A Dazzling Spectacle – Kang Daniel’s London Concert Review
Kang Daniel, a South Korean singer-songwriter and K-pop idol, is known for his smooth vocals and captivating stage presence. Prior to his solo career, the artist was a member of a boy group called Wanna One. However, the group halted its activities, with Kang Daniel hoping to start a solo career. Sadly, his dream of becoming a soloist was crushed when his label tried to exploit him. Eventually, the artist sued the company, accusing them of signing contracts that violated his interests. The court ruled in favour of the singer, which finally allowed him to start preparing for his debut as a soloist under his own name and company.
When Kang Daniel released What Are You Up To in 2019, many thought that this would be a great beginning to his solo career. Unfortunately, the singer didn’t enjoy his success for long, as he suspended his career to look after his mental health. After a six-month break, Kang Daniel revealed CYAN, an EP that marked his return to the music industry and which also reached platinum certification in 2020. In the same year, the singer released another extended play, Magenta, which was also awarded platinum certification. 2021 was successful for the artist as his EP, Yellow, sold over 320,000 copies, receiving the aforementioned certification once again. In May 2022, Kang Daniel released his first full-length album, The Story, followed by the November release of The Story: Retold, which included five additional songs.
Kang Daniel has always had a huge number of followers around the world, but he never really toured, therefore, when Konnect Entertainment announced European and North American tours, fans were ecstatic. Although the tour is still on-going, the London show already took place on January 27th at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
From the first moment that Kang Daniel appeared on stage, dressed in a black leather outfit and accompanied by six dancers who looked like John Wick’s army, we all knew that this was going to be a high-energy performance. The show commenced with Who U Are, from his 2020 EP, Magenta. The video projection at the back of the stage was cleverly incorporated into the song, as was the entire show, for that matter.
To the deafening screams of his fans, the artist effortlessly moved on to a slower tune: Don’t Tell. While the song was a collaboration with Jessi, a Korean-American rapper, Kang Daniel pulled it off on his own with his Latin-American moves. Vocally, the singer knew how to impress and channel his mature and sexy side in his live performance. At that particular moment, fans also appreciated the opportunity to see the artist up close and interact with him, even if it was just for a short time.
Waves, the third song from Kang Daniel’s setlist, beautifully managed to bring together Hip-hop elements with subtle Latin influences. While the song was another collaboration, this time with Simon Dominic and JAMIE, the singer didn’t disappoint. With a fiery and synchronised choreography, Waves, a catchy tune that depicts a perfect summer night-out, was one of those songs that we really needed to hear on a cold and grey day.
“I see you guys, you are living in the moment, please have fun with me tonight!” Kang Daniel exclaimed, then he continued with a big smile on his face, “I was looking forward to this concert in London, because I love Harry Potter”. The crowd giggled and cheered at his response. After a short moment, the singer moved on to perform Parade, from his 2022 studio album, The Story, quickly followed by TOUCHIN’ and Antidote. I have to admit that TOUCHIN grabbed my undying attention due to its creative choreography, on-stage execution, and funk-pop vibes.
While watching the young singer, you notice that he is in full control of his artistry. Kang Daniel is unafraid to expose his vulnerability and open his wounds for his fans to understand him better as a person and an artist. And Antidote, where he puts emphasis on emotions and his painful experiences, is a perfect example of his transparency.
The stage design during the show was simple, however, the mix of lighting and video projections seemed to be enough as Kang Daniel’s cheerful personality and passionate performance were abundant.
After an outfit change, this time dressed in black and white, the artist sang Nirvana, and one thing I must say is that the dance routine was so much more impactful live than the one I saw in the music video. Seeing the full choreography performed live on-stage was a pleasure, having said that, the music video is still incredible. Following a short chat, fans were treated to something extraordinary: a superb delivery of Paranoia. The artist conveyed the song’s lyrics (the song depicts the struggle of being an idol) into a performance that looked like a short theatre act. Kang Daniel sang 15 songs overall, including Upside Down, Selfish, Ghost, and the encore: The Story. Although he could perform more as his repertoire is large enough to do so, he decided on playing fewer songs and having more interactions with the audience instead; communication with his fans seemed to be more important, which I find very heart-warming.
Despite painful experiences and setbacks in the past, Kang Daniel found the strength to continue as a singer. With his positive attitude towards life, one can hope for the artist to pour everything he has into the music he makes – music that is free from pain and regret. As this was the first time that I was able to see the artist perform live, I didn’t have many expectations, but when I left the venue, I was happy, satisfied, and filled with admiration for the young singer. Overall, his London concert was a dazzling spectacle.
Written by Maggie Gogler
Featured Image © Konnect Entertainment