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Show Review: P1Harmony takes Oakland on a journey to UTOP1A

“Utopia can be everywhere as long as we’re together.”

That message from P1Harmony’s Jongseob was especially poignant on Friday night as it was the group’s first headlining show on the P1ustage H: UTOP1A tour since the return of Jiung from a brief injury-related hiatus. Oakland Arena was packed with fans ready to welcome the K-pop group- finally reunited as six- back to the Bay Area. Leader Keeho spoke of the group’s love for Northern California, as it was one of the first places they performed in the United States several years ago and that bond was cemented with their return to an even bigger venue this year.

For his part, Jiung alternated between an ear to ear grin and an expression of profound relief to be back onstage with the rest of P1Harmony. The other five members kept constant eyes on him, their own smiles silently communicating the sense of rightness to have everyone back together.

The lights went down and the screaming intensified as the members emerged from a lift below the stage right into “Street Star” from their latest album. The first burst of confetti showered the crowd before the setlist reached the third song and P1Harmony put their all into the dance break for “Everybody Clap” at the end of the catwalk. 

One thing about this group is their deep connection to their fans- officially known as P1eces- and they spent a significant amount of time catching their breath between songs and speaking directly to the audience. The experience became interactive when Keeho asked everyone carrying a lightstick to change its color based on their relationship status later in the set and, upon seeing a sea of blue lights to indicate ‘single’, he laughed and said “This is really sad”.

The fans were overjoyed to see the group in their entirety and blew the roof off of the arena with their cheering on “Heartbeat Drum”. They even slowed things down a bit for “I Am You” and “Butterfly”- another emotional number that had the group laughing when they realized the recovered Jiung was not taking it easy at all during their set. 

The middle section was taken up by each member’s solo stage where they showcased their individual tastes and talents. From Theo’s heartfelt rendition of “Until I Found You” on guitar to Intak’s intense dance solo and Jongseob’s energetic cover of A$AP Rocky to Soul’s mind blowing freestyle, everyone had a moment in the spotlight. Keeho emerged for a passionate cover of SZA’s “Kill Bill” as well before Jiung took the last slot to finally perform Justin Bieber’s “Baby”. Their speeches after this section underscored what each solo endeavor meant to them and the fans got an even closer look at the parts that make up the whole of P1Harmony.

Even after the solo stages, the show hadn’t reached the halfway mark yet and the group disappeared for a quick outfit change into the next segment to get everyone jumping again. They officially declared P1eces to be their BFFs with the song of the same name and dedicated “Fall In Love Again” to everyone who’d changed their lightstick color to blue.

After “Countdown to Love” concluded the impressively long main set, the group appeared at various intervals throughout the venue to walk among the fans, accepting gifts and hearts from their devotees. The final song in an astounding 30-track setlist was the bouncy “AYAYA” as the audience was once again showered in confetti and the incredible love radiating from P1Harmony themselves. The original message of the night was abundantly clear- we can certainly make a utopia anywhere as long as we have this group and each other holding us down.