The Jackson 5. Elvis Presley. Prince. All are legends who have played The Forum in Inglewood in the past. And last Friday, the iconic venue added its first K-pop group to its roster: GOT7.
Comprised of seven members, Jackson Wang, Youngjae Choi, Jinyoung Park, Yugyeom Kim, Jaebeom Lim (better known as JB), Kunpimook Bhuwakul (BamBam, aka Double B), and the Arcadia native Mark Tuan, GOT7 are no strangers to Los Angeles. The group has performed in the area at events like KCON and The Korea Times Music Festival in the past, and as part of their own solo tours since the group started in 2014. But this night at The Forum was different. Having performed in smaller venues and shorter sets in the past, iGOT7 or ahgase, their fans, would finally witness the full splendor of their shows, ones that until that day had only been performed in Asia.
The first stop on the Eyes On You tour marked a series of firsts for the boy band. Not only was it their first time playing an arena in the U.S. —which they sold out— but it was also the biggest concert by an artist from JYP Entertainment, one of the biggest Korean entertainment companies, in the states. Which is why company founder J. Y. Park himself, or as GOT7 kept referring to him, their “boss,” quietly watched the show from the crowd. In South Korea, label mates TWICE may be the girl group of the moment and JYP’s current crown jewel, but in Los Angeles, GOT7 is on top.
Going from the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, where they held their last tour, to The Forum is one big come up, but the move was foreseeable when they headlined last year’s KCON LA —despite their humble oblivion of just how popular they were. Their fans showing up in droves last year, plus their latest EP Eyes On You, laid the foundation for what this tour would be like.
In terms of setlist, at face value, the songs were all over the place. The guys went from pulsating EDM-hip hop hybrids to smother R&B-ish jams. But if anything, Friday’s show was all about giving back to the fans and showing GOT7’s best face, which meant they highlighted songs that the members wrote and produced themselves.
From the tropical “Paradise” written by Jinyoung and BamBam, to Mark’s bouncy “My Home,” and Jackson’s bombastic “Out,” the group pulled out all the stops with their performances. The members also emphasized the JB-written singles, “You Are,” “Teenager,” and “Look,” calling the last one “the most important song of this tour.” It’s also their most recent single. These three tracks marked the true shift in GOT7’s artistry, evolving into self-producing idols (what K-pop singers are called in Korea). Other highlights were “Dreamin’,” “Hey,” and “Firework.”
But just because GOT7 wasn’t involved in the creative process of their earlier singles and B-sides doesn’t mean that they were ruled out from the setlist. The entire venue reverberated with fans shouting out the members’ names as part of the fan chant for “Never Ever,” as well as the remixes of other classics like their debut single “Girls, Girls, Girls” and “If You Do.” “Begging On My Knees” and “My Reaction” were obscure, yet pleasant album cuts.
A highly anticipated moment of the concert was the unit segment, where the members broke off into different units to perform new, unreleased songs especially created for the tour. Jinyoung and BamBam flexed on everyone in attendance with “I’m The King,” coming out sitting on thrones and decked out in shimmering suits. Mark, JB, and Youngjae melted hearts with their crooning and satin blouses on “Think About It,” while Jackson and Yugyeom performed short rap and dance, respectively, solo stages, and then joined forces for “Phoenix.”
During the few times they talked to the audience, different members kept reiterating how crazy it was for them to play and to presence a sea of green lightsticks, their signature color, at such a big venue in the states. BamBam called it an honor to perform there, and Yugyeom said seeing the lights felt like heaven.
While not exactly an underdog, since they come from a well-known and prestigious company, GOT7 is not exactly one of the most popular groups back home either. They started out as the stereotypical overprocessed K-pop group that the West tends to frown upon, having songs and concepts assigned with no input from them. But thanks to their hard work, the GOT7 members are growing as true artists and have taken the reigns of their work with their recent material.
As to what’s next for GOT7, it depends on who you choose to believe. Known for spoiling their own comebacks, JB said they’d work on their next album when they returned to Korea, Mark said they were currently working on the new album, and Jinyoung said that they may work on a new album soon. Whichever way, we can expect new music from them this year.
After a three hour show, GOT7 closed out the night with an encore of energetic tracks, like “Go Higher” and remixes of “Look” and “Fly.” And just when they had said their goodbyes and taken a group picture, the members huddled up and agreed on playing an extra song since it was such a historic night for them. They quickly asked the audience what they wanted to see and then settled with “Just Right,” one of their cuter singles that wasn’t on the show’s setlist. For this song, they ran around the stage taking gifts from fans, sharing their mics with them so they’d sing, and do many meme dances popular on social media like the shoot and the floss.
The Eyes On You tour was a testament to as to why GOT7 —and even K-pop— have such huge followings in Los Angeles. And with an average age of just 22 for the group members, this is just the beginning for them.