(Writer’s Note: Adventures With Jenny is my shameless attempt at cataloging my first trip to Korea with #KoreaJoa2015! For the next 10 days, follow me as I indulge in Korea’s iconic food — live octopus, anyone? — and landmarks, made complete with retellings of brief encounters with celebrity.)
It’s been two whole years since “Who is Next: Win” first made across the airwaves. Two years, two reality shows, and endless teases of faux beginnings later, the boys of iKON are finally standing on the stage of Olympic Park in a sold-out show, with a long-awaited debut that propels them to the ranks of other greats that have made this stage a true icon of K-pop.
Those of you following my photo journey on Instagram probably know I’m a little behind on recapping my trip in general (the last we left off, I was stranded in Gangnam, hauling a broken suitcase down the streets…), but yesterday night’s show deserves a special edition that surpasses continuity. I’ve been to a whole slew of concerts across the states – nearly all of them, in fact – but this was the first time I’ve sat in the stadium in Korea, watching idols and fans alike in their home habitat.
And it was absolutely incredible.
The energy of the crowd was boundless, and the boys were especially coy with their fanatic audience, working them up to a frenzy. And they knew how to hit the right buttons: even before the concert began, clips of the group’s days in the reality show flashed across the big screens, and are especially reminiscent of the hard work behind the scenes.
Whenever idols visit the states, one question that seems to come up over and over with the media has to do with differentiating fans of each country. Having witnessed Korean fans first hand, I can tell you for certain that they bring a new definition to the word “passionate.” Singing along to every word of every song, they still manage to have time to maintain the proper fanchants of the boys’ full names. In fact, Bobby struck a pose in the beginning of his solo stage, and the fans completed the difficult rap while he swaggered back and forth to beat. And the screams… they were no joke.
As a true Family should, the YG artists showed their support by making surprise appearances. When Epik High appeared suddenly center stage, the entire venue roared with approval. And they did not disappoint. After rocking out the stage to a true epic high with hits both old and new, the group gave the crowd exactly what they were looking for when B.I and Bobby joins them for a hyped “Born Hater.” Of course, the hip-hop night could not continue without the genre’s original pioneers Jinusean, whose appearance reminded the audience why they love hip-hop.
The concert screeched to a brief halt when staff members asked those in standing section to space out to avoid injury from the fireworks and special effects that had been doled out during songs. But the iKON powerhouse can’t be stopped, and soon the boys were back on stage with enough energy to revitalize the never-tiring crowd. The members even expressed concern for the audience, repeatedly asking those in the front if they were okay (which was met with a resounding “yes”).
Who said hip-hop groups can’t aegyo and fanservice? Fans were brought up on stage and danced with, and pitted against one another in an intense game of iKON Basketball League (which was really only an excuse for the boys to give out cutesy hugs and high-fives, but I’m not complaining!)
But the true power of the group lies in the one of the last performed songs of the official set, “Climax.” With lyrics that pays homage to the group’s long journey of two years, the new and improved Team B rises up on a stage, the lights dimmed, as B.I pours out a heart-wrenching rap bridge, surrounded only by the warm glow of cell phones and the loud cheers of the fans. When the lights go up, iKON cried, saying their personal thank-yous to the crowd, all the while promising fruitful careers and never ending hard work.
The concert was not just a show, but an emotional roller-coaster that brings the fans on a journey to witness, first-hand, the results of years of hard work, struggles, and dedication. But the fans, having been through every step of those struggles, are the true winners of the night. Moments before the encore stages, every fan in the audience held up banners of encouragement for the group prepared by iKON Fan Union, an ocean of white radiating support for the group and reminding them that the fans are always there for them. Thank you, iKON, for a great night, one that proves failure is an equivocal term, and that success is always lurking in the corner.
Want to win one of the lighted bracelets that made up the colored oceans in the crowd at iKON’s concert, one that will forever be a memento of their debut? I have an extra! Just follow the simple steps below!
- Follow @Soompikpop on Instagram
- Comment on this article with why you love iKON, and your Instagram handle! (Be sure to start the post off with “Hi Jenny” because I’m shameless like that)
IMPORTANT: Please note that we will contact you through Twitter if you’re one of the lucky winners, so don’t forget to check your mentions and direct messages! You will need to reply to us in the next 24 hours after our message! The contest will end on October 6, 8 p.m. KST!
Next up on #AdventuresWithJenny: The elusive Busan chapter, plus Gangnam K-Pop Festival with Super Junior D&E, EXO and Red Velvet? Yes, please!