Concert Review: Enhypen


Troy Tuquero, Senior Staff Writer

After hours of waiting, the lights in the Honda Center finally dimmed and the black-and-white ‘ENHYPEN WORLD TOUR MANIFESTO’ logo flashed across the screens. Thousands of ‘Engenes’ — the name of Enhypen’s fans — waved their lightsticks and burst into full screams like they were the victims in a horror film. Yes, my dear reader, I was one of them. And yes, I only just recovered my voice.

Enhypen is a rookie Korean pop group under Belift Lab, a collaboration between South Korean entertainment companies CJ ENM and Hybe Corporation. Enhypen’s seven members: Jungwon, Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, and Ni-ki debuted in November 2020 after they participated in and won a competitive trainee survival show called “I-Land.”

The group’s affiliation with Hybe is especially notable because it boasts some of the biggest names in the K-pop industry including BTS and Seventeen, as well as several up-and-coming acts like Tomorrow X Together, Le Sserafim, and NewJeans. As a fan of many of these Hybe groups, I was incredibly excited to see what kind of performances Enhypen would show off during their first world tour.

After a cinematic opening, the camera cut to a satellite shot of the moon and Jake’s monologue from “Intro: Walk the Line” began to play. “With rugged woods at our back, we greet the sun… It shines in our eyes,” he said.

The curtain rose to the sky, coinciding with the start of an orbit around the moon and a pan out to a wider galaxy in the background. Stars began to shine, revealing the seven members all standing in gorgeous, white, and princely outfits.

Taking a moment to allow the thunderous applause to run its course, Enhypen then got into a tight dance formation and held their locked arms in place in front of them. “I’m scared!” I found myself muttering, when suddenly the iconic harp melody from the group’s first hit song “Given-Taken” began. I was instantly stunned by their fluid choreography and their live vocals that were crazily close to the studio version release. This was matched by a beautiful background that became kaleidoscopic with the chorus.

After their performance of “Flicker,” the group took a moment’s rest and stood in line to offer their introductions one-by-one. Each Enhypen member talked for a few minutes about how excited they were to be performing and how thankful they were for the support of Engenes. Likewise, fans greeted them back with thunderous cheers and (very) loud confessions of love. Although the fan service is always cheesy, the ability of these idols to build these parasocial relationships that make you feel as if you know them personally and have a stake in their success is always fascinating.

After some performances of refreshing, upbeat songs like “Not for Sale” and “Upper Side Dreamin,” Enhypen ran off stage for an intermission. The interlude videos shown on the screen portended a change in the theme of the next performances, from songs with a bright-faced outlook to tracks with a more ‘edgy,’ and at times even, sensual vibe to them.

The seven members emerged a few minutes later on the red-lit stage having cast off the princely outfits and instead wearing flowy, red silk shirts and black pants. The whole stadium takes on this rave-like energy as the group performs one of its most popular songs: “Drunk-Dazed.” This was fitting considering its chorus includes a line about being incapable of controlling your body because of an intense urge to dance. In their following song “One in a Billion,” the members danced on top of a fancy, white-clothed dining table for a portion of the song.

For their next performance of “Fever,” Enhypen began what I considered to be one of the coolest dance breaks I have seen in K-pop. The members positioned themselves lying down in a circle around Sunghoon, who was on his knees. They all put their hands on his neck in a choking gesture, which Sunghoon returns by strangling Jungwon in front of him. Sunghoon joined the rest of the members in forming a jail of arms and circling Jungwon, who stands in a daze. The members then break out into sharp choreography, which included cool slicing gestures as well as a much-appreciated body roll, with Jake performing a solo dance before falling on his knees for the beginning of the next song.

After another intermission, Enhypen returned to the stage. What I enjoyed most about these next set of performances was it demonstrated the duality of Enhypen and their variety of concepts. Hits like “Attention, Please” and “Blessed-Cursed” showed that these idols could take on hip-hop and 1970’s hard rock style music. Without skipping a beat, they performed the iconic, R&B pop song “Polaroid Love” and walked off stage to say hello to fans in the nearby stands. In their performance of “Just a Little Bit,” I was enamored with their raw vocals, but especially Heeseung’s incredible falsetto notes that made me ascend to high heaven.

To the dismay of the audience, Enhypen said their goodbyes and announced that they were going to be performing their last song of the evening: “Future Perfect (Pass the Mic).” The Chicago Drill inspired song brought the house down and the crowd screamed for minutes on end even after the screens faded to black, save for an Enhypen logo.

However, seasoned K-pop concert attendees knew what was happening. It has been a trope for idols to pretend that they are finished for the night, and, just as expected, Enhypen came back in full force with songs like “ParadoXXX Invasion” and “Shout Out,” as well as one more rendition of “Future Perfect.” Just as the performance ended, the screen immediately flashed, alerting the audience to pull out their banners, which had been passed out to fans as they entered the stadium, in order to surprise the group. Looking around the stadium, all you could see was a sea of orange signs saying, “You’re our Universe,” with the members standing in awe at the display.

Even as a rookie K-pop group, Enhypen showed off a variety of concepts and disciplined performances in the first leg of their world tour. I left the stadium with a hoarse voice from all the screaming and cheering, and I would 100% do it again.

Grade: A
Venue: Honda Center

Image courtesy of Enhypen on Twitter