Sunday, March 23rd, 2014, Teen Top took to the stage of the Best Buy Theater in New York City. This stage marked a series of fantastic firsts for the six-member Korean pop group: the first stop on the North American leg of their High Kick World Tour, their first time in New York City, and their first solo tour in the United States and Canada– having previously performed at KCON in Los Angeles, California, as part of a massive, multi-artist concert during the Summer of 2013. Fans, more specifically referred to as Angels, were eager for the start of the concert, singing along as Teen Top songs played over the speakers while they waited for CAP, ChunJi, L.Joe, Niel, Ricky, and ChangJo–the six boys of Teen Top–to appear.
A brief introduction video of all the members was accompanied by cheers of excitement as the lights dimmed and the curtain that separated Angels from their boys dropped. Teen Top made an explosive start to their concert with their most recent single “장난아냐 (Rocking)” from their fourth mini album Teen Top Class, released August, 2013. Angels were immediately energized as the boys shuffled across the stage to the song’s driving electronic beat; chanting along to the buildup of “Teen Top we gonna rock it, drop it, top it, hey don’t stop it, pop it”! Teen Top continued straight into their second song, “길을 걷다가…(Walk by…)”, off their repackaged first album No. 1. Calming down from the intensity of “Rocking” to a much cuter sound, Angels were treated not only to the fresh faced smiles and lighthearted choreography, but a shower of rainbow confetti that punctuated the end of the song nicely. Teen Top then greeted their fans, introducing themselves and expressing their gratitude for being able to perform in New York City, since High Kick marked the first ever crowdfunded Korean pop concert in the United States. L. Joe ended their introduction and announced their summer special single, “나랑 사귈래? (Be Ma Girl)”, as the next song and fans accompanied Teen Top’s singing with their own fan chants!
Teen Top truly showcased their synchronized dance step during “향수 뿌리지마(No more perfume on you)”, from their second mini album Roman. “사랑하고 싶어 (I Wanna Love)”–another great track from No.1–garnered amazing reception. The boys truly treated the fans to powerful, aggressive, and beautiful vocals that the recorded version of the song does not do justice to. The emotion that went into this song was certainly moving and Angels found themselves wanting to love Teen Top even more than before! Teen Top took break to talk about what they want to do around New York City. CAP expressed his desire to visit Central Park while ChunJi shared that he wanted to see a Broadway musical. Ricky then asked Angels where they should go to New York and the audience erupted with answers. L. Joe followed up, asking “Should we just go on a date with all of you guys?” and Angels absolutely lost it, screaming and cheering excitedly at the idea!
Teen Top kept with a softer pop sound for the next set of songs, starting with “Never Go Back” from No.1 and then “Baby U” from aRtisT, their third mini album. “Date”, another track from Teen Top Class, followed right after. The boys played up the fan service, blowing kisses and making hearts back and forth with Angels as they sang this light pop track. Each chorus would find both Teen Top and Angels waving their hands and light sticks in sync with the beat, turning the audience into a bright sea of purple.
The boys then split into two groups of three to treat their Angels to a special stage of American pop song covers; but, before any of the songs began, Teen Top playfully bickered with each other over which was the most handsome sub-group! Niel, Chunji, and CAP started the contest by saying that their performing first was due to their exceedingly good looks and the cheering that came from the fans definitely helped back them up against ChangJo, Ricky, and L.Joe – though, the second sub-group certainly earned a lot of love from Angels as well! “Call You Mine” by Jeff Barnet was Niel, ChunJi, and Cap’s choice of song and they serenaded the audience with a beautiful cover of Barnet’s funk based R&B track. ChangJo, Ricky, and L.Joe kicked it up a tad for “Love” by Cody Simpson featuring Ziggy Marley. Dressed in preppy sweaters and thick rimmed glasses, the boys bounced in their seats to the beat as they sang about the best parts of being in love.
It was time for another video break! Teen Top’s title tracks and snippets from the accompanying music videos were the theme this time around and fans jumped and shouted and sang along when their favorites appeared on the screen. What got them more excited was not the music videos, however, but the sight of concert staff placing six boxes onto the stage– signalling that “To You”, Teen Top’s title track from aRtisT, and its amazingly intricate prop based and body rolling choreography was coming up next. “손등이 스친다(The back of my hand brushes against)”, a sweet love ballad from Roman, came after “To You” and turned the crowd into another waving sea of purple as Angels swayed to the soft melody and strong vocals. Another track from No.1 rounded out this trio of songs as ChunJi, Niel, and ChangJo sang “Hello”, impressing fans with their vocal range and especially ChunJi’s high notes!
