Jun 252024
 

FULLY obsessed with the latest Red Velvet comeback, the song itself is majestic, the Midsommar-concept of the video is haunting and perfect for the song, and of course I love seeing the RV girls back in action. SM needs to care more about them, I fucking swear to god. This video is so aesthetically pleasing.

Now I want to go and watch Midsommar again – it’s been too long. (It came out in 2019?!)

 

Apr 292024
 

I’m not myself lately. What even is myself, though. The weekend was a strange one, I felt uncomfortable for most of it, sluggish, depressed, stressed. I know it’s growing pains, preparing for that next “SEASON OF LIFE” god I really hate that phrase like I’m barefoot in a meadow in bell bottoms. (Relatedly, the Zombies “Time of the Season” was on the radio the other morning when I was sick and already in a delirious half-lucid state and really listening to the lyrics of a song you’ve heard a hundred times over your life time can be really jarring, and this time was no exception. It actually made me so uncomfy and gross-feeling. Not for the first time I thanked god that I wasn’t around in the 60s, specifically a teen or young adult because I don’t think I would have fared well, as in, I could see myself getting swept up by the first gross man in Jesus sandals who asks me, “Who’s your daddy?” and waving at my parents from the back window of a LOVE VAN as it whisks me off to the compound.)

Anyway, today I’m sharing some mellow, moody, morose songs that get lumped in the Kpop category but are the perfect hand-holders for times like this.

Damien – Cassette

I actually forgot that this song existed until over the weekend when a KVille “songs that should have gone viral” video came on and this was included. It was a punch to the gut – I loved this sone when it came out! And fun fact, the scene where the cassettes are hanging from the ceiling is what gave me inspo for the “accent wall” that I originally wanted to do in the kitchen which then morphed into the 80s theme! (Originally it was just going to be the spice rack made from cassettes but from there I said, “But only albums from the 80s. Let me find a good 80s color palette too because we should just also paint all of the walls. Actually, let’s do the whole thing an 80s theme, brb logging into eBay for the first time in 5 years.”

Ryeowook – Drunk in the Morning

I know Super Junior is like UNKNOWN to all these new Kpop people because BTS or GTFO, but the fact that more people aren’t talking about how Ryeowook is one of the best voices in Korea (and beyond) is kind of gross to me. I have definitely posted this on here before but everyone needs to hear it again.

Also, don’t ask me to ever pronounce his name. My friend Jiyong once tried to get me to send her a voice message of me struggling to pronounce it so she could help me and I was like NO I WON’T DO IT AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.

Wonho – Losing You

I prefer the Korean version but there’s only a official video for the English version. I still remember the first time I heard this – we had taken a day trip to Erie and were driving around country roads and screaming at MAGA signs, then this song came on Spotify and tears spontaneously sprung forth.

God, I love Wonho.

Jang Dong Woo – News

Same with the Wonho song, I remember the first time I heard this one too, and it was on the way home from Kings Island in 2019. I remember thinking, “THIS VOICE IS FAMILIAR” and immediately realizing he’s from Infinite, which was one of the first Kpop groups I ever knew about when I first got into this lifestyle. (“Eye” haunted me!!) But yeah, this song came super late at night, driving down the highway in the dark. What a vibe.

Woosung – Phase Me

Woosung is from The Rose and has one of the most recognizable voices. Fun fact, The Rose just performed at Coachella and it looked like they fucking killed it.

Onew – No Parachute

Onew is OOAK. I sent my friend Nate one of the videos of Onew singing opera, to which Nate said that Onew has the voice of a 7 foot angel. It is so true. Whenever people say “Kpop idols can’t sing, Kpop idols are tone deaf, Kpop idols are manufactured,” I happily direct them to ANY of SHINee’s members solo works.

***

Well, I’ll stop here even though I could go on and on and on like it’s my day job. Speaking of, so stoked to enter a new work week.

Jan 192024
 

Every so often, I remember that I like the Kpop group Seventeen (I always associate them with the Kpop aerobics I did back when I was like “I don’t know what these songs are but they’re fun”) and then I fall down the rabbit hole, watching live stages etc., and saying, “I gotta spend some time learning about the members.” Over the years, there are only really 3 or 4 (out of 13!) that I have become familiar with, but then one of the sub-units did an amazing performance of one of my current fave cardio dance routine songs on one of the award shows, and I remembered that at one point, I had chosen one of those guys as a bias, so then I started re-crushing on him and next thing I knew, my YouTube feed is all Seventeen and I know ALMOST all of them now, after 4 days of studying.

I’m getting there.

Anyway, today for Friday Five I will share five of my faves. They debuted in 2015 so there is quite a lot to choose from!

(My bias is Seungkwan, btw, and my cat Drew’s is The8.)

  1. Ready to Love

You guys,  this is my top #1 SVT song and the one that pulls me back in every time I hear it. It’s perfection.

 

2. Don’t Wanna Cry

The first Seventeen MV that REALLY caught my attention back in the day. That choreo!!

3. FIGHTING

This song from Seventeen’s subunit BSS (BooSeukSoon) is the anthem we all need to get through another work day. (Fun fact from your friendly Korea liaison: “fighting” is a way to say “you got this!” or “you can do it!” in Korea, it doesn’t literally mean anything aggressive!)

4. _WORLD

Just a total feel-good jam, Bruno Mars-vibes, lil bit.

5. ROCK WITH YOU

Every time I hear this, I want to get up and start doing the Give Me Five Thailand dance workout for it. I kicked the coffee table really hard one time doing it though, I just got too stoked!

***

OK, it’s been a weird week of snow days and Chooch maybe having a girlfriend and starting a countdown and uncomfortable TV shows (American Nightmare was so frustrating and upsetting!!!). I’m freaking tired, man. But I can’t go to bed until Henry chooses a Seventeen bias lol. (“I don’t know any of them!” he cried. Yeah, he said that once upon a time about NCT too and now look at him, Father NCTzen over here.)

Nov 292023
 

 

Actually, the only surprising thing is that WayV’s On My Youth didn’t make it in the Top 5 Songs because I feel like I listened to it an absurd amount of time over the last month, however, now that I think about it – a lot of those listens were on YouTube, same with Taemin and NCT DJJ. And retrowave and The Black Queen playlists lest you think I’m only kpopping.

Plus, I use Henry’s Spotify account a lot too because that’s what is connected to our Echo, so I guess this UNWRAPPED isn’t really all that scientifically accurate IS IT.

Wow what a boring fucking post. But here’s a live video for THE BAT so maybe you can see why it’s my #1 song lol.

Oct 302023
 

Wow, wowee wow wow. Two  blogs in one day but I couldn’t hold back from sharing Taemin’s comeback MV, I tried, I made it almost all day.

 

LORD HELP ME.

MY GOD.

Taemin-ah, we missed you. Thank you for feeding us. You are TRULY a living legend, not just an idol but a motherfucking ICON.

And he has looked so happy and healthy in all of the interviews and shows I’ve seen him on so far during this promotion cycle. I worry about him so much, especially when he was enlisted, but he seriously looks like he’s thriving, back in his element, eating the stage. He is the BEST dancer in the world and no one can change my mind.

(UM BUT CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS T-SHIRT CHOREO???)

(NEVERMIND, I’M NOT READY TO TALK ABOUT IT YET.)

Oct 022023
 

a/k/a Erin’s Redemption Era

Me, before Riot Fest: We don’t even have to be near the stage. We can just stay way back on the fringe, sit down and relax, etc.

