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Show Review: Stray Kids puts on thunderous performances in Newark and Los Angeles

KPOP fans from all over flocked to arenas across the country to catch Stray Kids on their first tour back in over two years. With summer shows in full swing and Korean music’s continuing explosion, it’s no surprise that these shows were packed to the rafters with fans who came prepared to lose their minds all night. Atlas attended the Newark and Los Angeles stops of the 2nd World Tour Maniac and- if we’re being honest- we’re still recovering from two astounding nights.

In typical KPOP concert fashion, attendees came dressed to the nines, decked out in themed outfits that paid tribute to Stray Kids’ aesthetic. Nearly everyone was armed with the group’s lightstick, snapping photos and trading freebies before each show. 

New Jersey was treated to back to back nights with the Kids and night two really found the group hitting their stride after so much time away from the stage. The eight members were brimming with energy throughout the nearly three hour set that included a massive lineup of songs from each of their many eras. Stray Kids had multiple comebacks during the pandemic years and the opening notes to “Maniac” and “Thunderous” understandably had the room off their feet.

The group also pulled songs like “YAYAYA”, “District 9” and debut track “Hellevator” out of the vault to the delight of longtime fans. Between bouts of bangers, the members took some time to reflect on the last two years away and express genuinely heartfelt gratitude to everyone who waited for their return. 

The Los Angeles shows nearly didn’t happen, as three members had tested positive for Covid less than a week beforehand. Thankfully, they’d been allowed to leave quarantine and perform for a rabid California crowd at The Forum last weekend. 

As with the New Jersey show, the energy was off the charts- both emanating from the band and reciprocated by a full house. Bang Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Seungmin, Felix and I.N. didn’t let us breathe for even a moment, as they hurled one powerful song after another at us.

Even their mid-show ments were chaotic, but the group always makes their Stays feel like family. Amid chants of “best leader” at Bang Chan and the constant screaming as each member appeared on the screen, the fans nearly didn’t let the boys get a word in but their huge smiles while performing told the whole story.

We’ve said before that KPOP shows are an entirely new kind of energy and Stray Kids puts on what might be the best performance we’ve seen all year. From the 50 Shades of Gray-esque “Red Lights” to the pounding beats of “God’s Menu” and “Back Door” and everything in between, the only thing we wanted from Stray Kids by the last notes of “Haven” was…more. 

Thankfully for Stays, Stray Kids will be on the road for a few more weeks- and if you’re lucky enough to catch them in person, you’ll be walking away with unforgettable memories from a group on the verge of world domination.

Check out all the photos from Newark and Los Angeles!

Photo credit: JYP Entertainment