“Hey girlfriend, would you like a love song?” ChangJo asked very eager Angels. The next two songs were a very special treat as neither appears on any recorded album. Teen Top settled into seats for the first song, “Love You”, written by L. Joe. “Love You” showed off a much more delicate sound as compared to the driving beats of most of Teen Top’s title tracks, and fans were especially moved by another spectacular high note from ChunJi. They then went straight into “아니야 (No)” written by CAP. Like “Love You”, “아니야 (No)” is a very strong ballad that showcased Ricky and ChunJi’s voices wonderfully, as well as a smooth rap from the writer himself. Teen top remained in their seats as they started “Angel” from their second single album Transform. “Angel” is most definitely a staple song of Teen Top’s even though it was never a title track, since it is the name of their fan club. Fans sang loudly as ChunJi and Niel tossed the microphone towards them for the line “There’s an angel in my heart” and there was definitely a strong connection between the boys and their Angels as everyone sang and swayed together. Fans were in for another surprise as Teen Top performed another American pop song cover, this time serenading the audience with James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful”.
The boys took a break from singing to interact with fans and each other once more. In true Teen Top fashion they picked on and teased each other, starting with Ricky and CAP begging L. Joe to sing and then jokingly telling him to stick to being a rapper. Niel and ChunJi joined Ricky on stage again and started to ask each other about their favorite Teen Top songs, asking for solo singing and dance performances to accompany each answer. ChunJi showcased the chorus and dance to “긴 생머리 그녀 (Miss Right)”, while Niel picked his favorite as, and showed off the dance to, “장난아냐 (Rocking)”. For ChangJo’s mini solo performance of “’미치겠어(Crazy)”, he choose to have the fans sing the chorus for him as he showed off the high energy choreography. Ricky performed a part of “’박수(Clap)”, L. Joe avoided the situation entirely (despite fans urgently cheering for him to perform his favorite), and CAP performed his own “sexy dance” instead of a Teen Top song.
Next came Teen Top’s first two singles: the supremely energetic “Supa Luv” from Transform that had fans in all sections dancing and their 2010 debut song, “박수(Clap)”. As soon as “박수(Clap)” started, every Angel could be seen with a paper sign that read “사랑해” (“I love you”)! There was amazing unity to this simple fan event and it really filled the whole theater with Angel’s love for their boys. Teen Top kept things fun and lively with “Don’t I” and “Love Fool”, both from Teen Top Class Repackage. Teen Top is known for their powerful choreography, but “Love Fool” took it to another level with interesting storytelling choreography that depicted how dizzying a breakup can be.
After another video recapping some of the highlights of previous High Kick World Tour stops in Japan and Korea, CAP took to the stage for “Rock Star”, his own personal favorite song from Teen Top Class. L. Joe appeared next on stage partway through to sing his own parts of the song and ChangJo followed suit quickly after. At the end, the other three members returned to the stage and Teen Top gave an incredibly colorful performance–enhanced by their incredibly colorful outfits–of “왜 (Why)” from No. 1. The energy spiked up as another track from No.1, “달콤해 (So Sweet)” began. With its driving bass and electronic beat, Angels danced and sang along to this incredibly fun song, cheering especially loud when Niel bent down and sang his parts directly to them. The excitement that passed between the fans and the boys was amazing and it only increased as the song was punctuated with another explosion of rainbow confetti! Though “달콤해 (So Sweet)” ended, the enthusiasm remained high as “Get Crazy” from No. 1 began and then transitioned straight into “Oh! Good” from Teen Top Class. The electronic dance breakdown in the middle of “Oh! Good” proved again that Teen Top are deserving of their title of “dance idols” with their high drive, intense shuffling dance enhancing this already incredibly catchy song. Finally, Teen Top ended with “긴 생머리 그녀 (Miss Right)”, the title track of their first album, accompanied by loud cheering and singing from Angels and another confetti canon!
Of course, Angels were left wanting more and were quick to chant for an encore as soon as the boys left the stage. Teen Top surprised by returning not with another one of their own songs but a composition of Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” into Own City and Carly Rae Jepson’s “Good Time”. Fans, of course, loved having Teen Top sing “I think I want to marry you” and enthusiastically sang and jumped along for both songs! Before the final song, Teen Top took a moment to thank the fans again for allowing them the chance to perform in New York City. Niel thanked American Angels for understanding him, even though he’s still working on his English and ChunJi expressed how the whole night still felt like a dream to him. The speeches ended with a promise between Teen Top and Angels that they would return to New York City. “미치겠어(Crazy)”, the title track of Teen Top’s second mini album It’s, rounded out the night, giving fans one more opportunity to dance and sing along with their idols!
Even with the slight language barrier, Teen Top gave their all to not only interact with their East Coast Angels but to allow Angels to join in on their interactions with each other as well. Like most idols, Teen Top has a very strong brotherly bond that is even more prominent when fans watch them tease and play fight with each other. Teen Top interacted amongst themselves on stage just as much as they interacted with the fans in the audience, giving off the feeling that Angels were just as included in this family dynamic that the members share. The boys looked to their fans to back them up in their spirited arguments and to aid in their teasing, and Angels eagerly complied– turning this concert experience into a family gathering of sorts. It was great to see Teen Top’s family dynamic shared with the thousands of Angels in the room, and hopefully fans will be able to see their idol brothers again soon!