My adventures on Friday must have worn me out because I actually slept in until 7 Saturday morning! Woohoo! Of course everyone else in my room had the good sense to still be asleep at 7 so I got myself dressed and headed to the hotel lobby to call home and tell the family I was still alive and well. Once I convinced the fam I wasn’t dead, I set out in search of the elusive and much-needed coffee.
One of the perks of staying at one of the several hotels that help make up LA Live is the fact that finding coffee isn’t hard. In fact, all I had to do was walk outside and cross the sidewalk. Of course I still had to fight the giant mob of people who had also decided they needed coffee at 7:30 in the morning but that was easy. On the other hand, trying to guess what all my roommates would like for their morning perk-me-up was a bit trickier. However waiting in line for about a thousand years gave me plenty of time to think (and text my now awake friends) so I returned to the room a hero! Heroine? The bearer of coffee, croissants and scones… We’ll just leave it at that.
Adequately caffeinated, it was time to actually get ready for the day because as comfy as I was in my glasses wearing giraffe t-shirt and jeans, I felt that was a little too casual of an outfit to be sporting when I was going to speak (again). After much deliberation, several text messages to my “stylists,” an annoyingly circular conversation with those in the room about “should I or shouldn’t I wear this,” I finally decided to just suck it up and go for the glory… The gusto… The… Okay, I’m out of other words to use here. In short, I ended up wearing the dress I wore to the VIXX concert last November, a shimmery blue, retro-inspired, sailor-y halter dress that probably made me stick out a mile but I’m 5’9″ and I had bright pink hair at the time so sticking out is just something I do anyway. With my pink hair in pigtails and my blue dress a-swishin’ (it’s a very twirly-whirly dress), I headed for the convention center and quickly joined the 10 bazillion other people all lined up to see Monsta X at their artist engagement.
The best part about going to KCON with friends is having people around you who help make the time you’re stuck waiting in lines pass quickly. Surrounded by friends, it didn’t really seem to take long for the chaotic mass of people to surge from the inside lines to the outside lines, where we all feared burning to death as we waited for the doors to the actual fan engagement to open. When the doors did open, it was a mad dash to grab a spot at the front (or as close to the front as we could get) and somehow we all managed to be right up on the barrier that separated us lowly audience pass holders from the ridiculously lucky high-touch pass holders. (Yeah, I would’ve sold my left spleen to be one of those lucky ones but it didn’t happen which, I suppose, is a good thing???)
Though I didn’t get a chance to tell Monsta X how much I love them in person, I did have a very good spot for watching them as they met however many hundreds of fans were there for the high-touch. They were adorable and gorgeous and all smiles and basically everything a group of idols should be. They greeted their fans warmly and seemed genuinely surprised they had so many fans here in the States. (The look of shock on their faces when they stepped on-stage and saw how many of us were crammed into that room just to see them, pretty much said it all.)
When Monsta X’s fan engagement was over, it was time to jump back in line for the GOT7 artist engagement. As happy as I was that I got to participate in both Monsta X and GOT7’s artist engagements it did kind of suck that they were scheduled back-to-back but only because it meant I was doomed to have a crappy spot during GOT7. However, Fortune sometimes smiles on this poor zombie fangirl and she gave me a little wink that day. While people were piling into the room to meet GOT7 a group of mysterious figures in one of the second floor windows began waving to the crowds below and being the overly excited fans that they were, many rushed towards those windows in the hopes they were actually being spied upon by GOT7 themselves. Whether or not it was actually GOT7 waving from that upstairs window doesn’t really matter. What did matter was the massive rush of people moving backwards opened up a spot for me and Lola nearer to the front for the artist engagement. It actually took quite a bit of ninja-like maneuvering and skill to work our way closer but we managed to be about three rows back from the barricade by the time things started and that was just going to have to be good enough.
If I was willing to sell my spleen for Monsta X, I was willing to sell my soul for a chance to meet GOT7. Yes, I’d seen them when they were in Chicago in June but I’d been gypped out of my high-touch by Jazzy and their ridiculous “you win a picture but not a high-touch” schemes (a picture that will, for all of eternity, make me laugh like a hyena) and I had been hoping against hope that I’d actually be able to meet GOT7. Sadly, my dreams of meeting GOT7 in LA didn’t come true. However, I did get to see them (from a distance) and they were every bit as wonderful as I remembered them being. It was a bit sad that Jackson was missing from the group but the six members who graced the stage at the audience engagement were every bit as charming as ever and they greeted their fans with all the smiles, waves, hearts and dances one could ever hope to have.
