due to the Sewol tragedy, the 18th Lotte Duty-Free Family Concert had been postponed from..April, I think, until now, and since Bangtan was performing (maybe as replacement for GOT7? who were originally on the schedule, but didn't perform) I was d e s p e r a t e to attend.
since this was a Lotte Duty-Free concert tickets were originally not sold, but given to duty-free shopping customers, so we couldn't just go out and buy.
fortunately for us, we have a dear Korean friend, who knows and can fix most everything about kpop, and a few days after we arrived in Korea, she contacted me and said she had found tickets for us!
we had given her carte blanche to get us the best tickets she could find (which still just meant regular priced concert tickets for us just fyi), and as it turned out, because of the postponement, the tickets for the next best category had been upgrade to best as a small compensation for the delay, so she had gotten us slightly cheaper tickets, but they would still be in the area closest to the stage.
a couple of weeks later she told me that they were gonna put chairs in the pit. the way it worked was that you'd have to line up to get your ticket exchanged for a seat number, so it was random but we still assumed they'd distribute seats starting from the best ones since EXO noonas started queuing the day before.
we, as usual, were a lil more laxed about the whole thing. even though I would love hq close-ups, the whole queuing for days and pushing and showing and being a mean bitch.. I'm just not about that life, man..
on concert day I was preoccupied with a minor meltdown regarding something else (and then again not cos Bangtan related) and hubs had gone to bed way too late the night before, so we had a hell of a time even getting our asses in gear orz
what finally got us going, was an acquaintance who were also going to the concert. she was talking about that you had to line up to exchange your ticket, and since I had totally forgotten all about that part, I completely freaked out cos she also said something about 4pm and then she didn't reply me for the longest time, and I worried it was something like we had to be there before 4pm if we wanted to get exchanged/get in.
so we quickly got ready and just had some different breads from Paris Baguette (since hotel breakfast had been over for 4h cos it was 2pm >_>), and then headed to the stadium in Jamsil.
when we got there around 4pm there was a looooooonnggg line, and we ended up out in the 30C sun ><
|the queue was like 15 times longer than this, snaking all around to the opposite side of the stadium|
I think we waited for a little over 30 mins? hubs went to buy water and fruit salad (including cherry tomatoes, of course, this is Korea), and almost right when he got back the line started moving.
until we actually got to the ticket exchange around 45 mins had passed. did I mention it was a really long line??
when we got to the front I had a mini heart attack cos the staff girl who checked our R tickets told us we were in the wrong line (UM OTHER STAFF PEOPLE TOLD US WHERE TO GO???), but the line we needed to be in was right beside the line so it was all good.
I think maybe it was cos the R tickets had been upgraded to V so we should have been in V line? I dunno, there were signs everywhere, but everything was in Korean so we just wandered towards a queue and the staff person we had asked said we had come to the right place so.
we got our arm bands with seat numbers and I could finally relax. there were still plenty of time before start, and we knew where to go so I felt okay taking a few minutes to take some pictures.
|I actually managed a piture with no one by Bangtan's picture|
and I dodged a 40 people long toilet line (there were actually other guys at this concert besides hubs so I didn't wanna use the men's room) by knowing that there were more toilets all the way down by where we had started in the queue, and since that place was right by the entrance to the stadium, I just went there.
I know this may sound like a minor irrelevant detail, but most women will probably agree that every time you can bypass a 30 min. toilet queue, it matters!
then we finally got into the stadium. this place is fucking HUGE. last time we were up on the the bleachers for SMTown, but this time we were seeing it from the pitch.
everything was clearly marked. of course, this is Korea, I expected nothing less. the plastic chairs had all been stripped together which puzzled us cos holy shit what a huge extra work-load, both in stripping them together but also when taking everything down again. we later figured out why they had done it, though.
it was easy to find our seat and I damn well nearly peed myself!! our seats were about as straight on the stage as possible, and ONLY 17 rows back!!! I know it might sound like a lot, but in a place this size it's DAMN. CLOSE.
we spend the next 1½ hours admiring the millions worth of high end camera gear present at K concerts. it's not my first concert in Korea, but I will never not be amazed and puzzled by how girls and women this age can afford gear like this - even in Korea, cos we've looked at gear here and top-end stuff like this is still thousands of dollars.
