I was updating this post yesterday while I was onsite and it was kind of messy. So now that it’s a day later and I’m home and have time to organize my thoughts in a more cohesive manner here is my report on the Vancouver Stop of the Wonder Girls 2010 World Tour.
The flight to Vancouver was uneventful; in fact it was really boring. I no longer being a morning person was really tired from getting up to make my 9:15 flight. Good thing is that there were a lot of other tired people with me on the plane and it was quiet.
I spent part of the flight sleeping and when I woke up I refreshed myself on the Wonder Girls catalog. You know, just so I sort of had a clue about what I was going to see later in the evening. I arrived in Vancouver just as I had finished listening to all of the Wonder Girls songs. Good timing I guess.
I decided to take the train from the airport to downtown Vancouver. I was trying to save money on this trip so that was my only real alternative as a taxi ride would have cost $30 or more. Vancouver transit has a strange zone system in place so it made buying a train ticket kind of complicated. One confused tourist asked me how to buy a ticket. I helped her as much as I could but I wasn’t sure I was even doing it right.
Once that was sorted out a 30 minute ride to downtown Vancouver and the quest for my hotel began. I was given rough directions by the hotel staff on how to get to their building. I decided to input those directions into my phone and see if I could get to the hotel on foot. The result of that was me wandering around in circles for about an hour and a half. Eventually I found my hotel but a word to those who use Google maps for walking directions. Don’t. It sucks. Find a more capable app like Mapquest or something like that.
Anyway, here are a few pics of my hotel room for those who are interested in that sort of thing.
By the way, $4.50 for the water. I did not partake.
After recovering from the long trek to my hotel I looked up where the nearest Japadog was and went on another quest. It wasn’t too far from my hotel, but of course I ended up going in the opposite direction and had to go back to my hotel and start all over again. Yes, my sense of direction sucks. But the bonus was on the way back the right way I stopped for bubble tea.
Eventually I found the Japadog stand and got myself a spicy cheese terimayo dog and a bottle of Ramune. For those who followed my Anime Expo 2009 adventures you know that Ramune is like my crack so I was a very happy dude. Speaking of happy dude while I was hanging out by the Japadog stand I noticed a leggy Asian woman standing in line.
Becoming rather entranced I didn’t notice I was sitting next to a sprinkler system and was getting sprayed. Some random dude nudged me and that’s when I noticed I was getting wet. But from what I was looking at it was totally worth getting soaked a bit. Too bad I couldn’t get any pics as I was holding a hot dog and a bottle of Ramune. It would have looked kind of creepy so it’s a good thing I didn’t whip out the phone camera or anything.
Once my small lunch was done I headed to the Vogue Theatre which wasn’t too far from the Japadog stand and proceeded to stand in line with the other Wonder Girls fans. At first it was a small line that got bigger and bigger as time passed. Eventually the VIP ticket holders were moved to the other side of the building leaving the commoners behind. There are a couple of things I noticed about the crowd outside. The fans there were mostly there to see either 2AM/PM (whoever was supposed to open) and not the Wonder Girls. So the majority of fans were girls/women. Screamers are what I believed they are called.
Second, those who were there to see the Wonder Girls were a mix of men and women. Most people were Asian (mostly Chinese, Filipino or Korean) and were of different age groups. Third, there were a lot of hot Korean girls around. It was like sensory overload. Of course I couldn’t tell how old many of these hot girls were and I ballparked that majority were younger than me. Still, they were nice to look at.
At random times a JYP cameraman would come out and film the crowd. There was also an unofficial filming crew from some K-Pop site that was making a YouTube documentary or something. I was praying they never came my way as I really had nothing of value to say and would probably just try to pimp JPH!P or Selective Hearing instead of talking about the Wonder Girls.
They did catch some group of dudes who were convinced to do the Nobody dance in the middle of the street while they filmed and took pictures of it. I found that funny.
So there I stood somewhere on Granville Street with other Wonder Girls/K-Pop fans impatiently waiting for the staff to let us in to get our 5 second picture with the Wonder Girls. The front office was selling the 2 Different Tears CD and people were rushing to get a copy hoping to get one signed. I asked a Filipino girl who was standing next to me to get one for me while I hold her place in line. Even though I had already bought the album on iTunes I figured it would be nice to have a physical copy.
She came back with my copy and I struggled to remove the wrapping from the CD. Is the plastic wrapping around CD’s intentionally made to make one suffer? Eventually I got the wrapping off and I was impressed with the package. First thing I noticed is that the CD case is huge because there’s a nice big book with the lyrics and liner notes and lots of pictures of the hotness that is the Wonder Girls.
Around 16:30 some dude from the venue came out and yelled out instructions to us VIP people. First off, no autographs (suckage!), and secondly only 1 picture per group of people. So if you were next to some random stranger or something there was the potential to like get grouped into their picture just because you look like you know them.
