Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Concert Review: ATEEZ in LA March 15, 2019

Mingi, Jongho, Wooyoung, Seonghwa
Yeosang, San, Hongjoong, Yunho

This concert happened back in March and I talked about it all over Twitter and YouTube, but never here. I decided I needed to write it down still, just to have for my own records since I print my blogs out as a sort of journal, so. Here goes....

Big breath....

Okay, so I fell in love with this new awesome cute pie, amazing kpop group back in October when they first debuted. But I didn't take the time to actually learn who they were until their comeback (remember comeback in kpop terms just means new release/album/song) in January and was BLOWN AWAY again about how good they are. So Toto and I sat down and learned their names and put faces to names and truly fell in love.

And then they up and announced their world tour! At a mere four months old! And only ten songs released! This was crazy!

So Kathy and I decided to go for it. (Kathy had since also fallen in love.) Toto would be in Korea by that time, so it was just me and Kathy trying to get tickets. Kathy had a presale code so we could buy them before the general public. And so we did... barely. We felt very lucky because they sold out fast during the PRE sale. But we got them... VIP tickets which meant that we would be let in the venue before everyone else and get a good spot near the stage... there would be no seats... it would be all pit/GA standing. But with VIP tickets we thought we'd be okay. Yeah. We also got hi touch (high fiving the dudes after the concert and actually "meeting" them and looking into their eyes.)

Much anticipation looking forward to this concert. I couldn't wait. This would be their very first concert EVER... our LA concert. They hadn't (and still haven't) even done a concert in Korea. Only a showcase here and there. So we knew this was going to be so fun and historic and all that.

So the day finally arrives. Kathy and I are doing a 24 hour trip. Fly there, see the concert, sleep, fly home. Literally nothing else.. not even time to eat really. It's SO CRAZY!

We got to the airport and the plane was delayed nearly an hour. We still had time, but that just added to our anxiety! We got to LA about 4 pm, shuttled to the hotel, ran in went to the bathroom, dropped off our stuff, and called a Lyft. I think it was less than 15 min.

We got to the venue... The Globe Theater in downtown LA, with plenty of time, and in fact we found our line of VIP people and proceeded to stand in it for two hours.

Oh, I forgot to say that they thought they'd come up with a great system to avoid the standing in line and fighting for a spot. On a certain day and time about five days before the concert, we had to log onto the computer and submit a form and depending on the time stamp of the form we got a number which determined our spot in line. We did that, submitted it right on the dot of the time, and got the numbers of 349 and 350. This is when we started to realize that having a VIP ticket actually meant nothing.

So when we got there, we got in the VIP line with all the HUNDREDS of other people with VIP tickets and ordered ourselves according to our number.. and waited to be let in. There were WAY more people with VIP than even the regular GA I think, and having a spot up close looked very dim. In the end, they never even looked at our number or checked or anything. We could have lied and jumped ahead of all those people, if we had been that sort of concert goer!

We finally get in and get our spot and stand some more waiting for it to start. Our spot wasn't good. About half way back from the stage. (This is a very small club type venue, so small is good, but also not good.)  I had hopes all would be well still. But....

... it was not. As soon as they came on stage, the surge was so bad we were all smashed... and then everyone's phones went up, and I mean people holding them WAY over their heads and I quickly realized I was not going to see ANYTHING.

It was such a huge disappointment. There are no words.

The surges continued to happen and I had to concentrate on breathing and quit worrying about the concert itself. People started passing out and security had to fight their way through the throng to carry them out. It got really bad. And the boys (remember this is their very first concert) had to ask people to step back and make room. This, of course, doesn't really work. There is no way to "step back" when you are totally smashed. So finally, they left the stage and said they would come back when we all calmed down and figured it out.

It was so embarrassing. And awful. And all the terrible things.

We shuffled ourselves around and Kathy and I even debated falling back entirely or going to the side or something, just to see if we could find a better spot. But then we just said, whatever, we will just stick out. In the meantime, we had fallen back quite a bit and were now at the back of the pack. NO WHERE NEAR the front that our freaking VIP tickets were supposed to get us.

We lasted the rest of the concert praying for it to be over, trying not to cry and lose it. Trying to enjoy even a little of it. I couldn't see, hear or breath. It was hard to see the good in any of it. I wanted to see them dance so bad.  I only caught a glimpse of their flopping hair now and then... and if I looked between the raised arms of everyone, in one spot, I would see first this boy and then that boy go in and out of that tiny spot.

When they talked, everyone put their phones down and I could see them a little bit. I got one picture.

At the last song, I finally pulled my phone out and joined the crowd with my phone WAY over my head (above my eye level yes) and this is what it looked like:


Guys. We were so sad. To have paid that much and made that effort to not see them. Or even hear them really. It was the worst. I blame the stage (too low), the sound system (too crappy), the venue (too small) but mostly the company that organized this tour for WAY overselling... both the VIP and the regular tickets and cramming WAY too many people into that space. They did us so dirty. And I will never go to a concert put on by them again... and here's hoping ATEEZ and their company learned a lesson to never use them again too!

I gotta say though, the boys were fabulous. None of this was their fault. They did amazing (even though I couldn't see it I've seen clips, and their own footage) and worked so hard and put on a great show.

We hung around afterwards for the hi touch. Since pretty much everyone was a VIP there were lots of us and they actually did a pretty good job of putting us in lines that time. And finally our turn came and we filed past the boys and hi fived them all. This part was actually nice because they didn't rush us through, they spaced us apart well. Three of the boys did a two handed high ten and finger clasped our hands, so that made me happy. They were really into it. But actually I held all their hands, so it wasn't really a high five, it's more like a handshake/clasp. Some of the others were much shyer about it, but those three were great! I tried to remember to look into their eyes and I said thank you to them all, but I didn't use any of the Korean I had practiced. It's so scary (exciting scary)  that all words leave your head, both English and Korean. No joke. Some people are much better at dealing with this phenomenon, but not me.

So I am happy that part turned out okay and that in the end I did SEE them, I just didn't get see them sing or dance.

Anyway. We were bummed and it was hard to shake that. We walked down the street to a Carl's Jr and had a hamburger and a drink... I was so thirsty I thought I was going to die. And then we went back to the hotel, slept, got up and flew home. All the while venting and in total disbelief that we had been so duped and scammed.

I really hope for a do-over regarding ATEEZ. Holding out hope they come to KCON in August. But they are so popular already that it will probably be a frenzy and I still probably won't ever actually see them. They are going big places and I think will rise up the ranks faster than any group has so far. It's going to be amazing to watch.

In a couple of weeks I have  my next concert (Stray Kids) and I'm scared to death now that it will be the same thing. We have seats this time, so I hope that helps, but people and their phones will always be a problem. And all the screaming. I would love it everyone screamed... then stopped for the songs... then screamed at the end, the stopped for the talking, the scream at the end, then stop for the songs... etc. Not too much to ask, yeah? But people scream NON STOP and it's very  frustrating.

Hoping for the best. I'm sure you'll find out how it goes down!

But you should check out ATEEZ and see what you think of them. Seriously. Here's a song called Treasure you might like:

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