Concert Review: ENHYPEN, Wintrust Arena, Chicago, IL

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ENHYPEN is nothing short of successful. With over five major awards in their native Korea, the band has made quite a name for itself since their debut two years ago. One of the things that makes ENHYPEN so unique is not just their success in such a short amount of time but that all seven of the boys were under 19 years old when they debuted. ENHYPEN are young yet highly skilled performers with professionalism that sets them apart from the rest of the K-pop universe. The group’s membership features a wide range of nationalities. The band consists of four Korean-born members: Heeseung, Sunghoon, Sunoo, and Jungwon, while Jake is from Australia, Jay is from America, and NI-KI is from Japan.

ENHYPEN on their debut U.S. Your

Coming to America

For the first time, the “rookie” K-Pop group came to the United States for a U.S headline tour, dubbing it Manifesto. Immediately after hitting the stage in Chicago, ENHYPEN began with “Given-Taken,” their debut song released in late 2020. The song was performed with visuals from the music video along with their trademark energetic choreography. “Given-Taken” was followed by an immediate crowd-pleaser, “Flicker,” which was very meaningful to long-time fans. The song was first performed on I-Land, which is the competition TV show that launched the band.

ENHYPEN played quite a few songs from their debut BORDER: DAY ONE as well as several from their first studio album DIMENSION: DILEMMA. Almost their entire discography was performed, minus two B-sides from earlier albums.

What is K-pop?

Korean pop differs from other types of pop music in many ways. One of the main differences is the importance of dance within the K-Pop scene. Most songs performed by K-Pop groups have coordinating choreography that the idols, as the band members are called, perform along with the song. This is most common with lead singles from albums. In Korea, these are also called title tracks, which has a different meaning, of course, when used in Western rock and pop, where a title track is also the name of a given album.

Despite the choreography being fast-paced and difficult, ENHYPEN brought consistently high energy to each song. Full dances were performed back to back, but the boys never seemed to tire. Going hand-in-hand with the dance performances, the stage production was nothing short of spectacular. Certain songs had set pieces that accompanied the songs, such as “One in a Billion,” which was performed on a large banquet table. When sets and props were not being used, large moving graphics went along with the songs matching the themes and aesthetics. Outfits were changed several times during the performance. While ENHYPEN was changing backstage (and catching their breath, no doubt), their music videos entertained the still very enthusiastic audience.

ENHYPEN sit down for some serious dancing

Despite the high-level production performances, ENHYPEN also took a lot of time to talk and connect with the fans. The group’s fans are called “ENGENES” (pronounced like engine). They spoke with their fans, often asking them to cheer, do a hand symbol, or rate their dance skills. They kept the audience’s attention, making them laugh and cheer even when they weren’t singing and dancing.

Crowd Interaction

Not only does the talking involve the fans, there are several different ways that K-pop fans can engage with the group throughout a concert. One of those ways is with light sticks, which fans can purchase.  The designs are unique to each group.

These light-up toys sync up with the music throughout the performance. They range in price from $40-$70 and are typically sold at the show. They provide some very cool effects and are something Western groups need to jump on. It looks far better than the light from a mobile voice.

Along with the light sticks, each fan typically picks a “bias,” or favorite member of the band. Throughout the show, ENGENE would cheer and scream whenever their bias was shown on the big screen. At certain points, it was difficult to even hear the idols over the cheering.

ENHYPEN put on a truly memorable show to be sure and made an impressive U.S debut. They brought high energy that was cheered on consistently throughout the performance and helped establish them as one of the top acts in the K-pop genre.

Photos supplied by the artist. Liza Wilson, who normally photographs for PCB, contributed to the review.

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PF WilsonConcert Review: ENHYPEN, Wintrust Arena, Chicago, IL