Also me, 30 minutes the Cure’s set: *TRUDGING THROUGH THE MUD AND CROWD WITH ARMS AKIMBO, ELBOW-JABBING THROUGH HORDES OF PEOPLE, TRYING TO GET AS CLOSE TO THE STAGE AS COMFORTABLY POSSIBLE*

We ended up decently close, on the right side, surrounded by a pretty good cluster of Cure fans. It was 10000x better than the crowd at the Blossom Music Center, I will tell you that much right now. I really liked the older couple next to us – the woman was so short, I felt awful for her. There was a very tall guy, like Corey-height if not taller, with his friends in front of her and he was trying so hard to duck out of her way. She was like, “Listen, I’m short – I’m not going to be able to see no matter what! You’re fine!” and for a split second I considered trying to be like her, not giving a shit about seeing, just enjoying the music, etc etc but then they came on stage and I was on my tip toes, craning my neck, bobbing and weaving. It’s so futile, lol. I could actually see, mostly, but also the screens at Riot Fest are EXCELSIOR, way better than the ones that they have at most of those dumb ampitheaters, so it was almost impossible to not see.

The Mars Volta finishing up on the other stage. I think they had everyone in a trance by the end. I haven’t listened to them in YEARS, probably actually since their first album, and I know I saw them at least once back then, maybe twice, so the nostalgia was there for me. Not so much for Henry though. He was acting like his ears were bleeding.

And then magic happened for the next 2.5 hours. You guys. YOU GUYS. It was so nice to just enjoy the concert and not wonder if SOMEONE was going to ask me SOMETHING, etc. etc.  And I think Henry can also attest that the night was a lot more fun for him too, not having any expectations. When they performed “From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea,” Henry grabbed my hand and pulled it into the air and I was like “YOU’RE SO DUMB I HATE YOU” but on the inside I was like *rainbows and grilled cheese*.

I love this aerial shot so much, credit to Riot Fest, obviously. I left my drone at home.

This was 100% worth coming to Riot Fest. I love the Cure so much, and I guess Henry is up there too, just not as high. And not as unconditionally.

***SET LIST***

  1. Alone
  2. Pictures of You
  3. High
  4. Lovesong
  5. And Nothing Is Forever
  6. Cold
  7. Burn
  8. Fascination Street
  9. A Night Like This
  10. Push
  11. In Between Days
  12. Just Like Heaven
  13. At Night
  14. Play For Today
  15. A Forest
  16. Shake Dog Shake
  17. FTEOTDGS
  18. Endsong

ENCORE:

19. Lullaby
20. The Walk
21. Friday I’m In Love
22. Close To Me
23. Why Can’t I Be You?
24. Boys Don’t Cry
25. 10:15 Saturday Night
26. Killing An Arab

And Dumb Henry bought me this beautiful poster to add to the collection!

It’s already frame and on the wall going up the steps, right next to the one of the entire Riot Fest lineup <3.

Incredible night. The weather was wonderful. The Cure was perfection as usual. (They are physically unable to put on a bad performance, I swear to god.) The company was….eh. Decent. The only annoying part was waiting for Henry to pee afterward and then the stressful process of catching the train back to the hotel, which actually wasn’t that bad except that I got stuck talking to some guy about my posters and he was definitely one of those guys who asks you questions about music just so he can not listen to your response because you’re a dumb dumb silly goose girl and then before you even finish he’s already on his mansplainin’ podium. He wasn’t THAT bad, just moderately annoying and I was fucking tired and didn’t want to exert energy needed to form sentences.  I was actually kind of praying that he would try to throw down some Cure facts on me just so I could take him to school but he eventually set his sights on the guy behind me who was wearing a band shirt that he could relate to, I don’t know what was going on, I was trying not to fall asleep while standing erect.

There was a line going down the sidewalk just to get INTO the train station thing and by the time our group was the next to get herded through, there was a public transit worker guy who was trying to usher everyone down as far as they could go by hollering, AND IT WAS REALLY COMPLICATED SO YOU HAD TO REALLY PAY ATTENTION, “Everyone keep walking down the track as far as you can go!”

But….they didn’t go as far as they could go. They just…stopped halfway. So, then the train came and everyone just stood there, and Henry and I were like, “Um, we’re going ALL THE WAY DOWN, peace out motherfuckers” and that is how Henry and I got to snag a completely empty car and secure any fucking seat we wanted, while all the other cars were packed to the gills with Riot Festers who were too dumb to FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. Jesus Christ. And people have the nerve to say that Kpop stans are dumb. Mmm.

I’ll end this with one of my favorite Cure songs of all time. When I first moved into this dumb house in the fall of 1999, I used to watch the music video for Fascination Street over and over and over and over and over and…..ugh.

OK now I’m crying. Goodbye.

 

Sep 252023
 

When we last left off, I think I was telling you, Sir Blog, about our breakfast with my work pal, Vicki. God, that was a good time!! After breakfast, she was kind enough to drop us off at Douglass Park. It was around 11:30 at that point and the gates were supposed to open at 11. We said our sad goodbyes to Vicki and skipped across the street to the end of the line (well, I skipped; Henry stalked). As soon as we had claimed our spot in line (which wasn’t even that long), a couple walking past in the opposite direction began announcing to everyone in line that gate-opening was delayed until AT LEAST 2pm due to the downpour that had been happening all through the night and most of the morning. While it wasn’t raining anymore and the sun was blissfully shining, I can only imagine the park grounds were pretty saturated. And it’s already bad enough that the Douglass Park community really, vehemently does not want Riot Fest taking over the park every year, so I can imagine the powers-that-be behind the festival want to do everything within their power to ensure that the grounds don’t get absolutely obliterated like with what happened at the old location, Humboldt Park, in 2014. Phew, that was BAD. That was the last time Riot Fest was ever held there because they kicked out hard on their asses by THAT community.

So…

That left us with a lot of time, and very little to do. I didn’t want to text Vicki and be like, “Come back and hang out with some more, come pay attention to me, come babysit me” because what if she had shit to do!? I didn’t want her to feel obligated. So, we found a cafe that was “right around the block” according to Henry but was actually pretty far away and then by the time we got there, it was like a ton of Riot Festers had the same idea, so the line was practically out the door AND there was nowhere to sit.

We ended up getting on the train thing and going back to the section of town where we had breakfast. We found a sports bar that was crowded but slightly less crowded than all of the other ones on that block and sat down to have a BEER while people were screaming about football. Mm. My favorite environment.

I don’t even remember the name of the bar, it was very standard. And everything was FINE until HENRY told me what beer to order (something called Gumballhead or something) and it was fucking disgusting. Even Henry was not hitting it off with this beer. “I’M SORRY, BUT THIS TASTES LIKE AN IPA, NOT A WHEAT BEER.”

Whatever that means.

It was supposed to have a “lemony finish.” Oh, they got that right. Because that shit tasted like I just licked a table polished with Lemon Pledge, honey.

I am gagging in hindsight.

DUDE. LOL – so I took a break to walk to Dunkin’ with Henry because I wanted to spy (or, if you’re a Pittsburgher, “neb”) on the work that is going on next door — the still-vacant unit that I am lowkey panicking about because I want it to stay vacant forever. The front door was open so I wanted to, you know, casually gawk and see what’s going on but I all I saw the was DIARRHEA wall color, which is….well, somehow less ugly than the color that was over there when Blake lived there. Some disgusting sea moss or something – it made me so uncomfortable. I hated going over there.

Anyway, were was I! Yeah, so we were walking to Dunkin’ but then stopped at the BEER STORE first because I am still desperate for the Jelly Donut bullshit, and well well well, look what I found stinkin’ up the place:

P-U.

