Excitement was high in Los Angeles at the second NCT 127 world tour, NEO CITY: THE LINK. On October 6, the group held their first US concert in three years, following their performances in Seoul, Tokyo, Singapore, and Manila.
Singing and cheering filled the stadium as fans, NCTzens, waited for the concert to start. It only got louder when the lights dimmed and the nine members—Taeil, Johnny, Taeyong, Yuta, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Jungwoo, Mark, and Haechan—walked on stage.
We Go Wild
NCT 127 showed the crowd some new things as they opened the show with their 2020 title track “Kick It.” The high-energy opening set, complete with “Lemonade” and “Cherry Bomb,” set the vibe for the rest of the night. The members were just as excited as the fans. For Johnny, maybe partly due to the two Red Bulls he had backstage.
Tons of fun props and sets took the show to the next level. The members brought out umbrellas, a couch, and even bubble guns for a playful performance of “Love Song.” Yuta bounced around the stage and made the members laugh while Doyoung flashed the crowd his pretty smile.
In the middle of the concert-exclusive performances was the fan-favorite English version of “Highway to Heaven.” Their intense expressions, smooth movements and jeweled jackets were even more captivating from the extended stage. It’s no wonder the song ended with roaring screams from the crowd.
9 Baddies 1 Squad
After a round of whole group performances, the members got to show off their individual colors. Taeil started with a solo version of “Another World.” The main vocalist put a ballad twist on the song that led straight into his R&B duet, “Love Sign,” with Haechan. They showed off all their skills with powerful high notes, instruments, and seamless dancing.
Then, after a VCR break, the mood shifted from light-hearted to sensual. Mark exuded confidence with every step as he entered the stage in a fur coat. The heavy bass in his solo song “Vibration” could be felt in your bones. Taeyong brought a different vibe with his solo performance. He moved with the groovy bass in his song “Moonlight.” Dressed in a jacket as fiery orange as his freshly dyed hair, he rapped, danced, and surprised the crowd with a high note. The two powerhouses came together to perform “The Himalayas.” Their back-and-forth flow was addicting as they fed off of each other’s energy.
Nobody was prepared for Johnny’s sexy shower scene as NCT 127 performed “Focus.” Johnny walked into a glass bathroom and showed off his acting skills by playing the role of a sad lover. The screams were crazy when he took off his robe and flexed through the glass doors during the dance break. The members loved it just as much. “It was hot,” Mark chimed in, and even Jaehyun thought Johnny’s “showering got better” from their last performance.
Following the low-tempo from “Focus,” Jaehyun gave 2000s R&B with his English solo “Lost.” His sweet deep voice was full of emotion. Yuta delivered just as much intensity with his EDM solo “Butterfly.” “The song is very important for me,” he confessed, “I hope you guys get my message.” His passion definitely showed with every movement of his dance and the reveal of his butterfly tattoo. Jungwoo also gave a dance performance with his solo version of “Lipstick.” His beaded hat covered his eyes, but Jungwoo brought the heat with the rest of his body. He said he had “absolutely no regrets” bringing the song to life.
It was time to slow it down with a ballad section. It’s no secret that NCT 127 is a vocal powerhouse. There was no shortage of belts and runs while they performed “The Rainy Night,” “White Night,” and “Back 2 U.” To round it off, Doyoung sang an emotional intro to “Favorite” called “The Reason Why It’s Favorite.” Doyoung wanted NCTzens to “feel [his] love,” and if his goosebump and scream-inducing high note is anything to go by, the arena certainly did.
Roll Up To The Party
After the last of the solo performances, the Neos surprised the fans by performing “Regular.” According to Mark, “Regular” was initially not part of the setlist. However, they knew how much US fans loved the song and wanted to perform it just for them.
After another VCR, there was a series of feel-good songs: “Paradise,” “Touch,” and “Love Me Now.” It was at this point the members announced that the concert was starting to come to an end, but NCTzens had little time to feel sad before the next long-awaited set. The crowd erupted when the iconic flute from their title “Sticker” resonated through the arena.
“Sticker” wasn’t the only highly anticipated track. With the release of their latest album 2 Baddies just three weeks before NCT 127 left for the States, everyone was curious if they would perform it live. Los Angeles got to see the first performances of “Faster” and “2 Baddies” on the tour, and it was just as electric as anticipated.
A Night to Remember
As the end of the concert crept closer, the members hung out with fans and gave one last talk. Johnny linked with the crowd by leading them in a wave, and Taeyong made some “sound waves” by singing “2 Baddies” together with NCTzens.
NCT 127 spent the days leading up to the concert exploring Los Angeles and treated fans with tons of social media updates. Taeyong enjoyed the city so much that he told fans at the concert he wants to live there. He also expressed how much he missed NCTzens since the last time they were in LA. “We came out with three albums and we can’t meet at that time. That is so sad.” He reassured everyone, however, that it’s okay and they’ll “come again soon.” Mark loved the diversity in the crowd. “I saw a variety of different people in the crowd today, and that type of stuff makes us feel really really great.” The members mentioned they wish they had a second concert in LA and they hope to see fans at THE LINK+ in Seoul.
It was finally time to say goodbye, but a final performance of “Promise You” made sure it was on a happy note. “Promise You” was created as a message to fans that NCT 127 will eventually return to in-person after being separated for so long. As the stage doors closed, it was easy to feel their love while the members fought for a spot in the center to spend every last second waving to and thanking NCTzens.
An Unbreakable Link
It truly had been a long time since the last time fans got to see the group. NCT 127 made history with their last trip to the States by being the first K-Pop group to perform at RodeoHouston in 2020. In the years they’ve been gone, the number of NCTzens in the US has only grown. The group’s 2021 album, Sticker, debuted at number three on Billboard Top 200 Album Chart. Their success has led to larger venues and even more events to connect with international fans. Finally, NCT 127 bridged the distance and showed fans their Link in Los Angeles. With explosive choreography, vocals, and stage presence, they never fail to put on an incredible show.
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