On Tuesday, Nov. 19, I listened to SuperM's hit bop "Jopping" at least five times at Madison Square Garden with thousands of ecstatic fans. I had the time of my life.
The first time "Jopping" played on the loudspeaker, approximately 45 minutes before SuperM's We Are the Future show started, I had a hint that I was in for something special. The general audience chatter transformed instantly into a group singalong of SuperM's infectious first single, the title a portmanteau of "jumping" and "popping."
And the fans that jumped and popped in MSG reflected the diversity — of language, of personality, of talent — built into SuperM. The K-pop group's members hail from SM Entertainment's other popular groups: There's Taemin from SHINee, Kai and Baekhyun from EXO, Mark and Taeyong from NCT 127, and Ten and Lucas from NCT’s Chinese subunit WayV. In total, they speak five languages — English, Korean, Chinese, Thai, and Japanese — and bring a mix of rapping, dancing, singing, and bantering mastered over years of experience to their fanbase. Together, they're more than the sum of their parts (though those parts are lovely too), beloved members with a history of fan devotion who have joined forces.
Minutes before SuperM took the stage, "Jopping" played again, reinvigorating a crowd that was excited to see the final stop on the North American leg of their first tour as a supergroup. As the song ended and the lights flickered, the speaker bait-and-switched: "Jopping" played again, to much laughter at first, and then to more singing as fans gladly played their part.
Riding the "Jopping" high, SuperM suddenly took over the stage, in person, for more than an hour of killer synchronized dances, solo songs, and tunes both unreleased (a personal favorite was Lucas's solo "Bass Go Boom") and from their debut self-titled mini-album. As they left the stage before their encore, a trailer-like video played with highlights from their Capitol Records introduction in Los Angeles, and you guessed it, "Jopping" played again as the soundtrack.
Finally, finally, it was time for the finale, the last song, the electronic-pop smash everyone had been singing all night. As the superhero movie-esque intro blared and SuperM snapped into position, I realized why K-pop fans love their light sticks — you need a physical tether to this mortal world so you don't lose your sh*t entirely when the bass goes boom and the seven members of SuperM body roll themselves into another dimension.
Then they were gone, disappeared underneath, lights up and bright. My SuperM bias Kai said in his ending moment, "To perform here is like a dream. I'm so thankful I can achieve another dream because of you guys." And so dream-like, floating, we left the arena as the instrumentals to "Jopping" echoed around us, sustaining the pop fantasy a little longer. Did we ever stop jopping? Will we?
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Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue