Thursday, 17 August 2017

170809-10 Paris for Monsta X 'Beautiful' ♥

as usual, this is a personal travel account, not an ordinary whatever that means fanaccount, so if you just wanna read about the concert, feel free to scroll.



∞∞∞



few things in life are easy, and apparently it's been decided that in my life, kpop concerts aren't one of those few things.
ps. this will be a rant about why MMT is shit.


∞∞∞


my summer- no, scratch that, my entire 2017 have been so busy and stressed and full of this and that, that I've been walking a thin line between okay and not okay for months. 
nothing is more energy draining than that, and I've honestly not had any energy or emotions left to feel excited or joyful about anything for months.
so when My Music Taste announced that Monsta X was coming to Europe for 3 dates, it was something that was supposed to be exciting and happy (once again does a bias group decide to come here shortly after I start stanning, what are the odds), but I just couldn't feel any of it. 

besides my own busy life, as soon as it was announced, for some reason, people all over the internet decided to be bitches about it, and everywhere I looked, there were people - Monbebes! - being arrogant, condescending dickheads towards those of us who actually believed MMT's announcement was true. like, what the fuck, idiots, do you really think they would announce this as a rumour or misplaced April Fools?! please think or shut up.
so because MMT wouldn't respond to any queries, and Starshit took their usual sweet ass time confirming anything, going online meant having to look at people argue over this, and it just sucked all the excitement and fun out of things.

meanwhile my busy life waited for no one, and in the end I just had no energy left for all of that shit, and more than once did I wonder if all  the added stress and bullshit was worth it or if we should just forget about MX and go back to dealing with all the other stuff in life.

because of Wings Tour and rumours from a bit further in than just regular fans such as myself, I've been expecting Bighit to finally drag Bangtan over here, so since last summer, a Euro concert has been on my budget.
so when Starshit was kind enough to pay the Europe concert bills, I didn't even have to think twice about being able to afford going cos I already had the money saved.
what I did have to think twice about was whether or not I would risk it, cos at the time 2017 was only half way done, so technically there was still a chance for Bighit to step up, and because we're going to Korea in September, I knew I would only be able to afford one concert in 2017.

but over the summer nothing happened with Bangtan other than the usual, US and Asia stuff, plus now preparing for comeback, so we decided we were gonna give it a try, at least. 

and then MMT went and announced how the tickets were gonna be sold. week-long presale, but only for people from the three tour cities who had actually voted for those cities. the rest of us got nothing. it sounds whiney, but if you take a moment to think about what and how the MMT concept is, then this was is a textbook example of unfair.
and only vvip got benefit, but you had to choose between hitouch and group photo. b-u-l-l-s-h-i-t. and vips got nothing lol it was literally just a ticket category, like G1 and G2. 
so more frustration, and by this point I was just over the whole thing x 10.

but if we were going I would have to decide not only where, but also what ticket category we should try for.
obviously Berlin is closer, and I love Berlin and I hate Paris, buT. so far, we've only ever had serious camera restrictions in Berlin, whereas Paris had always been very laxed in practice and I would most likely be able to get the pictures and videos that I wanted. but one of the strict time in Berlin had been with MMT, so was it strict cos it was in Germany or cos it was MMT? cos what if we went with Paris and got our cameras confiscated? then we might as well have gone with Berlin to begin with.. 
in the end Paris won, and it also helped that we had been to the venue before so we knew size and shape.
and last minute I decided to just go for G2. since only vvip would have benefits, everyone would be going hard for those tickets, and what if I didn't get those AND G2 sold out in the meantime? of course I would have loved to hold their hands (ㅠㅠ), but in the end I decided to play it safe cos I didn't wanna risk missing out on them completely. plus you can't film in front pit, so meh.

when it was finally the day for general sale, I scanned all pages of O'Lympia's website so I knew exactly how buying on their site worked, cos once tickets go up there's no time to be learning stuff as you go.
it seemed pretty simply, despite all the French, and I happened to notice that on O'Lympia's schedule, ticket release was announced as 2pm, whereas MMT had been saying 3pm all along. oh, well, I was on the computer anyway, so I figured I would just check back at 2pm and if nothing happened, I would just come back again at 3.
but lo and behold, at 2pm it was actually possible to buy tickets, so I got mine. 

