Monday, December 16, 2013

South Korea- Seoul  9:56am 15.12.13

Rewind: <<<<<<<
We got up rather later than attempted- I think for once this was Ange’s fault although I made good use of the extra time. I enjoyed left over pizza hut for breakfast (breakfast of CHAMPIONS) but elected not to use the microwave, because while Stay in Gam is generally an amazing hostel, the microwave is really, really gross. Also, the kitchen doesn’t appear to have detergent? So cooking is not really a big thing here. But the rooms are nice and clean, the shower is warm, the staff are friendly and helpful.

Then we headed out to Jongmyo shrine, which we’d unsuccessfully tried for the other day. Actually finding the entrance this time (the complex is huge- last time we walked the side to the back, this time we found the front) we headed in. It was lovely, but pretty much what we’d come to expect. Unlike Japanese castles, most of the Korean palaces and temples have pretty much the same colour scheme and décor. However, it was lovely to look at, and frozen ponds are still a novelty for me. We weren’t allowed to walk on the path down the centre of the temple because that was the “spirit path”. There were actually signs saying to keep off of the spirit path.

After that, we went to find the road of wind. This is an art sculpture/path thing you can walk on and it was used as a filming location for City Hunter (which I’ve watched). It was a bit of a let-down though, because despite managing to find it (it doesn’t stand out nearly as much as we assumed it would- we were lucky to find it) it was roped off! We couldn’t actually get on it- so much for our moody Lee Min Ho poses. Ange thought it was because the snow made it too dangerous, but this is coming from the nation who created/hosted the Disco Jump?!  Anyway, we walked back by the docks of the Han River (which has been filmed in Running Man) and reminisced about Jihyo making Kwang Soo dangle his feet in the water. At the time, he’d been horrified and acted like it was torture and I hadn’t really understood. Being there now, in winter, I understood how awful it would have been. Of course, Jihyo being Jihyo, she didn’t let Kwang Soo on the ferry anyway and laughed at him as the boat drove off.

^^The Road of Winds... or dreamy winds. Or windy dreams... or... eh I always forget.^^

^^ What is this "closed" bullshit?^^

^^ Sympathising a whole lot more with Kwang Soo now.^^

From there, we travelled back to Children’s Grand Park to go to the WAPOP concert! (There was an amusing mix up with Angela realizing the Dom Art Hall was IN the Park “So that’s why there were no roads… we definitely can’t take a taxi then.”). The park looked pretty cool, but there were a lot of people headed to WAPOP, so instead of exploring, we headed straight to the hall 2 hours early. We got a bit confused because there was a huge line- we were later told it was the BBC (Block B Club- fanclub) CD signing line. I then wished I’d had a CD…  So Mankee and I lined up to get the tickets and Ange went to grab some food, which we smuggled in inside our jackets. We also got a light up wand when we went in, though Ange thought you had to pay and started to put hers back, I asked how much, the lady said “Free!” then embarrassed, Ange reached forward and took hers again. I was disappointed to see there was no good Merch- only Nu’est who weren’t even playing. Stuff that- I totally would have bought BTS or Block B shit. Then we went in, and it was then to our immense delight that we realized our seats were quite literally FRONT ROW SEATS. How the hell did we pull that off?! I don’t know. We spent a while trying to work out if the Chinese community had seats reserved (and in that case, they must have been surprised as hell to see Ange and I sitting there) but in the end, were just extremely happy. Front row seats! BAM! The only downside was that no cameras were allowed, and they were actively enforcing that rule. This was due to the artists’ companies having copyright over their images or some shit like that.  BLAH- we could have gotten amazing photos but didn’t want to get kicked out.

Funnily enough, the concert started with a train (Ange: “You must be pretty happy Carly, Block B AND a train…”). We’d been trying to work out who the main dude taking up all the space on our tickets was, and Ange guessed “Snake Eyes” from G.I. Joe (Lee Byung-Hun) who is a super famous Korean actor who gets shitty non-talking parts in crap American movies. She was correct- I’d totally thought it was some other random. Anyhow, he came and greeted us very smoothly through CGI and took us on the lame ride- oh, I mean train ride- of WAPOP. First up was Dal Sherbet.

