For the past four days I’ve been walking around in this sort of daze, unable to concentrate on any particular thing. All because I saw Ed Sheeran live! Here in Seoul! With my very own eyes! Excuse me while I go scream and jump up and down again.
I’m back. So it was an interesting experience going to a concert in Korea. I’d never been to one while in Korea, so I wasn’t quite sure how things were over here. I haven’t been to many concerts before as I’ve been leading a rather nomadic life, and have had trouble finding someone that will go with me. Ticket prices aren’t exactly cheap and it’s hard to request someone to spend that much money if they’re not interested in that particular singer. I was torn between whether I should just go alone or not go at all, but I finally found a newly made friend that was going! Unfortunately this meant that I didn’t reserve my ticket until a few weeks before the concert. My entry number was #665 in standing B. Apparently in Korea you enter according to the entry number, not in order of arrival. This meant that I had 664 people between me and the stage.
I arrived in front of the SK Handball Stadium in the Olympic Park two hours before the concert. From the merch I bought the tour t-shirt, program, and patches. They were already out of size small so I had to get a medium, but it feels more like a large. I picked up the patches because I think they’ll go nicely on a military/utility jacket along with the badges I picked up while I was traveling through Europe last year. I think I’ll have to see if I can actually find more patches to my liking so I can fully customize a jacket that way. They had ‘lockers’ for $2 so I took off my jacket and put it with the stuff I had bought. It started getting a little chilly in just a sweater, but it wasn’t too cold and it was hot in standing so I was glad I had taken off my jacket.
Standing was divided into sections A and B. I was glad that I was in standing B because the wristbands were green whereas for standing A the wristbands were white. It really is a shame that the actual concert ticket is just a generic ticket by the ticketing office. I used to collect tickets from going to the movies and such, but these days if you make an online reservation you don’t really get a ticket, you just show them the ugly “home ticket” you printed out at home. Some of the theaters in Korea now just print it out in the form of a receipt which just makes me really sad.
About an hour and half before six, the staff came out with signs and asked us to get in line in order of the entry number on our tickets. This I didn’t mind too much, but it started to get annoying when people who arrived later were basically cutting into the line because they had reserved an earlier number. If this was during a weekday and people were coming from work, it wouldn’t have bothered me so much but it was a Saturday and I thought that it was both unpractical and unfair for people that arrived right before entrance were cutting to the front of the line when there were people who had been waiting in line. Some people even had the nerve to come late (it was obvious they’d been shopping) and demand that they cut to the front of the line as their entry number group had already entered the stadium. I think it was fine that they divided the lines by 200s, but they should have just had people line up in the order that they came behind the signposts.
Once inside, I was kicking myself for not reserving my ticket sooner. There was a girl that had tied her hair in a bun on the top of her head and a girl wearing a snapback with the brim up high in the front, obstructing my view. I also had the misfortune of having two people that were nearly a head taller than me standing like twin towers up ahead of me. There was also some idiot that brought their ipad mini (actually I think the shape was more like the galaxy tab) and was recording video with it. To be honest, I didn’t mind the hundreds of people that were filming and taking photos with their phones, but bringing a tablet? Sigh.
Luckily for me, some people left in the middle of the concert causing people to eagerly push forward towards the stage. This happened about 3-4 times and I got shoved from behind so hard that I practically fell diagonally to the left. I was then pushed again a little forward onto a small platform of sorts which gave me a boost! I think the twin towers must have been standing on top of this platform as well, but in any case, I got a much better view than I had started out with and tried my best not to get pushed off the platform for the rest of the concert. The girl directly in front of me kept bracing herself and pushing backwards and the girl directly behind me was pushing forwards so I was sandwiched between them the entire time. The girl in front was a head shorter and I felt sorry for her because I don’t think she was able to see the stage at all. In any case, any worries about coming to the concert alone disappeared once I was part of the crowd. In fact, I think if you’re not able to get in the first 50 or maybe the first 100 in standing, it’s better to be alone. That way you can move forward in the crowd without having to worry about staying next to a friend. My friend had reserved seats so I was free to move forward in the crowd and get a better view. It was nice though to be able to meet up with her after and grab a bite before making the 2 hour trip home.
Despite all the inconveniences of being squashed in the middle of standing, it was completely worth it. I think it’s the only proper way to enjoy a concert. I’d actually been on stage for the second half of a Crown J concert and it paled in comparison to being in the middle of standing for the Ed Sheeran concert. Ed Sheeran was amazing on stage and was truly one of those singers you should watch live. He has an incredible voice and the way he uses the loop pedal just blew me away. I’d seen him use the loop pedal in concerts and radio stations through Youtube, but I think just seeing and hearing it with my own eyes and ears gave it this extra wow factor. K-pop in Korea has a handful of people that can actually sing, but there are so much more who are there because of their ‘idol’ look. In the past they basically danced on stage lip syncing to a pre-recording until they started restricting the amount of time you can lip sync while on stage. These days recording studios are cramming over ten people in a group with only a couple strong vocals. There’s even a rumor that trainees are required to get plastic surgery and that some get it whenever the ‘trends’ change. So it’s really refreshing to see a singer that has made it through quality music and effort rather than for good looks. In fact, being a little ugly is part of his charm.
The set list covered a range of songs from both of his albums and a good mix of quiet and upbeat songs. I was thrilled when he started with I’m A Mess as it’s one of my favorite songs in his album ‘X (multiply),’ and when he started singing I See Fire (Hobbit OST) I felt shivers down my spine because it was just so good! It was fun hearing some of the fans yelling out things like ‘marry me’ and ‘thank you’ when he sang ‘I like your hair like that’ from Tenerife Sea. It even made Ed smile which induced a whole lot of screaming from the crowd. He eventually had to “shush” everyone before continuing the song. The concert ended with Sing and I loved being part of the crowd jumping and singing at the top of my lungs. I think it’s always an exhilarating experience to be part of a huge crowd and I felt elated for the entire evening. I’m still replaying the evening in my head and through videos people uploaded to Youtube. I’ll spare you from anymore fangirling though. What concerts have you been to?