I then went to MMT's facebook and asked if they were even aware that O'Lympia had put up the tickets at 2pm, and every category had sold out in less than seven minutes. 
and then all hell broke loose. cos of course they hadn't been aware, and people saw my post and freaked out cos lots of people had trusted MMT's word (I assume it'll be the last time they make that mistake) and now Paris was sold out.
after a little while MMT then posted that there had been a mistake and all the tickets bought at 2pm would be declared invalid and refunds would be given. cue hell break out #2 cos now all of us who did have tickets, and who had waited to buy plane tickets and non-refundable hotels until we were sure we had concert tickets, were suddenly told "too bad"?! fuck that, no! and people who had waited for the 3pm sale were all "well, you'll get a refund so it's only fair to do over". UM. a ticket refund was not gonna cover airfare and hotel which meant that tons of people wouldn't have money for a retry on tickets cos they now had to pay for all that???

I was livid at this point, and then a nice email ticked in from O'Lympia, reassuring me that my tickets would be valid and no refunds would be given.
in the meantime, 3pm rolled around, signaling the start of the Berlin ticket sale, which also went to hell due to crashing servers and whatnot. 

in the end, MMT just posted that they were working on resolving the Paris situation and we would be updated asap. HA HA HA. it took them almost a week, of not replying people's posts, comments, tweets, or emails about the Paris situation, before posting a single peep about it.
meanwhile O'Lympia was once again quick to email ticket holders all kinds of info, in both French and English.

this was the worst ticket fuck up, BY FAR, that I've ever even heard of. I can't believe I survived.


∞∞∞


and actually I can't believe I survived in general cos the week of the concert was just insane. 
I had a big wedding, that I also helped organize and set up for, I had part one of my dental surgery the day before the concert, and the weekend after the concert we had made plans to go visit the in-laws before we leave for Korea.
so when the alarm went off at 5am on concert day, it took everything I had in me to get up and go to the airport instead of just rolling over and burying deeper under the covers.

for once Paris was somewhat behaved. Charles De Gaulle is a breeze by now, having been there 12 times before already, and besides a feisty airport bus driver, we easily made it to our hotel.
we were staying at Best Western Premier Opera Opal. not the cheapest, but it was close to O'Lympia. we were able to check in early, and the room (506) was really nice. small, but somehow it didn't feel like the usual Parisian shoe box, and I would happily stay here again.





the 'lounge' by the lobby

there was a free snack bar, which I'm sure we would have used if we had stayed longer

because we knew we wanted to be at the back of the pit, and we knew that entry time for our ticket category was 19:30-30, there was no reason for us to leave for the venue early, so we just ate and lounged in the room all day. 
we attempted to go out in the afternoon, cos we needed to buy something we could keep in the room and eat after the concert, but, literally, as we rode down in the elevator, it started pouring down outside. we borrowed umbrellas at the reception, but it rained so hard we still got soaked from just a quick run to a small convenience store around the corner. it was a mess.

in the end we didn't leave for the venue until 18:45. it was really surreal to be able to just lay in bed 1½ hours before concert start without being stressed about it.



the walk only took a few minutes, and when we got there, a lot of people had already been let in, and the rest were well-organized outside in clearly separated queues. 
note: I only peeked online once in three days since we got back, but I just happened to see someone rant and complain about how they felt the queuing and the way things were organized with waiting and entry, was a mess. so I am aware that not all felt it was sunshine and rainbows, but I did.
right when we arrived, the G2 queue was clearly labeled, and after asking the girl at the back end, just to be sure, she confirmed that this was G2, but we needed to go get bracelets from a guy by the Gap. she pointed, we went, got bracelets, and got back. it took all of 2 minutes.



we ended up being almost at the end of the line, only about 20 people behind us, but O'Lympia was still able to get us all moved in with plenty of time to spare. I even had time to go to the bathroom. the line had seemed really long cos we were standing two and two, but once we started moving, it went really fast because they had 6(?) people doing security checks, so we got through so fast. the woman looked at my camera and just waved me through, same for hubs in the men's line.

and yes, there was a check line, just for men, and there was a lot of them. or, well, more than any other solo concert we've been to, even Bangtan. there were several dads, one of which were right in front of us, on his facebook for the entire concert like, wHY?! please move your tall ass to the side if you're not even gonna watch the show?! ugh. I did bring my concert sandals to wear, but still.
anyway, there were several guy fans around us in the back pit, too, and none were crazier than them, let me tell you. yelling and screaming and singing and jumping and waving their lightsticks all around. and they weren't together, this was just how all the ones right around me happened to be.