^^The WAPOP Train^^

Let me start off by saying… Good try Dal Sherbet. They didn’t appear to be singing at all. Their dancing was nice, and Ange was happy because they played Supa Dupa Diva which she liked. They also did “Be ambitious” and some other song I didn’t know. Their dancing was good, they seemed very happy to see Westerners, but they left me pretty lukewarm. Then the train went through various seasons- Spring and the K-Drama Boys Over Flowers. The concert flashed through scenes from Boys Over Flowers (I watched a bit of the Japanese version but hated it and couldn’t finish it) but the crowd loved it. You could hear sighs and screaming when the two main characters’ kiss scenes came on. The crowd got really into it, which was a little bit embarrassing, when they were more quiet for the actual live performances, including the ones that kicked arse.

^^Before the show. Because photo-nazis wouldn't let us take photos. :( ^^

Next up on the WAPOP train was Bella 4. I’d never heard of them, and I don’t think they’re super popular, but they had lovely voices. They were actually singing, and singing very well. They started out with a theme song (from Boys Over Flowers I imagine) but then sadly went into the realm of Christmas carols. There were two other guys (possibly from 4 men? Maybe not? Who knows?) who did one of the songs from the track, excellent performers, but not really what we were there to see. From there, the ridiculous CGI WAPOP train, complete with Lee Byung-Hun’s too-serene face (and a close up of his side burns as he ‘looked out the side of the train’) got off at the summer station.

>>>>>> Back to Block B & BTS!

And then… BTS hit the stage. Bangtan Boys were minus Suga, who had his appendix removed and was in hospital, but this did not impede them in the slightest. They had his singing track for his parts, but sang their own and they were good. As Ange said, it was a bit weird that one or two of them mimed Suga’s part, when they clearly weren’t singing it, but it didn’t detract from the overall performance!

^^Someone else took photos at the concert!^^

They opened with “No More Dream” which was pretty good, everyone was shouting along with Rap Monster’s recognizable opening lines. I definitely want to change my Bias to Rap Monster, who well and truly proved why he was the leader. His rapping was good, their dancing skills were all in sync and they were all charismatic, most notably Rap Monster and Jimin. (Interesting anecdote: I had Jimin and Jong Kook confused all concert and for 2 days after.) Jimin is definitely the 2IC of BTS- he got the arm revealing muscle shirt, he did his “Run across the other guys’ backs” stunt, the martial arts arc jump and nailed it. It is just a great pity that BTS are wayyyy too young to admire as anything other than artists- a few years older and they’d be super hot. For me, it’s pretty awkward though- looked away when Jimin did his “drag my shirt up to show my abs” move. Crowd lost its shit.

From there, they launched into N.O (and I always wonder why there isn’t a full stop after O, or rather, why there is one after N?) We went pretty crazy (I was waving around my light stick like my arm was spasming) and J-Hope, Mankee’s favourite, was the dude planted right near us which was great. He did a lot of fanservice and was pretty happy to see Westerner fans too. They all looked a bit put out when we did the “And we roll… and we roll… and we roll!” bit with our light wands… not sure if they were just non-plussed we knew who they were or they were like “What the… please, leave our dance to us. For everyone’s benefit.”
^^ Video above is not footage from the actual concert we went to but they did sing this song.^^

It was hilarious, because all of the groups had this little spiel, that was no doubt intended to sound heartfelt, but when the translations come up of what they’re saying, it’s obvious that they have to say “This is the best crowd so far” every night. It was also a bit weird when one of the BTS boys, maybe Rap Monster, made a comment about how amazing it was to be at in Summer, which I knew was for the “Summer Station” part of the train ride, but sounded pretty stupid considering it was clearly Winter in Seoul. He obviously had to say it, and I cringed a bit for him.

^^After much general confusion about who was Jimin and who was Jongkook, THIS is Jimin.^^

The third track, disappointingly, was not “We are Bulletproof Pt 2” (According to Mankee there IS a Part 1, but we listened to it and it was a bit average) but a B-side track, “Rise of Bangtan”. It was pretty good, although I felt bad because I didn’t know the words so I tried to pick up what I could and pretend I knew what was going on. It was an interesting track that gave the guys all a clear chance to have a bit of time in the spotlight. Then they disappeared, which was sad, because 3 songs? C’mon, stuff the other shit, we wanted more BTS! 