Back to Riot Fest day. I kept checking Instagram and it appeared that they were definitely going to open the gates at 2PM, so we left the bar around 1:00ish I think. My original plan was actually to just go there around 2:00 anyway, because I didn’t care about many of the earlier bands until 2pm. So, I wasn’t very broken up about this to be honest. I do feel bad for the people who were upset to see their favorite bands get cut from the schedule though :(

The line to get in wrapped around the block quite a bit and Henry had me panicking, thinking it was going to take over an hour to get in. It didn’t take an hour. I would say maybe 30 minutes because the Riot Fest staff was basically like FUCK IT and started waving people through without even searching most bags. Only one of our tickets was scanned. The guy was like, “It’s cool, I scanned one, just go ‘head in.”

Um. OK. If this wasn’t AMERICA, I wouldn’t have so felt so clenched about this, but spoiler aleart: It turned out to be fine.

The only downside is that we completely missed Thursday, who went on promptly at 2pm but we could hear them on the other side of the fence, at least. I’ve seen them a bunch of times over the years so I wasn’t too sad about it but I would have liked to have been inside to support them.

THAT’S JUST THE MOM IN ME.

So surreal being at Riot Fest again after…how many years ago 2016 was. Most of the ground was dry but there was DEFINITELY some swampy areas and we came out of their with mud-spatter all over our legs. I’m glad I brought my plain black Vans!

My one main takeaway is that even though we hadn’t been there in so long, and even though I haven’t been in this SCENE for just as long, it was like everything was frozen in time. You could really say that the Riot Fest scene is timeless, and that’s not really bad. It’s nostalgic and comforting.

Henry felt neither nostalgia nor comfort.

I had to laugh though because really THE ONE BAND that I wanted to see that day aside from The Cure was the recently-reunited Balance and Composure. You might remember how deep my love was for them before I turned the way of South Korea. Actually, 2016 might have been the last time I saw them, now that I think about it. Their set started at 2:55PM and Henry conveniently was in line to buy the Cure’s Riot Fest tour poster, so once again I found myself alone in front of the scene, crying to B&C. Some things really DON’T change!! But before they came on, I got to hear the end of Cult’s set on one of the main stages. They ended with “Do You Know What I Mean” and it brought back memories of the Early Years at the law firm when this song was an inside joke for Kaitlin and me. That seems like an entire lifetime ago! God, Riot Fest was really doing it to me.

FML.

Oh! I almost forgot. For some inexplicable reason,  I packed my old Hotel Books t-shirt which I haven’t worn in years. I didn’t really think much of until that morning when I put it on. I laughingly said, “God, I hope no one wants to talk to me about Hotel Books because I literally can’t remember a single thing about them aside from that I liked them a lot for a minute!”

I’m not kidding, as soon as I staked out my spot at the stage before B&C started, some guy leaned over and said to me, “I like your shirt!”

“Thanks!” I said, like I fucking made it in my t-shirt factory. And then I got real fidgety, my eyes practically screaming, “IMPOSTER! IMPOSTER! SHE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW THIS BAND!”

All I remember is going to see them at some defunct club on the Southside, getting kind of drunk, and hugging the singer/spoken-worder at the end of the night.

I really did like Hotel Books back then though!! I actually put them on in the car on the way home the next day and my chest got real warm like I just did a shot of Robitussin (Janna’s drug of choice) and I thought to myself, “Oh yeah. There it is.”

But FUCK MY LIFE, Balance and Composure still REALLY do it for me. Like, really really.

After this, I found Henry standing a safe distance away from the crowd. The next band I wanted to see was also on the same stage, but we had about 30-45 minutes to kill so we walked around, checked out The Bronx briefly (we’ve seen them numerous times over the years but it was like a homecoming hearing them live again, if only for a few minutes). Then we went and got some free samples of FUNNY WATER which was fine but I wasn’t ready to commit to a full can of it.

Henry kept asking me who were seeing next and I was like YOU WILL SEE and OH JUST WAIT so he was getting really paranoid, like it was going to be some fucked Jonny Craig side project revival bullshit set.

It was just LS Dunes, but it was funny to me because it’s the latest Anthony Green side project and literally every time we go to Riot Fest, Anthony is there in one form or another. Can you believe we (“we” lol) have been supporting him and all of his projects since 2004?? Staring with Saosin, but really getting in deep with Circa Survive in 2005. I had to actually google to see when it was that we saw Circa for the first time, and it was July 2005 at the Grog Shop, right before I got pregnant, and Anthony signed my Circa CD outside the venue. Say Anything was headlining and I didn’t like them (still don’t) so we must have ducked out before they came on and Anthony was just chilling on a wall outside, with a few fan boys jawing his ear off.

And now it’s 2023, he’s a dad of 3, been in and out of recovery, but continued to be obscenely prolific in the scene. Henry actually recognized his voice, but not his face. I mean, face it – we’re all ageing! It’s just so much more surreal when we see it happen to bands that we have been fans of for decades.

Anyway, LS Dunes – amazing. Frank Iero – amazing. Anthon Green – fucking ICONIC.


I really didn’t take many pictures. We were mostly there for The Cure and I felt pretty distracted all day because of that anticipation.


I got this crunchie vegan person bowl for dinner because my body was CRAVING vegetables. It was…ok. $18 worth of ok. :/

Meanwhile, Henry went off on his own, leaving me to eat alone under a tree a bowl of stuff that tasted like said tree, and came back with a vegan mac n’ cheesesteak. I was jel at first but after stealing a few bites, my final assessment was that eh, didn’t really like it that much.

I also was trying to keep myself from getting sick. I didn’t want to be standing for three hours at the main stage with a bloated stomach. You know?!

LOL JK I still felt like shit!!

Almost forgot to take a selfie. Yikes. Who am I.

Then Finch came on and can you believe it was the first time seeing them??!! I was obsessed with them in 2003? 2004? I just remember going on weekend drives with Henry and fucking blasting them and Thrice.

Henry stalking me. Lol I was sitting in the gross grass because MY STOMACH HURT from that stupid bowl.

The last band to play on this same stage, the only stage we were at all day which is insane because all of my past Riot Fests consisted of me SPRINTING from stage to stage, was the Used. Ugh. It was fine. I didn’t cry. But I also didn’t feel great in the heart.

“Now, which one dated Kelly Osbourne?” asked some guy behind us. “Oh the singer?”

Wow. That was a blast from the past lol.

I miss screaming-Bert. I get that he can’t scream anymore but man, I will never forget seeing them at X Fest on a tiny stage and seeing him puking all over the stage from intensity of his screams.

Those were the days, man.

I felt really fucking old at Riot Fest. Not because everyone was young, but because of all of these bands from my way-back years. I couldn’t handle it. It was a lot.

I’ll end this here. The Cure deserve their own post <3

Jun 232023
 

Now that I wrote 3000 words about the Cure concert without ever actually talking about the Cure concert, here are five things about that night that don’t involve me flipping out over a ring.

1. burn

Honestly one of my favorite songs, not just by the Cure, but of any artist of all time. Henry said that this was one of his favorite songs of the night too. I am trying not to cry right now.

This is not my video, I didn’t record hardly at all because I was too in the zone and as usual, I figured there would be a plethora of videos online afterward. But the audio is really great and you can totally hear how on point the whole band – it was on this level the entire night. The Cure is honestly one of the best bands I have ever seen in my whole life – they always seem to be 100% into it. It makes me wonder how I would feel if I was at one of their concerts, knowing nothing about them, only there to accompany a friend. Would I leave as a fan? I really can’t imagine how I wouldn’t – like, how do you witness something like this in person and not be affected? They even manage to permeate Henry’s thick-walled dork-heart.

