After being crowned MTV Iggy’s Best New Band last December in New York City, CL, Dara, Park Bom, and Minzy of 2NE1 have returned to the states for their New Evolution tour. They’ve become the first K-pop girl group to hold a headlining world tour, and the two-stop American leg of New Evolution kicked off in Newark’s Prudential Center last Friday.
2NE1 leader CL addressed the thousands of Blackjacks that filled the stadium: “I’ve been waiting so long to see you guys. Tonight I’m going to make this show worth the wait!”
And the girls fully delivered. The two-hour concert was a nonstop party, packed with remixes of 2NE1′s biggest hits, along with live performances of older, never-promoted songs (like “Let’s Go Party” and “In the Club”) and solo stages by each of the members.
The show began with the song that shot the girls into international superstardom in 2011, “I’m the Best,” with 2NE1 making their grand entrance on rolling platforms, donning brightly-colored track jackets, courtesy of Jeremy Scott, who custom-designed all the outfits for the girls’ tour.
Following the explosive opener came 2NE1′s debut track, “Fire,” as well as an electrifying performance of “Clap Your Hands” that had the whole stadium clapping along. The minimal (but ever-flashy) stage effects and the live band, who were nestled right in the center of the extended stage, were perhaps the biggest contributors in taking 2NE1′s concert to the next level. Remix performances breathed new life into fan favorites, like the reggae rendition of “I Don’t Care” and the disco version of “Stay Together,” off their debut album.
After “Don’t Stop the Music,” Park Bom, Dara, and Minzy left the stage as CL took the spotlight on her own, rising into the air as she transformed the arena into a club, acting as DJ with a mix of Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and Madonna’s “Hung Up.”
Park Bom performed both of her solo singles, “Don’t Cry” and “You & I,” as she gracefully walked around the stage in her flowing silver and pink gown. Minzy’s solo stage was a high-energy dance routine with the dancers from HITECH (YG’s go-to male dance crew) for Missy Elliot’s “I’m Really Hot.”
Unfortunately, Dara’s solo “Kiss” remix performance was cut short (in the Seoul shows, she invited a male fan onstage) due to the concert’s late start. One lucky fan was hugged by her, as Dara still took the opportunity to run down to the crowd to find “the guy that loves me the most.” Needless to say, that Blackjack was shaking and screaming in ecstatic disbelief for the remainder of the concert.
Other highlights included the slower part of the evening, when the girls emerged in elegant trench coat gowns and sung into the wire tree in the center of the venue for “It Hurts” and “Lonely.”
The night ended with a rush of dance tracks, from the neon-spattered “Ugly” to the fun head-banging in the English version of “Can’t Nobody.” One of the great things about 2NE1, and CL and Minzy in particular, is the communication they have with their fans during songs. In addition to the standard flying winks and flirty smiles, 2NE1 genuinely seemed like they were there “to have fun and party with our fans,” as was promised by the girls before they embarked on their tour.
As K-pop’s presence in the global music conversation continues to grow, 2NE1 sets a pretty high bar for the other K-pop acts that will try their hand at captivating American audiences in the coming months. The girls will make their way over to the West Coast this week for their Los Angeles show at the Nokia Theater on Friday, August 24. Stay tuned for MTV K’s exclusive interview with 2NE1 about their world tour and what they’ve got in store for Blackjacks this year, and scroll down to the bottom for the full set list for New Evolution below:
2NE1: New Evolution @ Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey
“I’m the Best”
“Fire” – remix
[talk - intro]
“I Don’t Care” – reggae version
“Don’t Stop the Music” – remix
CL solo – DJ session
Park Bom solo – “Don’t Cry” – piano version
Park Bom solo – “You & I”
“Try to Follow Me”
CL & Minzy – “Please Don’t Go”
Minzy solo – hip-hop dance stage
Dara solo – “Kiss” – remix
“In the Club”
“Stay Together” – disco version
“I Love You”
[band - instrumental break]
“Let’s Go Party”
“Scream” – remix
“Go Away” – remix
“Can’t Nobody” – English version
“I Don’t Care” – encore
“I Am the Best” – encore