^^Mankee's bias J-Hope^^

Summer brought with it K-Drama “The Moon Embraces the Sun”, which none of us had seen, a Joseon romance of the Young Emperor. I must say, it looked pretty cool (although at one point, the Emperor was definitely a complete jerk to his lady love, who obviously got arrested and tortured- so that really cooled the romance for me.) and the crowd went wild over their “Oh! Alas! I have stumbled on to your lips!” contrived romance.  (Later Note: It is VERY popular. The 2 main sale items at the ferry terminal were Big Bang and “The Moon embraces the Sun”.)

After that was a surprise, but a really good one. It sucked for these guys to go on after BTS, but they had a whole lot of Pop/Lock Dancers who danced to traditional music from the sound track- it was a very modern dance to “The Moon embraces the Sun” music and the dancers were really good. At the end, the two lovers got into a circle and were raised into the air. It was hard to describe (I hope eventually I’ll be able to find it on YouTube). But we were already back with Lee Byung-hun  on the WAPOP train, him holding his hand out genteel-like to us, inviting us in his rich velvet voice, to look at the wonderful trainline for Autumn, which was ironically called “Winter Sonata”. (Ange was like: “Here’s an idea, why not have Winter Sonata as part of… WINTER?”)

^^Lee Byung-hun- ain't getting off that train any time soon.^^

 I remember nothing of Winter Sonata. It looked spectacularly average and boring in everyway…OH, except that it started off with some dude getting hit by a car really violently, then later on in the show… BAM, no one learnt their lesson, now someone else got hit by a car. Other than that? Boring. Then 4 Men played (ironic, considering there were 3 of them). They were undeniably talented, but we were all waiting for Block B!

Lee Byung-Hun got back on and the train was OUT OF CONTROL! He announced he could make dreams come true and the train took a dive off of the cliff and then flew into the air! Lee Byung-Hun then says smugly to the camera “You weren’t scared were you? You are always 100% safe on the WAPOP train.” Then, when we think Block B are coming out… K-Drama Iris. Lee Byung-Hun starred in Iris and Ange watched it. Angela describes Iris as “shit” and “the most illogical spy tv show ever”. From the sections I saw, it was both bemusing and ridiculous at times. Apparently all spies have to do in Korea is wear a cap and sink low in their chair as required, or in City Hunter, wear a face mask. Because no one would recognize Lee Min Ho’s face with a face mask on, am I right?

^^ Totally unrecognizable. Good one Lee Min Ho.^^

Anyhow, we FINALLY got to the main event and fireworks went off! Block B came on stage and sang “Very good” first. B-Bomb was over our side and made a lot of eye-contact. I’ve long felt he was the weakest member but he did a lot of fanservice in terms of making eye contact and interacting with the audience. Zico, of course, was the standout and has oodles of talent, both singing/dancing/performing/charisma/fanservice. Kyung was a strong contender and PO was good but seemed subdued? Angela said his cheers were a bit quieter so maybe he’s still recovering from that scandal? Taeil was a strong performer- good vocals, energy and charisma but it was surprisingly U-Kwon who let the team down. He wore these ridiculous glasses for the whole performance so you couldn’t see most of his expressions and he just didn’t really seem to interact with the audience.

^^ Very very good!^^

^^Who picked those glasses for you U-Kwon, a 1 year old?!^^

^^ P.O.T.^^

Jaehyo did a lot of “Look at me! I look goooood.”  type stuff which let’s be honest, he was there for (He’s the Ulzzang of the band and his role is “Visual”). I’d rank as  follows: Zico, Taeil, Kyung, PO, B-Bomb, Jaehyo , U-Kwon but I know Ange was more impressed with Jaehyo than I was. I got lots of eye contact from B-Bomb, a bit from Zico who at times looked a bit nonplussed (B-Bomb was clearly happy to see Aus fans), and a bit from Jaehyo. U-Kwon was hard to tell because of his wack-ass glasses. He didn’t have much Charisma and didn’t seem to be putting much effort in, which sucks, because he (was?) my favourite.

