They say there’s a first time for everything.
First steps, first words, first kisses, first K-pop concerts.
For me, the latter came on April 9, 2017, when I attended B.A.P’s Party Baby U.S. Boom concert in Washington D.C.
Now for all intents and purposes; I’m not new to concerts. I shamelessly had my right of passage through my teenage emo phase where I attended more irrelevant metal core bands’ shows than I can count. And I’m certainly not new to K-pop either; I’ve been be in the fandom for about four years now. But surprisingly enough, I’ve never actually had the opportunity to attend a K-pop concert till now. And when I heard that B.A.P, one of my favorite K-pop groups of all time, was coming to my city, I nearly had a heart attack before dropping an entire paycheck to see them live.
And trust me when I say, I certainly don’t regret it.
The days leading up to the show I was a ball of enthusiasm for B.A.P. I bought a Matoki lightstick, made a playlist of all the songs on the setlist, and religiously studied fanchants. Not to mention I had gotten hi-touch with my ticket; which means I actually had the chance to meet them, and that led to many nights trying on just about every outfit in my closet. (And yes, in case you were wondering; they are even more handsome in person).
The concert itself was nothing short of incredible. The whole theme of the show was centered around having a party with their fans. Opening the concert with a DJ and EDM remixes of some of their most dance-friendly songs, B.A.P really made it feel like a dance club (a dance club with way too much confetti, but I’ll let that slide). They even had a segment of the show where a member would pick a person from the crowd that matched their “dress code” that was announced prior to the show. At my show, Zelo picked, and the whole thing was absolutely adorable and it honestly brought a new level of closeness between B.A.P and their fans.
Of course B.A.P couldn’t go without doing some other amazing segments as well. My personal favorite part of the show was getting to see the solo stages of Jongup, Zelo, and Daehyun followed by B.A.P’s oh so sexy songs “Body & Soul” and “I Guess I Need U,” which are by far some of my favorites in their discography. Their very last set of songs involved them going crazy on stage with funky jams like “Be Happy” and one of my personal favorite title tracks, “Feel So Good.”
Overall, I had a total blast. I would go again in a heartbeat. And maybe this is just the post-concert high talking, but if B.A.P comes back to the U.S. for a world tour next year, I’m super tempted to attend more than one or even all the dates on the tour purely because I had that much fun.
Along with all that fun, I feel like I definitely made some discoveries along the way about seeing a K-pop concert for the first time. And if you’re heading to one for the first time too, no worries. I got you. Here’s some of the things I learned from my first k-pop show experience that might just happen to you:
1: THE INTEGRATION OF KOREAN FAN CULTURE IS TRULY THE BEST THING EVER
One amazing thing to experience in-person are the things in the K-pop fan world that make it so unique. Lightsticks, fanchants, fan events – these are all things we don’t really see in western music and something I found particularly special because it made me feel closer to the fellow Babyz around me. All of us holding up our green lightsticks and showing B.A.P our fan event banners during B.A.B.Y gave me an experience that I’d never had before, and one I will never forget.
2: IT WON’T FEEL REAL 80 PERCENT OF THE TIME
Honestly, I felt like I was in a dream-state the whole time. I couldn’t believe these boys that I had been following since early 2014 were right there in front of me. It’s a bizarre sight when you see the people you’ve seen exclusively through a computer screen for 3 years in person; you just stand there in awe like, oh my God, they’re real. They’re actually real.
3: YOUR BIAS IS YOUR BIAS, BUT…
Let’s set the record straight right now; I am totally and completely Yongguk biased. I love him to pieces. So naturally, going into the theater, I was thinking, how am I gonna look at anyone else when Bang Yongguk is RIGHT THERE? But when I walked out, I made the shocking realization that a good majority of the time, I was staring at the wonderful main vocal that is Jung Daehyun. I couldn’t help it; I was totally captivated and sometimes I even had trouble looking away from him. So be warned: the person you bias and the person you stare at with your mouth slightly open and your eyes wide in shock might be two different people.
4: YOU’LL UNDERSTAND WHY THE TITLE TRACKS ARE THE TITLE TRACKS
I will admit that there have been several times in B.A.P’s career where I’ve been like, what? How could ___ be the title track when ___ would have been way better!? Before this concert, I had always wanted “Killer” to be the title track over “Skydive” from their second full album “Noir.” And from their most recent single album “Rose” I never understood why “Wake Me Up” was the title track when “Diamond 4 Ya” literally exists. But now, I totally bite my tongue over it. I quickly realized that some songs just don’t translate as well on recording as they do live. “Skydive” and “Wake Me Up” totally blew me out of the water in person. They were powerful, shocking, bold and unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life that in that moment, I knew exactly why they were title tracks. The recordings just don’t do these songs justice. But when you’re mere feet away from them, watching Jongup put everything into the dance and Daehyun hitting his insane high notes, there’s no doubt that these are songs that truly embody the meaning of putting on a show.
5: YOUR HEART WILL SWELL WITH YOUR OVERFLOWING LOVE FOR THEM
I loved B.A.P before this concert. But now, I love them. My affection and admiration has reached new heights that I would have never thought possible. Seeing them in person makes you see them in a different light, and I’m not gonna lie; your heart may physically hurt because you miss them so much in the days following the concert. But no worries; just remember that you were so lucky to have this experience with them, and that the chance to reunite with them could very well come again.