but in every other aspect as well, BM took a moment to thank everyone in attendance for their unwavering love and support. Of course BM wasn’t the only member who took time to chat with fans. As the show drew to a close, each and every member took a moment to talk with the audience and thank them all for the strength and encouragement they provide, and for being so willing to brave the cold, just to spend an evening together.
With a single song left on the evening’s setlist, KARD wrapped things up with a performance of “Dumb Litty” that drove the fans wild. Unwilling to let the evening end so soon, the fans were cheering for an encore before the group had even left the stage.
Never one to disappoint, KARD returned to the stage for a three-song encore that included “Oh NaNa”, “Ride on the Wind”, and, of course, “Dumb Litty”. With the fans pressed against the stage, the four members of KARD dished out an overwhelming amount of fanservice. Singing, smiling, winking, and waving to the sea of phones before them, KARD made sure everyone in that crowd left with a photo or video that was sure to inspire tears of joy.
As the evening came to its ultimate finale, KARD asked for the house lights to be brought up so they could take a group photo with their Chicago fans. After several photos, the members of KARD said their final farewells before disappearing into the darkness, taking with them all the love and support their devoted Chicago fans could give.
Written & Photographed by: Leah W.