As a fan of Asian pop music living in America, I don’t get many chances to see live concerts. I’d been to a couple concerts at anime conventions (like Hangry & Angry and Morning Musume), but my first real concert was TVXQ in Los Angeles last year. The concert was during Anime Expo, literally right next door to the con, and since I was already going to be there for AX, it was easy for me to hop over and see the concert too. It was like a dream come true, as TVXQ was my favorite group, and I never expected them to come over here to do a concert. They are one of the most successful K-pop groups though, so I guess it really wasn’t all that surprising that they would eventually come. It was a little weird for me, since I was used to listening to all of their songs in Japanese, but it was amazing to see some of my favorite songs performed live, and they did sing two of their Japanese-only songs as well. They were such incredible dancers and put on a great show. Even though our seats were a little far back, I really enjoyed it, and I thought nothing could top that experience.
Shortly after that I
got into became obsessed with U-KISS. U-KISS is not an extremely well-known group and is not part of a major label, so I never dared hope they would come to do a concert here. Imagine my surprise and excitement when they suddenly announced their first U.S. Tour for January 2014! I could hardly believe it, but I knew for sure there was no way I was going to miss it and that I had to get the best tickets available. I knew they would probably do a concert in San Francisco, since one of the members, Kevin, is actually from the SF Bay Area (specifically Danville, which is very close to where I live)! The SF concert ended up being on the single worst day of the month possible for me — I had to cancel a convention in order to go, but it was absolutely worth it. To top it all off, the first 150 people to purchase VIP tickets at each concert would also get a photo with U-KISS! My mind was blown. A chance to see them up close! Getting tickets was a bit of a challenge. The servers crashed, and actually I was never able to get through, but a friend managed to snag three tickets, so we were set!
The day of the concert I wore pink to show my support. Yes, their fan color is PINK. How perfect is that? My favorite color! My friends and I got pink glow sticks, and we were ready to go! We didn’t worry about getting there too early — my friends and I are quite a bit older than most of the other fans, and we weren’t about to fight them for a spot in the front. Truth is, the theater where the concert was held was so small, we stood at the back of the VIP section and probably got one of the best views of the concert. We were close, but just far enough back that we could see the entire stage at once. Since most of the other VIP attendees were trying to squeeze up to the front, that also meant we had all the space in the back to relax and move around if we wanted. No, we didn’t get to touch the guys or interact with them like some of the fans up front got to, but honestly I’d rather have a better view, so I can watch the whole dance.
The concert itself was excellent, and I’m not just saying that because U-KISS is my favorite group. The boys are talented, yes, but they are much more than just that. U-KISS stands for Ubiquitous Korean International (Idol) Super Stars — and they really try their best to live up to their name. Three of the members are fluent in English (two are American and a third went to an international school and is now studying at Columbia University). They were able to talk directly to the fans without an interpreter and could really interact with the audience during the concert. In addition, U-KISS is a group that really appreciates and cares about their fans all over the world. They were constantly coming up to the front of the stage and reaching out to fans. They did a Q&A session in the middle of the concert, during which they picked questions that would yield the greatest amount of fan service possible. Kevin serenaded one girl with Bruno Mars’s “Just the Way You Are”, and Soohyun sang a dramatic “Happy Birthday” to another girl (they both sounded incredible). Also, one lucky superfan got to be on stage with the guys as they performed “Mysterious Lady”. It really felt like they were working hard to put on the best show possible and make sure all of their fans were happy. The guys were also extremely goofy at times, not afraid to joke around and act stupid in front of their fans. This level of interaction really made the concert a unique and fun experience.
As for the songs they performed, it was mostly their main Korean songs. The set list actually felt kind of short, because they talked so much (which was fine ♥ they still got through all the major songs). I was delighted that they performed “Someday”, as it’s one of my favorites. They only performed two Japanese songs, “Tick Tack” and “Forbidden Love” (more of my favorites, and awesome to see live). I was disappointed that they didn’t perform any of their Japanese songs from 2013. I thought they would at least sing “Inside of Me”, since it was used in the official promotion video for the U.S. Tour. I understand that they would want to focus on their Korean songs though. It would be a dream to go to one of their Japanese concerts someday. They have so many great Japanese songs!
I don’t have any pictures or video from the concert. I was too busy watching! Actually, I found that even waving my glow stick was too much of an effort while I was trying to focus on watching them dance. Haha. Sorry, I’m a boring person. U-KISS is my favorite group, but I can’t be loud and crazy, it’s just not physically possible. I had my eyes glued to Kiseop practically the entire time. He’s such a great dancer! It really inspired me to want to go home and practice more myself!
I only have two small regrets from the concert. One was the photo session — it went by so fast, I forgot to look at half of the members. Mostly I saw Kevin, who is like a shining beacon of friendliness. I did a heart pose for my picture, and Kevin told me “nice heart!”, so that made me happy. As I was walking away, I glanced at Kiseop, but he wasn’t even paying attention. Oh well. I think it turned out ok, considering how they were rushing us through. I’ll only know if it was really a success or not once I see the picture. Also hopefully they will be back for more concerts, so I’m sure I’ll get more chances to meet them. They are really so friendly and kind to their fans! My second regret was that I was not able to buy the official light stick, because they sold out. I knew I should’ve ordered one online! Yeah, I know… big deal, right? Like I said, small regret. I did make sure to write them a fan letter. It was the first time I’ve been inspired to write one, not only because they can actually read English, but because they seem like the kind of idols who would really appreciate the gesture and actually read them. I know how good it feels to receive any letter of support, so I wanted to do my part. I also wanted to wish Kiseop a Happy Birthday — actually it’s tomorrow, the same day as my mine (although I’m much older…)! What a funny coincidence, since he is my favorite!
I’ve been following the guys on Twitter and on YouTube through Mnet America’s Go! U-KISS series (posted below – I found Clip #4 to be the most entertaining). It was fun to see the guys get excited about coming to America, go sight-seeing, and enjoy the food here. It sounds like all the concerts went well too. I hope they all had a great time and that they will be back again before too long!
Edit: I got my photo on my birthday (Happy Birthday to me)! As expected, I look like a dork, but the photo came out pretty well! I am still cracking up at AJ’s face (far left). I took a brief look through the gallery and I feel bad for the fans whose photos were out of focus. I’m relieved that my photo turned out as a success, and I have this nice memento of such a great concert!
Also I forgot to post the stuff I got from the concert! All VIP ticket holders got a free t-shirt, which is the same as the ones the guys are wearing in the photo (my picture below shows the back of the shirt). I also bought U-KISS’s latest Korean album “Moments”, which came with an autographed postcard.