Ending far too soon, GOT7’s audience engagement came to a close and it was time for me to make a mad dash upstairs to get ready for my panel. Putting away the fangirl side of myself as best as I could (a bit difficult, I admit, after just seeing 2 of the 3 groups I’d been dying for months to see) I harnessed my more “professional” side as I took my seat on the “Rise of the Acting Idol” panel. Joined by my lovely fellow panelists, we spent the next hour discussing the role of idols as actors. Is it a good thing? Is it bad? Why do they feel the need to branch out from their “traditional” idol role? Etc. etc. If there was a question to be asked or a topic to be discussed, that fell under this category of acting idols, we covered it all.
Afterwards, I once again spent some time chatting with people before I had to run off. Being the official press representative for ATK Magazine (the super awesome “All Things Korean” Magazine I write for and you should totally check out), I was on the press waiting list for the evening’s Red Carpet event and since I needed to check in by 4 p.m. I had to run back to my hotel, drop off all the non-essentials, make sure my camera and equipment was all ready to go and run back to the convention center in time for check in. It was a rather hectic half hour, running here and there like a sasaeng after EXO, but I survived and managed to make it to press check-in with minutes to spare. Woo!
Once I was all checked in and was guaranteed a spot in the press pit (I don’t think I need to tell you how big my sigh of relief was at that moment) we were off, the whole lot of us a scurrying mass of eager press people, all ready and rarin’ to get the money shots. Crowded into a press pit overstuffed with I don’t even know how many other media outlets, the lot of us were left to fend for ourselves, smooshing in as close as we could get to each other, all in a desperate attempt to be as close to the middle as we possibly could. (A most coveted place among the press, especially when you’re so far back you could hold a dance party in the space between the stage and your “pit” and still have room to maneuver a Chinese parade dragon.)
When the press and the 80 gazillion fans who had scored a pass to the Red Carpet were all adequately squished, the event began. Son Ho Jun was the first to grace the red carpet that night, his smile and waves just too cute for words. (Yes, I’m slightly biased but that’s only because I loved him in Reply 1994. I mean who didn’t?) SISTAR was the first group of idols to walk the red carpet and I have to admit, I admired their ability to rock the sequins and I’m totally jealous of their incredible hair. Roy Kim was up next and he was all sweetness and smiles and then GOT7 took the stage and it took everything in me to keep my “professionalism” intact. Still, I somehow managed to keep my cool and only slightly squeak over GOT7 as they showed off their designer duds and smiled and waved to their fans. Of course my professionalism was once again tested when Monsta X appeared. (Right after GOT7… How’s that for a 1-2 punch?) Once again I managed to keep the fangirling in check but my limits were sorely tested because right after Monsta X came Super Junior and well, seeing Heechul in person has been a dream of mine ever since I watched We Got Married: Global Edition. Sadly he was wearing a mask during the red carpet event so I could only see his hair and eyes but that was enough for me. Everyone thought the Red Carpet was going to end with Super Junior but at the last minute they announced Daniel Henney was making an appearance and sure enough, suddenly, there he was in all of his gorgeous glory.
Needless to say, Saturday night’s Red Carpet was one of the highlights of the day. But the day wasn’t over with the Red Carpet. Oh no! The real highlight of the day was still ahead of me and honestly, I wasn’t sure I was ready for it. Okay, my brain was ready for it, just my heart needed a little emotional time-out and my stomach was in desperate need of food. Running back to the hotel to drop off my camera and my “professional” persona, I headed to the Staples Center with my friends, ready for food and the chance to finally let my inner fangirl run free.
The wait in line to get into the Staples Center was short (because I didn’t shell out the big bucks to stand on the floor next to the stage) but the line for food once inside was endless. I seriously thought my stomach was going to start eating itself before I had the chance to offer it anything else but it didn’t and a chicken sandwich later, all was right with the world.
Finding our seats, Lola and I spent the few minutes before the show chatting and squealing over the chance to see our boys in a matter of minutes. (Yes, we are both HUGE fans of GOT7 and we’re not at all ashamed to admit it. As you already know if you’ve ever read anything on this blog in the past year and a half or so.) The pre-show entertainment was a lot of fun, with an impressive performance by a local taekwondo team that reminded me a lot of the K-Tigers. The taekwondo performance was followed by a traditional Korean drum performance by a local group of artists and again, I was impressed.