Once we got our pic we were to go back outside and line up again. Simple enough I guess. Well around 17:45 or so (15 minutes late) we VIP people were allowed to pass by the commoners and line up for our pictures. This is how it worked. A staff member asks if you’re alone or with a group. Then you get up to the room where the pictures are being taken. You turn on your camera, set it to the right setting and give it a staff member.
That staff member hands it to a photographer and then you’re allowed to step into the room with the group. You’re allowed to say hello or whatever to the group and get into position. The photographer preps you (say cheese or whatever) and takes your picture with the group. You leave, go back outside and fangirl/fanboy with everyone else.
So how did my session go? Well I made sure that I said I was alone first off. Hey man, I flew a long way and I wasn’t gonna have some random stranger in my pic. After that I set my camera to automatic mode. You know, the default dummies mode where the flash goes on or off and the focus is automatic. Simple and clean.
After that I walked in, said “Hello ladies” and got into position between Sunye and Yubin. Then I whipped out my JPH!P sticker and held it out in front. The photographer and the other staff members laughed at my obvious shameless self promotion. But it was all good. After which it was like click and done.
I probably broke protocol but before I picked up my camera I turned and shook every members hand and thanked them. So I can say I touched every Wonder Girl (not anywhere fun you pervs), yay me! It went by very fast but I remember looking Yenny right in the eye as she told me to enjoy the show. After which I picked up my camera and headed back outside. As I walked out a staff member handed me a tour photo. It wasn’t autographed but whatever.
So back outside comparing pictures with the Filipino girl I chatted up earlier and then at 18:40 or so we were allowed back into the building to pick our seats. Again, passing the commoners as they angrily mean mugged us (just kidding, sort of) as we rushed into the building jockeying for position. I had already made up my mind that I was going to be as far away from the screamers as possible so I decided to sit further back on the lower level.
After 30 minutes or so they let the commoners in and a mad scramble for the remaining available seats started. During that time I put my bag on my seat and proceeded to merchandise booth where I picked up the black tour t-shirt and the track jacket. Expensive but totally worth it I believe.
Then about an hour of waiting as there was no opening act for this show. Yes, the screamers were disappointed but at least there would be no ear piercing shrieks for this outing. I think I would have ended up deaf because there were a lot of young girls around me who looked like they could scream pretty loudly.
While I was waiting I scanned the crowed again. There were lots of couples and families. Of the couples I noticed a trend. Beautiful girl and ugly dude. No offense to you ugly dudes who can score hot girlfriends, I’m just making an observation here. And when I mean beautiful girl I mean like “ damn, how the hell did you convince her to stay with you?” type hot. Again, no offense.
Next to me was some big (like muscular big) dude and his girlfriend. Probably closer to my age I think but the dude fell asleep and the girlfriend just held his hand & let him doze away. On my right was an excited couple who were making a video documentary about the concert. They were saying stuff in Korean so I have no idea what they were talking about. Further down the row were families with excited kids.
Just after 20:00 the house lights dimmed and the show started with a cool silhouette kind of intro where the group shadow danced as their names flashed across the curtain. Then the curtain dropped and everyone stood up and the place got loud. Now being the K-Pop and Wonder Girls noob that I am I can’t recollect the entire set list perfectly. But if you’ve seen the set lists from previous concerts in the U.S. then you pretty much know what they’ve done here.
They did start off with a song I know, I Wanna. This is a perfect display of the group’s vocal capabilities and the fact that it’s a House track makes it one of my favorite Wonder Girls songs. It also set the pace for the show as a high energy affair. The other song I remember from the start of the show was their cover of the Pussycat Dolls Don’t Cha. Their version had a slightly sparser, bass heavy beat and unlike the Pussycat Dolls all the members sang on the song. It was also hot.
The explanation for no opening act was during the first MC segment. The Vancouver stop was the first of their headlining shows. For me that was awesome, I don’t mind 2 AM/PM but the more Wonder Girls the better.
Anyway, the majority of songs they performed were in English but there were also a few performed in Korean as well. The highlight of the Korean versions being Saying I Love You where the group was dressed in all white while one played the Piano. During apex of the song what looked like white glitter or fake snow descended on to the front row.
I had heard about the solo performances for this show with each member taking on popular American songs. The best solo’s for me were Yubin’s Black Eyed Peas cover. As much as I hate the current Peas songs Yubin rocked that shit and made it sound good.
The other one I liked was Yenny’s version of Mercy. Man that woman has like crazy diva like pipes. It was crazy. Lastly, Sunye’s Lady Gaga cover also showed that the Wonder Girls are more than just pretty faces who sing and dance. There’s some real talent behind all the glam.
I believe this was a great choice for my first K-Pop concert. Probably because it was screamer free. =) But I left the show extremely impressed. You can see that all the investments that labels make in training groups like the Wonder Girls pays off big time.
The only complaints I have are that the sound crew needed to monitor Sohee’s mic more closely because her levels were kind of low during parts of the show. You couldn’t hear her sometimes. The other beef I have is that the show was simply too short for a headliner. 1 hour is nice, but I was craving for more.
But if you have the chance to see the Wonder Girls I say take it. You won’t be disappointed.