a random thing I noticed right when we started queuing, but also once we got inside and could see a lot more of the crowd, was that very few people wore kpop/Monsta X clothes. I don't know why, but it was surprising to me? and thinking about it now, I'm not sure why I had thought that there would be a lot of that stuff, cos actually, I think it was only for Bangtan in Berlin that it felt like the majority of the crowd came together about the clothes. I think I only saw a couple of Minhyuk jerseys and a Jooheon mask, and that was about it.

but in many ways this was the most perfect crowd. even in the back, people were dancing and singing - and singing well! even on the Korean lyrics, and I don't remember having experienced that from the audience as a whole at any other Euro concert.
but the best thing was no pushing. I realize that the closer you get to the front, the tighter it gets, but still. we didn't see anyone get pulled out, and when the concert started, the crowd didn't push forward at all, and there were lots of free spaces here and there when I looked ahead.
MMT had said there would be barriers fencing off the different categories on the floor, like for Infinite in Berlin, but in reality, I think they just let people in by category and let everyone find their spot before letting in the next category? or I was just too preoccupied to see?? I don't know, but when the concert were over everyone just turned and left from where they stood, and there were no fences to be navigating around. and still the crowd hadn't pushed forward at all when the lights went out.

for Infinite, they had hung a small platform, for the light director, down from the balcony and it took up a lot of the view if you were dead center, which is why we went to the right side. but today it was gone and there was a clear view, and we could easily get a center stage spot. 
I didn't think much of it when we got in, but the middle 50 percent of the floor in the back was this extra slope, and all I thought was just that it was nice to get that extra height to see over the crowd. however, Monsta X has a lot of energetic songs and a very energetic fanbase, so once the concert got underway, the entire floor bounced so hard from people jumping, that it made filming and photography extremely difficult. it didn't annoy me, though. as long as people don't block my view with banners or balloons or fans, then I think everyone should enjoy the concert as enthusiastically as they want. and happy people rubs off and just helps create an excited, good mood ^^ 
of course, once we got home and watched the videos I did get -.- at times, more from people blocking my camera than the bouncing, but in the moment it honestly doesn't bother me.

I did look forward to seeing the boys, but even as the lights went down and the screams went up, I still couldn't feel it much. it was the oddest thing, I've never had my feelings be like this before a concert before. stress is a powerful thing..

but after ㅠㅠ it rained super hard once the concert let out, so we just rushed home. only a short walk, but we still got drenched, but I couldn't care less. and back at the hotel, out of the wet clothes, I realized I couldn't stop smiling. for the first time in months I was feeling genuinely relaxed and happy to the bottom of my heart ㅠㅠ 그냥 행복해 ㅠㅠ 
during the show I did have a few moments where I noticed that I wasn't feeling emotional in a teary or choked up way at all, and I think that's also a first for me. usually there's always either a lot of bawling or at least a teary moment or two during a ballad or ending ment, but not today. today was just smiles and laughter and joy and exhilaration, a happy high over good music and seeing happy babies ♥
and as far as I could see/can see in my cams, there were also no tears on stage.


∞∞∞


anyway, on to the good stuff!
as usual, this is in no way chronological, and more just bits and bops I wanna jut down for my own future remembrance.



Monsta X, my sweet babies ♥ 
because of all the stuff mentioned earlier I don't think I'd really spent two seconds imagining what they and this concert would be like. so I went in kinda blank, and I left with that slightly confusing feeling of them having completely exceeded my expectations, but also, at the same time, not being surprised by them at all cos they were just as amazing as I know them to be.
everyone was so happy and smiley and energetic. they seemed extremely relaxed and comfortable, no one seemed nervous or awkward. they were even relaxed enough to tease each other during performances, and overall both me and hubs felt that they are exactly as the impression we had of them from videos and V app lives. 

everyone looked really well, even if Hyungwon seems even skinnier in person, but they all had nice hair which, as we all know, is the most important thing, really. 
but they were every bit as beautiful as I knew they would be ㅠㅠ even if they did look a bit shorter than expected? somehow?

except for Hyungwon's mint horror, I also really liked all the outfits. Hoseok's pants continuously looked painted on, I loved Hyunwoo in the striped shirt, and Minhyuk looked great in the red. I love that he kept the red pants on, breaking up all the black for the final outfit.

for all the live parts, they all sounded really good, and there was no one who made it really obvious that it was live, if y'know what I mean /cough.
I loved the group performances, but one of my fave parts of the concert were the unit stages. they were SO good. I hadn't heard or seen cams of any of them before (except one From Zero (I Had To) which instantly made me regret my life decisions), and I didn't know any of the songs already, and they just blew me away. 

