Monday, August 18, 2014

Zaku's KCON Experience, Part 2

Sorry that this is a day later than I promised it'd be out! My weekend was a little crazier than I thought it would be.

Without further ado, here ya go.

Once again, I've separated the whole thing into segments so you can skip around if you just want to get to the concert or something.



DAY 2 (AUGUST 10)


LEAGUE OF LEGENDS EXHIBITION

Having learned my lesson from Day 1's tragic experience looking for parking, I headed out from my LA apartment in the UCLA area at around 9:30AM to get there at about 10AM. We beat most of the traffic and ended up parking in the same lot for $20 because I was too lazy to look for a better place and too nervous about the sketchy downtown LA area to chance parking my car in the street. Maybe next time.

This year's KCON was a little special in that the CJ Entus Corporation decided to fly one of their professional League of Legends teams out to LA to hold a series of showmatches for the KCON goers. Initially, we were supposed to see intense Best of 5 matches between CJ Entus Frost and North America's Cloud 9 but Riot Games being the horrible micromanaging jerks they are at times put their foot down on their teams playing games on Summoner's Rift (aka the default mode professional games are played on). Instead, we got to see ARAM matches on the Howling Abyss and Dominion games on the Crystal Scar (essentially an abbreviated version of the original game map/mode and a CTF-style game mode respectively, for the non-LoL players). Being a massive League of Legends fan, I decided to spend the majority of my Day 2 time at the League of Legends exhibition area (I wasn't really interested in the panels and workshops that day, most of my friends only went to Day 1, and I REALLY WANTED TO SEE FROST).

Their current line-up: (L-R)
Space (ADC), CoCo (Mid), Shy (Top), Madlife (Support), Swift (Jungle)
The event itself was pretty decent, with Locodoco (TSM's coach) and some random guy as the MCs for both sessions. After the introductions, the audience got a chance to ask the players (Frost and C9's Balls and Hai for Day 2) anything they wanted. I personally got my question answered ("Do you follow the North American scene, i.e. NA LCS, and why are TSM going to the World Championships this year?"), and Locodoco-senpai noticed me by acknowledging that I had a "Haha, good question." YES. The first session asked solid questions, but the second session were full of idiots, I swear. The poor Frost guys had to put up with shitty questions like "Space, can you show us your aegyo?" or "Shy, can you do the Gwiyomi?" or "Madlife, which SNSD member would you date?" I was seriously embarrassed for them, but they did their best to answer/put up with the crap.

My view of the whole thing.
When Q&As were done, 6 audience members were picked by lottery to play the game modes with the Frost and C9 members. It was pretty cool, but I DIDN'T GET PICKED A SINGLE TIME. I WENT TO BOTH SESSIONS, GODDAMN IT. Each session had 2 rounds, so I MISSED OUT ON 4 ROUNDS TOTAL... I HAD LITERALLY 24 CHANCES TO BE PICKED... FUCK LIFE...

Hai and Balls also had the opportunity to do 1v1s against CoCo and Shy respectively, as well as a 2v2 against Madlife and Space. Pretty neat stuff if you're interested.







Videos aren't mine. If you have to choose one to watch, I recommend the 2v2 of Hai and Balls against Madlife and Space.

Following the games, people who bought merchandise (mostly really expensive snapbacks) and/or were picked to play with the pros got to have photo ops with them. I found this out the hard way when my dumbass walked on stage randomly and was politely told to go buy some merch and come back later. JOKE'S ON THEM THOUGH, I RAN INTO FROST WALKING AROUND THE CONVENTION AREA LOOKING FOR SOMETHING TO EAT FOR LUNCH.

Space is a fuckin' tank of a guy though, holy moly. Didn't expect him to be so big in real life.
(No, I did not mean fat, you jerks)

THE CONCERT

6PM rolled around eventually, and I got seated fairly quickly this time. I took a side door to get in, and aside from some technical issues with the ticket scanning system, had no troubles UNLIKE THE OTHER DAY. While my sister and I were walking around, we got a BTS fan banner for no particular reason but free stuff is free stuff.

