Following a lively South American tour, A.C.E kicked off the North American leg of their 2018 [TO BE AN ACE]world tour on November 24 in Los Angeles, CA. The five-piece group made its dynamic debut on May 23, 2017 under Beat Interactive. Shortly afterwards Jun, Chan, Donghun, Wow, and Byeongkwan proved that they were a formidable team when they each participated and scored high on two of Korea’s survival shows – The Unit and Mix Nine. Chan earned a spot in the project group, UNB. Members Byeongkwan and Donghun ranked 4th and 8th on Mix Nine and also earned a spot on the show’s project group. Although Mix Nine’s group was ultimately cancelled, the A.C.E members’ talents were not unrecognized and they garnered attention both in Korea and abroad. So much so that fans took to MyMusicTaste and “made” their first overseas tours a reality.
As the group’s first stop on the U.S. tour, LA CHOICE’s (the fandom’s name) had been eagerly anticipating the day — some even camped outside the Fonda Theatre as early as 9 P.M. the day before to ensure a spot in front of the stage. Those lucky enough to snag a special ticket package received not only early entry, but also got to meet the members themselves, have an item signed, and participate in an intimate Q&A session before the show!
A.C.E started off the concert with a dance remix of their debut single “Cactus” and “Callin’.” The former was choreographed by Lia Kim, a well-known figure in the dance and K-Pop industry. Both tracks were heart-racing electronic pieces that showcased the group’s intricate and well synchronized dance moves.
The concert setlist was a pleasant mix of original songs and iconic covers performed by different members to further highlight their individual talents. Amidst the warm ambient lighting, Chan and Donghun delivered a moving performance of John Legend’s “All of Me.” Then, Jun, Wow, and Byeongkwan energized the crowd with a dance medley of Big Bang Taeyang’s greatest hits — “Wedding Dress,” “Where U At,” and “Ringa Linga.”
Jun and Wow had CHOICEs squealing with their special stage. Fitted in royal blue and white clothing, the duo performed “Black & Blue” and “Dessert,” both songs on A.C.E’s repackaged album, Adventures of Wonderland. The two switched between powerful to sensual dance moves that had the crowd riled up. The rest of the group joined the two onstage where they continued with a sexy dance medley of Justin Bieber’s “I’ll Show You,” Busta Rhymes’ “Call the Ambulance,” and Tyga’s “Make it Nasty.”
Although it was their first U.S. tour, the five members appeared very comfortable and playful onstage. After they finished “Dessert,” insanity ensued as the boys broke out in sexy body rolls that morphed into meme-worthy body shakes. At one point the members referenced the film, Men in Black, and proceeded to “wipe” everyone’s memories of their previous antics with imaginary neutralizers aimed at the crowd. Before introducing the next song, Byeongkwan hollered in English, “You need to pick up the phone and…TURNALLTHELIGHTSUP!” before dropping a beat and beatboxing. In contrast with his energetic introduction, they soulfully performed Jessie J’s “Flashlight” among a sea of cellphone lights provided by the audience.
Each member shared new sides of themselves throughout show. Whenever members walked off to prepare for their special stages, the others animatedly engaged with the audience. Some started a cheer-off with sections of the audience while a couple graced the the audience with sudden acapella covers of Sam Smith’s “Too Good at Goodbyes” and Shawn Mendes’ “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back.” Before jumping into their next song, the members held out their microphones to the crowd and joyfully listened as the audience sang the chorus to their song, “Take Me Higher.” To hear a foreign audience sing a hit in unison is bound to stir up some major feels as an artist. A.C.E certainly knew how to make their fans’ night, but that moment definitely left a mark on theirs.
At one point of the show, A.C.E held a special giveaway for lucky CHOICEs. The members drew raffle tickets that corresponded to everyone’s ticket/wristband number. Those whose numbers were called were instructed to jump high and wave to catch their attention among the vast crowd. By the end of the game, over ten CHOICEs won signed posters or polaroids from the members themselves. With everyone’s spirits high, A.C.E moved on to perform “I Feel So Lucky,” a Moombahton/K-Pop hybrid track produced by French DJ, H.C.UE. The song was sung in English and fans’ comfortably sang along. Following suit was a beautiful cover of Shawn Mendes’ “In My Blood.” The group’s raw, powerhouse vocals took center stage.
As the night came to a close, each member expressed their gratitude to their LA CHOICEs. Chan went first, “Being able to do this performance with you guys and for you guys, I’m honestly really really happy. During this performance, I had one feeling: I had to come back.”
Donghun thanked LA CHOICEs; without them “making” the tour stop on MyMusicTaste, none of this would have ever had happened. “Being able to do a concert here in LA is seriously so mind blowing to me,” he said. “Because of you guys, I’m able to be here with my group and I’m so glad I’m here, you guys made this happen.”
Jun started his speech off with sharing his gratitude for their US fans. “It’s so mind blowing to me that we have so many non Korean fans because we have so many songs that are in Korean. Although I’m a Korean artist, I’m so thankful that I have American fans like you guys.”
Byeongkwan brought an air of nostalgia with his speech. “When we were busking, I never imagined that we’d come to LA and perform,” he started. “So I’m going to promise you guys something: we’re gonna come back here soon in the future. I promise we’ll show a better version of ourselves the next time we see you.”
Wow admitted that he was actually a little regretful. “How did we only JUST see you guys today when we have so many awesome fans in LA? But we won’t make that same mistake twice.” Jun jumped in and added that when they did return, it would also be with a new album! Although the number of songs has yet to be discussed, they promised that they will try to put as many songs as they can for their fans.
The boys moved onto their their encore stage where they performed a dance medley of Big Bang’s “Bang Bang Bang,” GD x Taeyang’s “Good Boy,” and BTS’ “Fake Love” and “DNA.” For their final send off, the boys shared that they had a song that they really wanted to sing for CHOICEs: “5STAR.” As A.C.E sang the beautiful ballad, fans revealed their fan project, placing star-shaped post-its over their phone lights and lit the venue with a dreamy sea of “star” lights. An energetic encore performance of “Take Me Higher” that was filled with fan interactions wrapped up the night. Promising to meet LA CHOICEs in the future with a new album to share, one can only anticipate what exciting things are to come from A.C.E in the coming year.