After living through one of the hardships of Midwestern winters and still not get P1, what will come across our noble heroine’s way to ensure the perfect concert experience?
When we last left the sexy free and single CDGG on her journey, she met the passable standards for her goal, but still wanted more. Not in the form of keeping ticket broker’s wallets full. But she knew this was a good thing and she would regret it if she didn’t try at all.
Chapter 2: The Quest for the Holy Concert Buddy and Something Else that’s Kind of Grail Shaped (among other things)
After succeeding in getting tickets, the least I could do was wait nearly three months for the concert to actually happen. But I wanted to represent as a BTS fan to the concert. And what better way than spend almost $50 on a lightstick? I made sure the vendor on Amazon wasn’t sketchy, didn’t want to find any bricks in my package, and my Army Bomb arrived the very next day. Then Murphy’s Law happened a week later in the form of a new edition of the lightstick. I didn’t want to spend more money on something I already kind of got for less, and the lightstick isn’t too different. (Apart from a few light settings and the vibrating) Plus, I can say I got the first lightstick back when it was still the official lightstick. So the plan stayed the same and I was to bring the old lightstick.
What happened after that? Lots of nothing. Went to work most days, hung out with friends a few other days, finally got posts on my blog after months of using it just to comment on someone else’s blog. But one lingering detail within those two months never left; I had 2 tickets. What do I do with the other?
I didn’t really need the second ticket. But after the whole thing with Suga stan trying to get P1 ended up with me getting a better seat than her, I probably shouldn’t assume I’ll go stag to everything. My mom suggested I try selling it. But I wasn’t sure about selling a stranger a ticket and having said stranger stand next to me for 3 hours. And in a culture where fans are expected to be the worst, I was even more reluctant.
My Plan A was to ask my best friend to come with. Interesting fact, she was a k-pop fan (SNSD/EXO-biased) before me, but now I’m a bigger fan of k-pop than she ever was. Thing is, I didn’t ask her to go until a little over a week before the concert. I texted if she wanted to go, and she didn’t answer my question and suggested we hang out the next day. That day, we saw Beauty and the Beast and grabbed supper at Red Robin afterwards. It was there while we were waiting for our meals when I showed her my children. She was in awe, but declined my offer because it’s a “school night”.
She offered to ask one of her k-pop friends if they’d like to go with me, but knowing very well they could be annoying delulus, I calmly unaccepted her help.
Less than a week to the concert, and I had an unnecessary ticket in my hands. Being the noob in life that I am, I couldn’t figure out how to put it on StubHub. Because you need to have a scan of it on PDF or whatever and that’s too much effort for me to do. So it was decided I hand it over to my mom and she would do what she can to sell it. If that didn’t work, she would go herself. She did owe me for dragging me to the One Direction concert. It wasn’t enough that the hiatus announcement blew up the day after we saw them.
Chapter 3: The War Zone that is an Abundance of Armys
The day had arrived. I woke up and did my usual internet surfing since I had hours of free time ahead of me. Around 2 in the afternoon, I was curious to know if anyone I was Facebook friends with happened to be going as well and searched for the event on Facebook. No cigar, but I stumbled across one event about a Random Play Dance party at Allstate. This was also when mom called to tell me there’s already a crowd over there. I figured a guerrilla Random Play Dance might make good material for this fan account and decided to get ready to leave.
I made sure I wouldn’t leave anything I might need behind; lightstick, ticket, umbrella (weather said there’d be rain), light outerwear (since I don’t wanna deal with coat check), iPad (because my phone’s camera lens is cracked and my digital camera has gone haywire), and BTS muzzle that I just so happened to get while shopping at H Mart days before.
I drive over there and park my car at the shopping center a 3 minutes walk away from the arena. The further you are, the less likely you’ll get a parking ticket. I walk over and see hundreds of adolescents and young adults in lines.
People with P1 access were already inside at this point. Everyone else had assigned seating. Why do they stand in line? Two reasons: A) They have nothing better to do. And B) Merch. That line up above? It’s for the only merch table accessible at the time. The concert didn’t start for another 5 hours, by the way. When I went to see Nice Peter in concert twice, which had no assigned seating, I only showed up two hours before and made it to the front both times. This line below was for the balcony seats.
After walking around the arena, I saw no sign of a Random Play Dance party. I should have known better since k-pop fans can sometimes have issues managing group events. I remembered I pretty much haven’t eaten so far and there’s a pizza place not far from where I parked.
The place was called Angelo’s and I definitely recommend this place if you want to eat and not be hungry until after a concert/sports game ends. Allstate likes overcharging for food and drink, so grabbing a bite at any of the shopping center’s food joints should keep your stomach and your wallet full. I was barely done with my slice and I was getting full. Thank you, Angelo (if that is whoever is still running the place), for not taking advantage of my human needs to make yourself unnecessarily richer.
Didn’t really do much after that. Went back to Allstate, observed the scenery, then went in line to get in because reason A. I was there for about an hour or two and the line behind me grew and grew. I didn’t want to kill my phone or tablet’s battery, so I tried reading my Korean phrasebook to pass the time. From where I was, I got to see some managers walk by. That’s right, peasants. I was feet away from the people that look after your oppas. If you see me in real life, be a dear and resist the urge to snatch strands of my hair. Tricky, I know, but I believe you’re strong enough.
