It has been a few days since I returned to Canada from Seattle, and I have had time since I came back to collect my thoughts on my experiences at (G) I-DLE’s concert.
Before I elaborate further, I will give the TLDR version to those whose attention spans and reading comprehension levels are below anything but acronyms and emojis:
- (G)I-DLE = FANTASTIC
- WEATHER, VENUE ENVIRONMENT, COMMUNICATION & HI-TOUCH = VARYING LEVELS OF SUCK
With that out of the way, I can further expand on what that entails. Firstly, there wasn’t any communication about when VIPs would show up at the venue. The expectation was that a mass e-mail would be sent out from AXS or the promoters to VIP ticket holders, informing them of the time they should line up at the venue to check-in.
Instead, you had to search social media, and if you were lucky, you would see the tweet or Facebook post the promoters pushed out. Once the VIP check-in procedure was figured out, it was first come, first serve. Understandably people were camped out very early in the morning to secure their place closest to the stage.
Unlike past stops in this tour, the number order on the wristbands in Seattle was not enforced at all. So if you showed up late, too bad, you’re in the back. My friend and I lucked out and were in line relatively early compared to others.
Then it was simply waiting in the ever-rising temperatures of Seattle during a heat wave. The heat I felt as I waited to get into Showbox SoDo was similar to summer in Taiwan, The Philippines and Tokyo. Relentless and with little to no wind to assist in cooling you. It was energy draining.
As the hours ticked by, I could feel my body slowly shutting down because of standing in the heat. I usually don’t sit on messy concrete, but I needed to give my legs and feet some rest for the show. Unfortunately, the heat wasn’t any better on the ground; it was probably worse.
Thankfully an enterprising Mexican guy decided he could make a few bucks off the weabs by selling water and Gatorade. An offer I gleefully took as I was dehydrated sitting in +33C weather for hours on end. I obliterated a small bottle of Gatorade and an entire bottle of water within seconds.
When I stood up, I noticed that the VIP line had grown significantly longer. There was no way all these people snaking around the building were VIPs, right? Once staff let VIPs into the building, I discovered that, yes, there were a lot of VIPs. So many that the place was half full by the time they all entered. So that was terrible omen number one, and I looked behind me to plan an escape path in an emergency.
After searching for short people with no banners or signs in their hands to stand behind, we ended up being squeezed into around the third/fourth center. To say there was no room to move comfortably would be an understatement. So whenever I moved, I would tap someone in front of me. Not that it was awful, the girl in front of me was a pretty, very overdressed Chinese girl, so when she looked back, the view was at least pleasant.
I would say I had just enough room to spin around, talk to my friend, and then spin around again to face forward.
When the sound check started, bad omen number two reared its ugly head because up went the phones. And I don’t mean at say head level; I mean the way the fuck up in the air so that it would impede your view significantly. I am not blessed to be a tall person, and I could barely see any member of (G)I-DLE at center stage and had better luck looking off to the left most of the time if I was lucky to not have a phone in my face.
I am accustomed to being around more “well-mannered” fans in Asia, so all the rude assholes in America trying to be amateur video producers and bootleggers ruined the vibe before the show started. No one can live in the moment anymore; they all need to record everything for hits on social media and “memories” because their long-term retention of information is only calculated in single-digit numbers.
Luckily I got some good looks at my bias (Minnie) during the three-song sound check, so I was at least somewhat satisfied.
Then it was another hour of standing in a cramped space and sweating my ass off. Staff at Showbox SoDo did their best to keep everyone hydrated by passing around water bottles. Still, I think they would have been better off getting on stage and spraying us with a firehose, given the intense heat in the VIP area with all those bodies squished together.
I turned to my friend and said we might have to bail from VIP if the heat was too much for me. And I lasted precisely three songs into the concert before feeling like complete shit.
So during the first MC, we pushed through the crowd until we could get to more open space near the entrance. I got two expensive cans of water and went outside to sit down and re-hydrate.
Sadly on my way out of the building to get air, I encountered the security bitch from hell who insisted I go to the other side of the bar and get a re-entry wristband first. Luckily a more sensible security person saw the distress I was in and let me sit outside and drink my overpriced water while she got me a wristband.
