Monday, March 21, 2016

Apink's Pink Memory North American Tour in LA Experience

I honestly thought that the only Kpop concerts I'd ever go to would only be for Infinite, but I managed to talk myself into seeing Apink on their North American tour; I'm so glad I did!

Ticket sales were released on Saturday, November 28th, 2015 at 12PM on AXS. This event has special VIP standing tickets for Meet & Greet and group photo opportunities, but I decided to avoid all that chaos and just go for the best crappy seats. I entered the waiting room about 10 minutes before noon, and eventually was able to choose my seat. I wanted to be in the first seated row, and got the Dress Circle VIP2 AA 209 for $160 after tax.

The LA leg was on Saturday, January 9th, 2016 at Club Nokia Theater, which is in the same vicinity as Microsoft Theater (where Infinite performed the following night) and Staples Center. Doors opened at 6PM and the show started at 7PM. I arrived at the venue at around 5:20PM and was surprised to already see a huge line that snaked around the escalator that leads up to the theater entrance (it's on the third floor) and then around the block. I guess many people were already here since some had meet and greet and standing tickets. I was also surprised to see that most of the fans were guys of all ages and ethnicities. I asked a fan in line about fansites, and she said there was only one fansite selling earlier, but that's about it. About half an hour after waiting in line, a staff member gave out green wristbands. It took a really long time for the line to get moving, but around 6:40 I was finally through the line that snaked around the escalators. Then the staff member told about 30 of us to follow the leader up several flights to the concert venue. Up there were metal detectors and people checking bags.
Then I was finally able to enter the venue at about 6:50, and workers there passed out free posters to those with green wristbands. I was so happy to have this, especially because it's a poster for this showcase. This poster is about half the size of normal promotion posters, and is thick, like made of cardstock or cardboard. Many people in pit got a poster, so it sucks they'll have to carry and protect their poster while in pit, especially since it's too hard to roll them up.

Once inside, it was already the pit. There were two pit sections, one up front and one behind. Workers said you can switch your green wristband for a yellow one two be in general pit (which I'm assuming is the back section), but of course I declined as dress circle tickets are more expensive than general pit tickets. Between the venue entrance and pit was a line of about 30 people. I joined it and found out it was the line for merchandise, which was supposed to be sold both before and after the showcase. The way it worked was once you're at the front of the line, you grab the merchandise you want, then pay at the end of the table in cash. Sadly, everything was already sold out except for lightsticks and big fans. It was about 6:50 so I took the elevator up to my floor; dress circle is the third floor while other balcony sections are the fourth floor. When I got up to the third floor, I was so confused. It was literally like a bar/club, with a long bar and bartender serving alcohol, lots of comfy seating, and dim lighting. Then I found out the way to the actual dress circle seats are on the sides of this club area.
I found my seat, which is literally the first row, about the third seat from the center. I was so amazed at my view; I had thought that being in the balcony would be far and disappointing, but I was so wrong.

Note: I am so behind on blogging about this I'll just post it as is. Basically I only talk about the experience before the actual concert, just so others going to future concerts or fan meetings in a similar context can know what to expect. Below I'll note a few tidbits that I can remember from the concert.

  • The members spoke in English almost the entire time to the audience! Their introductions, ments, and ending ments were all in English. At times they spoke to each other in Korean and during the Q&A they answered in Korean with translators.
  • Pit was filled with so many enthusiastic guys with signs and fans. There was even one who wrapped himself up with lit Christmas lights.
  • The MC was very entertaining and really got the crowd going. At times, the pit kept chanting for the MC to do the various things that Apink did.
  • Every time the crowd got loud and cheered while the members wanted silence, Eunji kept saying "I know, I know~". 
  • They performed a lot of songs from their latest album, and sadly didn't perform their earliest main tracks. It was so amazing hearing Eunji singing live.
  • In between songs, the members had various activities. I'm glad that none of these involved fan participation. Some of the activities included a Q&A and requests from fans (questions and requests were pre-selected). Another one was the maknae line versus the unni line, and they had to guess the objects in the boxes. The unni line won, and overall on their North America tour, they won 3 of the 4.

I saw the entire concert with such a perfect view. They were very strict with having no recording, but as the girls were leaving the stage for good, everyone took out their phones.

Side Note: I'm really pleased with the promoter, kpopme, because they were so organized, strictly followed their own rules, and knew exactly how to run a smooth operation. They had a Facebook page and posted rules and detailed merchandise information well before the event so everyone knew what to expect.

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