I was drafted by the BTS ARMY.
With some proper battery management and helpful charging station at the Verizon tent, I was able to keep my phone alive long enough to take proper pictures of the whole deal. They're shit quality because I wasn't SUPER close and I was shooting from an iPhone 4S, but at least Day 2's recap has more pizzazz. Whoo~

The night started with a pre-show from some guy named Jhameel and a pair of dancers. Both were fairly interesting, but I preferred the dancers to the Jhameel guy. I respect people who dedicate their lives to such a tough craft!

After some more sponsor pandering from Dumbfoundead aka Parker, the show officially started with BTS aka Bangtan Boys. 

They brought an impressive level of energy and sharp choreo that really impressed me. I ended up downloading some of their songs, so it wasn't too bad that I was drafted after all. l0l. They kicked off with "Boy in Luv" (which has a really creepy MV btw) before pausing for introductions. Rap Monster (what a shitty name, poor guy) struck me as a poor man's Zico, but his English was quite good. He ended up doing most of the talking for his group mates. The funniest part was how he would interject after every song "Yo, just in case you didn't know, we are BTS. Bangtan Boyssss." LITERALLY, every song would not finish officially until he spoke his mantra: "In case you didn't know, we are BTS. Bangtan Boys." I thought it was hilarious, yet a little depressing that it probably had to be that way for the randos tuning in later and wondering "Who the hell are these nugus and when are CN BLUE/SNSD coming on??"

"Just in case you didn't know, we are BTS. Bangtan Boysssss."
They followed up with "No More Dream," "N.O.," "I Like It," and "Bulletproof." I thought their sound was overall pretty good, preferring anything but that "I Like It" one. I wish someone had told me about them before this whole thing... Oh well.


This guy (IDK who he is) came over and did some fanservice for our side.
Some lucky girl got pointed at. l0l
SNSD's Tiffany (who I sadly thought was Jessica from far away) introduced the next act, Jung Joon Young. She mentioned that if KPop had events like this back when "[she] still lived here," she would have been jamming to this stuff too. Yeah, I'm sure you would have STEPHO HWANG... 

I told you these were shit quality.
Anyway, I had no idea who Jung Joon Young was, but anyone who prefaces his stage with "I AM KOREAN ROCKER" has to be doing something wrong with his image.


Apparently he won (or at least placed high?) in some KPop audition show. I dunno. I didn't think his songs were all too interesting, and his poor backing band looked like they would have rather been anywhere else but there. They stood there like super stiff statues, and I'm pretty sure they were shadowhanding their lives away without even making an effort to at least sell it to me. It was a little depressing to watch. I'm not sure what songs he played, but I'm sure I heard "The Sense of an Ending."

They were that stiff the whole time. If I didn't see them set up, I would have thought
they were forced to stand on cue tape to make sure they weren't in the camera shot or something.
At least I saw him up close-ish.
He wrapped up his set with a cover of Michael Jackson's "Black and White" because he really liked him.Other people told me he said he heard MJ performed that song at the stadium previously, so he wanted to do it too. In any case, it was an awful cover. The only thing that saved it was a surprise guest featuring of BTS's Rap Monster doing a respectably good rap break. And I don't know which Michael Jackson he's been watching, but he did a little dance break in the middle of his song that culminated in hip thrusting. Not MJ's signature pelvic grab and thrust. Just straight up humping. Awk.

Rap Monster makes the white to Jung Joon Young's black.
After him, someone who I actually knew performed next. SPICAAAAA. DON'T BE FOOLED BY THEIR HIDEOUS RED CARPET CLOTHES, THEY WERE REALLY PRETTY AND WELL PUT-TOGETHER BY THEIR STYLISTS FOR THEIR SET.

Trust me, Narae and Jiwon were HOT AS FIRE that night.
SPICA started their set with performances of "You Don't Love Me" and a '90s R&B mashup of Boyz II Men's "Thank You" and Blackstreet's "No Diggity." "You Don't Love Me" is definitely more fun in person, and Bo Hyung's vocals were on point all night. It seemed like she did most of the heavy lifting for the group though with some help from Boa and Jiwon. The set was strangely... interrupted? by a heavily scripted talk segment with Danny Im. The display jumbotrons had English subtitles for each of the members as soon as they began to speak. Unless the typesetters had godlike powers of precognition, I'm sure they told SPICA to stick to a specific script (or else). 