My friend told me I was pretty lucky I got out under my power as he witnessed one girl pass out near the water bar. Later in the evening, we also saw an unconscious girl being carried to the entrance and another woman on the verge of passing out.
Once I regained my energy, I leaned against a railing for the remainder of the concert, taking in whatever view of (G)I-DLE that I could from far away and enjoying their performances as much as possible in my weakened state. Even though the view from far away was not ideal, I would not sacrifice my health to watch the concert through a bunch of cell phone cameras for 3 hours.
However, it did give me the opportunity to at least observe the type of crowd (G)I-DLE attracted. There were a lot of hot Instagram THOT-level Chinese girls all over the place. Looking at them helped bring my spirits up.
I also thought it was hilarious to see Dreamcatcher, Twice and Blackpink light sticks scattered amongst the crowd. I believe many international K-Pop fans find that rude, but it was funny to me.
Anyway, (G)I-DLE was still fantastic from far away. I have no complaints whatsoever about them. They worked for their asses off for what was mostly a dead crowd who (as I mentioned previously) were more concerned about bootlegging the concert for “memories” and social media street cred.
And that was the saddest part about this concert. Even during (G)I-DLE’s most hype songs that scream for sing-a-long action, people didn’t give a shit. So why even bother showing up to the concert if you’re not going to enjoy it? At least the people in the back were having fun, so it wasn’t a complete loss to see folks having a good time.
If you are going to ask me about the setlist? I’m sure you can look that up yourself. I had to later the next day since I was pretty out of it for most of the concert.
When the concert ended, it was time for the VIPs to do their hi-touch. First, we had to wait for the commoners to exit, and then we were all lined up on the right side of the building.
I watched the front to see what was going on, and the procedure was as follows:
- Sanitize hands
- Go behind the curtain to do hi-touch
- Get a signed poster and leave the building
For the first 300 people, the pace of the line was leisurely. I assumed each person would get a few seconds with the members to say “Hi,” do the hi-touch, and go home happy having met (G)I-DLE.
I was very wrong to make that assumption. As more people neared the front, the pace of the line started to increase faster and faster until people were either doing brisk power walks or jogs towards the curtain where the members were. Then, security started to aggressively yell for people to “Move it!” and to “Keep the line moving!”
So when it came for my time, I got my sanitizer and was rushed to the curtain before it absorbed entirely into my hands. Behind the curtain, I saw the members of (G)I-DLE masked up, and their hands stretched out sideways rather than in the hi-five position I am accustomed to seeing with their Japanese idol cousins.
So it wasn’t a hi-touch but more like a mid-touch that you would do if you were celebrating a run in baseball or a goal in hockey. The other thing was that they were all wearing gloves, so in a way, it also felt like you were giving props to the cafeteria lady for having fresh tater-tots ready for you. It also made it pointless to sanitize your hands, in my opinion.
If you ask me what order the members were in? Shit, I couldn’t tell you, to be honest. All I remember was Minnie in the middle and pausing slightly to get a few milliseconds to look her in the eye. But otherwise, it was such a blur it felt like I was slapping random gloved hands attached to pretty women.
I did a similar type of assembly line hi-touch for AKB48 many years ago at Nagoya Dome with more members than (G)I-DLE, which was much more enjoyable than this benefit. You at least got more time with each girl, you could do an actual hi-five, and no one was yelling at you to hurry the fuck up and get out.
There are probably more experienced K-Pop VIPs out there who will tell me to quit bitching. But, compared to what I know of hi-touches with Japanese idols, this was hella weak for Korean idols. So I guess I should be thankful that I got to be near them compared to Dreamcatcher, who was behind plexiglass barriers and displayed like zoo monkeys waving at you.
The real kick in the balls was the “signed” poster. Of course, it’s not hand signed, but screen printed and stamped—it was the perfect end to the kind of day I was having.
Does it sound like I had a horrible concert experience? Well, I did. It was not the fault of (G)I-DLE. As I said, they worked their asses off on that stage and put on a great show. Unfortunately, all the external things outside the stage damaged what could have been a great day.
I’m hoping that should (G)I-DLE ever do another tour outside of Korea, whoever is promoting them selects a more suitable venue. I can see a place like Showbox SoDo being great for rock or hip-hop, but it was not the right place for a K-Pop show. I also hope that when they show up, there is not the heat of a thousand suns killing everyone before the show.