anyways, since we're both hobby photography interested it's always fun to see this much gear in one place, but my own camera felt like a disposable camera next to all this and I was actually slightly embarrassed lol
it was our digital cameras, we didn't bring the DSLR cos without the proper lens it wouldn't have been of much use at this distance.
while we waited they didn't play music videos like I had wanted, but they played Lotte Duty-Free promo MVs which meant both Super Junior and 2PM stuff, but no one cared until the EXO one came on and then the screams were so loud hubs thought about putting in his earplugs already.
in the end I think they were slightly delayed? but just a few mins and then we were off.
as usual, I'm not gonna do really detailed play-by-play cos lol shitty memory, I'm just gonna talk about the things I do remember and wanna jot down for future memories.
first up was ZE:A. or, well, part of ZE:A cos they were 2 members short. I can't remember which 2 were missing (I don't really like ZE:A so don't know their members), and my Korean aren't good enough to catch the reason they told us during their ment.
they seemed in a good mood, and there were lots of smiles and laughter.
they used both the main and the extended stage, and I was really happy to hear Dongjoon live! this is the first time I'm seeing ZE:A, so I was excited to see him on stage rather than in variety and such. - yes, I don't really like ZE:A, but I absolutely love Dongjoon.
they did 4 songs which made me hit hubs!!! cos it suddenly hit me that this meant that Bangtan would most likely also be doing more than just 1 or 2 songs, and that got me so excited!!!!!!!
anyway, I might think their music is really meh, but they performed really well live, voices on point and all that, so good on them.
next up was 소년공화국 (Boys Republic), and oh boy, were they boring. I do sorta like Video Game? the chorus? the verses are boring, but the chorus is pretty catchy! ..until I remember it's about video games. ..or is it? I dunno, I never bothered looking up the lyrics.
point being, musically they aren't my cup of tea, current promotion included, and visuals are also a no for me. so basically I took this as a time to relax my arms and just sit back and be less bothered by the blinking bow headbands the 2 girls in front of me were wearing, which juuuust blocked my view if I sat back in my chair in a comfortable way.
they did 3 songs, I think? 2 up-tempo and 1 ballad..y one?
they also used both stages, and there were lots of rookie-like energy and good mood, even though, judging by the crowd's noise level, they didn't really have the biggest of followings..
and they weren't really that good live.. I actually cringed at one point orz
but bless their hearts, they really gave it their all! I'm sure they won a few people over that night
and then, finally.. 방!탄!소!년!단!!!!
the stage lights were out, but the big screen flashed..I dunno some sort of BTS intro thingy so you could see them rushing out on stage and getting in to positions for Danger.
I jumped a few times and squeed really loud (it got completely drowned out by the tens of thousands that screamed at the top of their lungs), but then I somehow managed to steady my hands enough to be able to handle a camera.
I think it was part determination to not screw up these prime seats, cos when will we ever be lucky enough to get center seats this close to the stage at such a huge venue.
but also, as much as I love the memories I have from Berlin, pictures and videos do make a significant difference for me, and since this is Korea and anything goes (except tri- and monopods for some reason?) and I didn't have to be covert about using my camera, I was gonna get the most out of this.
they. did. so. good. that sounds so mediocre somehow, but I don't know how else to put it. it was beyond amazing and squealing and keyboard smashing for me, and when I punch it in my head like that, it's what comes closest. so. so. good.
they all looked freaking amazing, and oh my fucking god, bless Taehyung and Jeongkook for not wearing snapbacks cos theiR HAIR WAS SO GODDAMN FLUFFY I WAS SCREAMING, OKAY. it was so fucking cute and when we watched the cams and pics I was literally rolling on the bed squeeing and hubs thought I had finally lost it for good. BUT FLUF F Y!!!
okay, ahem, moving on.
they all danced so hard, and holy shit, I was legit moaning over Jikook cos hhHHNG. and when yellow card took off his jacket for No More Dream I nearly dropped my camera. I will never get used to seeing him sleeveless in person, it just won't happen. his body's so hot I'm fanning my vagina just thinking about it right now. damn.
anyway, the dancing. I'm still completely mesmerized seeing them do their choreos live. they are so complicated and powerful and I'm just in awe. and seeing them back to back with other groups'..less complex choreographies just made them stand out all that much more.
they make me so proud ♥️
live-wise they were also up to par, as usual. and by that I mean the parts that were actually live lol it's pretty clear what's not if no one's holding up their mic when there's singing or rapping coming through the speakers.
