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NCT 127 to 74, and Onwards – A Look at NEO CITY: USA ⏤ The Origin in Newark!

By Kaitlin Cunanan | April 26, 2019 12:58 AM EDT

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With a wide range of concepts, sounds, languages, and backgrounds, NCT 127's growing neo culture concept makes them a group for everyone and anyone. As a familiar home to NCTzens worldwide, NCT's reach grows more intimate through their "NEO CITY ⏤ The Origin" World Tour.

From following them as SM Rookies, seeing them debut with eclectic, hard-hitting "Firetruck," watching the infinitely growing NCT concept in action as NCT 127 grew from 7 members to 9 to 10, and watching the group be chosen as Apple's Up Next Artist, NCTzens have been through a lot. NCT 127 debuted in 2016, and over the course of the past three years, they've accomplished more than any Regular person could ever dream of. Between releasing yearly bops and winning awards, NCT 127 has amassed a large and loving horde of fans called NCTzens, citizens of their ever-growing Neo City.

While NCT does a healthy amount of catering for the international fan with VLives from the Foreign Swaggers squad of English speakers (Johnny hailing from Chicago, Mark hailing from Vancouver, and Jaehyun having studied abroad in New York) and their regularly-updated Youtube channel in which Johnny forays into the vlogging world with Johnny's Communication Center, most of these fans can only interact with the boys through their screens (though, that's not to say that replying to all of Jungwoo's selfies with 240 characters of just neon green heart emojis can't be valid.) With their first ever U.S. Tour, "NEO CITY ⏤ The Origin", NCT 127 is finally able to break through the miles that separate international NCTzens and NCT: in the words of a legendary bop, the tour narrows the space between them, until there's zero mile!

The group has been bringing fan interaction to a new level for any K-pop artist, let alone a K-pop artist from SM Entertainment. Their arrival in the United States was prefaced with tweets from the boys asking fans where to go eat and visit (and, of course, take amazing touristy- photos) in the New Jersey and New York area. Between the many tweets of declarations of love, local fans suggested Halal Guys, East Village, Central Park, and the newly-opened Vessel in Hudson Yards. Before we knew it, NCT 127 was holding an Instagram Live in Central Park and enjoying combo platters of lamb and chicken over rice from Halal Guys as they strolled down 7th Avenue.

Traversing through New York, you might have seen a huge tour bus decorated with NCT 127's faces and the bright red graphics of their NEO CITY Tour. The group posted a schedule for fans to go find the NCT 127 tour bus and snap a photo. On April 20th, the boys even surprised fans at Washington Square Park for a session of K-Pop Random Play Dance - NCTzens got to dance alongside their idols, a dream come true.

It's far from the first time that NCT 127 has stepped foot on East Coast soil - they've performed at both KCON NY 2017 and KCON NY 2018. In 2017, they lit up the KCON stage with "Cherry Bomb" and its explosive dance break; for 2018, they changed up their vibe with the soft and summery Touch. This time, they took the Prudential Stage all for their own for their "NEO CITY ⏤ The Origin" World Tour on April 24, 2019.

Twitter user @whomsstt was the first fan to line up for the concert, proving such an accomplishment with a tweet at 6:27 am of a quirky pose in front of Prudential Center's doors - this tweet was liked by the official NCT 127 twitter. Another campaign for NCT 127 to spur fan interaction, NCT 127 started the #NEOPOSE_CHALLENGE, with each member being assigned a stop of their tour and creating a pose for NCTzens to recreate and post about. Jaehyun was assigned to the New Jersey stop of the tour, and chose a pose with a bent knee and arms bent at right angles - almost like a snapshot of a Milly rock.

As the day went on, more fans flocked to Prudential Center, snapping photos and dancing to NCT songs in anticipation of the concert to come. Many NCTzens declared their love for NCT 127 just through their outfits, adorned in NCT's iconic neon green or the red and pink camoflage of Cherry Bomb. The abundance of belt chains was also a subtle nod to NCT 127's Japanese debut song "Chain" - and one fan even cosplayed Taeyong's iconic chained-crop-top ensemble from Wakey Wakey.

