By: Angeline Abrera
Photography Credit: BELIFT LAB
The KPOP group, ENHYPEN, has set off on their first ever tour in North America with Houston being one of the stops. Despite their recent debut in 2020 through a survival competition called I-Land, it’s clear that these seven idols have won the hearts of many within the past few years, with all the hype surrounding their arrival here in the states.
We arrived around 6:30pm, right when the doors opened, and the line wrapped around the entire venue. As we made our way to the back of the line, you can feel the excitement of the “Engenes”, their fanbase, with the group’s lightstick in hand, along with banners, slogans, and headbands to show their appreciation for the group and/or their favorite member. After an hour of waiting in line, the anticipation only growing stronger every minute, we finally made our way inside and to our seats.
Within a few minutes of sitting down, their VCR started rolling. The acronym stands for Video Cassette Recording, but the KPOP world has adapted this term to mean any video that is played before or during a show to set the scene of the concert, get fans hyped up, and for the idols to change into their new outfits. Though this is nothing new for other artists across the music industry, the KPOP industry has turned it into something that the fans look forward to for every KPOP concert as something they can not only enjoy, but dissect and analyze since every VCR tells a story. As the VCR ends, the screen slowly starts rising up, the screams only growing louder, to reveal the seven members.
With their silhouettes revealed, the members got into their first formation, starting off the show with Given-Taken, a fan favorite from one of their first releases back in 2020 which now has over 108 million streams on Spotify. Judging by the loud chants to every single lyric, it’s evident that Engenes have waited so long for this day. In between songs, ENHYPEN would take some time to talk to the fans and interact with them. You can see it in the group’s eyes, and with their many “thank you’s” throughout the night, how much they love and appreciate their fans. During their song Polaroid Love, which has gained major traction on TikTok, the idols even went into the crowd, saying hi to Engenes up close with high-fives, waves, and hand hearts. I was one of the lucky fans who got an aisle seat, which three of the members, Jay, Sunghon, and Sunoo, passed right by me. Sunoo even completed my hand heart, making it the highlight of my night.
After their last song, Shout Out, the fans all participated in a fan project, holding up a sign that said “ENHYPEN make Engene better.” With almost every seat holding up this sign, this definitely would be something that the group would remember forever, and me as well. And after two hours of the idols dancing their hearts out, and their fans doing just the same, it was time for ENHYPEN to leave. But before they left, the group went across the entire stage one last time, saying goodbye and taking gifts from everyone right along the barricade. It was clear the love that they have for Engenes as they took their time saying goodbye to as many fans as they possibly could. This concert reminded me of the truly special connection that artists, specifically KPOP artists, have with their fans and vice versa. Because there’s nothing like seeing your favorite artist in person and to have them show the same amount of love and appreciation that you give them.