I had been wondering if they were gonna lipsync cos Danger must be taking a toll on maknae line especially, and their schedule has been pretty full, and with concert prep too, I was thinking maybe they'd be saving their voices for the stuff that gets aired.
but no, and they did good. I do think it was slightly evident in Jeongkook's voice, though. I dunno if you'll be able to tell in my cam, cos his voice is really deep this time around anyways, but it was kinda more so? and he didn't go as high as usual.
but no one cracked and everyone sounded great as usual.
they did 4 songs, Danger, No More Dream, 상남자, and 진격의 방탄, but they only came out to the extended stage for the very end of the last song orz
it would have made such a huge difference in my pics and cams if they had performed more out there, but at least they even came out for the end.
side note: I was just thinking how happy I am they're still doing NMB (and not for the reason you think >_>). I love that song/choreo and it's really special to me, and I'll be sad when they stop doing it like when SHINee stopped doing 누난 너무 예뻐.
I get that it's a good thing that they have more and more hits, but still.. it'll be bittersweet for me when that day comes.
after they finished 진격의 방탄 and went off stage, I turned to hubs, and in all sincerity were so disappointed they didn't even do the song they're promoting right now, and didn't he think it was totally strange, too??!
what he thought was strange was me, seeing as I had completely forgotten already that it was their opening song. but do you see now why it's really important I have pics and cams of the concerts I go to?! I have a shit memory, and once they step on stage I lose my mind!! fdgjhlkrjgskljhgf
I don't even know how to describe this, it's like the more I see them, the more I need to see them?? I'm starting to understand the cravings of those who live here, and how noonas survive, seeing them all the time, is beyond me. it's addicting and I don't see it ever being not thrilling.
I can't believe I've been lucky enough to see them 3 times in a month, especially since nothing was even remotely planned before we went to Korea cos I didn't wanna get my hopes up for nothing. I might have rotten photocard luck, but other things are going okay.
okay, moving on. next up was Girl's Day!
overall I really like Girl's Day and hubs have/had (who knows) a thing for Minah so we were both pretty happy they were on the bill. I'm not loving the current promotion all that much, but I had hopes they'd do Something, too.
they were in a really good mood, too, and their outfits were nice (as in not weird or overly slutty).
they also did 4 songs, and two of them out on the extented stage so perfect for us.
judging from the cheers, they were really popular, just like when we saw them 2 years ago.
then came VIXX.
now, honestly, I'm not really into VIXX. I grew semi fond of Rock Your Body after seeing them perform it 2 years ago, but since then I haven't really even liked anything. until 기적 wHICH I ABSOLUTELY LOVE. it's one of my 2014 faves so far! so I was super stoked to hear that live!
hubs barely even knew who they were so he had no expectations, but we were actually both pleasantly surprised.
as the only group VIXX did 5 songs, and he liked all of them (though I suspect he forgot they did that slow one cos usually he doesn't like slow ones), and we both think they nailed the live performing part. really impressed with Taekwoon and..that other one whose name I don't know cos I don't follow VIXX. sawwy.
my plan was to only record 기적, but the first song they did was another one and since I had already started filming I suddenly thought I'd just make videos of everything so my friend, Em, could see, and so I did.
as soon as VIXX scrambled off stage, all the staff people around us jumped to their feet, trying to secure the chain that was laid out between the different seat blocks. I was puzzled for a second, but only for a second cos then EXO came on stage and a collective surge towards the stage went through the entire pit, and if the chairs hadn't been stripped together every single one of them would have been trampled over and thrown to the side.
it was completely crazy to see. I know that EXO is huge in Korea, you literally can't walk down the street without seeing them ten different places, but I don't want this to seem like a case of of-course-they-got-the-most-attention-cos-they're-the-most-popular-ones. it had nothing to do with that.
