You wouldn’t expect to hear Italian at ENHYPEN’s show. But when the septet’s first world tour, Manifesto, opened, a single Italian phrase was repeated over and over, set to a lush, cinematic score: camminare sulla linea, or walk the line. Beneath a screen immediately emerged the seven members — Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, Jungwon, and Ni-ki, aged 16 to 20 — ready to make good on that mantra.
At its core, this is what ENHYPEN is all about — going beyond boundaries and bridging the space between two worlds, not unlike the punctuation mark that gives them their name. Often marketed as “your next K-pop destination,” the members have big hopes for connecting to fans in every corner of the world. In the past few months, ENHYPEN have performed in Frankfurt, LA, and Seoul for fanmeets and festivals. Now, they’re stepping to the front of the K-pop line through their globetrotting journey.
Inside the Honda Center in Anaheim on Oct. 2, it was clear: ENHYPEN and Engenes, their fans, had arrived. On the floor, friends twirled together with fallen streamers draped off them like feather boas; all around the stands, the audience chanted the bandmates’ names like their lives depended on it. But if you’re still waiting for this “destination” to roll through your city, don’t worry. Below, I’ve rounded up the highlights to bring the excitement right to your screen.
“Given-Taken” Their All
Off the bat, not many debuts are able to capture the imagination — and the ear — as well as “Given-Taken” did. They’re vampires! They’re Victorian orphan boys! They’re…referencing Hamlet? I may still have more questions than answers about the cryptic song and accompanying music video, but one thing is for sure: as an opener, “Given-Taken” packed a punch, setting the bar high for the rest of the evening. Between the roiling choreography and monstrous lore, it felt perfectly timed for the onset of spooky season.
A Trip To the Carnival
Cut to a projected video that would make Dionysus blush — billowy shirts, toppled wine glasses, and blood-soaked grapes, oh my! — and cue ENHYPEN taking the stage with “Drunk-Dazed,” a bacchanalian fever dream of a song off the album BORDER : CARNIVAL. Sparks flew, literally. The septet then took their seats behind a banquet-style table adorned with roses and gothic candles for “One in a Billion”; syrupy B-side “Fever” quickly followed, finding ENHYPEN sick with desire and the room’s energy at a fever pitch. In a delightful addition, a bewitching dance break vamped up the trio of tracks. Ni-ki led the pack in hypnotic footwork; there were body rolls and some collar biting for good measure; charismatic Aussie Jake had a theatrical solo moment. 10/10, no notes.
The Ultimate Selfie
If you’ve spent time on TikTok this year, you may have heard viral internet gold “Polaroid Love.” For Engenes, it’s become the soundtrack to all the little moments in life, a tune used for vlogs and dance challenges joyfully performed with loved ones. With the live performance of “Polaroid Love,” ENHYPEN followed suit, seeking to make a few precious memories of their own. Selfie cam in hand, the members bounded down aisles and up a few steps, all while fans in the pit clamored to snag a high five and snap a pic — or, for the especially lucky, to have Heeseung sing you a few bars.
World’s Most Endearing Ments
Near the end of the show, all seven shared closing thoughts one by one and received their individual flowers from Engenes. Resident ball of sunshine Sunoo for once was at a total loss for words. After cheesing through two hours of even their vampiest, most brooding stages — with infectious energy and honeyed vocals to boot — the fans’ abiding cheers stunned him. “I think today made me so happy that I forgot about the time we spent apart,” he finally managed in English, after popping out his in-ears and hiding a pinkened face behind his hands. (Indulge me while I go full-blown millennial for a moment: Sunoo, giddy off the attention, was the very definition of a Beautiful Cinnamon Roll Too Good for This World, Too Pure.)
Even the poised Sunghoon — nicknamed “Ice Prince” for more than just his finesse on the rink — cracked a grin when his turn came. Calling upon his seasoned MC skills, he recouped composure to blow a kiss and bask in the applause. Well deserved, on all fronts.
Not 2 Cool 4 School
Throughout the night, the boys donned everything from princely frocks to bedazzled football jerseys. But one item in particular looked like it may as well have been nabbed from the young adults’ own wardrobe: the school uniform blazers they slipped on to rock out to anthemic “Attention, Please!,” insignia and all. It’s a sartorial choice subtly nodding to their role as a mouthpiece for a younger cohort of Gen Zers, who are bold and brimming with confidence. On banger “Mixed Up,” they deem themselves worthy of the hype; the overtly rebellious “Future Perfect (Pass the MIC)” — in which ENHYPEN shout on the chorus, “‘Cause we are rule breaker!” — takes cues from Chicago drill, puffed up by its own over-the-top, bombastic delivery. (Special kudos here to Jay and Jungwon, whose onstage intensity couldn’t be topped.)
It wasn’t until the encore song “ParadoXXX Invasion,” though, that ENHYPEN went full diss track. Fitting themselves into a tradition of Korean artists from Seo Taiji and Boys to BTS, they decried the rigid expectations of an older, outdated generation and oppressive education system, dreaming of breaking the mold. “The world drew the line,” they called, shouts echoed by thousands of young fans in the crowded arena. “I’m wrecking it.” It was self-assured as much as defiant; one might even call it a manifesto.