In light of the near-constant exposure of my secret identity as Fangirl Trash™, you might be to surprised to hear that, prior to Wednesday night, I had never attended a k-pop concert. Prior to Wednesday night, I never seen my coworker weep at the sight of a sculpted pectoral. Prior to Wednesday night, I was only a casual GOT7 fan.
So this was a life-changing event on several levels.
My experience with GOT7 pre-concert was more concerned with their personalities than their music; after my first descent down the EXO hole and subsequent freefall into BTS’s even darker, deeper hole, I’ve been trying to keep other groups at arms length. For my health & safety. So while I understood from indulging in a few (read: …..quite a few) music videos and compilations that GOT7 was talented and hilarious, my desire to “just learn their names!!!” never devolved into a true standom. I knew and liked their title tracks; I had a bias (or two); but I had basically never heard a b-side.
Coming into my first k-pop concert, I had a general idea of what to expect: a sea of lightsticks, a chorus of fanchants, a setlist full of incredible choreography and vocals. AND YET I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THIS.
First of all, the crowd was a bit more diverse that I expected. Of course I know it’s not all teen girls, as the media generally likes to sneer about–first of all, what’s wrong with being a teen girl?–but I saw guys and older women, as well. Not just moms there with their kids, either, but attending alone and not afraid to tell off some tweens who were blocking the view with their signs. Hell yeah. (I mean, was it largely teen girls? Yes. Their signs were cool but obstrusive.)
When the boys came out, it was immediately clear that this night was going to do some damage to my vocal cords (and my bias list).
Of the first three songs, I had only heard one: “Hard Carry.” The other two, “Skyway” and “OUT” were totally new for me, but bangers nonetheless. And I’ve got to say–watching music videos or live performances on Youtube is pretty fantastic on its own, but seeing it live is another thing entirely. They look just as flawless IRL as they do on your laptop screen. Their moves are just as sharp, their voices just as powerful. But there’s something extra. It’s like the veil is lifted–you can feel the energy onstage and pouring back from the audience. I couldn’t stop smiling.
After all that initial lit-ness, they slowed it down with “My Home,” another vintage B-side that immediately became one of my all-time faves, and “Prove It,” before picking things back up with mid-tempo bops “Paradise” and “Hey.” Then came the gorgeous “Firework,” sung on a slowly rising platform, before finally breaking out their newest single “Look,” to some of the loudest cheers of the night.
In between sets, Aghases were entertained with either a chat with the boys or with a video segment. At first, they talked about all that they’d done during their time in NYC. After a series of animated shorts (narrated by Jinyoung) about a painful breakup and eventual reconciliation, they all took turns hilariously roleplaying how’d they’d beg their lovers to take them back. Throughout all this, Bambam was 100% the chattiest, but while I was expecting him, Jackson, and Mark to do the majority of the talking, I was super impressed by the rest of the group’s English as well.
“Begging on my knees” was a super-sexy groove I’d never heard before (but have now added to my Spotify and played incessantly ever since), which was followed up by the most boyfriend-y of boyfriend songs, “Teenager,” and “Us.”
This kicked off a sequence of throwback classics: “Stop stop it,” “Girls girls girls,” and my queen “If You Do,” followed by “My Body Is Reacting,” “She’s A Monster” (another low-key bop), and the newer B-side “Face.”
The next song, “Dreamin’,” might have been my favorite performance of the night, despite never having heard the song–just because the guys seemed like they were having so much fun. They goofed off a bit for this one, and that’s when GOT7’s at their best: when they’re being loud assholes.
The boys claimed “You Are” and “Never Ever” were to be the last songs of the night, to a chorus of NOOOs–until Jinyoung immediately ruined the surprise by admitting they had encore songs as well. So after they left the stage, Aghases failed miserably at rallying the entire fanchant in unison, until we gave up and just started yelling “GOT7.”
The encore, it turned out, was over an entire extra hour of concert. No complaints here, obviously. This is where they broke out the special stages for three different sub-units: Jinyoung and Bambam doing a swaggy rendition of “King,” in which they looked EXPENSIVE AF; Jaebum, Youngjae, and Mark harmonizing for an emotional, atmospheric take on the ballad “Think About It”; and finally, Jackson and Yugyeom’s v. hot medley of “From Now,” “Hunger,” and “Pheonix,” in which Yugyeom danced his lyrical-modern ass off before joining Jackson in a high-energy rap. Then Jackson took his shirt off and I kind of blacked out after that.
Just kidding! The rest of the show was essentially a love letter directly to fans, with a pre-filmed segment of them eating dinner and talking about the album, as well as performances of “Going Higher” and the fan song “Thank You.” After reiterating many times over how grateful they are for Aghase support and promising to come back to New York soon–and after about 8 different fake-outs of leaving the stage before coming back for more audience interaction (people got hand-touches and even selfies, y’all)–GOT7 finally ended the show.
Overall, it was an amazing time. Spectacular performances of some of my favorites, new jams to add to my k-pop playlist, and witnessing that classic GOT7 chemistry live. The only thing I missed was “Just Right,” but I guess one can’t truly have it all.
Here’s some things I noticed about each member:
Yugyeom: Incredibly sharp, powerful moves. The most energetic. Legs for miles, man.
Bambam: The most talkative, super confident aura onstage. Lovable f***boi vibes.
JB: low-key both hilarious and arousing to watch. From derp to daddy to smiley prince in a second.
Jinyoung: Vocal & visual god. Deeeeep voice speaking English, particularly.
Mark: Cheeky and RUDE.
Youngjae: Adorable and funny in their talk segments, coming for my soul during the ballads.
Bambam and Yugyeom doing the #inmyfeelings challenge
Jackson’s bare torso
Roleplaying breakups at various fast food restaurants
So congrats, GOT7. You’ve ruined this casual, healthy relationship we had going and turned me into a full-on stan. And now that I know what experiencing live k-pop is like, I guess I’ll be shelling out a lot more cash for concerts.