Sunday, August 6, 2017

G-Dragon's 2017 World Tour Act III: MOTTE in Seattle Concert Experience

G-Dragon is currently in the middle of his grand scale 2017 world tour entitled "Act III: MOTTE", and I'm ecstatic to provide my experience of his Seattle stop! As you probably know, the tour began on June 10th in Seoul and a month into the tour, GD is starting his 8-stop North American leg in Seattle on Tuesday, July 11th.

I admit that I only know a couple of GD and Big Bang songs, however it truly is an honor to be able to see G-Dragon live in my own city. It is still not common for Korean artists to perform in Seattle, with only a few (Kanto / Beenzino / Verbal Jint and CL) performing at the very intimate venue The Show Box in recent years. GD is really stepping it up by performing at Seattle's basketball stadium Key Arena that houses 17,000+ seats (at maximum configuration). I'm so excited to experience a Kpop concert in my city and to support Korean artists to continue coming to Seattle!
A week before the concert, I started noticing GD's concert posters plastered around the city, even in residential neighborhoods. I love how the city is getting spirited for the event!

I'll break down this post into various sections to fully outline my experience of attending a Kpop concert at Seattle's Key Arena. I hope my details can be used as a reference for future performances here.

General ticket sales began on Friday, May 5th at noon PDT via There are 2 types of tickets: VIP Soundcheck Package and standard seating. For VIP, there are Gold, Silver, and Bronze packages (for Seattle, only Gold ($600USD) and Silver ($400USD). VIP sounded very enticing with access to the pre-show soundcheck rehearsal, commemorative laminate and gift pack, and more. Gold also includes a post-show send off for G-Dragon. It would have been so cool to experience all of this, however that's a lot of money to fork out. All VIP tickets are general admission standing. 

Ticketing was rather chaotic as expected. The website chooses the "best available seat" based on your search criteria and holds that seat for you for several minutes. It was hard deciding whether to buy the ticket chosen for you or opt for another seat. I sadly did that several times, and after about 15 minutes, ended up with Section 115 Row 14 Seat 4.

At The Venue
I arrived at Seattle Center (the area surrounding Key Arena) at around 4:30PM. The doors had already opened for VIP (this is referring to those with the VIP Soundcheck Package, not the fandom) at 4PM for those lined up at the East Entry. There were separate lines with large banners to distinguish VIP type. Across the entrance a few yards away was a separate line for general admission standing. For those with seated tickets, they could wait anywhere, however I chose West Entry as that didn't conflict with any pit tickets where waiting in line was important.

My friend had Silver VIP and was standing at the East Entry along with the other VIP ticket holders. The security guards let me join my friend despite me having a seated ticket (especially since you need a VIP ticket to enter anyways). She told me that after they let VIP in (gold first, then silver), they collected their VIP goodies and were able to buy merchandise, then went back outside the East Entry to wait again for Soundcheck. It wasn't so organized because once my friend went back outside, there was no distinct line for Soundcheck.
My friend showed me the special VIP goodies she got. It included a red book bag that specifically stated Act III: MOTTE in US/CANADA, along with a black velvet pouch containing 2 red metal clips with Act III: MOTTE, and other goods. I plan to get pictures of these eventually. She also received a VIP Soundcheck badge and lanyard. Pictured above is the backside.
The front side of the badge is holographic!
Looking at the badge one way shows a blackened image.
Looking at the badge another way shows VIP on the red poster background with inverse colors for the text.

Waiting to Enter the Stadium
Officially the doors were supposed to open at 6PM for all ticket holders, so I walked around to the West Entry by 6:05PM. Pictured above is my place in line, and within minutes the line doubled. The security guards gave a debrief (have your ticket available, have your bag opened, be prepared to be wanded, don't have drinks) and the line started moving at 6:15PM. The guards told us to fill the area in front of the doors rather than keeping a single-file line, so I ended up on the last few steps of the entrance. One guard later on informed us that the doors will open at 7PM instead, due to the soundcheck being longer than intended, however I'm not sure how accurate this statement is. At 6:52PM, there was a loud and heavy bass. It occurred again at 7:01PM.

Finally at 7:13PM the doors opened. Though we were in a massive blob to get in, it split into several lines for security check. Guards used metal detector wands and checked bags. I made it inside the building at 7:21PM.

Venue Observations
The entire time I was around the venue, from 4:30PM until after 7PM, there were no fansites in sight. I was sad to see this part of the Kpop concert experience lacking. There was one group who had planned a special project of passing out small red plastic bags to every fan, which we would put over our lightsticks and create a red ocean after GD performed "Crayon". My VIP friend said that this group had passed out these bags earlier, but I hadn't seen them since. It wasn't until I was lining up for merchandise that they came around again to pass out more bags.