2. Kpop fans v everyone else

Ok listen Brenda. You know that the Cure is tops in my heart. La Supreme. Bae. And this is nothing against them at all, but can we talk about the crowd? Shoooooo….it was not great. I mean, also not AWFUL but just not what I would have expected for a Cure concert. With the exception of the ABYSMAL, RUDE crowd at Coachella in 2004 since that was a festival, this might have been the worst vibe I’ve sensed out of all the times I’ve seen them.

Now, this is not a blanket statement – I’m not trying to say, “OMG I was the only true fan there” because it wasn’t at all, so if you were there and disagree do not come for me!! I’m just saying that my observation from where I sat was that it felt like many – not all – people were there for the novelty of it. These people were all middle-aged, white, and mostly drunk. Maybe they were reliving their goth college years, or wanted to hear the handful of radio hits that they know, who knows. But a lot of the people there made me uncomfortable and distracted me with their constant need to fidget, chat with their neighbors, leave to buy more beer. It was a lot of letting people in and out of the row, you know? And I noticed this at Genesis too so I think it’s really a demographic thing. Like, these are elder fans who perhaps have expendable income and/or just go to concerts to party / relive the golden years / get drunk off of nostalgia. And OK that’s fine, but there are also people who pay money they don’t really have to see a band in real life that they love with their whole hearts and have so much appreciation and gratitude…

That’s 99.9999999% of the fans you see at kpop concerts, you guys. It is legit. No one is there because they just know one song. They are there because they know every member’s name, know the inside jokes, know the choreo.

I realized that night that while I still love non-kpop music, I prefer kpop concerts in general now.

(For instance, I’m watching another video from the Cleveland show and there is a broad in in who hasn’t stopped talking to someone three people over her for the entirety of Disintegration. Like bitch, sit down then. You’re bothering us.)

But I will give big props to the Tallest Guy in the Land who was standing in front of Henry. (Originally me but I switched seats with Henry lol.) He glanced behind him at one point and when he realized how much taller he was than Henry and the guy next to Henry, he sat down on the back of his chair so that he wasn’t fully sitting but also was at the height of an average standing man, and said, “Is that better?” Henry and the guy next to him were both like, “Oh, you’re fine!” because Henry, for all the bitching he does when BOO HOO HE CAN’T SEE AT THE NCT CONCERT BC GIRLS ARE STANDING UP AND DANCING, actually is content just being there and doesn’t need to see the stage at every single second of the night like some of us do.

Anyway, I thought that guy was really cool. Him and a bunch of people in front of him were really decent and seemed like genuine fans, but then the three women next to him (and directly in front of me) chatted like fucking mothers at a neighborhood watch meeting, checked their phones, texted, got up to pee, got up to get beer, looked everywhere but the stage unless one of the more popular radio songs were being played. It was so annoying. They did seem into it at some points so I think the bigger issue here is that Americans in general are just one gigantic attention deficit.

3. Toxic Masculinity in Row N

Sometime before the opening band started, a group of people practically fell into the seats right behind Henry and me. I mean, they made such a commotion as they skirted their way down the row, it was almost comedic if it hadn’t been so goddamn annoying. Loud AF. CLEARLY drunk. Total middle-aged trash with zero boundaries or awareness.

It was two married couples – the one woman had the most annoying voice, high-pitched voiced (fuck, Henry compared her to someone and it was so spot-on but now I can’t think), the other woman was actually fine but of course she was sat the furthest away from me, and the two husbands were disgusting, loud-ass pig-slobs who didn’t just speak, they SHOUTED, the type of toxic ageing bro-men who purposely talk loud because they think that what they’re saying is SO FUCKING FUNNY AND IMPORTANT, that they want EVERYONE AROUND THEM TO HEAR. Fucking crass assholes, honestly. The one kept stretching out his legs so his disgusting sandaled foot would jut out from under Henry’s seat and I was burping back bile, for real.

4. If you can’t beat ’em….

I told Henry that the only way I was going to be able to survive with those loud asses sitting behind us would be if I made contact somehow. Finding a way to civilly butt into the conversation of problematic people sometimes helps humanize them for me, if that makes sense. Lucky for me, the MEN had departed on their third alcohol refill run during the storm delay, when the couple next to the people started talking to the wives. At one point, one of the wives said that they were from Pittsburgh and I was like “I’M IN” and the way I spun around so fast in my seat to finally play the role of Erin Buttinsky, well, Henry was laughing about it for days afterward.

(“Jesus Christ, you turned around so fast and started talking,” he laughed but it didn’t sound like a HAHA I LOVE YOU NEW-FIANCEE, YOU ARE SO CUTE AND FUNNY laugh but more of a disgusted “I hate when you do that shit” scoff.)

“We’re from Pittsburgh too!” I cried out so loud that several people from the row behind them also turned to look at where the manic talking was coming from.

The wives looked a bit caught off guard initially at my enthusiasm for sharing a city, but then they quickly abandoned the other couple and talked solely to me about various Pgh things that you wouldn’t understand if you’re not from here so I won’t bore you, but I will say that Henry REFUSED to turn around, not even ONCE, just bristled silently in his seat like the stand-offish lump that he is, so that was exciting to have them see that I was attending a Cure concert with a serial killer.

After I said that I was originally from “Jefferson Hill, you know, by Century III Mall,” one of the ladies said, “Oh did you hear about that boy that recently fell through the roof of the mall??” and I was like, “OMG NO?!” and she said something else about it, to which I didn’t know how else to respond aside from saying, “Oh wow” and then turning back around in my seat without a goodbye or enjoy the show or fuck off or anything. Just quietly and awkwardly cut the cord on the convo and peaced out. That’s how I do. Hi, I’m Erin. Nice to meet you, ok bye.

Anyway, my plan worked because I was able to tolerate them so much more after that, except for once the concert started and I found out quickly and painfully that one of the husbands was a WHISTLER. Hooboy, the why those whistles broke through my skull like a buckshot.

5. The Set List

  • Alone
  • Pictures of You
  • Lovesong
  • And Nothing if Forever
  • If Only Tonight We Could Sleep

  • Burn
  • Kyoto Song
  • A Night Like This
  • Push
  • At Night
  • Play for Today
  • A Forest (Henry’s fave Cure song, FYI)
  • Shake Dog Shake
  • From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea (LOL ughhhhh)
  • Endsong

ENCORE #1

  • I Can Never Say Goodbye
  • It Can Never Be the Same
  • Want
  • Plainsong
  • Disintegration

ENCORE #2

  • Lullaby
  • Six Different Ways
  • The Walk
  • Friday I’m In Love
  • Close To Me
  • Whay Can’t I Be You?
  • In Between Days
  • Just Like Heaven
  • Boys Don’t Cry

OK, that’s it. I was hoping for The Caterpillar, Charlotte Sometimes, The Kiss, Same Deep Water As You among others but I was still happy with the set list because it’s the fucking Cure. The fucking Cure.

Jun 152023
 

Sorry if you’re only here to get the SCOOP because today’s post is just photos from our early parking experience. Of course I was being a psycho about everything related to this day because it’s THE CURE and it’s not very often they come to the US and also the weather forecast was ABYSMAL for that day and I was panicking about the rain and merch lines, and GIVE THIS BITCH A PILL, WILL YA. Anyway, the option to pay $20 for early parking was available and the only reason I agreed that we should do it was because they said that merch booths would be set up in the lots and honestly, the convenience of not only snatching up what I want ahead of time but also being able to take it back to the car rather than keeping it with me all fucking night long was worth it.

