“You are my universe” is a meaningful phrase to all the fans of South Korean idols, Pentagon. The lyrics are derived from the group’s self-titled track and eventually coined name of their official fanclub: Universes. Just as the members and their music mean the world to their fans, Universes mean just as much to Pentagon. The strong idol-fan relationship was made evident as hundreds of Universes flocked to the historic Wiltern on September 12 for Pentagon’s ‘PRISM’ tour in Los Angeles. ‘PRISM’ focused on the theme of overcoming obstacles and adversity. At the beginning, audiences see the message “What is your inner color,” asking fans to self-reflect and see what makes them uniquely themselves, while the last VCR gives the message of “spread your wings, spread your color,” telling Universes to take what makes them unique and not be afraid to show it.
The nine-member group hails from Cube Entertainment and made their official debut on October 10, 2016 with their first EP “Pentagon” and debut track “Gorilla.” The members – HUI, JIN HO, HONG SEOK, SHIN WON, YEO ONE, YAN AN, YUTO, KINO, WOO SEOK – were first introduced through the MNET survival show ‘Pentagon Maker.’ Their third EP “Ceremony” became their first U.S. chart entry and landed them a spot at number 14 on Billboard’s World Album Chart. In 2018, their sixth Korean EP ‘Positive,’ with critically acclaimed lead single “Shine,” became a viral hit. Back in July Pentagon released their ninth EP “Sum(me:r)” and the title track “Humph!” With their growing global recognition, the boys embarked on an extensive sixteen-city world tour across Asia, North America, and South America.
The LA leg of the world tour started off with an intense, dramatic VCR introducing the members who then started off with the bombastic “Sha La La.” Pentagon set the bar high with a brilliant performance of the hard-hitting dance-pop song. Following with the brass-infused “Gorilla” and the atmospheric dramatic pop “Like This,” they set up a smooth segway into the catchy “Runaway.” Pentagon rounded off their first segment with lighter pop song “Just Do It,” before ending it with their newest comeback title “Humph!”
Never let it be said that Pentagon doesn’t engage their fans: their first VCR bridge was an old school 8-bit on-screen interactive game that the audience could participate in with their cheers. The game had character designs for each of the members, and the audience could help the members jump and avoid bombs by shouting the phrases “ho” and “hey” as the words appeared on the screen at different speeds.
Pentagon broke it down into smaller performances that tackled global hits. Kino, Hongseok, Jinho, and Yeo One seduced the audience with a sexy cover of Camila Cabello’s “Havana,” while Hui, Yuto, Shinwon, and Wooseok brought down the house with their fantastic cover of Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.” Both subunits had the crowd screaming with enthusiasm as they went all out and had fun on the stage.
Moving on, fans roared their approval with the first notes of “Critical Beauty.” They also performed “Skateboard” and “Can You Feel It” with this set. The thumps of sheer excitement from the fans were on par with the bass from the songs themselves.
Thus far, Pentagon showcased more of their heavy-hitting songs with intense choreography thus far, Slowing it down with beautiful pop-ballads “When it rains in the night” and “Beautiful,” demonstrated their versatility with musical genres. Pentagon then followed with two subunit originals. First came an explosive entrance with “Lost Paradise” by Pentagon’s Hip-Hop Unit (Kino, Wooseok, Hui, and Yuto) and a stunning performance of “Till…” by the Ballad Unit (Yeo One, Hongseok, Jinho, and Shinwon). Jinho and Hui showed off their strong vocals and demonstrated why they hold the positions of main vocalists of Pentagon. During “Till…”, the talented vocalists’ singing touched many a fan’s heart and rallied the rhythmic side-to-side sways from lightsticks.
Pentagon continued with songs “Fantasytic,”–Jinho trended on Twitter for a while for his powerful high notes–“Pretty Pretty,” and the ever popular rock-track “Spring Snow.” An unexpected surprise after all the hip-hop and dance-intensive tunes, “Spring Snow” was a fun number to spread across the stage and connect with Universes. The nonet rounded off the night with the upbeat “Naughty Boy” and the iconic “Shine,” inarguably the group’s most well-known track that became an online viral sensation with the signature “shoot” dance moves.
The highlights of the night was not only the performance, but also the easy camaraderie between the members and sweet interactions with Universes. Though ‘PRISM’ is their first world tour, the members engaged with the crowd and seemed to genuinely have fun on stage. It reflected well in their performance, especially for their upbeat tracks like “Pretty Pretty,” “Naughty Boy,” and “Shine.” They were comfortable and at home performing for a foreign crowd. Not only were the fans treated to the sight of silly antics like Jinho giving a piggyback to another member WHILE singing, but fans also witnessed their hilarious bickering during the ments. Hui even shared his experience of meeting his fan who said he was her “bias,” but had mistakenly heard “virus,” and then proceeded to confuse everyone in regards to “bias” vs “virus.”
Pentagon’s first solo concert in LA was a world-class success and the members maintained their wholesome, down-to-earth persona onstage. Over the years, Pentagon has grown musically, and shown audiences their multidimensional and adaptable styles, while keeping true to their fans and themselves. Even after many back-to-back performances, some of which were within 24 hours of each other, undoubtedly leaving the boys with almost no time to themselves, Pentagon showed us why Universes are their “universe.”
Photographed by: Ericka P.