EXO PLANET #2: The EXO'luXion
Sunday, February 21, 2016 (6:30pm)
Disclaimer: This fan account is just as much a record of events that day as a diary entry of an emotional journey. With that said, it is overwrought with detail and overly flowery language, as I try to fully capture the magic of those three hours. Days, months, even years down the line, I don't want to forget a single second of it.
The writing is honestly more a cesspool of rambling thoughts sprinkled with a dash of actual event documentation. The breakdown is something like this:
30% Artistic License -- I have somehow decided to make write a mini-adventure story out of this
30% Psychoanalysis/Self-therapy/Inner dialogue
20% My EXO backstory/thoughts on the group
20% ProfanityI had also intended to embed concert photos and vids but I broke my computer and everything from the concert was on there, and I honestly have no idea if it'll ever be able to retrieve them, so this will be just a big chunk of text for now (and possibly forever). Soz :(
I draw sweeping generalizations through the fan account when, in fact, I know nothing. But this is all in the name of a more romantic, exciting reading experience. Please do not crucify me if I misrepresent something.
I draw sweeping generalizations through the fan account when, in fact, I know nothing. But this is all in the name of a more romantic, exciting reading experience. Please do not crucify me if I misrepresent something.
FYI I am a shameless Baek stan and have tunnel vision only for him, so the majority of the flaily comments will be about him. ...You have been warned.
TLDR: This thing is entirely too long and dramatic. I wrote so much it exceeded the posting limit so I had to split it into not two, but
LAMEASS PRE-GAME ► CONCERT ► SETLIST ANALYSIS ► SAPPY THOUGHTS
This was the first time I was attending a k-pop concert and I got all hyped up about buying tickets, since the only people I knew who were going were really into EXO and as crazy as me, so it felt like the entire world was waiting for ticket sales were open. (In retrospect, I totally overestimated the demand.) When the tickets were released at 8pm (soooo nerve-wracking omfg I'm positive it was even worse than college decisions coming out), I refreshed consecutively for the first ten minutes without any luck. At first, I thought that maybe all the tickets had sold out and I wasn't going to get one. Nevertheless, I sat there and kept refreshing and fifteen minutes in, Ticketmaster finally showed me a ticket for Section 21, putting me wayyy out there into Siberia to the right of the stage (lower level). I had hoped to get a standing ticket but at this point, I didn't care what it was. I just wanted anything to get in. Without hesitation, I paid for it.
But then I was greedy and curiosity got the better of me, so I kept refreshing and about 40 minutes in, I was shown one in Section 18 in the lower row numbers. This gave me a nearly dead center view of the stage and very close to the pit (though still seated). I was so, so excited to get something with a better view. Without hesitation, I paid for it. (It cost more than the previous one.)
But then I was greedy and curiosity got the better of me, and I started telling myself that the extended stage wasn't going that far out anyway, so I wouldn't get to see them well even if I was in the lower rows. So I kept refreshing and refreshing and refreshing and then, by some miracle, I got a GA TICKET!!!!! I THOUGHT I WON THE LOTTERYYYY. I felt so lucky to nab one, especially when there were plenty of fansites on twitter seeking GA tickets. Without hesitation, I paid for it. (It cost more than the previous one.)
At this point, I stopped myself because now I have three fucking tickets, but I am only going by myself. (Just for YOUR curiosity, I did refresh a few hours later and found a GA3 one, but I didn't pull the trigger on it and kept by GA5. Otherwise this story would had another paragraph.) So now I am nearly $600 in and I have two extra tickets. FUCKKKKKK
Instead of reveling in the euphoria of getting a GA pit ticket, I spend the next hours, days, weeks posting/stalking/aggressively and shameless marketing my two seated tickets on every message board I can get my hands on. It took me only a week to sell both of them, but damn, that week felt so long. Each day felt like three because I was putting so much pressure on myself to SELL THEM WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF YOU IDIOT SELL THEM NOW AS IF THEY HAVE HALF-LIVES OF 2 SECONDS. I ended up selling them at nearly half the face value because I was so desperate to get rid of them.
I was still burdened with the need to recover the remaining few hundred dollars, so then for the three weeks leading up to the concert, I sold a lot of my personal things online to gather funds. It was really sad to be honest when I thought about how I had completely knowingly dug myself into this hole. I totally could have survived just swallowing the loss, but I felt required to break even. I absolutely HADDD TO recover the money. And so I stayed up wayyy too late wayyy too many nights writing up descriptions, researching prices, and going out to buy more things to arbitrage, just to scrap together the money. Eventually, I did earn back all that I paid for my two extra tickets.
