2NE1, New Evolution, Prudential Center
On Saturday, 2NE1started off their U.S. leg of their world tour "New Evolution" at New Jersey's Prudential Center.
2NE1 is the first girl group to have a world tour and a solo concert in America. Though the tickets did not sell out, they filled most of the 20,000-seat venue. What was most impressive was that half of the crowds were not Asians. Last year representing South Korea the group emerged as the winner in the voting competition for "Best New Band in the World" held by MTV Iggy.
Not only were people from New Jersey and New York, people driven all the way out from Virginia or Michigan. Some even crossed the border from Canada in order to come see the show.
So what is it about 2NE1 that makes the crowd go so wild?
One audience member, Molly Kehoe, who took a 9-hour bus ride from Michigan with two other friends, said, "They're pretty, awesome, colorful and they're so energetic!" Molly and her friends had had their first touch with K-Pop at a Jonas Brothers Concert in 2009, when they saw the Wonder Girls.
"K-Pop singers take a while to make a debut or come out with a song," she added, "But in America, if one song is good, you can become really famous like Carly Rae Jepsen and 'Call Me Baby.' That's the biggest difference for me." She added that even lyrics that don't have English in them are more interesting to her.
Astrid Morales (18, Honduras) is a New Jersey resident and said, "2NE1 inspires to do something with their music," meaning that they have something that you can't get even with pop in the US or with other K-Pop singers.
Joanna Olivarez, who took a plane with her boyfriend from south Florida, said that she first started to like 2NE1 when she happened upon their music video for "Fire." She introduced her boyfriend to the music of 2NE1 and he became a big fan of theirs as well.
"They're not like the typical K-Pop groups. They don't mind trying new things and they don't mind expressing whatever they want to."
Her boyfriend Arturo Ruiz said, "I love pop here in the States but I think 2NE1 has something really unique. They'll definitely get into the states."