StayC: A True Fan Experience at Brookyln’s Kings Theatre
StayC made an impact with their first world tour, TeenFresh, the title of their third EP. I had the pleasure of seeing them on October 11, 2023, STAYC’s first stop, at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn (about a fifteen minute walk from the Q or 2/5 trains depending where you’re coming from). Though I’m sure improvements have been made to the almost-one hundred year-old theatre since it was built, the venue itself still has that old-timey feel with ornate carvings gilded in gold. One would think you’re about to see a dramatic play or opera instead of a K-Pop performance. But the venue provides a much more intimate experience for any die-hard fan than large stadiums or arenas.
STAYC kicked off their stage with career-starting songs like “So Bad” and “RUN2U” before going into songs off their TeenFresh EP like “Not Like You”. Their stage weren’t a linear timeline of their songs (oldest to newest or vice versa), but a decent ebb and flow between their choreographed numbers and ballads.
I personally came for Stereotype and ASAP, but ended up leaving with Flexing on My Ex as my new favorite song by the sextet. It’s an unreleased song that they debuted first time at Kings Theatre. First time they were performing it live in front of fans. The song is reminiscent of early 2000s pop music where you’re a women fed up with her boyfriend and decide to just do you, living your best life in the process. The choreo for the track was precise and empowering, truly embodying the meaning of the lyrics. I wasn’t expecting them to do a cover Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA,” but it was a great surprise and so fitting since they’re touring the US and hitting 7 cities. The crowd joined in the singing, almost drowning out the group we all came to see.
All the views of the stage were amazing, not one bad seat in the entire house. Everyone could feel like they had a front row seat. The speakers were loud and STAYC’s mics were definitely on. Sieun was hitting those high notes like her life depended it and rent was due that night. All the member did well during their stages. They were energetic and on point.
What I appreciated the most about TeenFriesh was how well STAYC treated their fans. It sounds cliche, but the was truly for SWITHs. Not only did we get to hear a new song, but there was so many instances of fan interaction. I wasn’t expecting them to be rude or stand-offish, but I also wasn’t expecting the amount of high-touch moments with fans in the first few rows. So many hand-hearts were formed with the crowd, no sign of feeling uncomfortable or uneasy interacting with fans that way. They grabbed so many phones to take videos that fans will no doubt treasure forever.
Fandom participation was unavoidable in the best way. SWITHs, STAYC’s fandom name (pronounced as ‘sweet’, but also stands for STAY WITH), didn’t disappoint; showing up and out in droves in the requested pink and purple color theme. Though some did wear teddy bear ears as nod to another STAYC song.STAYC had fans do a venue-wide wave, similar to what fans do in sports events. But it was better since the wave was illuminated with the group’s lightstick. The staff even hid six one-of-a-kind polaroids under audience chairs, an extra memento for those lucky fans.
Toward the end of the performance, one member said coming to New York was like coming home. Especially when they said it while wearing Mets and Yankees jerseys. While they may say the same thing at other stops, I choose to believe the really meant it and I can’t wait for them to come back.