I guess that's a small hooray, but it really sucked all the excitement away from the concert. I was briefly hyped the night I purchased the tickets, but starting the next morning, it was smothered out by this new assignment I had placed on myself. Thinking about the concert was no longer a joyous event, but rather it was tainted by the reminder that I had two extra tickets fucking laying around that I needed to somehow find an owner for, in the midst of so many price wars between other buyers and sellers doing exactly the same thing. It was definitely NOT fun.
Needless to say, my mind was completely occupied with all the marketplace dynamics (in addition to work) that I never had the time nor energy to even think about EXO and really think about what it meant to see them live. I was only able to break even a day or two before the concert, so it didn't give me much time to relax and hype myself up again, now that I was finally free from the burden of scraping back the money. I had been repeating and advertising the concert details over and over again in so many listings that the entire event felt like a plastic product now. I had lost all the emotional connection to the concert, and sadly, I just couldn't wait to stop thinking about it.
Long story short, I was stupid and greedy and it bit me in the ass and sucked all the pleasure away from concert anticipation, which was actually something I was so looking forward to. I wanted to feel that suspense building up in me and feel so incredibly happy and jump around with others I knew who were going...but I didn't, so I couldn't.
(I PROMISE IT'S NOT ALL BAD, OKAY? PLEASE KEEP READINGGG)
Fast forward to the day of...
MyMusicTaste claimed that GA was entering by ticket number and mine was Section GA5, Row GA2, which would be the third to last to enter, so I figured I'd be in all the way at the back, like really, really far back. I was considering making a sign days ago for Baekhyun, but then thinking about my likely location, I decided not to. I mean it's not like he'd see me all the way back there, right? (Remember this.)
Nevertheless, I still wanted to support Baekhyun, so the night before, I painted my nails with three iconographs—a heart, a Baekpup, and a Baeksprout. Not like he, nor anyone else would have noticed, not even people standing in line beside me, but I liked the little flutter that shot through my heart from my secret declaration of love and support.
I was also speaking to Goddess X and she suggested I bring some binoculars since I would be standing far away, so at around 12, I left my apartment to hunt some down at Best Buy and grab some soju. The weird thing was that at noon, which is 6 hours before the concert, I felt absolutely nothing about it...l had no excitement, no feelings, no anything. I just felt numb like any other Sunday morning when I wake up and am filled with immediate dread because tomorrow is Monday and Monday means work.
I was hoping that the soju would help warm me up and at least tease out some actual emotions in me (and also to help tie me through the being in the mosh pit at the venue). I just wanted to feel something. Anything. I ended up having to travel to two different stores because binoculars weren't in stock (who knew they were in such high demand in February?), which sent me thirty minutes behind schedule. I grabbed some soju before heading home, which was painless and easy as pie. I scarfed down some lunch I had grabbed from a Korean buffet place the night before (kimchi fried rice, jeon, kimbap, bulgogi, tteokbokki, etc. basically all of Korea) and chugged it down with soju. The alcohol had no effect. I still didn't feel anything. I also drank maybe 5 glasses of water in the one hour I had left, since I didn't want to drink anything during the line and then torture myself with a non-existent bathroom break.
The train I was planning to take left at 2:47pm, which would have given me enough time to pick up my light stick and any of the free fan goods that they were passing out. By the time I finished eating, it was 2:30pm, and I was like neeehhh, I'll take the next one afterwards, which departed at 3:07 pm. I dressed in a concert-inspired outfit—a light bone white button down with a deep navy accented collar and cuffs, along with some black ripped jeans (100 points for Gryffindor if you can spot the stage set inspiration).
I also applied some light burgundy makeup in honor of Baekhyun's glorious eyes look, not like it matched with my outfit, but I'm going by myself and I'm standing in the dark for 3 hours so who the fuck really cares. And I also wore my leather work watch even though time matters very little if I've already surrended myself to waiting hours in the line, along with a replica of Baekhyun's fearless bracelet. I heard it was going to rain so I wore a deep crimson raincoat. (I always stick out like a sore thumb when I wear this, but it's my favorite, and fashion is not for the tame.)
