Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Infinite's First World Tour OGS in LA Experience

2013 has been a successful year for Infinite. They released their fourth mini album, their first full Japanese album, their second single, a digital single, and they're currently embarking on their first extravagant world tour!

Here's my experience of attending an American Kpop concert, from the afternoon outside the venue to the actual concert to the departure.  I can't recall everything (and after seeing my idols in person everything still feels so surreal), but hopefully this will help fans get an idea of the Kpop concert culture in the US.

As an American Inspirit, I'm so thankful for One Great Step because now I can see my idols live! This concert is my biggest dream come true, especially as an international Kpop fan.
This is my outfit for the day!  I wore my official Sungyeol tee from my Japanese Ranking King DVD box set, as well as two infinite necklaces (Over the Top era and generic), a zippered infinite bracelet and letter
The concert began at 8PM, and doors and merchandise sales were supposed to begin at 7PM (which is the information I got when I called Nokia).  I arrived at the venue at 2:30, and about 30 or so Inspirits were waiting and talking together.  The digital banner advertising Infinite's world tour made the day that much more real!
I found out that Infinite had already arrived at 1PM through a back door so Inspirits already caught a glimpse of them!  Fansites were also arriving, and from early on until the venue began, they passed out banners to hold during specific songs.  Other fansites passed out photocards and cute necklaces of Infinite wearing animal hats.  Others also sold unofficial banners, fans and lightsticks.

At around 3PM fans started lining in front of the doors.  There are 9 total doors, each with a metal detector to go through before entering the venue.  My new Inspirit friends and I gathered in front of the third door from the left.  We were first in line!  As the hours went by, one Inspirit would save our spot while the others collected the freebies from fansites. Another Inspirit even bought us pizza!  I love how Inspirits bond really well and treat each other like family.
At 5PM a movable display was rolled outside, just to the left of my door.  This display had four mannequins displaying the official merchandise: the hoody in ivory and navy and the tee in white and black.  One hoody was marked at $75 while the tee had no price, but was announced at $45.  The sizes are adult medium and large. Instantly a huge mob formed around the counter and people were pushing to see the merchandise. The two workers wanted everyone to form a line, but that didn't work so slowly they rang up people's orders one by one. They accept cash and credit cards, and tax is already included.  The worker just manually types in the amount due, so make sure they added everything correctly.  I was pretty close to the register and got my merchandise quickly (I'll post a review of both the hoody and tee later).  Here's my purchase.  The hoody was my priority out of all the official concert goods, so I'm happy I could buy it in person!
By 30 minutes there was no line and still lots of merchandise left.  Sadly, I had found out later after entering the venue that the hoody and tee are the only merchandise for sale (not even the essential light stick was for sale) and that the tee was priced at $42.

I got back to my spot in line and by 6:30, staff inside were having a large group meeting. They continually teased us by walking towards the doors, even opening them, just to close them again.  Just before 7 they finally opened the doors!  I was the third one in through my door, and it took awhile for each person to filter in.
This is my fanletter!  I wrote a letter to L (mostly in English, with some basic Korean sentences) and folded an origami guitar.  Security guards need to check your bag, collect gifts and fan letters, then you go through a metal detector and then they scan your ticket. Only cameras with noninterchangeable lenses are allowed and there's no reentry.

There are a lot better photos and fancams of the concert itself so I'll only post a few.  Inside the venue, there was an identical merchandise display on opposite ends with borders to make more orderly lines.  People were already lining up to enter the auditorium and just a few minutes after 7 they opened the doors.
Seeing the stage was so unbelievable!  My seat was in Orchestra 1 Right Row E Seat 105, which is supposedly the 11th row (6 rows of pit plus 5 rows of orchestra) but technically on the far right there are fewer rows so I was about row 7.  This was my view for the night, with roughly 10 feet to the horizontal aisle in front of me and 30 feet from the stage.  The world tour logo was projected on the main stage and music videos were already playing on the two side screens.  From 7 to about 8:09 they showed most of Infinite's Korean music videos, as well as Sunggyu's 60 Seconds, Infinite H's Special Girl, Tasty's Mamama and Jin's debut video.  A commercial also played twice throughout the string of music videos, but no one could really notice as we were all in the same building as Infinite!
This is my view of the side screen.  Everyone continually fangirled (and fanboyed) during each music video; it was a great bonding experience being able to fangirl over Infinite with so many Inspirits in person.  At about 8:09 the Destiny Version A music video started to air on the side screen and the audio dramatically increased.  I practically lost my hearing, signaling that the concert was minutes away from starting and that my biggest Inspirit dreams were becoming a reality!

My memory is pretty hazy because it all felt so surreal, but after the music video I think it was the opening VCR that played on the projected main screen.  The video was so intense, like a suspenseful action film!  I remember clearly, a loud speaker saying "Music is dead. Infinite is dead." This scared me so much! By now everyone was standing in front of their seats and we remained like this until the end.

