NCT 127 reunites with LA fans at a concert

NCT 127 performed in front of thousands of their NCTzens on Thursday night at the Arena as one of two US stops on their NEO City – The Link world tour. (Kacie Yamamoto | Daily Trojan)

Thursday night before NCT 127 took the stage, the arena was already echoing with the thunderous screams of thousands of NCTzens, the group’s dedicated fans. The fans’ neobongs, the group’s glow sticks, illuminated the venue: from the balcony, the floor seemed to be dotted with a sea of ​​green stars, moving in sync with the beat. The atmosphere of anticipation and excitement was palpable as the group’s tracks blaring through the speakers grew louder and louder as the concert began.

As the last pre-recorded song ended, the arena plunged into darkness, waiting for the deafening roar of the crowd. Every light shot onto the stage as the nine members of the group emerged in sleek, solid white outfits. The fans only screamed louder as each of them made their way to the center of the stage and formed a line to enjoy the excitement of their NCTzens. After three years, NCT 127 was finally back in the United States and ready to start the night with a bang.

The concert’s opening segment kicked off with the group’s experimental smash hit “Kick It,” as the crowd went berserk upon hearing the song’s opening lyrics, “Let me introduce you to some new things!” Pyrotechnics lining the stage, only fueled the crowd more and further increased the performance of the group.

The group immediately moved on to “Lemonade” and “Cherry Bomb,” two hardcore hip-hop tracks that specifically highlighted the group’s rap prowess and passed the spotlight to members Mark, Taeyong, and Jaehyun as they loudly proclaimed: “I’m the biggest hit on stage.” The choreography for these two songs was nothing to sneeze at either, as the group flawlessly performed strong and compact movements while staying perfectly in sync with each other.

After completing their opening phase, the members began their first salutes to the crowd. As the members introduced themselves one by one, the fans cheered each member. Spirits were high as member Johnny explained the meaning behind the tour name “The Link” and yelled that NCT 127 and NCTzens “would form a bond” that day.

And form a connection they certainly did. Although the concert attendance was huge with around 12,000 NCTzens filling the Arena, the emotional bond between NCT 127 and their NCTzens was incredibly intimate. Each of the members, but especially Taeyong and Mark, reiterated how much they missed their American fans on multiple occasions throughout the night.

Due to the effects of the coronavirus, NCT 127 was unable to perform in the United States for a number of years, making this special concert very dear to both the group and their fans. The time that has elapsed between their last performance here and now has been quite significant – significant enough that the group had released three new full-length albums since their last visit, making this concert the US debut of many songs performed at the show made.

NCT 127 seamlessly transitioned into an upbeat, pop-based segment, performing their songs “Elevator,” “Dreamer,” and “Love Song.” Each of the members vibrated across the stage, dancing happily with each other and interacting with stage props, while members Haechan, Taeil and Doyoung gave the audience a taste of their live singing skills and casually belted out their lines with incredible ease. The light-hearted atmosphere conjured up by the segment encouraged many fans to dance on the spot and unabashedly sing along with the idols.

The middle part of the show was peppered with solos and duets like “Love Sign”, Haechan and Taeil’s ballad duet, in which the two took turns showing off their impressive vocal powers and captivating the audience with their great harmonies. Mark’s solo “Vibration” and his duet with Taeyong “The Himalayas” showcased the couple’s rap skills and hyped NCTzens with their electrifying performances. Jungwoo graced the darkened stage in a solid black cowboy outfit and jeweled cowboy hat to dance to a remixed version of the group’s Japanese song “Lipstick,” while Yuta wowed fans with an enchanting performance of his solo “Butterfly.”

The solo that many would cite as the most memorable of the night was Johnny’s stunning shirtless solo “Focus,” in which he performed a racy number in a clear glass room.

As a full group, the nine members came to the center of the crowd via the extended stage and interacted with the fans through waves, finger hearts and peace signs. On the middle stage, NCT played their legendary song “Regular (English Version)”. As Mark later mentioned, adding “Regular (English Version)” to the setlist was a last-minute decision when the members recalled how much American fans adored the song. That adoration was definitely on display as NCTzens aggressively waved their neobongs and yelled the lyrics as loud as possible.

The show’s finale featured three of the group’s newest songs: “Sticker,” “Faster,” and “2 Baddies.” No fan sat in their seat at the time, and if they did, they would have missed out sorely. The energy had reached a breaking point and peaked as the arena was overwhelmed with cheers, pyrotechnics, lasers and confetti. With the encore, a bittersweet aura came from the members as they pranced around the stage, dancing for the audience, picking up phones and blowing kisses.

As NCT 127 completed their final songs, “Dreams Come True” and “Promise You,” the members cried out their final emotional farewells to their NCTzens. It was truly an endearing scene to witness: fans screamed and cried as NCT 127 walked back the stage and stood behind the closing screen to wrap up the show.

While K-pop might not be for everyone, the energy at K-pop concerts is absolutely unmatched, and NCT 127’s Neo City – The Link concert was certainly no exception. NCTzens will no doubt be eagerly anticipating the group’s return to the States.

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