KCON LA Concert Day 1 Recap: 3 years In the Making


 Photo Cr: CJ ENM

Had it really been three years since the last KCON LA? It sure didn’t seem that way with the excitement, energy and roar from the crowd heard throughout the Crypto.com Arena on KCON’s opening concert night. As a frequent concertgoer and avid KCONer, I was beyond ecstatic when the weekend concert and star-studded lineup were announced. It was definitely going to be a great show, with the names of 4th generation artists like ITZY, CRAViTY, ENHYPEN (what?), and ATEEZ (double what?) rounding out the programing. Then there was the piece de resistance: the “surprise” addition of the ever-busy group, Stray Kids straight from a rather quick break after finishing their USA tour. It looked like KCON, celebrating this year their 10th Anniversary was ready to bring the heat and the summer k-pop celebration back to Los Angeles.

Our KCON host for the weekend was Alex Reid, former leader and rapper of the k-pop girl group RaNia, who enthusiastically introduced the pre-show opener: dancers from the Boston Conservatory at Berkelee. These performers mixed contemporary moves to beats from crowd favorites like BTS’ ‘Mic Drop’ Steve Aoki Remix, ITZY’s “WANNABE” and my personal fave, NCT U’s “Raise the Roof” from the Resonance Pt.2 album. This was a great way to hype the already excited crowd!

As the screen bearing the KCON 2022 logo descended from the center, I could already hear screaming from the crowd as the name ATEEZ circled the monitor. OMG, were we already getting ATEEZ? Yep, we did! The screen lifted back up and magically, poof, ATEEZ had arrived. As if it wasn’t already incredible enough to have them on stage, the boys performed KCON LA 2022’s Signature song ‘Poppia’, which fans found out the members only had 6 hours to practice. As I was utterly distracted by this amazing performance, I did not have time or realize that Special Guest MC Bangchan from aforementioned busy-group Stray Kids was on the stage shyly holding red roses. Was he going to throw them to the crowd? Yes, he sure did!


The over three and a half hour show (who’s counting when you’re having so much fun) continued with a dominating ATEEZ coming out again to perform basically what I felt was a solo concert in itself. The 8-member group had a setlist of 7 additional songs on top of ‘Poppia’, with ‘Say My Name’, ‘Hala Hala’ and ‘Rocky’ to name a few. ATINY was one happy fandom on this night.

     Credit: CJ ENM

Kep1er and LIGHTSUM

Not to be outdone by their ATEEZ sunbaes, Kep1er and LIGHTSUM showed the crowd that girl groups are also some powerhouses. Kep1er performed a joint stage with KCON Dream Stage winners to their song “WA DA DA”. Winners were chosen through an intense dance cover competition that was held earlier in the day at the convention. Later, these ladies came back out again to perform their song ‘Up!’ and a cover of IZONE’s ‘La Vie en Rose’.

LIGHTSUM, who were part of the KCON Rookies lineup this year and performed the day before, came out to perform their catchy songs ‘Alive’ and ‘Vivace’. They would later grace the stage again with the cover of (G)I-DLE’s ‘Tomboy’ and showed why they are the Gen-Z group to pay attention to.


Let’s not forget CRAViTY, Starship Entertainment’s 9-member group with local LA favorite and former KCONer-turned idol Allen. Yes, I was getting an ‘Adrenaline’ rush from their stage and asked myself it was ‘My Turn’ to sit down, haha.

Collab Stage and Special Stage

The night continued with another OMG moment, with a special collaboration stage for ‘Break My Heart Myself’ between Bebe Rexha and ITZY’s Yeji and Ryujin. Bebe’s “saranghae” and “I love you ITZY” at the end of the song just about made my night. JYP’s talent was on full display with 3RACHA’s ability to get the entire arena to jump up and down with their arms in the air for their special stage ‘Yeah’.

Are you tired yet? INI, ENHYPEN and ITZY Aren’t

If you had already survived the 2 hours of non-stop performances, you were not allowed to be tired because there was so much more! First time performing in the United States, INI, an 11-member group that formed from Produce 101 Japan showed us why they were the chosen winners. It was very reminiscent of project group Wanna One (RIP). ENHYPEN, who I hope many will get to see again when they tour the United States later in the year as a full group (without Sunoo today), did not disappoint with their songs ‘Future Perfect (Pass the Mic)’, ‘Fever’ and ‘Polaroid Love’. Again, there’s a reason these 7 boys were the finalists for survival program, I-LAND. ITZY, who I will never get tired of seeing, came together as 5 on stage playing a cute “guess the song from emojis” game sandwiched between performances of ‘Sneakers’, ‘Surf’, ‘WANNABE’ and Dalla Dalla.

                                                    Credit CJ ENM

Stray Kids, Stray Kids!

What more can I say about our last group of the night? After 3 hours of KCONers enjoying the many daebak artists, special stages and collaborations, Stray Kids said, let’s keep this energy going until the end! Having missed their last Maniac USA Tour, I was thrilled to be treated to not only to the 8 member killer smiles, but their oh-so popular songs ‘Maniac’, ‘Thunderous’, ‘Back Door’ and ‘God’s Menu’ (du ddu du du ddu du- I swear I can’t get that part out of my head). If I was tired, I was definitely going to be up after their performance.

I hope everyone enjoyed KCON’s 3 year revival as much as I did and if you weren’t able to make it this year, what artists are you hoping to see next year? What will year 11 bring to KCON LA? I can’t wait to find out! LET’S KCON (insert confetti)!

Credit CJ ENM

Did you enjoy KCON LA 2022? Let us know at KpopWise! 

Jessica Wu

Jess has been following the K-pop, K-culture and K-drama scene since 2009 when she stumbled across Super Junior and Girls Generation on Youtube. She biases ONEUS and BTS, but is a self-proclaimed multi. She is so excited to reach out to many people regarding her passion for all things Korean. You can find her spending time with her 3 dogs and 2 cats (not an animal hoarder- am in veterinary science industry) when not at a concert, festival or traveling around the world.

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