Continuing onward, they performed their English language track "I Did It," also a lot more fun to hear in person. They wrapped up with "Painkiller" (ONE OF MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SONGS OF THEIRS, so it was a real pleasure to hear them do it live) and "Tonight." Overall, they seemed pretty stiff on stage, but I chalk it up to them mostly not being a performance group. Vocals were amazing though, no questions there. Did I mention how amazing Narae and Jiwon looked?

No fanservice from them on my side. :/
CN BLUE followed up and panties hit the floor. Seriously, the whole stadium exploded and you could smell it in the air (jk). They started off with "Can't Stop," and somehow hearing it live for the second time made it grow a lot on me. I didn't really like the song at first, but now I think it's pretty good.


CN BLUE were like literal rock gods made Korean flesh to these fangirls and they lapped up everything they had to offer. I really like CN BLUE myself, so I found myself on the edge of my seat singing along too with my hands in the air like a wasted white girl. Oop.

They continued with "LOVE," "I'm Sorry," "Intuition," and even "I'm a Loner" for the nostalgia factor. I do have to complain about a couple of things though. Yonghwa was apparently possessed by the devil that night because he insisted on inserting high pitched Changsqueals in random places, which had me rolling with laughter. Everyone else ate it up though. Oh, and did you know he could beatbox? Yonghwa trolled the audience when he told people to repeat a few random lines after him to open "LOVE". Starting with easy stuff like "LOVE LOVE LOVE" and "CLAP CLAP CLAP," he dropped a few beats and everyone just sat there like .___. before deciding to just scream at him. He then .___.'ed back at everyone, saying "DID YOU HEAR ME? I SAID REPEAT AFTER ME, *beatboxes more*" Wat a troll. At least his English is pretty solid.

Yonghwa looked at me. l0l
My biggest complaint about their set was that Jonghyun was a fuckin' brick on stage. He literally stood in the same spot the whole time in powerstance and bass face, not even bothering to look up or walk around most of the time. "But he's the guitarist, he has to focus~!" you might say. Fuck that man, Yonghwa walked around and Jungshin walked around. I'm sure if it was physically possible for Minhyuk to walk around and still play the drums (or at least continue pretending to play, kek) he would have too. But noooo, Jonghyun's too cool for that stuff. I suppose you could blame it on their jet lag, since CN BLUE had only just flown into LA that morning, performed the same night, and bounced back to Korea right after. Very professional of them not to show very much fatigue, although you could chalk the Yongsqueals and the Jonghyun laziness up to being delirious from exhaustion. 

Also, random side note: Someone pulled out a "YONGSEO" LED sign during CN BLUE's set, and I wanted to strangle him/her/probably her. So embarrassing.

FINALLY, after CN BLUE's set, SNSD came out on stage. They kicked it off with "Mister Mister" (which still sucks to me, live performance be damned), but I didn't care because I was too busy trying to keep it together. I FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY had the chance to see Seohyun live AND IT WAS EVERYTHING I COULD HAVE ASKED FOR. SHE WAS SO GORGEOUS IN REAL LIFE HOLY MOLY, I WAS CATCHING THE HOLY SPIRIT EVERY TIME SHE TURNED IN MY GENERAL DIRECTION...!! UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

SHE WAS TOO JJANGBAK
Sooyoung was MIA from the whole thing because she was apparently filming a drama back in Korea. DOESN'T MATTER, STILL HAD SEOHYUN. ALL YOU TROLLS WISHING SOMETHING BAD WOULD HAPPEN ALL FAILED CAUSE YOU CURSED SOOYOUNGSTERS INSTEAD. Hah.

After Mister Mister, they paused for member introductions which I actually paid attention to. SEOHYUN SPOKE FLAWLESS ENGLISH. I was very surprised when I heard her, because if I wasn't paying close enough attention, I would have thought Tiffany was talking instead (not Jessica, she sounds like a fobby valley girl). She randomly said "You guys are HOT," (or something like that, I was too busy dying and screaming) and it was glorious. Sunny probably had the most rabid fanbase because they hardly let her speak. Every time she tried, they would just scream louder. Eventually she just giggled and said "What's my name?" like a true bad bitch. 

Tiffany then asked the crowd what song they wanted to hear next and claimed someone shouted for them to sing "Hoot" so they did. I mean, I GUESS... But I enjoyed it. I had always preferred "Hoot" to something like "Oh!" anyway. Next came "Genie," always a personal favorite.