While waiting in line at West Entry, I did notice across the street a sketchy minivan with unofficial posters plastered over its windows. They were selling unofficial Big Bang goods, but clearly they weren't a fansite.

The doors also had signs saying no re-entry.

Last observation, the audience was very mixed, containing mostly teens and young adults, about half Asian, and maybe 10% male. It looked like older married couples attended too, as well as young friend groups.

Buying Merchandise
There were two merchandise stalls inside the stadium, located right after entering from the West Entry and East Entry. I went to the stall near West Entry, and it was split into two lines. I got in line at 7:21PM and finished buying at 7:52PM, lasting about 30 minutes. As imagined, it was very chaotic and the cashiers were constantly going to the backroom to bring out more boxes of goods, especially boxes full of lightsticks as practically everyone in line bought at least one. They accepted both cash and card, however I recommend using card so that the line can move faster and hopefully the goods you want won't run out.

Each lightstick purchase is supposed to come with a pair of batteries. However the lady paying in the line next to me had gotten the last pair of batteries, and somehow this stall didn't receive the same number of pairs of batteries as they had lightsticks. At the same time, there were two ladies in front of me that were paying in cash, greatly slowing down our line. When it came to my turn, I purchased the lightstick without batteries. I will show an unboxing of this lightstick in a future post.
I was pleasantly surprised at the great selection of merchandise that the tour brought to their North American leg. While this isn't the entire collection that was sold in Seoul or at other Asian stops, this is still quite impressive.
They displayed all the merchandise on the back wall, with smaller items also displayed in the glass cases. This is what the Seattle stop had to offer in USD:
  • Long sleeve tee - $55
  • T-shirt (4 types) - $45
  • Towel - $35
  • Baseball cap - $45
  • Bandana - $25
  • Tote - $15 (?)
  • Bear - $20 (? it was already sold out)
  • Pins - $7 or $10
  • Necklace - $10
  • Luggage tag - $7 or $10
  • Lightstick V4 white - $35
  • Water bottle - (?)
Ear plugs were also sold for $2.
In the display case, you can see the luggage tag, necklace, cap, bandana, towel, and water bottle.

The Concert
I was worried that my seat would be quite far away and quite angled from the stage, however it was a really great view! The best part is that because this is stadium seating, each row is significantly higher than the previous so no one can block your view. Above is my seat along with my non-lit lightstick.

There was one screen on each side of the stage showing GD's music video reel until just before 9PM when the concert began.

Everything has become a happy blur, so I'll just list the things I remember (I video recorded the entire concert, but it's a lot to rewatch and take screencaps...):
  • GD performed song after song after song, with only 3 talking segments. I was so surprised that he spoke English so well! He was very fluent and all of his speeches were very natural.
  • He spoke a lot about his latest album, his new stage in life, and how worried he was on how fans would perceive all of this.
  • The concert was broken into 3 acts, transitioning from G-Dragon to Kwon Ji Yong. The VCRs even showed this, displaying a medical transition. There was also one VCR documentary asking CL, Taeyang, Jung Hyung Don, Psy, and more, the following: 1) Who is GD to you, and 2) Who is Kwon Ji Yong to you.
  • Though I was in the seated area, during the last half hour everyone was standing. In the latter half of the concert, the audience kept chanting Kwon Ji Yong.
  • During GD's performance which is usually performed as a duet with CL, it was cool that they incorporated a VCR of CL.
  • Sitting at the side of the stage, it was hard to see GD during many stages. There were many props where he was in a box, or on a royal thrown on top of stairs, and only those in the center could see him. There were also huge curtains covering majority of the stage at times. For one stage, people were even hanging from the ceiling.
  • I was disappointed that for many songs, GD took many pauses and let his pre-recorded tracks play instead. However I do understand that it's tough to rap a straight 2 hours.
  • After he performed Crayon and they played a VCR, about half of the audience with lightsticks created the Red Ocean.
  • The concert ended before 11PM. While usually I would try and see the artist leave the venue, I didn't this time as only Gold VIP were able to attend the sendoff party.
GD looked like he had a lot of fun on stage. Here he's sitting on a box in front of the stage, watching his background dancers.
At other times GD had a very simple stage.

Ending Thoughts
Leaving the concert, I had these thoughts:
  • I thought that I'd never be able to use my Big Bang lightstick, but then during GD's concert there was the announcement that Taeyang will be having a world tour this year with a stop in Vancouver...
  • This concert was so different from any of the Infinite concerts I experienced. The VCRs, themes, and ments all felt like a live documentary, all very raw and real.
  • I didn't really know any of GD's songs, but now I'm obsessed with "Crooked" and especially "Untitled". It's amazing the variety of genres GD has covered, and I hope he continues with songs like "Untitled" to showcase his talented voice.

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