EXO fans have the worst fandom reputation, and I know from experience that other fandoms can be bitch crazy so I guess I should've known, but I know a lot of EXO fans, hell, even I'm signed up as EXO-L, so I think I thought, "well, how bad can it really be?".
for all other groups, fans stayed in their seats. some might have sat up on their knees instead of on their butt during their group's performances, but there were no crazy/crazy selfish behaviour during any of it until EXO.
some of the noonas started standing up, even though there were no one in front of them, and this of course set off an entire chain reaction cos then the people behind them had to stand, too, and some of them were really tiny (the girls with the bunny ear light stick headbands) so they climbed on their chairs which then in return meant that the people behind them, aka. me!, were forced to either stand on our chairs or have our views be about ½ a meter too short.
suffice it to say, I wasn't getting up on that tiny piece of plastic, and people were ruining my Wolf cam so I gave a fuck about Korean skinship rules and just started poking bunny girl in the butt until she crouched down. of course that didn't last long cos then she couldn't see anything. don't get me wrong, I don't blame her for standing up again. she had a Sehun banner and had obviously not cared much about the rest of the concert. this was her moment so I can respect that she wanted to be able to see. but maybe she could have poked the girl in front of her who was her problem instead of just making herself a problem for others.
but maybe mostly I'm a little -.- at the organizers. they had stripped the chairs together, they had laid out the chain, they obviously knew there was gonna be a huge problem, yet they didn't come close to having enough staff to control the situation. they were all busy holding on to the chains to keep people from running around, but this meant that effectively, as long as you just stayed away from the borders of your area, you could just do whatever the hell you wanted. and so people did.
anyway, when it was clear I wasn't gonna get the 150 people in front of me to sit down, I noticed that Yixing noona next to me had gone right to stand in the passage between ours and the next block aka. dead center stage, so I quickly moved to stand next to her.
there were staff holding on to the chain, struggling and acting like we were pushing against it, trying to move forward, when in reality none of us were even touching it. we were all just standing still with our cameras, content with just having an unobstructed stage view, not caring about moving forward.
which is why when one of them got right in front of me and yelled in my face to move back to my seat I just looked at her, so completely dumbfounded and annoyed, I forgot how to English and just started yelling back at her in Danish, that unless she got everyone else in front of my seat to sit their asses down there was no way in hell I was going back!!!! I had paid good money to see EXO, too, and I'd be damned if I was gonna let them (aka the staff) decide I couldn't!!!
I really never neverrrr yell at people, and of course the performance on stage kinda made it so I had to yell if I wanted her to even be able to hear, but I was kinda shocked at myself for doing it, and at the same time I didn't have time to ponder or regret it cos I had a performance to watch. I wanted to apologize to her afterwards, but I honestly couldn't remember which one it was cos they were all wearing the same dark pants and blue tshirt that said "staff" on the back.
I dunno if that/the language caught her off guard, but she moved on, as did the two others who tried to move me when I yelled at them, and in the end they gave up and just let us be.
by now we were about 30 people, but still everyone just stood there, taking picture or singing along.
when you looked around it was complete mayhem, though. chairs and bags and people just randomly scattered everywhere, people running around.. I tried to take a picture of it, but it doesn't convey the feeling of being in the midst of it at all.
it wasn't the same kind of horror as in a huge non-Korean mosh pit where all people care about is getting as close to oppa as possible, cos I do think the fact that such a large part of the crowd up close is noonas makes a difference. yes, they wanna get close, but what they want most is a good position where they can see and aren't shoved too much to get their pictures and videos, so once they get that, they stop pushing and just stand remarkably still, whereas non-noonas just keep mooshing and squashing until oppa leaves the stage. roughly.
anyway, EXO. this was my..2nd time seeing them, I think? in any case, it's really amazing to see how far they've come since their debut. obviously they've had a lot of experience by now, but everything was on point, singing, dancing, fan service.
they also seemed really happy, and a good thing about that many members is that there were often a lot of them out on the extended stage.
they also did 4 songs and I actually didn't know one of them? or maybe I did, it was sorta familiar, but it's not one I've listened to much. a happy good performance song, but too boring to listen to for me. (I later found out it's called Lucky)
and as much as a I approve of Bangtan's dark and wild concept, I'm gonna need them to be bright and wild next time and wear white, cos the difference in the lighting used for Bangtan and EXO along with the brightness of EXO outfits just makes me sigh. I did want good EXO material, but I wanted Bangtan's to be best.
clearly that didn't go as planned, but yay for good EXO stuff.
I think these Korean concerts made us determined to upgrade our camera gear, not just the DSLR, but also the digital ones since those are the only ones we can use for Euro concerts.
not that I'm comparing our small point-and-shoot cam stuff to noona high-end quality, but it would just be fun for the gap between the two to be less, you know???