However, once the house lights dimmed and the entertainment of the evening started, all thoughts of anything other than “OH MY GOSH I’M ABOUT TO SEE MY BOYS! I’M SO NOT READY FOR THIS! PLEASE! SOMEONE HOLD ME!” vanished from my head. Needless to say, I was on the brink of utter ruin before the show even started, and once Monsta X took the stage, I honestly don’t know how I kept myself together. Oh wait… That’s right… I didn’t. Yeah… There was a whole lot of fangirling going on during Monsta X’s short, three song set but really, can anyone blame me for kinda losing my cool? I mean we’re talking about seeing Monsta X in person. IN. PERSON. Mere months after they officially debuted! That’s like one of those insane fangirl dreams you always wish would come true but you know you never will but in this case, IT DID! Holy cripes! (Yeah, I’m still kinda in shock and it’s been how long since I saw them?)
And then GOT7 took to the stage and my inner fangirl, the one who’d just barely kept herself from falling to pieces over Monsta X, fell to the floor, a completely ruined, sobbing puddle of fangirl goo. Yes, that’s right. I watched GOT7 perform five of my favorite songs, including “Just Right” and J.J. Project’s “Bounce” and I couldn’t keep myself together. I tried. I really, really tried, but every time I tried to record a song, I’d get so caught up in singing and dancing along that eventually I just gave up completely. By the time GOT7 finished “Bounce” my level of euphoria reached heights even I never knew I could reach and as the boys disappeared into the darkness, I found myself in my seat, next to Lola, the two of us clinging to each other, a laughing, sobbing mess of utter fangirl bliss.
From there, it was really difficult to recover myself. I sat watching SISTAR thinking to myself, “I’m really impressed by these girls,” but I could never really get as into their performance as I probably should have been. (Though that might have more to do with the fact I spent a lot of time imagining BTS’ J-Hope dancing along onstage. I know, I know, I’m bad.) In all honesty, I really did enjoy their set, I was just in a state of fangirl shock and needed a moment (or ten gazillion moments) to recover myself.
Roy Kim’s performance followed SISTAR and I again sat in my chair too blissed out of my mind to actually do much of anything. I thoroughly enjoyed Roy Kim’s performance and I have to say, that man’s voice is absolutely divine. Seriously, it’s nothing short of beautiful perfection and oh my word! If you’ve never heard this voice in person, you need to add “Watch Roy Kim Live” to your bucket list right now!
With Roy Kim’s performance over, I thought the natural progression of the evening would lead us straight to Super Junior but I was wrong. Oh boy, was I ever wrong! Appearing out of nowhere, shots of the six members of GOT7 and the seven members of Monsta X began appearing on the giant overhead screens and suddenly everyone was frantically looking around, trying to spot these boys. Wandering in from among the crowd, GOT7 and Monsta X began a mind-blowing collaboration performance that sent me so far over the edge of sane and rational existence that I can’t even tell you how I ever managed to pull myself back together. (I’m actually still not convince I’ve completely recovered.)
Needless to say, watching my two biggest KCON bias groups perform together was unbelievable and from that point on, there was no hope of me returning to sanity. GOT7 and Monsta X’s collaborative stage sent me into full-on fangirl mode and I spent all of Super Junior’s performance in a state of complete euphoria. Squealing over Heechul’s drum solo, dancing to every song, I laughed and cheered as Super Junior wowed us all and when the show was over, and all of the groups had come onstage to take their final bows, I was such a mess, I was almost unrecognizable. Yes, I let my inner fangirl run free during that first concert of KCON and you know what? I have absolutely no regrets. I had the best time of my life and when I caught up with my fabulous Chicago friends after the show, I ran straight into Jessie’s arms, a screeching, sobbing, laughing, jumping, shaking, excited and completely overwhelmed mess. Being my fangirl soul sister, Jessie and I made the most horrific fangirl scene (and yes, we got quite a few “looks” from people around us) but we didn’t care. (We never d0.) Sometimes there just aren’t enough words to describe how happy you are so you just kinda go with the emotions and that’s exactly what we did.
After who knows how long, Jessie and I finally let go of each other and we chatted with everyone else for a while before finally saying our goodbyes for the evening. (Sean, Torie, Sarah… Sorry for the utter fangirl breakdown but you all saw me after BTS so you probably knew this was coming…) An exhausted mess, Lola and I headed back to our hotel where we parted ways. She was off to her room to try to recover from the evening and I was off to Little Tokyo with Tanya and my dear friend, India, to celebrate her birthday. Chatting about the evening over chicken katsu and ramen, the three of us had an enjoyable late-night snack/birthday celebration but after such a big day, we were all kinda (okay, a lot) tired so we didn’t stay out long.
Back at the hotel my day’s adventures finally caught up with me and almost the second my head hit my pillow, I was out. The next thing I knew I was looking at my phone and it was 7:30 in the morning (Holy flip! I actually slept in!) and it was time to get ready for another day of KCON adventures. But that’s another story…