HYBE LABELS and BELIFT LAB’s boy group ENHYPEN kicked off the United States leg of the “FATE” world tour in Carson, Calif. on Oct. 6. With a single tour date in California, loyal fans of the group, also known as ENGENEs, eagerly flocked to the 27,000-seat Dignity Health Sports Arena.
The seven members of ENHYPEN — Jungwon, Heeseung, Jake, Jay, Sunghoon, Sunoo and Ni-ki — can only be described as idols. Not only are they able to sell out large arenas, but their level of fame is impressive given that it’s only been three years since the group’s formation on the K-pop survival show “I-LAND.” Their first album, “BORDER: DAY ONE”, sold approximately 280,000 copies in its release week, making ENHYPEN the highest single album sellers for a group debuting in 2020.
Although they are young, the “FATE” world tour is ENHYPEN’s second tour. Last fall, ENHYPEN embarked on their “MANIFESTO” world tour, playing twice at Anaheim’s Honda Center and five other U.S. stops. The “MANIFESTO” tour was named after their third EP, “MANIFESTO: DAY 1.” The “FATE” world tour is dubbed after a track of the same name on ENHYPEN’s latest EP, “DARK BLOOD.”
At the Carson venue, ENHYPEN brought out people of all ages and backgrounds. Not only were there teens, there were parents accompanying their children, fans from nearby states, other countries and even UCI students.
20-year-old Megan Nair, a third-year cognitive science major at UCI, was ecstatic for her first ENHYPEN concert, which was also her first K-pop concert.
“I’m really excited to see them dance,” Nair said. “They didn’t have people dancing like ENHYPEN at the Jingle Ball concert I went to!”
The ENHYPEN concert itself proved to be nothing short of spectacular.
Screams erupted as ENHYPEN took the stage, appearing dapper in all-white suits, decorated with gold accents. Jake was the first one shown on screen, his bangs styled in a slicked-back look as he threw an unmarked red envelope. Jungwon, the group’s leader, remained stoic as he looked into the crowd, his round eyes softening at the sight of ENGENEs. Sunghoon and Ni-ki were more serious, their defined eyebrows enhancing their intimidating stage presence. Jay’s prominent jawline, along with the archer’s arrow he held, were highlighted by the stage lights. Red flower petals shrouded Heeseung and Sunoo angelically, the two standing with expressions of innocence.
ENHYPEN opened with the pop-rock anthem “Drunk-Dazed,” and Jungwon’s nasally high-pitched voice put ENGENEs into an immediate trance. The group swayed left and right in sluggish yet sharp motions, imitating the feeling of being intoxicated. As the members sang their parts and the choreography progressed, their vocals remained clear and exceptionally stable.
One translated part of the chorus, “I feel it / My head’s in a daze, daze, daze,” required ENHYPEN to jump in the air and land back down at the same time. Each member executed the jump perfectly without sounding short of breath.
A dance break followed “Drunk-Dazed,” featuring a duet-style dance from Ni-ki and Sunghoon. Ni-ki moved his limbs fluidly, popping and locking to every beat, with Sunghoon mirroring him. Ni-ki was especially impressive given that he’s been professionally trained in multiple dance genres since his early childhood.
Transitioning into their softer songs, ENHYPEN changed into “boy crush” apparel, fashioning V-neck sweater vests, button-down shirts, black ties and classic Converse high-tops. Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, and Sunoo sang as a subunit for “TFW (That Feeling When),” stripping the song down to an acoustic version. Jay started the tune with a guitar solo, his instrument adorned with ENHYPEN’s signatures. Jay’s deeper register paired pleasantly with his gentle chord strums, aided by the others’ soothing falsettos.
“Polaroid Love,” ENHYPEN’s TikTok viral song, was a fan favorite. The numerous clicks and stacked piano keys made the song fun to clap to as the members walked down from the stage to greet ENGENEs who had floor seats. ENGENEs stood on their chairs or moved forward to catch a closer glimpse of ENHYPEN from a safe distance.
In between songs, ENHYPEN gave short speeches expressing their gratitude. Jay and Jake cracked several jokes, communicating smoothly with international ENGENEs as the prominent English speakers of the group.
The last half of the concert was for songs from “DARK BLOOD,” with appropriate outfit changes of red, silk shirts and black suits with pockets displaying a mahogany-colored emblem.
“Sacrifice (Eat Me Up),” was riveting to witness, particularly for fans of ENHYPEN’s mature R&B songs. Sunoo stole the show with his introductory part, which featured his usually sweeter cadence swapped out for a more sultry inflection. His dance part was equally shocking as Sunoo was dragged on the floor by the members, staring at the camera menacingly. Heeseung, having one of the strongest voices of ENHYPEN, was another highlight of “Sacrifice,” belting out the chorus powerfully.
“Bills,” a contemporary indie and 80s-esque track, was nostalgic as its electric guitar instrumental echoed across the venue. As ENHYPEN sang the lyric, “why don’t you just let me go?”, the audience felt like they were the distant lovers ENHYPEN were singing about, unable to share the same feelings that bloomed at the start of their relationship.
Alternative head banger “Karma” was the last song performed. Rebelliously, the song’s lyric “don’t give a what” was changed to “don’t give a f**k” by Jake and Jay, giving ENGENEs a bombshell to remember. The track was accompanied by an explosion of red fireworks and confetti into the night sky in a thrilling finale.
Named after the hyphen symbol, ENHYPEN has showcased their ability to connect — not only with each other, but with ENGENEs through music, which went off flawlessly on the first date of the “FATE” world tour.
Although the U.S. portion of the tour ended on Oct.22, ENHYPEN’s next album of the “DARK BLOOD” series is to be released this November.
Ingrid Avancena is an Entertainment Intern for the fall 2023 quarter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.