Thursday, April 24, 2014

B.A.P. Attack on Chicago

This B.A.P Attack On Chicago blog was written in three parts; The Pre-Show, The Concert & then Videos & Photos of the Concert that were jointly compiled  from both me and Firnlambe's efforts. The B.A.P concert was an incredible experience that I would recommend to any B.A.B.Y no matter the distance. It's worth every penny we spent on the trip and more. It was a night to remember for the rest of our lives.


The Pre-Show

Despite B.A.P saying they are coming to Chicago, they actually came to a somewhat small town that was roughly an hour outside of Chicago--Merillville, Indiana to be exact.  As I sit here, almost 24-hours to showtime, I'm still a little shocked to find that I'm actually in Indiana, which is just over 400 miles away from home, with my best friend Firnlambe

When this opportunity presented itself, I had to push Firnlambe do this--not that she needed much pushing but...--and she purchased the tickets and decided we'd form a plan as we went along--after purchasing a ticket, there was no other option BUT to go--this was my good reasoning. So between March 17 and April 19 (2014), we've somehow found ourselves in a rental car and driving on a seemingly-never-ending highway across multiple state lines to see the powerful and infamous Kpop group known as B.A.P (Best.Absolute.Perfect.)

Firnlambe and I even started a new tradition. We'd order a bottle of wine before any Kpop concert we see and save the cork to commemorate the special event!

Although there wasn't much activity in the hotel the night before the performance, every once in awhile we'd see a group of people that were very obviously here for the B.A.P performance. Most of the B.A.P activity didn't start until the next morning. 

Shout Out to these two lovely ladies, I don't remember their names but they were awesome!
By noon on Saturday, there was already the beginnings of a line forming outside the performance hall. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure why unless the 20-30+ people had not bought their tickets previously but it was still eight hours until the doors opened to an assigned seating event. Rather than sitting outside in the warm sun, Firnlambe and I opted for the cooler climate of the Starbucks inside the hotel where there was WiFi. Sounds privileged maybe...but we counted down the hours in comfort.

So we sat and did our various activities on our computers...and we waited... 

The key to waiting for anything lies in not looking at the minutes go by but it was difficult not to when the Starbucks continued to fill up with more and more B.A.P fans who are all as excited as you.

In fact, there was a fan who was so excited that she swore she saw Himchan walking the halls of the hotel and even enter the very coffee shop we were in. Her friend was quick to correct her with reason and I have to admit that it was very hard not to do the same myself. The idea that Himchan would even be walking around, unaccompanied (in a hotel positively bursting with B.A.B.Yz, no less) a mere 3 hours to showtime is absolutely....well....unrealistic.

However, the minutes ticked by until it was time to get up, get dressed and join the rapidly forming line outside and then.....and then the real waiting started...


The Concert

The venue itself wasn't very large, considering the stages B.A.P entertains in Korea--so to say it was modest is probably a very accurate assessment. As we entered the building, it was entertaining to see all the delightful signs, face masks and outfits everyone had put together.  In hindsight, I wish I would have taken more pictures of those so I could share them here but like they say...hindsight is 20-20. Some of them were very well done and obviously took a lot of time and effort.

Like my crafty paint job...? I looks professional...
We quickly took our seats and realized just how close to the action we truly were--very close. I suppose, it being our first Kpop concert, we did pretty well by ourselves (or rather Firnlambe did since she bought the tickets). Although I had hoped we would be able to talk to more Kpop fans throughout the weekend, we didn't connect with as many as I thought. However the woman sitting in front of us was pretty damn cool. She had driven in from Pennsylvania and brought flashing LED lights--she was prepared for the action.

Random B.A.B.Yz after the concert
The concert itself was...breathtaking. Of course, not in the same way that watching a baby being born is breath taking or watching said baby take their first steps is breathtaking but for a music fan, it was the most amazing stage I've ever seen and I've been to quite a few music concerts in my life. You know you always hear about how much energy it takes to put on a performance, you'd have to be silly to not know that but you never truly understand how much...strain, effort, energy, take your pick...these performers put into their shows until you see it live. They are constantly moving, constantly entertaining, and it's a wonder that more Kpop artists don't collapse in exhaustion after a world tour--or a singular concert, if it were me.

