As I often focus on write about Japan, travel and life, I don't really get to talk too much about the other things I'm passionate about - but I do love a lot of kpop groups. Mostly girl groups though. My first love was Momoland before it all went to shit. My current ultimate bias is G-IDLE. And I hope to see them one day, though it doesn't seem to be happening for me any time soon...
Anywho! LE SSERAFIM! I was very lucky to have been able to catch them in concert as a casual fan. I enjoy their music a lot and I enjoy how talented the members are and how each member brings something different to the table.
And that really shows even in their concert, which I will talk about later.
First of all, I want to talk about the pre-concert.
As a casual fan, I wasn't really in the loop for news, so I missed out on what I would say is my favourite part of going to these concerts - buying goods.
Now, even as a casual fan, I like collecting things as souvenirs. So of course, I was really looking forward to the more traditional way of getting goods at the concert - showing up on the day of, lining up, maybe showing someone your ticket as proof of ID or to show you're actually going to the concert and voila - THE GOODS!
I have to say I was extremely disappointed with the way things were handled and advertised well for casual fans. Apparently, there were pop-up stores in Tokyo and Osaka that you have to get a time ticket for to get inside. Inside, you can purchase goods and even get to use a purikura machine to take photos with the members in the back. I thought it was really neat.
How did I know this?
Well, I happened to be in Tokyo during and walked right by it in Shibuya completely by chance. I received no email about it, and of course not being in their fanclub or anything, I wasn't going to check their website for no reason. Why would I?
And now you're wondering, how did I get all these pictures and how did I get in? (you liar!!)
Apparently there was a time just before closing where they'd just let anyone walk in, peruse the store and purchase any of the goods that were leftover for that day. Which usually isn't much. Pin badges and the what not.
But it was still fun to take photos, and I got to take a whole lot of them!
So yeah, I unfortunately wasn't able to get any of the goods in this pop-up store. Which should have been a sign and a bunch of red flags... but I guess I didn't get the memo on that one.
During the concert, I found out that everything was sold via this website called WEVERSE.
It seems to be a thing with a lot of HYBE groups and other smaller companies. Like I said, I'm a casual fan and my previous kpop concerts and fanmeets were all Super Junior-related and IVE - both of which have sold items on site and only allowed entry for ticket holders.
Again, I was completely unaware of this. And by the time I had downloaded the app, clicked through all the disclaimers and got on the goods pages (which was easy enough, to be fair), everything was pretty much sold out for the day.
Even the lightsticks.
To say I was peeved was an understatement. The lightstick was actually really cool and had it been available, I would have wanted to keep one for myself. But it seemed like this whole system basically rewarded all their loyal fans (fanclub members and/or fans who were better connected to the kpop universe) but punished others who weren't as loyal, even though we were all paying (and willing to paying more) customers.
And I get that it does save everyone a lot of time, manpower and the hassle of the traditional method of getting goods but it would have been nice to have gotten an email or such saying how goods were going to be sold if not the traditional way.
The other thing that annoyed me was that it seemed that non-ticket holders were also able to get their hands on the goods too, causing things to be sold out in mere minutes. (Then to be sold on mercari for crazy prices...)
Though in hindsight, a $60 lightstick and a $40 tshirt is highway robbery and I think the gods above is telling me I should not be throwing this kind of money away needlessly...
As I write this, the last of the Japan tour will have just commenced, so I feel it's ethically ok to share the experience at the concert. I was at the first Osaka show, which was schedule after their Nagoya and Tokyo shows - and was their last stop in Japan. They had two shows each in each city. And of course, because of their popularity, the one in Osaka was hel at our biggest venue - Osaka-jo Hall.
I've been to Osaka-jo Hall many times in the past. It's nowhere near as big as Tokyo Dome, so even the "worst" (highest) seats will still reward you with a view of your idols that's one or two inches big. Compared to Tokyo Dome where the worst seats make everyone look like ants. I unfortunately did get the "worst" seats, but at least I did have a seat. The one thing about Osaka-jo Hall is that there are even "worst" seats called the "standing seats".
You'd think they are arena seats, but oh no - you are basically made to stand behind the people with the worst and highest seats. Basically just greedy folks trying to sell as many tickets as possible.
Despite that, I had a very good time. Even without a lightstick!
I think I was really able to focus more on the performances and not have to wave something, but I did miss having something to wave. However, watching what the lightsticks did and how they worked were cool enough and made the experience all the better.
The girls were just really amazing live!! And remember when I said how each member had something to bring to the table?
As someone who has seen a few other kpop lives, I think the talent of this member really made this concert just that much more outstanding and different to all the other ones I've seen. In the past, I kind of found kpop concerts to either be kinda dull during MCs and really just not all that interactive with the crowd. And I think Sakura being there, despite this being a rookie group, really helped make this concert seem so much more like they've been doing this for ages. She really just knew what to say, and she was always kind of gently nudging everyone else along to make themselves seem more interactive and fun. Her experience from HKT (a group that's literally made catered to fans) is just so valuable here since a lot of rookie groups can seem awkward outsie of their other expertise.
I mean, of course, having two Japanese members in the mix helps with things not get lost in translation but still. The atmosphere was just very different.
And in fact, all the members used a lot of Japanese. I mean, not suprising since they spoke it during Produce days. But I think a lot of the Japanese fans there were all very happy they spoke so fluently.
Speaking of Produce, Yunjin was totally all Produce48 vibes. Maybe it's her hair, idk. But I love that girl to pieces. Her vocals were beautiful - as you'd expect.
I was rather surprised (though not really) how popular Eunchae was. I guess I should know this as Japanese fans often seem to just love the maknae of the group it seems, but I would have thought there would be more Sakura fans, or even Kazuha fans.
Definitely a lot of fanboys. I noticed lots of older men too, perhaps Sakura fans from her HKT days that carried over.
Oh, and yes - if you saw my tweet - Kazuha did cry at our performance speeches while she was thanking her parents for supporting her. She expressed how grateful and unbelieveable it is to be able to stand in her hometown of Osaka to perform, and got rather emotional expressing this thought. All the members huddled so quickly around her to support her - it was so nice to see. So proud of you, Zuha!
I won't talk too much about the performances and the setlist. This was a recorded concert, so either way, it'll make it to the Blurays and the internet in due time. But they of course did all their hit songs. All amazing shit!!
And with that, I leave you with more venue pics...
This was a sign we got when we entered the venue and was told (with instructions in Japanese, Korean and English in the back - totally mindblowing!) to hide it until we were instructed to hold it up for the members to see. A great free souvenir to take home!
Some fan (?) decked out this car near the venue. The dedication I wish I had for anybody!
Thanks for stopping by. If you also went to the concert, comment below or tweet me your thoughts!!!