Anyway, while I was in line, this one girl came by with batches of colored bags. I assume she was with some local fan club. She asked if I got one yet and where my section is. I told her I didn’t get one and Section 101 and she gave me a yellow bag. She instructed me to put it over my lightstick after Blood Sweat & Tears.
I would have thought that’s a sweet way to show our beloved boy band how well managed and loving we are, but I’m aware of how they might not think it’s as special as the fan organizers hope. (Off topic, but as someone who also has performed on stage, I can’t disagree with this.) Nevertheless, how cute.
Speaking of poor management, I should mention a few items that should factor in later on. While I was in line, lots of dedicated fans passed out banners that were meant to be displayed for Bangtan to see. Some of them had fan chant lyrics. I also found on the ground a tiny packet with lyric instructions. One of them was the chorus to Young Forever which stated it is to be sung after BS&T.
We’ll come back to how those fan chants played out in the next volume.
After some more waiting, seeing plenty of single member paddles that aren’t Jin go by, eavesdropping on a group of friends with a common interest plus a mother, and texting with my mom about that ticket, the line started slowly moving. It was like a line for a theme park ride; you move forwards for a chunk of space, you stay there for minutes, repeat. When I was close enough to the first set of doors, I saw a sign above the second set of doors going over the Do’s and Don’t’s of the Allstate Arena. And one of them was no iPads. Ruh Roh.
I have to think fas- oops! Almost forgot the line was still slow as fuck. Plenty of time to think. Plan A was to hide it under my shirt. It wasn’t as cold as I expected, maybe it would be if the weather was the same as the day I got the tickets. Couple minutes later, I see security was doing body scans. Time for Plan B: put it back in my purse and think of the next step afterwards because of the bag searching tables that follow the body scans.
When it’s my turn, I moved my purse to the side and got scanned. I was clean and could go forward. Then came the dreaded bag search. But that group I mentioned earlier were still getting checked and they were taking up my time. The thing was that one of the girls had an LED sign that spelled, “J-HOPE” and security weren’t too keen on letting it through. The mom went all “She worked so hard on it!” on them and I was just standing behind them being impatient. I glanced towards the person scanning tickets and it looked like she was ready to let me through. I walked to her and she did the opposite of telling me to go back to the table.
With the recent threats toward Jimin and the time Rap Monster was threatened the last time they were in America, letting me through like that could have been a bad thing. My purse might fit a gun, or a grenade if they weren’t harder to get compared to guns. Good thing I’m not a psycho killer. I’m a good fan!
Chapter 4: Journey to the Center of the Madhouse
After seeing plenty of paddles with the faces of Suga and the maknae line and not seeing any of Jin, I gave in to temptation and go to the closest merch line I see. It was by the “Restricted Access” boundary line and I got see a manager push a tray of what might be lamb skewers and salad through the restricted zone. You don’t have to see me in person to bow before me, plebes.
After 10 minutes in line, I got to the table and saw a sign reading you can only use a charge card with purchases over $50. It’s comforting to have a job and not spend your parents money on needless stuff. So I bought a photobook and a bandana with my Jin paddle. Because I have too many shirts I don’t even wear.
I have to wait until the next volume to share the Jin paddle. I’ll explain why then.
I didn’t want to go to my seat at the time, as it was far too early. So I explore the arena to see if anything interesting is around. I would often hear people screaming in the arena. I only peaked through once to see if a BTS member made himself known, but the stage was empty and I assumed fans were just being crazy as always. Another thing that happened was merch lines got much longer. Fans might as well accept being called “ATM”s.
More walking around and observing after that, and I found standees of Bangtan that folks can have photo ops with. The selfie cam on my phone is fully operational, so I take the liberty of getting a snap with the Jin standee. Before I do, I noticed white tape on the ground and a manager in the vicinity. He said in perfect English I can take photos, but to not cross the tape. It was then I had the thought there were managers hired just for this tour, or perhaps just the North American leg, rather than all managers being regular employees at Big Hit. Moving on, aren’t we cute together?
There wasn’t much else to see and I decided to head to my seat. On the way, I came across a couple girls holding paper hearts with names on them, asking if I’d like one. They had 3 Jin hearts and 1 V heart left. (Could be wrong, there was definitely one left that wasn’t Jin.) I picked Jin and I was instructed to hold it up during Awake and 21st Century Girl. Awake made perfect sense to me, since that’s his solo song. But why 21CG? He doesn’t stand out during that song. And it’s not like he can stand around and look for fan signs. On the other hand, it’s adorable.
I got to my seat half an hour before showtime, and found out what everybody was spazzing about; BTS’ MV’s were playing from chronological order and people hollered whenever their bias’ part played and partook in the designated fan chants. Might as well send the boys back home, let the videos do the performing instead.
I looked behind me to see if Suga stan from the box office was there. She wasn’t. Guess she really had no shame and got to swap her ticket for P1. Meanwhile, the seat next to me was empty. My mom was texting me while I was in line to get in the building, updating me about the ticket’s status. If anything, I had to hope she wouldn’t get locked out from security once the show started.
Half an hour later, The Spring Day MV was coming to a close. I was half expecting the newest video to play, but the lights went down. It’s time…
…to end another volume of my fan account! Stay tuned for what you’ve all been waiting for; the joy, the slayage, the moment my faith in humanity goes further downhill, and more!