Their stage presence was very powerful; they interacted with the crowd, they were singing to us rather than at us and I was surprised at their playfulness. It seemed so natural to them to be on stage and interacting with the crowd but then again, I suppose being one of the top rookie groups to come out of 2012 and excel at such a fast rate that they had to learn rather quickly. None of the B.A.P members speaks English, you wouldn't know that based off how much English they spoke at the concert however. I was extremely grateful that it felt like there was no language barrier. I was impressed with how much care they put into speaking clearly, concisely and well...perfectly. I don't remember there being any broken English but if there was, it was hardly noticeable in lieu of the careful sentences they were speaking.

*Not sure if Yongguk's reaction is my favorite or Young Jae's repeated "no" is my favorite part of this video*

There were a few notable things to mention about the members themselves so before I get to showing the rest of my pictures/videos I want to give some "Moment Shout Out" 's for some of the members:

 First "Moment Shout Out" goes to Young Jae; He is funny. He's entertaining as hell to watch on stage. He's constantly smiling, he's laughing, he did most of the talking actually and he did it very well. However, there is a moment that stands out above all else:

(This clip isn't mine, just saying that right now. I, to my eternal regret, stopped recording about 15 seconds prior to this clip. The honor belongs to VulcanIdentity on Youtube. I just wanna throw that out there!)

His "changing" charade was absolutely the most adorable thing I'd seen all night.  Young Jae also has a habit of mouthing the words to parts of the songs that aren't his--which is great, I think. He smiled the most which was heartwarming to see--to me it means, I hope at least, that the performers are actually having fun themselves.

Next "Moment Shout Out" is for Zelo; He did the most crowd interaction. He would get as far as the stage would let him and sing to the B.A.B.Yz in the front row. Granted, they all did it at one point or another, but I felt like he was always doing it whenever he wasn't doing any routine dancing.

Last "Moment Shout Out" belongs to Jongup; He had so many fans that all he had to say was "Hey" and B.A.B.Yz were screaming for him. It was quite funny, he looks super shy to be talking by himself but he pulled at his reserves and did just fine, clean, good English and all...


...I could sit here and explain just how incredible the experience was to witness but I assume that would be boring, so rather than doing that, I'll show my pictures and videos. So please enjoy. Please feel free to ask questions, comment or check out my Instagram for more B.A.P snippets! Thank you!


Pictures & Videos

Before you get disappointed because some of the videos are short, let me explain a few things; the most important thing for me to get from this Kpop concert was to enjoy it. So I grabbed videos when I could, I got a couple full songs recorded but I wanted to enjoy the concert myself so I shall apologize for anyone's disappointment that I didn't get the whole concert on video. If I could have, I would have folks but it just didn't work out that way. That being said....HERE WE GO! *Warning: I would suggest turning the volume WAAAAY down and slowly increasing it to a good level 'cause some of these videos are loud (screaming fangirls'n'all)...You have been warned* Also, you can turn up the HD resolution, no worries.

The Introduction
B.A.P had an insanely long introduction; don't get me wrong, it was PERFECT because in order to build up excitement and anticipation, you need to tease the crowd. I understand this...however, I've cropped it down to the MAIN introduction: 

Firnlambe, on the other hand caught the whole opening song which was great.

Jongup's Special Stage
I promised Firnlambe that I would keep my eyes on him and not turn away--she'd determined to rid me of my inability to look at  half-naked Koreans--and I can honestly say...I failed. BUT I did get a video to show the rest of the B.A.B.Yz although...well...the lighting wasn't really conducive to ab-oogling.
I WILL break this habit! If my patience and persistence can get you to admit to favoring Woo Bin over Hyun Bin, I sure as heck can get you to look at a little eye candy  now and then. *sigh* you wouldn't be this against it if they were any ethnicity other than Asian . . . . just what did I create with you lol A if you have to ask...*glares from the shadows*

I wish they would have been able to do more special stages, hearing Yongguk & Daehyun sing "I Remember" would have been cool to see or Yongguk & Zelo singing "Never Give Up" would also have been welcome. Maybe next time...

Save Me
The blue lights kind of messed up the camera a little bit but it's only in the beginning, it does clear up.