EXO disappeared as sudden as they appeared and the stadium lights came on and bathed the battle field in light.
people were already migrating towards the exits, but instead of going along with that (also cos the subway would be a nightmare immediately after) we just sat back down in our chairs and started looking through pictures and videos.
Yixing noona also stayed in her chair, selecting previews to tweet, and I got up the courage to ask her if the pictures were for herself or if she had a fanpage. she said yes, but I couldn't hear what site she said it was and I couldn't bring myself to ask her again cos she was so engrossed in her previews ><
considering the size of the crowd, the place cleared out pretty fast and I don't think we sat there more than 10 mins or so before I looked up and the pit area was almost empty, except for staff people trying to get everyone to get the fuck out.
so we thought maybe we'd better leave, too, so I bend down to fasten the strap on my sandals (in case we were allowed to stand up I had taken them off so I didn't block too much of the view for the family behind me), and suddenly a group of 5-6 staffs came rushing over, and I'm not lying when I say one of them literally yelled right in our faces, "what's wrong with her?! you have to leave right now!" in English.
I just raised my head really slowly and shot her a dirty look cos what the hell, bitch?! can you not yell me right in the face??? we told them to relax and that we were leaving, but the bunch of them followed us almost to the edge of the seating area all the while yelling to everyone and no one that everyone had to leave the stadium immediately.
once they finally got off our backs, hubs snuck back into the area closest to the exit and grabbed 6 squares of bubble wrap that some people had brought to use as seat cushions, cos we knew we were gonna be needing wrapping for the CDs we bought to take home. what a clever guy I married ^3^
outside was completely crowded still, and all the unofficial merchandise sellers were swamped with girls buying EXO everything-under-the-sun. we just followed the flow of the crowd and slowly made our way towards the station.
hubs once again got complimented on his Rap Monster/BTS tshirt. he did kinda stand out, not only cos he's a tall, grown-up, white person, but just because he had the tshirt on.
after RWeL8? we really noticed how pretty much no one at concerts like this ever dresses up, not even in tshirts, while in Berlin I felt like I stood out cos I didn't even have a tee on! I think it's a pity Korean concerts aren't more like Berlin, you know, like it's something special and to celebrate you make an effort and make it fun!
as soon as we entered the station there were people eeeeeverywhere! we weren't even down on the right level yet, but still people were already queuing and I felt like laying down cos I thought the lines made it all the way from the tracks and up to here.
however, once we got a little further in we saw that it actually weren't lines down to the tracks, but for the ticket machines?! it puzzled us cos I legit thought there wouldn't be a single Seoulite without a T-money card, and here there were hundreds!
of course we had our cards, so we quickly skipped the queues, got on the train, and went home.
minus the EXO crowd, this was such an amazing experience. the excitement of even getting to go in the first place, and then walking in to this huge place only to discover that your seat is actually pretty upfront, seeing bias group be amazing and other of your most fave songs at the moment, performed live.
I feel so lucky to have friends who would help me get these experiences. I could never have done it without them ♥
and once again, getting to see my boys as one of the last things before I went home was the perfect parting.
as far as pictures and videos go, 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, vine, 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 ♥
for someone who doesn't really like ZE:A, I ended up with a shitload of pictures I dunno...
|lol idk man|
|Yoongi's face amuses me|
|FL U F F Y|
also yellow card's arms go away shis uS
|Namjoon patting yellow card's head and their cute blurry faces I'm scREAM|
|yeah I'm not oka y|
|THERE IS TOO MUCH EYE CONTACT IN THIS PICTURE|
|I'm sorry I just had to cos Seokjin|
|I AM SO FUCKING DONE HIS THIGH HIS VEIN S THIS NOTE I'M NOT OKAY|
|GOOD FUCKING BY E|
|baby boy ㅠㅠㅠㅠ♥|
if only they could've performed out on this stage my pictures and cams would've been so much better orz
as soon as they came out onto the extended stage picture quality changed dramatically
the flame throwers were so intense we got hit with this massive heat wave every time they were lit, even at our distance!
oh, and I was filming but it turns out hubs had taken a shine to Taekwoon apparently, so there you have it.
cute boys in white suits with proper lighting, what's not to love.
|lol just cos Yixing|
|/makes Joonmyeon's face my new fave reaction pic|
|Tao's killing me xD|