Since I preordered merchandise, they had advised that we pick it up before 4:30. Otherwise, we'd have to wait until after the concert it. According to PATH train timetables, the trip from WTC to Newark would only take around 25 minutes so I was going to be there way ahead of 4:30 even if I left at the 3:07 train...I was going to be totally fine (ha).
I had been following the MMT Twitter account and reading fan accounts of the North American tour, so I knew about all the clusterfuck that MMT had caused at each concert. Though they reiterated a million times that we were lining up by ticket number, I still didn't really trust them because in the previous locations, it devolved into some form of first come first serve. Even though I was already showing up 3 hours before doors opened, I still feared that I'd be arriving too late. (Prudential Center had also sent out an email the day before recommending us to only show up an hour earlier. Ha, what kind of sane people do they think we are.)
I could have shown up in the morning and wasted (sorry that "waste" is not the nicest term, but I feel that way quite frankly) away entirely too many hours of my life to guarantee a relatively good spot, but nothing would have willed me to get there that early. (I'm starting to realize that I'm not as passionate a fan as I'd like to be...) Plus, I wasn't even feeling any hype at this point, three hours before the concert...absolutely nothing. It almost felt like going to a family dinner. (Wouldn't it be amazing (and incestual) if they were my family?!?!) It was purely an obligation, which is just terrible I KNOW. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME--OH SHIIIT it's 2:50pm I'm going to be late for the train!! AAAHHHHHH
I was nearly sprinting to the WTC PATH train hub for my train from Manhattan to Newark, which according to the internet was to depart soon after 3pm. I was still two blocks outside the station at 3pm, and I definitely ran past some other concert goers (very easy to spot with the heavily Koreanesque style of dress amongst a sea of black tweed coats) and I was almost wondering why they were walking towards the station so leisurely. But every man for themselves and I couldn't be bothered if they were going to be late. I just needed to get on on time.
I was definitely the most stressed-out looking person inside the station even as I walked to the platform, through the throngs of passengers walking very calmly with me to the same destination. I didn't even want to spare a glance at my watch for fear of putting even more pressure on myself. I nearly jumped down the stairs and lept into the open train car and stood there, trying to catch my breath and avoiding the odd stares from other passengers. And I waited for the doors to close and waited and and waited and soon the concert goers I had passed got on and now we all waited and it wasn't until 3:15 that we left. 7 minutes behind schedule that felt like eternity. Okay, so fine, the train was departed was only slightly late. I still have 75 minutes until 4:30, so puh-LENTY of time for the trip over.
The train chugs along and I whip out my book to start reading for the nearly half-hour ride, but then 3-4 stops in (there are around 7 total), it stops midway on the tracks. After 5 minutes at a standstill, the intercom comes on belatedly to apologize for the delay (um, yeah OBVIOUSLY mega eye rolls) and reassures us that "we will be moving shortly". But then we don't and we wait in silence again for another 5 minutes before they apologize again and then we wait again, and this process repeats for a laughable 5 times. We were probably waiting in the same spot for around 20 minutes and as per usual with public transportation in the area, no one knows why.
I am painfully aware that it's 3:50 at this point, and I know that I'm at least 3 stops away (I'd say, that means at minimum 10 very, very optimistic minutes). This was the first time I had taken this particular train route, so I didn't have a good sense of the actual transportation time. I tried to act relaxed like all the other passengers and concertgoers who were chatting away freely, but I buried myself in my book to hide the fact that I was flipping out internally, turning pages at lightning speed as my eyes raced across the text, knowing full well that nothing resonated in my head and I was just looking at a design of blank lines printed on white paper. Maybe if I pretended that things are alright, things WILL be alright. Motto of my life, man.
It's 4:10 when I finally get off the train. I type in the address to Prudential Center on my phone and it estimates 17 minutes walking. That would put me at 4:27, and I'd still be on time, granted no mistakes. Plus, I'd like to think that all the walking in New York has raised my walking speed to above average. Maybe I had a 5-minute cushion instead. Glancing down the street, I orient myself and confidently walk down the road. I GOT THIS, I keep repeating to myself. And I keep walking and walking and walking and something doesn't feel right and....how come I'm still not at the road I'm looking for...and I look back down at my map and realized that I'VE BEEN WALKING IN THE OPPOSITE FUCKING DIRECTION THE WHOLE TIME!!!!!! I DON'T GOT THIS. I DON'T GOT THIS. I DON'T GOT ANY OF THIS!!!!