Twitter Posts
In light of the Sewol Ferry Accident in Korea most Korean Celebrities have either cancelled special appearances, returned home and/or publicly shown support towards the victims and their families. I'm making an educated guess that due to the overseas scheduling, B.A.P was unable to return home for the tragedy that has claimed many lives. However, B.A.P/TS Entertainment did not let this stop them from giving support from thousands of miles away. It was also a very quick incorporation on their part, I must say, considering the event happened 2 days prior to the concert.

My camera wasn't entirely stable when they started the VCR so I apologize--Bang Yongguk's is hard to decipher however it reads: "THX #CHICAGO BABY WE LOVE U GUYZ #PRAYFORSOUTHKOREA"

Bang X2
I didn't capture the whole song--I feared my camera wouldn't be able to handle the dramatic light changes however...apparently my phone handled them just fine. Oh well...

Daehyun has a particularly amazing high note in this next clip. This man's lungs & vocal cords are exceptionally amazing. 

*nudge* Daehyun...right...right?? 

Himchan's Birthday
Unlucky for him but lucky for the B.A.B.Yz in Chicago, Himchan's birthday fell on the date of the concert. I'm not sure if they were part of the U.S.-B.A.B.Y Fan Club or not but a group of people were handing out these signs:

They even came with a printed set of instructions on when and where to pull out the signs--right as they did the Encore talk session--which is exactly what we did. Observe...

The complete astonishment as he saw the crowd holding up the signs and the subsequent smile on his face was a little heartwarming. I'm sure he would have expected the signs in Korea however, I'm sure it shocked him to see this kind of dedication from their fans here int he States. As Firnlambe would say "Foolish man..." I, on the other hand, simply can't wait until this picture shows up somewhere. Side Note: I really appreciate how much B.A.P tried to keep everything in English; Young Jae could just have easily said "Let's take a picture" in Korean rather than saying it in English but everything was in English. 

Bang Yongguk's Heartfelt Message
At first when Yongguk said "Let me tell you something", myself and (as you'll hear in the video) a ton of other fans assumed he'd repeat the opening to "One Shot" however.....soooooo not the case. Yongguk gave a very heartfelt message to the audience about the Sewol Ferry Tragedy and although he didn't cry, you can see the emotion on his face. Definitely endeared him to me. 

I was glad that the audience quieted down after realizing he was about to discuss something serious.

Pre-Encore Goodbye
The next video was basically a warning that the show was coming to a close relatively soon. Obviously they were going to have an Encore but this portion of any concert is always heartbreaking because, of course, we always want more--regardless of the toll it takes on the performers. Zelo, however, totally knows how to lead a crowd... (*This is a repeat video from above, FYI*)

1004 (Angel)
This was the one song I was waiting for, it's by far my favorite and took B.A.P's "Unbreakable" out of the running completely when it was released. I knew that they weren't going to be able to leave without playing this song so when it started, I was absolutely reaching for my phone to take the video...

I also happen to think those white outfits were the best ones of the my

Last Song
Stroke of Brilliance right here, BAP sang "Warrior" as their last song because it was their debut song. I didn't grab the whole song because I wanted to cheer to my heart's content since they were leaving after the song but here is a small clip of it. 

Exit Stage
All too soon BAP was saying their true goodbyes and we were sad to see them go.  Why the stylist puts these boys in leather jackets after 2 hours of continuous dancing under white-hot beyond me. 


All in All, it was an incredible experience that I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life...or at least until I get senile and can no longer remember how awesome B.A.P once was. The trip was more than worth the money we spent to get there and back and I am so eternally glad Firnlambe and I did this. The fans were great, the venue staff were amazing (considering I'm not entirely sure they knew what to expect from a Kpop group) but more importantly, B.A.P put on a great performance. They did a wonderful job! Many, many thanks for coming to the midwest and allowing us fans who aren't swimming in money to come see you--unlike groups that only go to New York or L.A. for tours. If B.A.P has done anything, it's proving that Kpop is much needed in the midwest. 

Due to being unable to catch everything from the concert on my personal camera, I'm stealing Firnlambe's idea and am going to continue to add videos into a playlist on YouTube from the Chicago concert so everyone will be able to see more B.A.P Attack On Chicago 2014. The link to this playlist is Here. (If you're reading this on the day of posting, there won't be many videos in there yet but I will continuously add Fancam footage in the next coming days.)

Well, thank you for reading and if you ever get a chance to see them live...I strongly suggest you do!

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