Despite more than eight years as one of the most internationally popular and consistent K-pop boy bands out there, SHINee has yet to tour America. Loads of much smaller acts and even a slew of their labelmates have all made treks in the U.S., and while the group has held successful fan meetings (including a massive one just yesterday in Dallas), KCON 2016 Los Angeles was probably the closest chance fans have gotten to see what the quintet can deliver in a full concert production. But once the too-short-but-super-sweet performance on Saturday finished, it became clear just how successful a full-fledged American tour could prove to be for SHINee.
After performances by the likes of Amber, Dean, Block B, I.O.I, and more, it was finally time for the headliners to take the stage as the band stared down the crowd while their live intro track "SHINee in the House" played. The band moved quickly into the house-inspired single "View," which had the Staples Center arena screaming despite boasting more subtle choreography and a more subdued stage show.
But after playing that massive hit that fans and non-fans alike would know, SHINee moved into "An Encore"—the closing ballad to their 2015 album Odd. There wasn't any choreography or splashy visuals here, but instead the band entranced the crowd strictly with their vocals.
In particular, it was Jonghyun's humongous belts that really proved the band wasn't lip-syncing—which is not always easy to tell in K-pop. The song was a strong reminder of how cohesive this band as a five piece is, with Minho's vocals sounding stronger than ever and Onew nailing the multiple ad-libs. In fact, it was hard to decide exactly just who to watch during this performance in particular—a good problem to have with a boy band.
SHINee then delivered "Beautiful," another album cut, but this time from even further back on 2013's Misconceptions of You album. The racing chorus had viewers charged up and saw the guys looking like they were having the most fun onstage so far with the loose choreography that mostly saw them running around the KCON stage. Despite not being a heavily promoted track, the audience was still just as engaged as they were with "View."
There was loads of singles SHINee could have picked to perform for the U.S. audience: The Rolling Stone-approved "Sherlock," the uber-catchy "Dream Girl," a throwback to their early days with "Lucifer," or even their most recent release, "Married to the Music." Instead, SHINee showed their range as a group—showcasing different genres, vocal styles, choreography and stage presences. But most importantly, it successfully tested the waters for what could prove to be an extremely successful tour in America.
SHINee ended with a performance of 2013 single "Everybody"; its eye-popping choreography is one of the band's most impressive outputs to date and had the audience shrieking. But at that point, it didn't even matter that it was one of the more recognizable releases. SHINee proved the fans were here for them no matter what songs they were performing, and the band would be smart to parlay that into a full-fledged tour as soon as possible.