the setlist was both great and at the same time, it was the only thing I have complaints about. on one hand they did both Blind and Be Quiet, effectively completing my life, but at the same time I'll never be able to forgive Starshit for taking 네게만 집착해 off the list, unless they give me a valid explanation. I'm so grateful I got to see it last summer in Seoul or I would have missed the amazingness that is that song live in my life.
and considering they have lots more songs that weren't included in the concert, when this wasn't a showcase or fanmeet, there were a bit too many ments. I love their ments and them talking and joking and all that, but I would have preferred if at least one or two ments had been replaced by songs instead. I understand the need for them to catch their breaths, but with lots of ballads, 3 vcrs, and the break during unit stages, 7 ments just seemed a little excessive.
the ments were done primarily in Korean and then translated to French, but they really understood how to break up their sentences to leave time for translation, so everything flowed really well. as usual I just ignored most of what was said, and I didn't understand more than three words of the translated French, and only one of Changkyun's French sentences. on the other hand, I actually did understand a lot more of the Korean than expected, and Changkyun had a lot of sentences in English as well.

I love that they did so many sing-alongs with the crowd. it was so fun, and Kihyun seemed sincerely impressed or surprised at times, that we were able to sing their songs so well.

Hoseok was just as cute and happy and delicious as expected. he smiled so much, he interacted a lot with the other members, did silly little things, he talked a lot, and he just seemed in such a good mood, it made me really happy ㅠㅠ 
he did so many cute facial expressions that just made me wanna squish him ㅠㅠ 
and I'm not really an aegyo squealer cos most of it is the put on kind, but he has so much natural aegyo, and when he got frustrated cos he couldn't get his practiced French out, I just lost it. he was so cute!!!! and I like how he didn't get shy or awkward about it, it was just like "oh, well lol" which just made me wanna squish him all the more.
his dancing and singing was perfect. his body even more so. and I'm still not a muscle girl, I don't know why I look at him without his clothes on and just wanna lick him head to toe. but. I do.

another person who warmed my heart was Hyungwon- what am I even saying. they all did. but I was especially happy to even be able to see Hyungwon with my own eyes. at one point I started to doubt he would be back from the hospital, so I was so happy to see him looking so good and happy ㅠㅠ   
he didn't talk much, but we all know that's just how he is. that doesn't mean he was in a bad mood, he smiled so much, and he talked plenty when prompted. he waved and looked so intently at the crowd, and he interacted so much with fans while the others chatted away.
he was clearly popular, the crowd often cheered when he sang his parts, and during one ment he went backstage (I think he had mic issues?), and when he came back people waved to welcome him back and he did this little silly dance, it was so cute ㅠㅠ 
he did seem really skinny, but I think he's just a skinny type. not that I think any of them have super healthy life styles, but it's not like he's dieting excessively or never has time to eat. so, for me at least, he's not the one I'm concerned about on this issue. 
and he's still able to move his body like a dream, and I loved watching him dance.
considering line distribution, I was curious to see if there was a valid reason for that, but there wasn't. he sounded just as good live as always.

Jooheon really earned himself another gold star in my book. don't get me wrong, I've always loved Joojoo, but seeing him live really blew me away. he seemed really relaxed and in high spirits. he was talkative, he was interacting with the crowd, teasing the members, bouncing around so much that it was hard to get a decent picture of him.
but the thing that made me fall in love with him all over, was his rapping. I knew he could rap, I knew he's incredibly talented in both writing and producing, I new all that, but I still wasn't prepared for seeing him live. I don't know if I can explain the feelings, but he went so hard, especially during his solo with Hyungwon (which I realize doesn't make it sound like a solo, but you'll see), I was in complete awe. 
his energy, his emotions, the beats, it all just swept me off my feet. 
me: stans the pretty but secretly bias the hard going rappers.

Changkyun, the precious little bub. he also seemed super comfortable. he was chatty and silly, and while someone like Hyungwon had most of his attention turned towards the fans, Changkyun was very focused on the members and their conversations and it was really cute. (please don't read that as he was ignoring the fans or I will get really tired..)
we all know that he's the designated English speaker, but at the same time, from what I had seen so far, I actually didn't believe his skills to be all it's hyped up to be. I still don't, but he was definitely better than I had thought. of course, his English ments are rehearsed and all, but he spoke a lot all in all, and it had a good flow and pronunciation. so good on ya, babe ♥
his rapping (and singing!) was also on point, and he interacted a lot with the crowd during his parts.
there was also a really cute situation during a ment where he was supposed to rap and get the crowd to rap along, but I think he first rapped the wrong part? and by wrong I mean not the one in the script, and then when he did the right one, the crowd couldn't rap along very well, and he was like, "I'm sorry I know it [rapping in Korean] is hard" LOL so cute!