That blob is supposed to be Seohyun reaching out to let the crowd sing.
Lucky little shits.
When the last bars of "Genie" wrapped up, SNSD went back to center stage for another chat session. They acknowledged their upcoming 7th anniversary (or did it pass? I don't remember) and decided to do a bit of "Into the New World" acapella. It was quite touching. Jessica dipped out at this point for some reason, possibly to get some water or possibly to avoid singing the song reminding her of her tragic debut-era memories. At any rate, she quickly rejoined them to finish off the last few words of the chorus before diving straight back into their real set.

They went with the Korean version of "Mr. Taxi" (vastly inferior to the Japanese version btw, but at least no one had to hear them garble some Japanese words) before closing off with the mega-hit "Gee." I will admit, I did all the dances to all the songs except "Mister Mister" cause screw that song. I was pretty surprised (and thanked my lucky stars for this) that they didn't perform "The Boys" or worse, "I Got a Boy." 

Finishing that up, they were told to stay on stage as everyone went back on to wave to the crowd. I laughed when I saw CN BLUE go up for a bit, then immediately try to leave. SNSD stayed up there for a while, but the usual suspects (aka Jessica) dipped out fast. Yuri was the last to leave. 


FINAL THOUGHTS

All in all, I had a good time on both days. Without specific interest in panels or workshops, the average non-Koreaboo KPop fan (e.g. me) would be pretty bored of KCON after a few hours. Walking around the market was nice, but being out in the hot summer sun surrounded by expensive Korean food (free samples be damned) was not very fun. At least you could get free stuff from the sponsors. If none of that appeals to you, you might as well just buy the concert ticket(s) and come an hour or two before concert time and spare yourself the terror of crowds.

But, if you do find panels or workshops you like, it was a lot of interesting stuff to do. Like I said in Part 1, I really enjoyed doing my panel. I hope senpai invites me back to next year's KCON to do more!

The concert being broken up into two days was an interesting idea. I liked the longer sets because it gave people a chance to hear some of the artists' older material without having to pray they do more than their currently/most recently promoted songs.

I definitely don't regret my KCON experience, other than wishing I brought a proper camera... L0L I will never again be that close to Seohyun though...

Me 'n' the bae
PLS COME BACK TO LA SOON BB

13 comments:

  1. BTS along with like two or three other boy groups have been the only boy groups with amazing songs this year(girls have been great minus GP Basic), so I'm glad to hear your thoughts on them.
    Your Seohyun fanboying is as humorous and entertaining as your TOP/GD fanboying. Because of this post, I actually want to go to KCON even though I may spend half of it passed out...lol.

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    1. I'm glad my advertising for them won over a new customer, heh. Seohyun and TOP are my top 2 KPop loves, I will gladly spazz over them any time any day. ;A;

      And I have other people I spazz out over too, ya know.

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  2. I do really like the idea of experiencing several groups perform, only seen T-ara live (y u no do another kpop festival in Paris... I'm really close now D:).

    Also... all dat fangirling, feels good ain't it :p

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    1. My sister and I were fangirling together! It sounds cheesy, but I got a little closer to her through all this KPop crap. l0l

      I will pray another KPop concert comes to Paris sooner rather than later for you. Worst case scenario, you take the Channel to London or somethin. kek

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    2. Anywhere in Europe is fine, at the very least it'll give me an excuse to check out more countries while I'm stuck in the continent :p

      I can imagine sharing moments like that with someone is also a great experience and I do understand the excitement, need to drag some poor sap with me next time.

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  3. Glad to hear it was an enjoyable experience! I've heard various fan accounts from previous years and the reactions were similar to your final thoughts. Looks worthwhile if you plan on seeing your favorite idols.

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    1. Yep! I did my best to keep an open mind about it, so I had fun. I'm sure people who go for only one group were miserable though. Tickets aren't cheap and going all that way just for 4-5 songs...? Not exactly the way I'd like to spend $100+ dollars.

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  4. So you didn't get to bang Seohyun in the end :( #tragic

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  5. Duuude... Seohyun is so perfect, she's like a Mary Sue of korean beauty!

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  6. So jelly you got to see Yoona :'(

    Only kpop concerts we've had in Australia are BAP, B1A4, 4Minute and maybe something else..but no SNSD yet

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