At this point, it's 4:23 (LMAO) and I have to be at the venue in 7 minutes. 7 minutes to retrace all my steps from the past 10+ minutes back to the train station and then further on onto the opposite side. I may have tried to play it cool before, but this was a dire emergency, so I sprint all the way back towards the trains and then past it towards the venue. My red raincoat is double-lined and quite warm and combining that with my anxiety and running, had painted my cheeks bright pink. I looked like a tomato streaking through a dreary rundown neighborhood.
It's 4:27pm and I round the corner of the bridge and I faintly see the venue across the street at the top of the hill. I want to drop to my knees and cry (there's some sort of religious reaction I'm having at that point). There's a red light and I'm both grateful that I can catch my breath for a bit and fighting myself not to run through traffic to cross the street. Longest 30 seconds of my life. Green light! GOOOO!!! I charge up the freaking HUGE gently sloping hill (which burns soooo much more than a short steep one) and I think I might just collapse when I finally reach the top and see the Prudential Center in its entirety. I'm not sure if it's from exhaustion, relief or shock at the ten different lines snaking around back and forth and disappearing around corners of the building. I didn't even know where the head nor tail was. My head is spinning at just everything.
It's 4:29pm and desperation mode is kicking in, where anything feels possible. I grab random people walking past me to ask about the merchandise tent and one pointed wayyyyyyyyyyy to the other side of the building but told me that they might have been closing already. I look out into the distance. I can't even see anything resembling a tent or table or anything, so it be around the corner. There's no way I'd make there in time, not when my HP is nearly zero. I think I'd be more heartbroken if I went to find it closed and then have to embark on some walk of shame back to my current standing spot. No, apparently anything was NOT possible this time. I accept my fate and turn around to find where the fuck I was supposed to be standing with my non-existent light stick.
As I walk past people, I can feel their eyes on me, not only for the color of my jacket, but also for the fact that I look so flustered and I'm out of breath and sweaty and my hair is matted along my face and cheeks are flushed. What the fuck did they think I was doing before? (Actually, no, don't answer that.)
I finally find the GA5 line only through speaking to other people, as clear direction and signage did not exist there. We're up against the wall of the venue, while GA3 was in a line outside of us. (I presume GA1, 2, and 4 were on the other side of the building.) Once I finally calm down, I start to actually feel things in my body, like the fact that I'm hungry, I'm sleepy, and I'm alone. I pull out a banana from my cross body and angrily peel it open before I stuff it into my mouth.
I'm so frustrated that I didn't get the light stick! I nabbed a MMT staff member and asked but she "didn't know but thinks that I'll have to pick it up after the concert" -_- I FUCKING ASKED YOU BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME YOU DON'T KNOW YOU ARE A STAFF MEMBER WHAT YOU TOLD ME I ALREADY KNOW BC I READ IT OFF THE FUCKING TWITTER ACCOUNT AND IT'S PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE. I want to throw my banana at her (jk, I think banana eating happened after asking her). I kinda huffed at her and decided to spare her life for the time being.
I think I let slip a microscopic silent baby tear. I didn't bring anything else with me! How fucking lame would it be to go to the concert with nothing to show support? I was looking so forward to participating in the silver ocean, and now I'm just going to be standing there awkward and out of place, like driftwood atop the silver water. I hate myself. I chew furiously and swallow hard--both the banana and my oh so bitter feelings.
I am alone and I'm beginning to feel a little (okay A LOT) sorry for myself, so I pull out my book and start reading again to stay occupied for the next two hours. Hell no, I'm not in the mood to socialize with everyone else who's smiling and dressed head to toe in EXO and calm and life is just completely peachy for them. I'm yawning incessantly because apart from the two, no, three (IDK I just know that I'm chronically late to everything) races against time I've had so far this morning, I got up at 7am for no particular reason at all.
It starts to drizzle here and there and I pull up the hood of my coat, except it's too big for my head and covers my eyes completely, so I have to stick out my neck to see past its edge and onto the pages of book. I am Little Red Riding Hood, the bookish monkey, with a banana peel hanging out of my bag. I most definitely don't look like I belong here, like I'm lost and mistakenly got in line, thinking that it's the queue to take me back to my storybook home.