This meant that we had to hang out for over 2 hours in the parking lot, but whatever. At least I was able to get my daily steps in, lol.

Here we are, sitting in the grass after securing my merch. I got two posters (one was show-specific and the other was for the entire tour) and a shirt. I was extremely content, especially since we didn’t have to wait in line. Oh, and all three of those things together cost the same as ONE SHIRT at a Kpop concert. Jesus.

(I still you, Kpop. You are still worth it to me.)

We went back to the car after awhile, making it just before the skies opened up and dropped torrents of rain on us. I’m glad that I’m obsessed with checking the weather constantly because we brought umbrellas and ponchos from home just in case. Henry was all, “We will probably be fine.” HE THOUGHT.

Me walking into the Cure concert with my happy Korean umbrella, LOL.

A FOREST.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly entrance into the plaza was. I NEVER bring a purse to concerts anymore so we were able to skip right on ahead to the empty NO BAG line and made into the place in record time. But then then we still had another hour to kill before the rest of the pavilion opened up so that we could get to our seats. But one of the perks of being there early was that we got to hear soundcheck. We couldn’t see the stage because of the hillside but just hearing Robert’s voice and knowing we were in the same goddamn vicinity – holy shit, it made me tear up so bad.

OK on that beautiful note, I’m going to piss off and peace out. More on the actual concert, and “the thing that happened,” in my next post maybe possibly. I’m tired. :/

(BUT OMG I SAW THE CURE.)

Apr 242023
 

Hey just when you guys were like “I literally do not care about this NCT bullshit and will never care to learn about the sub-units or whatever this bitch keeps calling them,” a brand new sub-unit was formed! This one is called NCT DoJaeJung (for Doyoung, Jaehyun, and Jungwoo from NCT127).

They recently debuted with the song Perfume which I have been obsessing over and it also made me think about how during the whole life thus far, I have had three very distinct signature scents. I mean, after I graduated from the Avon roller scents in middle school thanks to my friend Cara who used to bring in her mom’s Avon books all the time – my favorite scene is on the tip of my tongue but I can’t think of it!! I just tried to Google and none of those roller ones are even coming up – did I dream it? That’s what my mom would say. Anyway, it was something beachy/tropical and it was the only one I ever ordered.

In high school, I was BIG INTO Versace, so his Red Jeans scent was definitely my jam. I think I mentioned this recently, but Henry found a bottle of it for me, and I have been happily spritzing myself with nostalgia ever since.

I also was very attached to YSL’s Champagne (I think it’s called Yvesse now) also in high school. I haven’t smelled that in decades, but I just closed my eyes after looking at the bottle online on my nose remembered.

But the one that most recently was my signature, and I really should get some more of it, was Dior’s Hypnotic Poison. I used to wear it religiously in my early years at The Law Firm and people would always recognize my presence because of it – it is very unmistakable and unique.

Cool, now put on some red jeans, drink some champers, and watch this hypnotic poison of a video and then tell me what your signature scent is while I do a deep-dive into the Avon archives looking for that stupid cheap-ass perfume that now I suddenly need to sniff again.

Apr 182023
 

I’m so fucking annoying, right? Here’s another separate blog post about the NCT Dream concert while I continue to get ahold of myself long enough to put into words my feelingzzzz. This will be my feelingzzzz but in video format, I guess.

It’s so hard for me to choose a favorite NCT Dream song, and they did perform most of my *unordered* faves. I do try to abstain from recording at concerts because it’s like they say, no one wants to see your shit-quality zoomed in concert footage (except for me if you went to see NCT Dream, I love watching everyone’s vlogs!!). But there were several songs that I was like, “FUCK IT, I AM FINALLY SEEING THEM BELT THESE NOTES INTO THE SAME FUCKING AIR THAT I AM CURRENTLY BREATHING AND I WANT TO HAVE THESE ON MY PHONE FOREVERMORE.” I put three of them on YouTube*.

*(Unsearchable because I do not like any attention on YouTube, dating back to a billion years when I uploaded an old video of Henry taking me to E.99 and St. Clair Ave in Cleveland so that I could pay homage to Bone Thugs -n- Harmony and I got BLASTED for being annoying/hideous/etc etc. I mean, those statements aren’t wrong! But still, I was like ‘OK crossing off YOUTUBE STAR from my list of dreams – this was before everyone and their grandma was posting vlogs btw, but somehow my manic braying still caught traction.)

  1. Dive Into You (this a Haechan focus, but it’s the best quality version I could find and this song can melt my heart on even the iciest work day).

They genuinely love each other and it shows in every performance. <3

2. TRIGGER THE FEVER! (my version lol)

I wasn’t really looking at my phone a lot of the time because I frantically swinging my lightstick and uh, it shows lol. But this song is so fucking uplifting! Mark has co-writing credit on this song, which was the Official Song of a FIFA tournament in Seoul in 2017. He helped write this one year after he debuted!

3. Countdown (3,2,1)

A FAVE. Haechan at 00:35 sends me, and then when Renjun comes in at 2:25 and does the snaps…..leave me alone, please.

4. CANDY (chaotic last song of the night version)

Jaemin holding onto his plush carrot the whole time, Haechan being his absolutely unhinged self – I want this video to live inside my heart until the day I die, and then haunt Chooch after that for the rest of his life. The way these 7 dreamies bring me so much happiness!

5. Dreaming

Look, this is an absolute jam and I listened to it 89123740740974b times when the NCT2020 album came out, but I am JUST AS MUCH posting this for Jeno in that cut-out shirt, OK. We tell truths here.

6. ME ON THE SCREEN


I love this because for a brief moment in time, my face was captured at its absolute peak happiness. Thank you to the person who basically uploaded the entire concert on YouTube so that I was able to go back and find this after noticing it that night. And the way my friends pointed out how happy I looked when I sent it to some of them made it even more special!

7. Renjun’s outfit in this portion of the concert

UGH I loved my seat but I would have also loved to have been that close. DROOL EMOJI

****

Ok! Now that I got all that out of my system…oh also! When I was creeping on YouTube, I found videos from the girl who was sitting next to me – she’s from Seattle and flew to Newark and then to Chicago to see them. She was super chill and then once the concert started, I was like, “oh ok I did not expect that level of frenzy to come forth.” Anyway, Henry was laughing because in all of her videos, you can hear my loud ass shrieking lol.

Ok 잘 자.

 

Apr 162023
 

My friend Veronica pointed out the night before the NCT Dream concert in Chicago that there was a full moon, that maybe the effects would extend to Friday and bring me good vibes at the concert. Well, I think she was on to something because it was sincerely, without coming off as being hyperbolic or corny, one of THE best concert experiences of my life. And I have been to a lot of concerts of all types and sizes!

In this post, let’s talk about the pre-show haps. You already know what my ‘fit looked like UNLESS YOU DON’T READ THIS DUMP REGULARLY.

Our hotel was right across the street from the Allstate Arena so that was extremely convenient. When we first drove past the arena earlier that day to get to the hotel, there was a HUGE line already formed. That’s the one main reason I opted out of getting a GA floor ticket – it actually cost about the same as the seat I ended up scoring, but it was standing room only (some Kpop concerts have seats on the floor). I’m of the age where my time is valuable and my endurance for ‘camping’ outside of an arena is at an all-time low. To be quite frank, I would not even do this for The Cure. I just want to be able to see the stage comfortably and while the prospect of being barricade is tempting because YES, I WANT EYE CONTACT WITH IDOLS, I can admit that this season of my life has passed. But I will still scream and cry and freak out over whose poca (photo card) I pull from albums! DONT GET ME WRONG.

