K-Pop: Hobipalooza

Official image of J-Hope (Jung Hoseok) for the “Arson” music video from the ‘Jack In The Box’ album. Copyright goes to J-Hope and the Hybe Corporation.

Hey! Hallie here!

J-Hope’s slot at Lollapalooza has been one of the most highly anticipated performances of the summer. It’s the first time one of the members of BTS decided to take on an entire concert performance as a solo artist, and more importantly, the first time a Korean artist has headlined a US music festival. Given the craziness of past headliner performances at the event, and the craziness of any BTS performance, this historic occasion promised to be immense. And it exceeded expectations. J-Hope said he set out to prove himself to both long-time ARMYs and those at the event who’d never heard his music before, and sure enough, he blew all of them away. From a well-thought-out set, to tight choreography, to impressive vocals and rapping, J-Hope spent his time on stage proving that he deserves every amount of hype he’s ever gotten. I, unfortunately, didn’t get to attend, but I did catch the event as it was streaming and there’s a lot to talk about. Let’s get to the details!

Dark Set:

I’m distinguishing the two parts of his performance by his clothing style, the first being his darker and more gritty look. This entire set started with the intro to ‘Jack In The Box’ and the story of Pandora’s box. In a concert setting the intro sets a really creepy, exciting mood and made for a really good prep for J-Hope’s entrance. As for his entrance, J-Hope jumped out of a huge box setup, giving us a literal and very badass jack in the box. The instant he hit the ground he started “MORE”. Throughout the first few songs we got less choreo and more unhinged vibes, which is exactly what the ‘Jack In The Box’ material needs. But we didn’t just get ‘Jack In The Box’. After “MORE” and a really intense performance of “Pandora’s Box”, which radiated energy even when J-Hope was delivering from a sitting position, he went into “Baseline”. This song in particular was one of the most praised by non-ARMYs in the audience and it’s really nothing short of perfect. It was even further sweetened by the transition straight into J-Hope’s verse from “Cypher Pt.1”. It was such a fun throw back and fully demonstrated that this cypher has aged incredibly well. “Hangsang” came next in a continuation of the “Hope World” fun before he slipped into his first crowd interaction. I really enjoyed that he introduced ‘Jack In The Box’ and the way his music represents himself before going straight into “P.O.P”. “P.O.P” is a song directly about what he stands for, as is “Equal Sign” which was the perfect song to go with it. I love hearing his singing voice, and it was especially good to hear it live in “Equal Sign”. “STOP” came next, but given how intense this one is too, “Blue Side” was a good transition to the more mellow “Safety Zone”. The set ended with “What If” and “Arson”, “Arson” in particular being remixed more dramatically to end this set with a bang.

Light Set:

This was a bit shorter and more of his solo BTS stuff. I really liked that this was separated from some of the rest because it really does give off a different vibe than the majority of the ‘Jack in the Box’ content. J-Hope used “Music Box” to give himself time for a quick change and then came back on stage for the Tropical Remix of “Dynamite”. Here we start getting more of his excellent choreography, and though this performance was more dance and less rap or vocals, it was a lot of fun. After a brief break he started up “Daydream”, a song ARMYs enthusiastically sang along to to the point of apparently and adorably shocking Hobi. “Ego” gave us more choreography, some of which ARMYs spotted Jimin joining in on from his private seat above the stage. “Hope World” and “Just Dance” were really feel-good performances that he was clearly in his element for. And then Becky G came out on stage to give an adorable and amazing performance of “Chicken Noodle Soup” filled with a lot of hugs. J-Hope ended the whole thing with “Future” which was a move that I didn’t see coming but was so perfect that I couldn’t help but appreciate J-Hope’s planning here. This whole concert and the line up of all of the songs went together so perfectly, you could really tell he took his time slotting all these songs together. He put so much work into Lollapalooza and it made for an amazing show.

J-Hope is nothing if not a showman, and the reactions to his appearance at “Hobipalooza” prove it. There’s no way to watch the energy in his performance and not get sucked in. Jimin was correct when he said he believed J-Hope could take this on tour. He can clearly hold his own for a long period on stage, and more than that, he can be incredibly entertaining. That said, I hope he rests before considering doing anything else. Jimin made clear in Hobi’s recent V-Live that Hobi hasn’t been eating or sleeping well. Hobi has done some of the best work in his entire career between ‘Jack In The Box’ and Lollapalooza, and he really deserves to take it easy for a while.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


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