Infinite then appeared behind the red-lighted curtain, their silhouettes in dangling chains, then the curtain dropped to reveal the opening performance of Destiny.  I was squealing so much during the music videos, but seeing Infinite before my eyes was so surreal that I couldn't squeal or scream-I just stood there and gawked in disbelief!
What brought me to reality was a fan in the last row of pit with an obnoxiously huge sign that covered half of Infinite at the least, all the members at the most.  This happened for the first three songs: Destiny, Tic Toc and Inception (which was the worst since Infinite performs this in chairs).  It wasn't until the guy in front of me told the nearby security guard who told the fan to lower her sign to shoulder height, which she didn't really follow. Thankfully her sign was down in time for Infinite's hot transition from Inception to Paradise! On a related note, you can see the detail put into the stages with all the colorful lighting in this opening song.

From here on, my memory is really blurred so I'll just list my mini fan accounts and recollections. Infinite eventually introduced themselves: "hana, dul, set, hello, we're Infinite!" The members did really short introductions in English and jumped into the next song.  It didn't seem like they spoke a lot throughout the show, possibly because of the language barrier, compared to my Second Invasion and That Summer concert DVDs.
For Can You Smile, my most favorite song, Infinite had a new version!  It was a more pop version of the remake with a cute dance.  

Early on in the concert the solo and duet stages started.  Before each, the VCR continued its storyline, showing the member(s) about to perform.  First was Sungjong and Sungyeol, who acted like DJs and performed 3분의 1. Sungyeol sang and came to the far right of the stage and jumped into the pit section!  I was so shocked and surprised to be on the same floor as him, then he came to the horizontal aisle between pit and orchestra and sang there, 10 feet away from me!  I thought I'd lose the concert experience at Nokia without the extended stages and pathways, but having Infinite on ground level was even better. Sungjong did the same from the left and walked to the right, so I saw him pretty close too!
Next was Infinite H's stage, and they performed Victorious Way and Special Girl.  Dongwoo spent most of his stage time on my side, and you could see how much fun he was having, smiling and dancing around.  One fansite passed out banners for Dongwoo's birthday and many fans displayed them during Special Girl. Dongwoo touched fans' hands and grabbed one of the banners, danced with it, and said "thank you" to the audience.  In the photo you can see the banners we held up and Dongwoo holding one by his side.

Myungsoo performed his rendition of Love U Like U from his drama Shut Up Flower Boy Band, while playing the guitar and singing to his huge teddy bear on a bench.  In the middle he took the mic and got up to sing towards the audience, then afterwards sat back on the bench, kissed his bear and cutely leaned in to it.
Woohyun's solo was the most memorable performance has has forever ruined my bias list.  He sang his self-written song that's dedicated to Inspirits, Beautiful, and his performance was so interactive and charming that it really did feel he was dedicating his all to Inspirits. Woohyun came down from the right stage and made his way across the horizontal pathway, sincerely singing to random fans in the last row of pit.  In the photo (how could I control myself, he was so close in front of me!), Woohyun just started singing to fans in the right pit section.  It was amazing how charming he was, serenading the audiences while on eye level, making it way more personable (and surely killing many Inspirits).  It was this that brought Woohyun towards the top of my bias list.  Eventually he stopped, got down on one knee and proposed to a fan with a red rose and a ring in a jewelry box.

Sunggyu performed an almost ballady, slow acoustic rock version of 60 Seconds, but it wasn't too memorable (especially after Woohyun's) just because he really owned the stage in Second Invasion and I was expecting that here.

Sadly the banners weren't as prominent because not everyone held them up.  I was hoping that the LA leg of One Great Step would be special for the boys as the first concert outside of Asia, but it didn't really happen. Also the crowd never got the chance to sing happy birthday to Dongwoo after his stage, which would have been so touching and such an Infinite+Inspirit moment.

During the talking segment after some of the solo stages, Woohyun was talking about his stage and started to sing "Baby, my love, beautiful~" and aimed his mic at the audience, and we followed with " naneun neoreul saranghae" but stopped there, and Woohyun seemed disappointed at the awkward silence.
There was also a bit of Myungyeol going on!
During Sungyeol's second rap in Cover Girl, Myungsoo tied some gold confetti that came from the previous song around Sungyeol's neck.
Then Myungsoo tagged along behind Sungyeol, like he was trying to distract Sungyeol from carrying out his rap.  I think he did this in a previous leg of this tour too.
Also at the end of Nothing's Over when the boys were walking away from the audience, Myungsoo put his hand on Sungyeol's back.  
Shortly after,they turned around and made a big heart with their arms together.
Sungjong took many selcas, especially on the right side.
The other members took selcas too, like Woohyun, Myungsoo (who looks like a perfectly sculpted statue) and Sungyeol (while holding some of that gold confetti).
During one song, I think a fan threw a teddy bear up onto the stage and Woohyun  got it and kept cutely hugging it.
Here's a close up of Woohyun hugging the stuffed animal (and Myungsoo possibly looking at me!).