That being said, we didn’t leave the hotel until around 6:30, I would say, almost died jaywalking (there was no crosswalks at the intersections!?) and reached a side of the arena that had two entrances. I was really confused because as we were approaching the arena straight on, I could see a huge-ass line of NCTzens snaking all the way from the second entrance, down the length of the arena, into the parking lot. Yet, there were some stragglers approaching from the left and going right through the first door.

“Is that like, a VIP entrance?” I asked mostly just to myself because tf does Henry know, right? There were two girls who had been walking in front of us and I could tell that they were also debating what to do – cross the street and attempt to go straight into the first door, or walk all the way to end of the line waiting to enter the second door.

LOOK, I AM TRYING TO GET THIS POST WRITTEN AND DID NOT WANT TO WASTE COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF TIME MAKING A NICE DRAWING SO PLEASE ACCEPT THIS SCRIBBLED DIAGRAM.

Just then, a security member came out of the first door and shouted, “FOLKS, THIS DOOR IS OPEN, THERE IS NO LINE. THIS DOOR IS OPEN.” So I was like, “Shit, run!” and we (well, I) ran across the road and pretty much STRAIGHT through the door since neither of us had bags that needed to be searched.

Was it a dick move considering many of those people had been camping all day? I mean, maybe, but we weren’t GA/floor so it’s not like we were taking someone’s spot, and there were people coming in from the parking lot on the left who were strolling right on in too. It’s not our fault that the arena didn’t do a better job directing people!

So we got lucky and this ended up being one of the seamless concert entrances we’ve experienced.

The best part was that the first merch table we approached only had about 20 people in line, so we slid right up on that.

The line was made up of a few roped-off switchbacks, and there was a girl two rows ahead of me who opened her tote bag and called out, “Anyone want any freebies?” Of course everyone near her happily reached into the bag but I was a bit too far away, so I had to yell, and I DO MEAN HOLLER, “Ooh, can I have one?!”

“Oh my god,” Henry murmured in the key of Bob’s Burger.

I had to reach over two lines to grab one of the tiny envelopes in her bag, literally making the line in between us come to a halt lest they get clotheslined on my arm.

But I got a Haechan poca out of it!

“You’re so embarrassing,” Henry sighed.

Yo, I can’t help it – as soon as I’m at a kpop concert, my inner Erin comes out, like I AM FREE TO BE ME. I am super talkative, sociable, and a complete extrovert like I used to be so long ago before the real world crushed my soul into a pulp of jaded anxiety.

The merch line went extremely fast. I knew immediately which shirt I wanted, and when the (mildly-flustered) merch lady went to ring it up, she paused and said, “Oh wait—” and reached under the counter. She then placed a small black envelope on top of the shirt. Apparently, merch purchases came with a poca! (I found out later that it was specifically the t-shirts.) This was a pleasant surprise! Of course, I found out later that it created a huge debacle because fans began to expect a poca with every item purchased, and then some of the merch tables ran out of pocas before the end of the night.

You don’t understand – collecting poca is a huge part of the Kpop scene. It’s not that important for me, which is literally the ONLY indication that I am an Elder in this scene. But I can promise you, if I was younger, I would probably be charging hundres of dollars worth of kpop albums to my mom’s AmEx, trying to collect every single poca.

To make it very simple, each kpop album comes with a random poca (photo card) of one of the members. It’s usually a selfie that they took, and then the backs have a handwritten message on them. They’re about credit card-sized, and you can even but little albums to store them in, or photo card holders to hook onto your backpack, keychain, belt loop, etc. (Yes, I have one lol. I was also using it for my work ID too, so it always looked like I was buzzing myself in with a picture of Renjun, lol.) Anyway!! Super fans will buy multiple copies of the same album trying to get the poca of their bias, or to just collect one of each member, and there are trading communities out there too. It’s a whole thing, you guys. When I say you don’t just get into Kpop on a casual basis….

Phew.

By the time we got out of the merch line and started exploring the rest of the arena, the lines for every single merch table had grown so long that it had become difficult to walk. The lines spilled out into the main hallways and it was so chaotic.

I wanted to find my seat, just to get a lay of the land before the show started. I found my section, but Henry wasn’t able to actually go any further than the curtain, as it was being guarded by a STRICT older woman usher. She was not letting a single soul slip past on her watch. I showed her my ticket and she told me to go all the way down to the bottom-most row and turn left. I knew that AA was the first row so I admittedly didn’t listen very hard to the rest of her instructions. I went down to the first row and was immediately rattled because the last seat in that row was 11, and I was 12?? How could that be? Directly above seat 11 was a seat 12, but that was row BB so I was super confused and now my heart rate was up a bit. I really do not trust TicketMaster or the venues anymore so I really was thinking that I somehow had purchased, for $500+, a seat that didn’t exist

So, I went back to the usher lady and said I couldn’t find a seat 12 in the first row, and she once again reiterated her directions and I, once again, went down to row AA and couldn’t make this invisible seat 12 magically appear. Now I was just in the way of people trying to have their pictures taken with the stage behind them, so I sulked back up the steps, like, “OK great there is no seat there for me so I guess I will just spend the show crying in a garbage can instead.”

At this point, Henry (who kept telling me to CALM DOWN, and NOT TO WORRY ABOUT IT) wanted to use the bathroom before we went to find our respective seats. We just kept walking and walking, passing one women’s room after the next. Finally, Henry stopped to ask a male employee where the closest men’s room was.

“Alllllll the way down that way,” the guy said, motioning with his arm. “There are only two men’s rooms for tonight,” he laughed and we thought he was joking but it was true! Knowing that the majority of the night’s attendees would be women, the arena had turned most of the men’s rooms into women’s room, lol. We had to fight our way downstream, cutting through the unruly merch lines, for idiot Henry to find a damn bathroom.

After peeing in one of the two designated men’s rooms, maybe even christening it, Henry offered to find my seat because I am a lost sheep that needs to be herded. I gave him my phone so he could pretend that it was actually his seat and as the same usher gave him the same directions she gave me, I realized my fatal error: she had said “to the left,” and I, both times, WENT TO THE RIGHT. Literally, I was trying to give myself a worse seat than the one I actually had, by trying to will a seat to appear for me in a section farther from the stage.

What is my problem!? We will talk about my seat in a little bit because when Henry returned with an irritated smirk on his face (“Thanks, I had to make a bunch of people move because your seat is all the on the other side of that row”), I decided that I would just go to my seat closer to the start time of the concert, now that this usher was probably like, “are these two old heads trying to pull one over on me, or?”

Because these fucking concerts are so stupidly expensive, Henry and I can’t afford to sit next to each other because puchasing two seats at once would bankrupt us. OK, that’s being dramatic, but the fact is that while I can justify the cost of a ticket for myself because I am a Never-aging Fan Girl, Henry is content being there, but you know, with the cheapest ticket available. The day of the show, he bought a $60 seat in the upper level (and then proceeded to complain later when people in front of him stood, which prompted the same argument of “THAT IS WHAT YOU DO AT A CONCERT.” When I tell you that I wanted SO BADLY to stand during Genesis, but everyone else in our row was seated and there was a wall of elderly people behind us so I stayed in my seat….Ugh. I hate thinking about it. I was really glad to have had the opportunity to see Genesis, but it was a bit too calm for me.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Henry finding his seat. He had the WRONG SEAT at first, but go on Henry, make fun of me for my inability to follow directions and mentally map out the route to my own seat.