One of the most fundamental ways we establish intimacy is through language - and with the first song of their first U.S. tour, NCT 127 connected with us through kicking it all off with an English version of Cherry Bomb, remixed to include charismatic dance solos for each member. During the song, the entire arena was bathed in cherry red light - partly due to stage lights, but mostly due to all of the NCT lightsticks syncing up to glow bright red. With their lightsticks, NCTzens became a unified front in changing colors and shaping the atmosphere of their boys' powerful performance.

The nine boys entered the stage in white techwear outfits and sneakers with red accents, true to the white and red theme of their tour's designs and their name, Neo Culture Technology: equal parts modern, edgy, and sexy, especially considering Taeyong's sheer mesh shirt. They're masters of displaying their softer sides as well, performing Angel and City 127 with soft white dress shirts. With the addition of sleek red and black tuxedo jackets during Interlude: Regular to Irregular, NCT 127 made a powerful shift in energy once again, to a charismatic, almost demonic feeling to perform Regular.

For upbeat bops like Touch and Firetruck, NCT 127 was adorned in bright colors and retro-infused streetwear, with a special shoutout to Taeyong's floral suit. They truly looked otherworldly - or shall we say, Superhuman in the glittery and metallic suit jackets that shine across the song's world premiere - and they returned back to earth for simple boyfriend looks with their tour merch for their encore, enjoying the time where there's zero miles between NCT 127 and their loving NCTzens. NCT 127's many outfit changes encompass their versatility in style. Between techwear or formalwear, retro or futuristic, or angel or devil, whatever fashion vibe you are craving, NCT 127 can fulfill that desire.

A special gift towards NCTzens in Newark was the premiere of three songs off of NCT 127's upcoming album, We Are Superhuman (truly putting the New in New Jersey): "Jetlag," "Highway to Heaven," and "Superhuman". They had performed a snippet of Superhuman during their appearance on Good Morning America on April 18 as a mashup with Cherry Bomb, but now they revealed it in its full, show-stopping glory - sick beats, sick moves. The premiere of Jetlag with its dreamy, discordant chords and soft vocals had Haechan commenting, "It's like we went on a date with NCTzens." More than just being the first stop of their tour, Newark was the first date between U.S. NCTzens and NCT. With The Origin tour, explained by Mark to be NCT 127's new beginning, it's the start of a beautiful relationship between NCTzens and their love, NCT 127.

One moment that truly displayed the collective love and connection between NCTzens and NCT 127 was during Replay (PM 01:27) - NCT 127 themselves brought out their lightsticks and joined the fans in their green ocean. To the song's dreamy electro-beats, fans followed NCT 127's movements and the entire venue waved their lightsticks together in perfect, mesmerizing almost-choreographed synchronization. NCT 127 has declared that they just want to be loved, and NCTzens are more than happy to grant that love to them with such a magical moment, full of so much love.

To any other person, it might sound hard for the American fan to fall in love with NCT when there's so much distance and a language barrier in place. Yet, NCT 127 makes it so easy when they have music that caters to every and any taste, members that encompass everything from cute to charismatic to soft to sexy, and, of course, Johnny. In the words of the man himself, "[NCT] will always make sure that your love is given back." How could you not fall in love with that?

Beyond love, NCT 127 also expressed their gratitude towards their fans. Mark expressed during a ment that he was nervous about the group breaking into the American market as a K-Pop group, but with the strength and support of NCTzens, everything is possible. That support, to Mark, is "the best relationship a performer could have."

Going forward, NEO CITY: USA ⏤ The Origin Tour solidified our citizenship as loving NCTzens beyond belief. As NCT 127 continues with their tour and prepares to release their upcoming We Are Superhuman album in English on May 24th, we wait with bated breath to be able to shower NCT 127 with more of our love (whether that be with Twitter replies filled with green heart emojis, or being able to sway our NCT lightsticks in tandem with theirs.)

Thank you so much to SubKulture Entertainment and SM Entertainment for allowing us coverage of NCT 127's NEO CITY⏤ The Origin World Tour! Please continue to support SubKulture Entertainment and NCT! 

REPOTER: Kaitlin Cunanan

PHOTO CREDIT: Karen Cunanan

EDITOR: Edward Leary

Tagged :  NCT 127, Cherry Bomb, nyc, tour, world tour, Neo City, kpop, subkulture

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