Chatty girls beside me are talking about school or recalling their travel adventures and giggling over EXO. Other younger kids are waving eagerly at their parents who with wait them outside the barricade, both with smiling faces. The majority of the crowd is dressed in Growl era varsity clothes. My company is my book, which is Korean fiction commentating on material wealth, social power, and dysfunctional families in contemporary society. I am dressed in the latest dementor fashion. (Crimson is the next trendy color, haven't you heard?) You could have plucked me up and threw me into any other crowd and I would have looked relatively normal. You couldn't do that with too many others in line. I feel overaged and underdressed.
At around 5:30, a lady comes around with a megaphone warning in both English and Korean that no cameras are allowed. No one moved. WELL DUH OBVIOUSLY. Yeah, like I'm going to leave my camera out here and hope that it'll still be there for me to pick up afterwards. Seriously though, question for the ages, what would do you in that situation?
It's not long after that that a MMT staff randomly appears in the middle of our line and asks us to pull out our tickets. In black Sharpie, she permanent marker-s out 5-digit ticket number in big fat letters that cover the entire back of our hand: GA#_SEC#_3-digit SEAT#. I feel like I'm getting assigned an inmate number. As she's branding me, I'm wondering how bad it would look tomorrow at work. (Believe me, I scrubbed at it HARD after I got home, but they don't call it permanent for nothing. It was definitely a conversation started the next day... "hey, whose extension number did you pick up over the weekend?" LMAO NO, thank god no one asked that. I did, however, receive compliments on my nails and husky post-concert voice. AND I walked around that Monday with a slight limp in my step from soreness. It looked like I got fucked up real nice Sunday night, which I did...by EIGHT GODS...COUNT 'EM!)
The intent behind the numbers was to preserve lining up in ticket order. We had to self-sort ourselves (ha) by the first two digits on our hand. Since all the GA5 people were together, we really only looked at the second number. But no one cared to sort by the third digit, the seat number, so it ended up being sorted by ticket by the first two digits and then FCFS for the last three. We pretty much had to climb over each other just to organize ourselves by this one section number. THERE ARE SOOO MANY BETTER WAYS TO IMPLEMENT THIS
There were three Japanese girls behind me who were very much tourists and didn't speak English. I really hope they didn't fly from Japan to NY just for this concert...
Overall, the demographics of the lines are probably 95% girls (65% of which is Asian) and 5% guys (yeah, representttt). Age-wise, I’d say 50% high school or younger, 30% college, and then 18% twenties, 2% older. (This is excluding parents who are roped into accompanying their child.)
It's already 5:45 and the lines are still at a standstill and I'm wondering how dafuq the concert will start at 6:30. Soon after, GA3 starts moving, which unites everything in unnecessary cheer because we are fucking bored out of my minds and so sick of talking to the person beside us and any movement is entertaining. We're all screaming together, waving them goodbye excitedly, like sending them off on a great trip, only to see them move 5 feet. And OH, you two GA3 people are still near me. Well, HI, this is awkward...
Our line behind begins to move as well, albeit very, very slowly, but eventually (somehow) we're faster than GA3 as we near the doors and get to Security first, before they follow behind. In the barricade, the line was around 3 people wide, but with five different security stations long the entrance to the Prudential Center and no set lines to each station, it was a free for all. We streamed out of the metal gates like floodwater from a broken dam.
While I was waiting in line, I can see past Security, sprinting up the 50 steps entrance steps to reach the arena main floor. Not many chose to ride the escalator, for fear of giving up their precious GA spots. It was when I saw these people running and screaming with glee that it finally started to hit me, where I was and what I was doing. Shit, I was going to see EXO live. I'm really doing this. This is really happening.
Security involved us walking through a scanner with our arms raised--phone and keys in our hands, held above our heads. We had to drop off our bags on a table as personnel went through them. There was some light pushing and shoving just to get to Security. I can honestly say, I have never been so many eager to go through Security, so I could finally barrel up the steps and into the arena. I could feel the excitement in everyone. The lines were buzzing with energy, especially after having weathered the bipolar drizzle and being stacked against each other for so many hours.