Henry in the Correct Section.

And lookie, there appear to be two dads down there! Henry was very happy to have scored himself an aisle seat. It’s really all he wants when it comes to concerts. Anyway, wow, now that I’m looking at this, upper level at this arena was not so bad!

Next, Henry wanted to buy a BEER. I didn’t think to ask him at that time, but this morning, my friend Alyson asked what kind of beer Henry got. Alyson always asks the important questions! I had to go into the basement to ask him (no, I don’t keep him in a cell down there, he was actually doing work on the Seoul Subway Sign v.2, so yeah, I guess he’s basically imprisoned). He said he got a COORS LIGHT because it was the only beer option. I do know that they were also selling Vizzy (I mean, duh, you can see that in the picture) and that one can cost $22!!! Maybe even $25?? I can’t remember now, but the girl who was sitting to my left had one and she told me how much it cost and I actually felt sick. Then she motioned that she was going to set down in front of her (we had a little wall in front of us so it wasn’t going to topple off of our row and onto the floor or anything, but I was still very protective of and it watched it like a hawk anytime we had to move to let people in or out of our row. I was like Vizzy security.

I was standing behind Henry when he was purchasing his beer (which came in commemorative Allstate Arena cup, wow) and heard the beer-pourer ask, “You here for your daughter?” and Henry said, “No, my wife” which is always so annoying because SWEETHEART you have not earned the privilege to call me your wife?? I leaned forward and yelled, “DON’T LIE!” and the beer-man laughed and then asked him, “Do you listen to this music?” and Henry said YES.

I took this picture after I got to my seat. The concert hadn’t started yet, but they always play MVs beforehand and then everyone screams like the members are actually on the stage, lol. I was so happy with this seat! The lady in red was the staff member guarding the entrance to the floor area which was directly on the other side of my seat. I was so close to the floor that my row (AA) had folding seats as opposed to the regular floor-mounted seats that the other sections had. I had a perfect view of the main stage, but the reason why I chose a section farther away from the main stage was because I knew there would be an extended stage, and that is what I wanted to be closer to. The end of that portion of the stage is right next to the head of that super tall blond girl in the sheer white shirt. It was almost as good as being on the floor as far as proximity to NCT Dream went, but way more comfortable because I was in a row with seats and while of course none of us sat through the concert, we didn’t have to worry about being crushed or having to strain to see past the people in front of us. And the crowd on the floor pretty stayed where they were too, it never expanded to where there people right in front of us, leaning against the sideboard like that striped-shirt person is doing up there. I was nervous about that, but wow, what excellent fortune I had with this seat! I was so worried that I chose poorly!

OK, I think this is all that I wanted to memorialize. In my next post, we will discuss THE CONCERT. Assuming I have returned to earth by then.

Mar 262023
 

Just a friendly reminder that my prince gets discharged from the military in one week.

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God help those around me, for I will be shrieking and sobbing my dumb face off.

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I have tried to avoid any Taemin content while he’s been away but I did a mini-binge this morning and I’m finally starting to let myself get stoked! Even Henry will usually put his phone down and watch if Taemin is on TV.

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Mar 192023
 

As usual, I have been putting off recapping the Kang Daniel show because it was such a perfect evening, and I don’t want that feeling to end!

Let me back up, a bit. When my friend Veronica sent me the announcement of Kang Daniel’s very first North American tour, I think this was back in December, I felt a knee-jerk reaction to buy tickets. Especially when I saw that there was a Toronto date. I don’t want to pretend that I am a huge KD stan, but he was my favorite member of WannaOne and I have always checked out each one of his solo comebacks. He is one of those rare idols with enough talent and charisma to successfully transition from a group to a solo artist. Plus, one of the more recent songs he released in 2020 (“Upside Down”) was one of my absolute favorite songs of the year and will always fondly associate it with driving to and from Six Flags New England last Memorial Day Weekend, when I made Henry and Chooch listen to it approx. 187 times.

I thought for sure Henry would be against this, but when he saw how reasonable the tickets were (GA standing room/floor tickets were around $40!!) he agreed. Plus, excuse to go to Toronto! (Which, in hindsight….lol.) And even Henry was pretty well-versed in KA’s discography.

After seeing the long line outside of the venue, I was convinced that we would be relegated to the very back of the theater, but I managed to immediately nab a spot in the second row from the stage, off to the side (my comfort zone, ha!). Henry stood with me long enough to take the above selfie and then resumed to wall-leaning.  He was mad because he originally had the spot next to that barricade, but when I called him over for the selfie, the guy in the brown jacket usurped his prime location. Cry about it, Henry.

Around 8pm, an announcement came on that started out with “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Danforth would like to apologize…” and immediately I thought for sure the show was canceled for some reason, but no, they were just having some minor technical difficulties and within 20 minutes of the announcement, the lights went out and we were treated with pure professional artistry for the next 90 minutes. When I say I entered this theater as a casual fan and left as a hardcore Danity (the name of his fans), I’m not exaggerating. I didn’t realize how much I needed this night, and how much I had already really loved his songs! I knew 90% of what he performed but it was next level. Henry and I both have been a DEEP Kang Daniel dive since seeing him.

The dancer to the left is the one we saw outside of the venue that I thought could have easily been mistaken for an idol, or at the very least, a chaebol villain from a k-drama!

First of all, his live vocals are incredible. His energy is palpable. And his personality is OFF THE CHARTS. His ability to carry an entire concert on his own really speaks volumes for his charisma and talent. I LOVED when he talked to us in between songs and his fan service was next level – someone held up a sign asking him to draw their next tattoo and he jumped off stage, took the paper from them, and drew a cat. WHAT A LUCKY FAN!! He also recognized someone in the crowd that he had run into the night before at a PC bang (game room) and the exchange was just…so pure.

Another thing to note about Kang Daniel is that he is wildly popular in South Korea. There is a reason that he was the top winner in the elimination show Produce 101 – he really has it all going for him. I mean, that was only like 5 or 6 years ago and he’s since gone on to cultivate a successful solo career and he’s the CEO of his own agency.

You guys. Get on the Kang Daniel train. He’s amazing.

^^^ This is the aforementioned song that I played 187 times in the car on the way to Six Flags. It just got me so hyped! I am so happy that I go to see him perform it live!

I know, no one cares about videos people record at concerts because the quality is shit but I like to get 60 second clips of my favorite songs so I can pull it up on my phone and watch when I need to relive amazing moments. I’m pretty sure the girl behind me recorded the whole entire show because at times it felt like she was actually using my head as tripod, lol. Yet somehow she wasn’t bothering me at all. No one around me bothered me. It was a chill crowd. We were there to shower Kang Daniel with love, not be assholes to one another. I couldn’t have asked for a better concert experience, sincerely.

YOU GUYS CAN YOU SPOT HENRY?? LOL it kills me that he always ends up in these concert photos but I never do. If you look all the way to the left and see the red arm in the air with the black girl next to it? I was RIGHT NEXT to her. Of fucking course I’d get cut out! That’s the theme of my life!

Speaking of Henry, here is his favorite Kang Daniel – sometimes I hear him singing it under his breath and it makes me uncomfy but even worse is when he does his weird wavy arm dance to it. Chooch flipped out the other night when he accidentally witnessed this and demanded that he never do it again lol.