During I Like You, Infinite gave out presents.  I think Myungsoo stayed on stage while Dongwoo came to my side and the other members spread out throughout the first floor.  Each held a straw basket and threw out mini teddy bears (I didn't notice any paper airplanes like the other concerts).  Dongwoo came to my left aisle, and a big mob formed around him but he was still smiling happily.  He was about 5 feet away from me!  A stuffed animal dropped to under the chair in front of me and I picked it up, but an aggressive girl behind me kept yelling "it's mine, it's mine!" so I reluctantly handed it to her to avoid controntation.  Now that I have my senses back, I realize how foolish I was and that I had the right to keep that bear.

Throughout the concert, many members used English, especially Sunggyu, Dongwoo and Hoya.  Myungsoo used the least, then Sungyeol.

Hoya introduced Mom in English as a song that's very meaningful and he told the audience to think of the people important to use while they sing it.  There was also one slow ballad that Infinite sang while projecting childhood family photos of the boys, which was possibly during Mom.

The official music video for Inconvenient Truth also aired on the main screen.  The crowd ahhed in a stocked tone towards the way the boys scandalously looked at the woman's figure (who looks like the same woman as in Special Girl...?) but ahhed in a happy fangirl way as each member tried to protect her from having others stare at her.  On a side note, Myungsoo sings while on the same couch as the original OGS announcement teaser!  While I didn't like the way the boys were looking at the woman (I see them as super innocent!) I loved the cute dance they performed under the disco balls!  I really wanted them to perform this song live.

The third to last song was Come Back Again.  Infinite left the stage before that and a few minutes later the famous echoing "dorawa dorawa" came on.  Sadly the audience didn't shout this beforehand.

For one slow song, fans shouted each of the members' full names after their parts.  It felt really cool to give support to them along with other Inspirits!

During the ending speeches, Woohyun cried genuine tears, it was so touching.  This was the only time there was a translator.  Sungyeol said in Korean, "I'm speaking in Korean not because my English is bad but because I want to be sincerely honest."  Next was Hoya who said in Korean that he'll speak in English though his English is bad, giving the audience a laugh.
Infinite took their final, famous 90 degree bows just before 11 and a behind-the-scenes clip showing the credits played on the two side screens.  Right after the minutes-long clip ended, I quickly exited the side door and headed for the back exit where Infinite had originally arrived.
Outside, there were already metal rails along the sidewalk across the street from the venue.  I easily got a place right behind the rail with the perfect vantage point.  This is my view of the back door.  It wasn't a guarantee that I'd see Infinite, but I just followed other Inspirits and waited along with them.  Workers were surrounding the opened doors and security guards were on segways patrolling the streets.
Some time later (maybe 20 minutes?) Myungsoo came out in an unzipped black hoody, black shorts and a white tee!  All my photos are pretty blurry (my bias is standing 30 feet away, of course I didn't have time to process and take clear photos), but I think I can pick out the people.
Then he casually leaned against the left wall by the door, getting fresh air after an exhausting performance.
Next Hoya came out in a black long sleeve top and tapered, patterned white pants, full of energy and fan service.  He waved ferociously and stopped, doing this about five times to the fan's patterned shouting.
Myungsoo and Hoya went back inside and shortly after, two black Cadillac Escalades drove up the driveway and around onto the street.  I believe Hoya was in the second row passenger seat of the first car and in the second car Sungyeol was in the second row passenger seat and Woohyun seemed like he was sticking out of the roof or was standing out the second row driver side seat, with all three of their windows rowed down and all three were waving crazily until they had turned the corner at the end of the block and were out of sight.
To make the day even more perfect, I had started the morning in Koreatown where these Infinite OGS fliers were displayed in front of Kpop store Music Plaza.
After the concert, I ate at a ramen house called Daikokuya in Japantown that had these double sided OGS postcards!  I was so happy to see these that I took a few back with me.  Advertising for OGS was everywhere, forever reminding me of the best day ever.

OGS in LA is most definitely the best experience of my life.  I can't stress enough how much it means to me that as an American Inspirit, I am still able to see my idols in concert.  The entire day was so surreal, and the post-concert depression continues to linger.  I thought I had nothing else to look forward to after OGS, but now I can look forward to reliving the night once Woollim releases this world tour on DVD!


  1. I'm glad that you had a great time!! I'm going to see the in London On the 27th!! i'm soo excited! Too bad the merchandise is super expensive!

    1. Thanks for reading my post :) Wow you're going to have the most amazing time of your life at OGS London!!! The merchandise is really pricey but so worth it, and since they only sold two items anyways it was more affordable than buying everything they sold at all the Asia legs.