Jul 012022

I’m one of those people who suffer through buyer’s remorse with the littlest of purchases. The number of times I’m returning items of clothing that I could technically consider a necessity but also regret spending the money on is actually quite ridiculous – ask Henry, he’s the one who always gets stuck making the return lol.

But with concerts, I’m always willing to make the splurge. I do have to be pickier with Kpop though because seeing kpop shows ALWAYS involves a road trip. Pittsburgh sucks. Unless it’s a Korean classic rock band, then maybe Pittsburgh would book them. Because I live in a shit city, there have been tons of kpop concerts I’ve sadly had to pass on (like Twice – I would have loved to have seen them again since I only saw them briefly at KCON 2018!). And I have been admittedly also holding out bigtime for NCT127 to announce a US tour (I mean, congrats on the DOME TOUR guys that’s fucking amazing but can you come back to the US next please??) because I am prepared for them to TAKE IT ALL.

However, I haven’t seen a Kpop concert since November 2019 (Super M!!!) and have only been to one other non-kpop concert since COVID Days.  So I got tired of waiting and made the unilateral decision to buy tickets for me and Henry to see Stray Kids in Newark.

The tour had originally sold out pretty quickly but another Newark date was added so we got tickets for that one – and even then, it was slim pickings and exorbitantly priced even for our so-so seats. But I have genuinely liked Stray Kids since their debut (saw them at KCON 2018 too) and honestly had zero REGERTZ after completing the transaction. In fact, it was the opposite – I felt light and GIDDY.

And as it got closer to the date, I felt even more giddy! I forgot how fantastic kpop concert anticipation is! Chooch had the opinion of taking the second ticket but when he learned that the show was in Newark, he said, “Nope. I’m good.”

Because Newark sucks. Hard. Almost every Kpop concert I’ve gone to has been there, ugh.

We ate dinner nearby at Urban Vegan and then walked over to the Prudential Center where an unorganized frenzy of lines had already formed. Henry was like WHAT IS THIS and I was like “welcome to Kpop concerts, Gramps!” It wasn’t nearly as bad as KCON at least, where Chooch and I were seriously afraid we’d miss the start of the show because it took so fucking long to get inside. This wasn’t MUCH better though because people were just crawling through security, literally acting like it was a lazy walk along the bayou and not an obstacle to overcome before getting inside the arena. OMG, the shit that people try to bring in, like sis – you’re going to a concert not a goth sleepaway camp! Leave the spikes and backpacks full of WHO KNOWS WHAT in the car??

I mean, staff was walking up and down the sidewalk when we were still outside, yelling out everything that wouldn’t be permitted inside, and yet —

Anyway! We eventually got through because I didn’t have a purse and Henry left his spiked collar in the hotel.

Then we stood in line for merch and made friends with the people around us. Everyone kept trying to look behind the curtain into the seating area because there was all kinds of screaming happening and us seasoned fans were like “they are definitely not on stage yet” because it wasn’t 7:30 yet (name a big concert that actually starts on time) and the fact that the screaming was happening in waves told me that they were probably just flashing photos of Stray Kids on the screens to get the crowd stoked. I was not falling for this fire drill because I wanted to buy a T-shirt before they sold out just like the lightsticks!

Made it to our seats about 15 minutes before the show started. Everyone around us was grand. No beef with any of my section mates!

Our view wasn’t too bad considering we were trying to be somewhat frugal! Oddly, no one in the rows below us stood up not even once, so Henry The Old was super into that.

I posted this picture on Instagram and someone was like “sorry Henry didn’t have fun” and first of all, he did though? Well, as much fun as his Old Man Heart allows him to have. But second of all, there is literally no band in the entire world that will elicit any type of happy, energetic, exuberant reaction from Henry. He is HENRY ROBBINS, King of Showing Nothing. President of the Frowning Nations. Leader of the Ambivalent Army.

(Not BTS Army lol fuck outta here.)

As expected, they opened with Maniac and I was SUPER STOKED! The relentless screams around me were giving me so much life and energy and being under the same roof as these 8 stupidly talented guys had me losing my mind!

Whatever these blow-up leg thingies were, they were extremely startling! I didn’t even notice them being blown up!

I was internally exploding when they performed God’s Menu!!!! I really think this is my fave SKZ jam.

Literally the only “uhhhh” part of the whole evening was when they left the stage and it was “GAME TIME” – a video played on the screens and anytime the camera landed on someone in the crowd, they had to replicate whatever pose one of the Stray Kids was making in a picture. That part alone had me wishing I had a big hat to hide under, but the second game was even worse because it was a CHOREO game and I was like HOLY SHIT IF THIS FUCKING CAMERA LANDS ON MY UNCOORDINATED ASS, ISTG….while at the same time I was praying for it to choose Henry, lol. We both made it out unscathed, thank god. Henry was like I DO NOT LIKE THIS ONE BIT and I was like WELCOME TO KPOP WHERE YOU’RE EXPECTED TO ENGAGE AND PARTICIPATE. There was a very small window in my life where I would have been ok with this, and that was probably ages 14-19.

So…standard kpop stan age, haha.

Henry’s review of the Stray Kids concert: He was surprised that he knew most of the songs but only knew the names of the songs if they put it on the screen, he thought that they talked too much (lol that’s every Kpop concert, Gramps!), and he thought someone else was Felix (the only member he knows) until halfway thru the show 😂

He looks blank in all these pictures but he swears he “watched it all” and that it was “good.” His favorite song is Thunderous and he insists on singing the wrong lyrics in spite of my corrections, like a total dad. 😆

Anyway, this was a big deal because as I previously mentioned, usually when I go to Kpop concerts, Chooch goes with me and Henry just drops us off and sleeps in the car or explores the local grocery stores of whatever city we’re in, haha. Henry does like Stray Kids but is not really into the concert aspect of this lifestyle so it was kind of a big deal to get him to go.

There was another dad in the row in front of us. I asked Henry afterward if it looked like he was having fun and Henry cried, “He left for like a full hour!”

I’ve never been great at remembering the set list but I looked it up and this seems accurate for any Stays out there who desperately need to know:

  2. VENOM
  4. Easy
  5. ALL IN
  6. District 9
  7. Charmer
  8. Back Door
  9. Lonely St.
  10. B Me
  11. Side Effects
  12. Thunderous
  13. DOMINO
  16. YAYAYA
  17. ROCK
  18. Waiting For Us
  19. Muddy Water
  20. Silent Cry
  21. Hellevator
  22. TOP
  23. Scars
  24. Double Knot
  25. TA
  26. Victory Song
  28. Star Lost
  29. Haven

I know I’m missing crucial information but I will come back and edit this as needed. I just really wanted to get it off my plate while it was still fresh from the oven that is MUH MIND and also because we’ll be gone all weekend. I’m really trying to be better at writing in this thing in a timely manner instead of waiting like 3 weeks to recap a trip to an amusement park or whatever.

The only bad part of this whole day was afterward when we had to STAND IN DOWNTOWN NEWARK for nearly an hour trying to get a Lyft or Uber back to the hotel. But other than that, what a beautiful night. I didn’t even hate our hotel room. And now I stan SKZ even harder and would certainly consider myself a legit Stay at this point!

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