I had so much adrenaline flowing by the time we walked back to the car. It was like the previous frustrations had been wiped from my memory and replaced with Kang Daniel’s sultry pipes.

Oh one more! Here is the tour’s namesake, Parade (I guess I’ll use his live performance that was filmed for Kelly Clarkson because I feel like anytime a Korean artist is on an American talk show, it immediately increases their validity (sigh)):

 

Mar 172023
 

I was so nervous about getting into line for the Kang Daniel show because we were general admission / floor and the line was already long. I’m glad we ended up eating a small meal beforehand because the energy was needed!

(Also, the font somehow keeps changing on me so please enjoy. Maybe I should also change the color as I go along too, throwback to LiveJournal circa 2001. Add a MIDI file to the background.)

The line snaked all the way down the block and was just started to round a corner by the time we reached the end. And then it proceeded to grow longer and longer as we waited for 7pm to roll on up. Everyone in line was very chill and it wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t been SO FUCKING COLD. I was so unprepared, even after checking the weather before leaving Pgh, where we had been enjoying False Spring. Mary, I was wearing a denim jacket and Vans with whatever the next step up from PEDS is. I was icing over, practically. Shivering so hard that my body vibrato was visible to all who looked at me.

A gallant man, had he been my boyfriend, would have maybe wrapped one MAYBE TWO arms around me to help warm me up a bit. Not my gentleman friend! Nope nope nope, gotta stay chaste and platonic-appearing. Armspan apart. Really how did we not break up on this overnighter?!

Shortly after getting into line, a girl walked up to us and asked, “ARE YOU HERE FOR KANG DANIEL?” I said yes and she handed me a little packet of photocards. Then she asked Henry and tucked one into his hand too, I was dying lol. He never gets kpop swag!

Anyway, this was really cool because in addition to the Kang Daniel photocard that had the tour info on the back as a keepsake (this was awesome to have especially since you can’t really get physical concert tickets for most shows anymore and SOME OF US ARE PACKRATS who keep boxes of paper mementos but OK), each packet also contained a photocard of one of Kang Daniel’s dancers!

Mine was Taehee, and Henry got Kyujin who apparently was replaced on the tour with LilDae after Kyujin switched to the role of “performance director” instead. Here’s what the back of the cards said:

Isn’t that the cutest idea?? I definitely tagged Taehee in one of the reels I posted that night, lol. I love shit like this.

Meanwhile, there was a single white guy in front of us. I’ll guestimate that he was in his early 30s perhaps. Almost immediately after getting into line right before us, an Asian girl (based on context clues from their convo, I think she was Chinese) turned to him and ask, “Excuse me, can I ask you a question? So, what brought you here tonight?”

The man said that Kang Daniel was actually recommended to him on Spotify recently and he really liked what he heard. I wasn’t TRYING to spy on their convo, but they were legit right in front of me and it’s not like Henry was entertaining me at all. From what I pieced together, his wife is Korean (?? I think ??) and he is no stranger to kpop. He seemed to lean more toward the girl groups though, while his standing-in-line partner was really into older kpop and mostly boy groups. I was happy to hear her say that she didn’t care much for BTS aside from two songs (“Save Me” – same girl, and “Fake Love”) and that she only started to listen to Kang Daniel the day before, having just a bought a ticket based on the fact that she didn’t want to miss out on any concerts anymore after Covid. Valid!

I kept looking at the poeple sitting inside the Tim Horton’s next to me as a means to stop eavesdropping, but then I was just getting mad because they all looked so warm and cozy with their hot bevvies and donuts.

It was so cold, yo. Plus, Toronto had recently had a snow storm (I originally typed “stormstorm,” please book my brain a room in a detox resort ASAP) that weekend so there were random snowbanks along the sidewalk which just made it seem even colder.

I was not a fan of this.

The line still hadn’t moved after a good 30 minutes, even though it was nearly 7pm by then. The girl in front of us had dropped her Kang Daniel packet so I picked it up and handed it to her. Now she was aware of my existence.

“Excuse me, can I ask you a question?” she started and I was so excited that someone was finally talking to me! I said SURE with probably definitely way too much zeal, to which of course she asked me what brought me there.

I told her in great detail that I had been a fan of Wanna One. “Who was your top pick?” she asked, and I said, “Well, I didn’t watch Produce 101 (the elimination show that Wanna One was born from) but out of Wanna One, Kang Daniel.”

Then she started asking me all of the “Do you know….” questions and luckily I am DEEP IN THE GAME so I was able to yes to everything. She asked if I was going to be going to any other upcoming concerts and I gushed, “OMG NCT DREAM I HOPE!! IF I CAN GET A TICKET!!”

She smiled calmly and said, “Oh, you will you get your ticket, don’t worry!” AND MAYBE SHE IS THE REASON I DID – IS SHE MY KPOP GODMOTHER?? So then we talked about NCT and she asked who my top pick is for that and that’s when I realized she was saying “pick” instead of bias – I never heard that before but I liked it! It made me feel like we were talking about sports, lol.

I told her Ten is my top pick across the whole NCT universe and she exclaimed, “REALLY?” like it was shocking for some reason, but it also made me feel like she was acknowledging the fact that I actually do know my NCTshit, and also I think it’s assumed maybe that most non-Asians tend to pick Korean members as their biases, but two of my top NCT picks are Chinese and Thai.

“Do you like SHINee?” I asked her and she said yes so we started talking about them, Taemin, and SuperM, which she didn’t get to see.

“But it’s OK because Baekhyun is my top pick and I got to see him with EXO,” she said, and that made me happy for her.

Meanwhile, the white guy kept occasionally joining in too because he was interested in the fact that Henry and I came from Pittsburgh for this show. “And you like him too?” one of them asked Henry and GUESS WHAT HE SAID YES.

Then the occasional person would stop and ask our general vicinity of the line what everyone was waiting for and then would say WOW I HAVE NEVER SEEN A LINE THIS LONG FOR THIS VENUE or something else to that effect. The power of kpop, you guys. Kang Daniel probably could have managed to play a bigger venue, honestly!

Now the line was moving but I wasn’t ready to stop talking so I blurted out, “ACTUALLY, MY ALL TIME TOP PICK IS G-DRAGON!”

I fucking swear to god, this girl turned around, looked me up and down with a smirk and said, “Of course he is.”

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!!? LOLOLOLOL!

And then she said, “But….actually, I feel sorry for you—” and yo, she didn’t even need to finish that statement because I feel sorry for me too and all BIGBANG fans out there. It is literally the most depressing fandom to be a part of.

By now, the line was moving swiftly, and we got through security quickly and without incident. When we were waiting for our turn though, a VERY ATTRACTIVE Korean guy in a super cool white satin baseball-type of jacket with cool embroidering on the back came out of the venue and was talking to a girl in Korean. I was like, “WHO IS THIS GUY, HE LOOKS LIKE HE COULD BE AN IDOL” and we found out once the show started that he was one of the dancers – I WISH I HAD GOTTEN HIS CARD, OMG HE WAS SO CUTE.

Anyway. *clears throat*

It was really nice talking to these people in line – I love kpop fans. All those other concerts I used to stand in line for and most people were either too cool for school or just total assholes that I didn’t want to talk to anyway. But people at kpop concerts are so nice. I will say that way less people in my life give me shit for liking kpop these days as they did in the beginning, but it is still so very comforting to be surrounded by all these people who share your love for Korea and its music. Just this moment alone was enough to turn the whole day around, and I knew that once we got inside, it was destined to get even better.