^^ Ahn Jaehyo- ridiculously attractive and he knows it.^^

^^B-Bomb did a lot of fanservice and was pretty much planted right in front of us the whole concert. Unsuprisingly, I like him a lot more now he's smiled at me. #Shallow. ^^

Then they played Nalina, which was, of course, amazing! I sung along to the whole thing (again, there were some odd looks at times from Block B so I wondered if I was forming my mouth correctly letter/word wise? Also they seemed surprised and possibly a little disturbed that we were dancing along with them in our seats) and generally it was amazing! I think it was during Nalina (maybe just after?) when Zico put a used drink bottle on the stage right in front of me. It toppled and began to fall towards the floor… but stopped when I raced forward and snatched it up to keep forever.

^^This could be the one water bottle which I may or may not still have in my possession, ready to return to Australia and create a small shrine for it.^^

^^ I was pretty chill about the whole experience, wanted to play it cool. I definitely didn't immediately hysterically update both my Facebook accounts, snapchat the following image to the majority of the people I know or squeal like a dying pig. ^^
^^Again, not the concert we went to but they did sing this song.^^

Not creepy at all, right? I can assure you I have not kissed it, slept with it in my bed, or taken a shower with it. We do plan to find a picture of his face and take it around with us, Tweeting Zico pics of his bottle self. There was a bit of talking, and we sang B-Bomb happy birthday (I of course, knew none of the words so that was awkward).  Finally, we were hoping they’d do more than 3 songs (come on, Bella 4 got more songs, what the hell?) but they finished off with “Nice Day” which I didn’t really know the words to. I felt like a bad fan. I am a bad fan… will rectify that later. Anyhow, I pretended I knew all the words, managed to catch the “Nice day” pattern in time to sing along and screamed blue murder when they departed, all the while smacking my useless light up stick around as it flickered slightly on and off.  By this performance, my light stick was most definitely defective.

There was another surprise act that was again, very unlucky to have to follow such an awesome act. This one wasn’t quite as good as the Pop/Lock “Moon embraces the Sun” dance but it was cool. The stupid WAPOP train was back but the huffing noises got louder and what does the stage split to reveal but a giant fake train on stage! Even more (Worse? Better? I don’t even know) it then chuffed its way forward about 2 metres to approach the catwalk but then sort of chuffed its way back and just sat there. Then there were 6 dancers who came out dressed as conductors. They then did a pretty decent dance (their costumes were light up) but it was really hard to appreciate them in the aftermath of Block B. When the concert finally finished, we headed out, and as we were getting some more photos , a lady approached me, indicating for me to put my light stick in the basket! Well, it might have been defective but I still wanted it! Not really able to do anything else, I morosely handed it over (Mankee and Angela having hidden theirs in their bags already, they just wandered straight out with theirs. We started heading out, and then there was more shrieking.

^^ Zico is amazing!^

^^ When you start questioning who looks worse and Taeil is a solid competitor for "better", you speculate U-Kwon's had some plastic surgery troubles...^^

When the screaming started, we literally ran towards it(I know I was hoping like hell I wouldn’t take a header in the snow), unsure what was going on but hoping it was Block B or BTS. It was- Block B! Some of them had already gotten into their vans but we saw Zico come out (lots of screaming… and that was just from me…) and Park Kyung. Kyung had a pretty mischevious sense of humour- his minders were practically stuffing him into the van and he was still trying to wave to us and enjoy the attention! Hilariously, as the vans drove off, the sky roof of one of them opened and Kyung poked his head out a bit like a weasel as the fans screamed some more and then they drove off into the night. Amazing.  Unfortunately, the photos I got absolutely sucked- all blurry because it was dark and the crowd was moving.

^^ Gotta love Kyung's sense of humour! ^^

We went home, raving about the amazing concert, and prepared to leave Seoul the next day.
xx The Priestess of the Wul-Zico Shrine.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I purchased 2 Wapop Show tickets from Ticket Pia, but our seat number was not printed on the ticket. How am I suppose to know our seat number? Are the staff going to instruct you where to seat? Or do we have to change our Pia ticket to a Korean ticket? This will be our first time watching a Wapop Show so we don't know anything. I hope you could help us. Thank you!