On November 9th I attended a historic moment in Kpop history. BIGBANG , my favorite all boy group, made their American concert debut.**insert minor fan-girl outburst**…Phew… Now that we are past that let’s dive into the good stuff.
It all began on a beautiful Friday afternoon when me and my girl Emily made the trip to the great city of Newark, New Jersey to meet our other friend Lizzy and attend history. Prepared with a bangin’ playlist of Kpop, cash for merchandise, and enough jitters and enthusiasm one can only have with a concert road trip, we were about to blaze a trail of greatness. Unfortunately our trail of greatness ended up getting stuck in gridlock for 4 and a 1/2 hours. HOWEVER, this did not deter us from having some of the most outrageous and complex conversations about the wonderful genre of Korean Pop. Ranging from what bands we love, dissecting the Korean music industry, exploring other genres, and the most complex of all…who is the hottest of course!
It was a unanimous vote for BIGBANG rapper TOP (above)
Finally after exhausting all conversation topics and a half tank of gas we finally made it to the Prudential Center. Sure we made it to the arena, but we still had the issue of my car. We weren’t able to get the permit to park in the attached structure, but there was a secure lot perfectly located across the street. As I was fumbling with my keys a deep voice that could not possibly belong to Emily came out of the darkness. It was none other than **dun dun dun** a scalper, who I’m pretty sure skimmed a few years of my life. But a concert isn’t a concert unless there are sketchy people in parking lots trying hawk fake merch and tickets. We quickly shooed him away to meet our date with destiny.
Walking into the arena we were quickly thrown into the masses trying to get as much merchandise as possible, including us. I took a quick glance around the lobby to see the different fans and before I knew it I was next in line then dragged to escalators. We finally made it to our seats which anyone can see are obvious nose bleeders, but in the end they ended being some of the best seats in the house.
From the top the wave of the yellow VIP light sticks turned into a sea of light that moved to and fro with the beat of the music. And the funny part was that the concert hadn’t even started yet.
Me and Emily before the concert started
Now when I first started this post I thought I was going to do an all out play-by-play of hands down one of the best concerts I have had the pleasure of attending. But sadly, there are not enough words to accurately describe that night. The moment the giant stage banner dropped to reveal BIGBANG every fan’s dream was made into a reality. It is not just the idea of seeing attractive 20-somethings serenade you for 3 hours on a Friday night. For a majority of the fans in the arena, including myself, the only way to see this band was to watch videos on Youtube or listen to an mp3 player. The idea of having a Korean artist from any genre perform on American soil was unfathomable, let alone sell out 2 arenas like the Honda Center and the Prudential Center then have to add a second date for each show. With the help of the Hallyu movement and the growing popularity of these musicians through the internet and music festivals like Southern California’s annual Korean Music Festival (which just celebrated its 10th anniversary this year)and the addition of Billboard’s Kpop Hot 100, BIGBANG was able to finally meet their American fans.
They even let the crowd sing a majority of their smash hit Haru Haru
It wasn’t until the middle of BIGBANG’s set that it hit me. As I looked around the arena I saw fans of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. I saw some fans who have listened to Kpop their whole lives and those who had just heard about it because of Gangnam Style. And I even saw amazing parents who were kind enough to bring their child to the show while they quietly sat with earplugs. I am so grateful that I was able to see so many people join together not only see their favorite band play, but also share a piece of themselves with fellow fans who have calmly waited for this moment to arrive.
Who knew Stupid Liar and Monster had such a profund effect. I can’t wait for the next one.
To be continued…