I don't have that much to say about the last three. not cos they were boring or had a bad day or cos I didn't pay any attention to them. I just think they fit my expectations so much there wasn't much that stood out as such?

Minhyuk was just as adorable and lovable and talkative as I expected him to be. though having said that, he did talk less than what I usually see, but I think that was just cos the other five talked so much, too. 
but in a good mood, and generally very MC-ish, very Minhyuk.
and I don't know why, but it was really cute to watch his face in person. he has so many facial expressions all the time, half of which he probably doesn't even know he's doing, and it was all very Minhyuk.

Kihyun was a delight. he was one big smile from start to finish, so "on", so MC. he talked and joked and teased, and he just seemed really comfortable. 
his voice is a dream, and all the emotions he puts into his face when he's singing, it just grabs you and takes you away. 

Hyunwoo was a cutie pie. he's that mellow type, but not in a shy way, and he's easily as chatty and silly as the rest, even if he does have his blank moments lol 
dancing and singing both on point, and I found myself looking at him dance a lot. he has kind of a cute swag that I found adorable.
and man, oh man, seeing his face light up and those eyes disappear into crescents when he smiles right before me.. my heart just melted every time ㅠㅠ he's so precious, that one.


∞∞∞


the night went by in a whirl, but in total the concert was about 2½ hours. we ended up recording pretty much everything, and we have about 2:20+ hours, so 2½ hours is probably about right. 

the lighting wasn't bad per se, but it was mainly from the back or from the top, and a bit darker than I would have liked. there wasn't any good, proper front lighting and it resulted in some bad shadowing, especially in ment pictures.
I did make a conscious effort to photograph all members, but it hasn't come out entirely equally distributed simply cos some members are harder to get a focus on than others. but for once, this was a totally unbiased concert for me, and we also only made group cams.
main issue for pictures seemed to be that I hadn't had time to be the least bit prepared, so I had no choreos down and I couldn't remember any key points or poses. I just frantically snapped away during the performances and hoped to blindly capture a few bits of gold here and there. 

there was good sound, and the back screen didn't really disturb our cameras this time? not sure why, but I'll take it. 
the main issue for videos were either people blocking our view or the bouncy floor, but overall I'm pretty pleased with what we came away with.





for pictures and videos it's the usual drill.

please, DO NOT RE-UPLOAD my cams without my permission, but feel free to spread my youtube links around, preferably with a "do not re-up" note.
and DO NOT crop, edit, gif, or whatever else you can think of that would alter my original material.

as far as the pictures are concerned, feel free to share if you find them good enough for that, but DO NOT crop my watermark, DO NOT edit, and please re-up in full size. please credit.

other than that I hope you enjoy, and as usual, thank you if you actually read through this entire post



∞∞∞





















10: Hoseok, Hyungwon - From Zero
he's so glistening fuck my ass






13: Jooheon, Kihyun - Mirror
this gives me chills








































∞∞∞






bummed this didn't come out focused, it would have been so good.


they didn't take off their jackets for Beautiful. they just shrugged them off and then on again.











see what I mean about top lighting and face shadows?


his face is so cute ㅠㅠ








his thighs are out of this world. I can't believe I got to see them with my own eyes


smiling cutie ㅠㅠ

Hyungwon's face I'm dead









귀여워 어뜨케 ㅠㅠ




















he has this butt-protruding stance when he cocks his hip when he's just standing around, it's really cute and particular

he looks ten times broader when he holds his arms like that





애깅 ㅠㅠ




까꿍~ 






very Minhyuk performance face





goodbye

I can literally see his belly button mole /bites fist




as if people weren't already screaming loud enough with the jacket on..





















not in focus at all, but this is such a Changkyun dance pose moment 










I love this shot






coordi, let's fight























it was imperative to get a full back shot for obvious reasons














ot7♥

넌 어때~?





























Kihyun looked so good in the black and red







































you're such a ham I love you


I wanna bite his thighs































my favourite part of Fighter








his veins are ridiculous