SHINee is spending the majority of their summer tending to their newly-birthed career in Japan, but the group was able to skip over to Taiwan last weekend and hold a solo concert at Taipei Arena. After much finagling, I was able to snag tickets at the last minute and was able to attend…as nothing more than a fan, but one could say that that was an experience in itself.
Most SHINee fans are probably already familiar with the craziness that went down at the concert, but here’s a quick rundown of what happened:
- Firstly, photography and videography was strictly forbidden during the concert (one of my friends actually had her camera taken and photos deleted by a guard in the middle of the show), so any and all photos/videos taken during the concert were done so covertly; hence the lack of high quality fancams from this concert.
- Jonghyun slips and falls flat on his butt at the end of “A.Mi.Go”…right on the ending beat, no less. What can I say; boy’s got rhythm.
- Speaking of “A.Mi.Go”…what’s with the head-banging? There were significant amounts of it in this concert. Um.
- There was a brief mic malfunction at the beginning of “Hello”; some fans in the crowd (not audible in the linked video) sang Jonghyun’s opening line in an attempt to fill the void.
- ZHANG LI-YIN LIVES and she sang a duet, “Wrongly Given Love,” with Jonghyun. This song was recorded in Chinese for Zhang Li-yin’s first full-length album in 2007, before SHINee’s debut. It was fabulous; I almost cried seeing Zhang Li-yin finally reappear. The fans around me probably thought I was insane. It’s cool.
- Taemin subs in for Krystal in Key‘s solo, “My First Kiss.” He donned a blonde wig, a sequined tube top, and fishnet stockings for the performance. That is all.
- During “Romantic,” Jonghyun’s voice gave out on one of his lines, most likely due to exhaustion.
- One of the chairs fell over during “Graze.”
- Onew hit the high note in “Nessun Dorma” perfectly. I swooned. This was also probably the only point in the entire concert where the fans had the courtesy to shut up and listen.
- Also, Onew was ridiculously attractive for this entire concert.
- “Bodyguard” was the token “fool-around-on-stage-and-throw-water-at-each-other” song. The members were also given small plastic balls to throw into the audience…which turned out to be a massive fail. The few balls that did go out to the audience all landed in the first few rows of the moshpit area…but the majority of the balls ended up all over the stage. I’m pretty sure Minho kicked over Taemin’s bin of balls at one point. That jerk. Also, what is with this new SM trend of spitting water at each other? It is gross; please stop.
- The members did a little dance-off during bows. Jonghyun did push-ups when it was his turn. Typical.
- The fans were supposed to sing “Happy Birthday” to Taemin during his thank-yous, but Taemin’s thank-you consisted of little more than one and a half sentences, so they weren’t able to squeeze it in in time. Luckily, the fans found SHINee at their hotel later and sang “Happy Birthday” to Taemin as he was walking through the hotel lobby…where he consequently shushed them and told them to be courteous to the other hotel guests.
- No one cried. Which brings me to my next point….
K-POP CONCERTS: THE PINNACLE OF A FAN’S LIFE?
Live performances are a big deal when it comes to K-pop. Whether you realize it or not, K-pop as a musical genre is ridiculously visually wired, and seeing a live K-pop performance is like seeing the culmination of everything that is good and holy in K-pop: the styling, the choreography, the visual effects, the onstage charisma and attitude, even the energy from the audience.
The music oftentimes comes secondary thanks to lip-synching (oftentimes a necessity given how physically taxing a full-length concert is on the performers) but in the end, it doesn’t even matter because you’re there to see the performance. You can listen the music at any time in the privacy of your own home, but you can’t summon SHINee to your living room at a whim and demand that they perform “Lucifer” for you right there and then, high-wire acts and all.
And then there’s that thing about being in the same room as your favorite idol and breathing the same air, seeing the same sights, and hearing the same sounds for three blissful hours straight. Although they might not be willing to admit it, I would propose that this is the principal reason why K-pop fans are willing to kill for concert tickets. In a sense, I suppose this could apply to any other concert with any other musician – sharing a moment with your favorite musician during their concert is always a precious phenomenon, regardless of the musician in question. But factor in the obsessive fan culture that dominates K-pop culture and you’ve got a recipe for a concert that is a lot more than a concert.
…TO BE CONTINUED. Watch out for Part 2, to be posted tomorrow!