I (purposefully?) tripped up the security guy because I brought the binoculars in a black bag and I KNEW it was going to grab his attention. He probably thought it was a camera and had some schadenfreuden pleasure in catching me with it but HA, NOT A CAMERA MERONG~. I bet he was very disappointed HAHA I GET THE LAST LAUGH HAHAHAHAHA
There was a separate area for people to drop off their bookbags, since they're not allowed in. They didn't force us to take off our jackets though (which I presume would've made waiting in lines even longer) and people TOTALLY could've gotten things in...
Once we passed through Security, there was yet ANOTHER line at one of 4 stations, where people got wristbands for their ticket section. GAs were all yellow. Seated tickets were lining up at another location so they weren't involved in this madness at all, but I later saw them with blue and green wristbands. After we are tagged with the wristband, we then have to wait in line until they allowed us to barge up the steps and into the actual arena. There was so much anticipation at this point, like a herd of angry bulls waiting to be released. We're pretty much pushing against each other at this point to get close as possible to behind the waiting line.
And then, we're off! The security person lets us up and I take two steps at a time all the way up to the upper platform. And I'm a little bit lost at first because there are no signs anywhere of what's where, but I see swarms of people at the merchandise place on my left, purchasing EXO posters and other goods. I wander to the right, cutting across an empty snack bar, that I wasn't even sure I was allowed through and then…
OMG IT’S THE FUCKING STAGE!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH FLAILFLAILFLAILFLAILFLAIL
I take a moment to snap a quick pic and freak out internally because the screen with EXO’luXion (I still have to look at my lightstick right now to figure out how the fuck that's even spelled) is glowing in white and lavender against the black screen. And I can see the dust particles being lit by the screen and it almost feels ethereal, like I'm walking into a mist, an unknown place, a fantasy.
After a brief lapse, I’m directed to take the stairs down through the seated seats. The pathway down is in some fucking obscure area. Seriously, the layout and directions here were no good. If there weren't loud people in front of me, I totally would have missed the pathway to walk down. I keep my composure as I take steady steps down. Now would not be the time to fall down 50 steps. Remember now, I'm all about being cool~ Keep your cool, pretend you're not seeing EXO, pretend you're not seeing FUCKING EXO, preten--HOLY FUCK IM WALKING DOWN TO THE PIT WHERE I'LL SEE EXOOOOOOOOOOO
I enter the pit, which is surprisingly civil (at this point) and surprisingly small and very, very close to the stage. I'd say I'm about twenty feet out, maybe 15 people deep into the pit. I pull out my binoculars to test, but it zooms in far too much. I'm too close to the stage for it the be very useful. (Ha, would have NEVER thought I'd be saying that when I purchased it this morning.)
Everyone is just standing there chatting leisurely, actually quite calm. It's 6:38pm exact and people are still trickling in and nearly half the seats are empty, showing no signs of filling up soon, and I'm just standing there, just inhaling this entire atmosphere and it is surreal. Even if the concert hadn't started. It's absolutely unreal. I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe I'm seeing EXO. WHAT THE FUCK I HAVE TO BE DREAMING I AM SO LUCKY. HOW ARE THERE SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE WHO KNOW AND LOVE EXO. I MUST BE DREAMING
I hear some people around me complaining about not being able to see at all (soz). I couldn't see the floor of the stage, but I was sure I'd see their faces. Some people decide to step back where they're away from the immediate crowd and can get a full view of the stage without fighting to see over heads. I decided if I'm going to be in the pit, I might as well get as close as I get. I paid for the crazy, might as well be part of it.
I stood there and admired all the EXO gear and all the fan signs and light sticks that everyone had, and I was starting to get so bummed that I didn't have a light stick and that I wouldn't be able to contribute my smallest share to the ocean of lights. Man, if I weren't already so devoid of emotions by then, I most definitely would have cried right then and there. It's dark and no one knows you. It's the perfect setting to cry, lbr.
I stand there for maybe five minutes but then I get antsy and don't really have anyone to talk to and momma tired and momma aint lookin to make friends and I start checking my phone and MMT tweets that they have merchandise for pick up inside the stadium before the concert. WHAT?!?! THIS IS THE KIND OF FLIP FLOPPITY MISCOMMUNICATION I'M TALKING ABOUT but I'm not complaining this time. I briefly wonder if I'm going to lose my spot in the pit if I leave but it's a fleeting thought as I'm charging back up the steps to the pick up area which was…EXACTLY THAT AREA I PASSED WHEN I FIRST ENTERED THE ARENA. You know that place that was selling merchandise? Yeah, it was right fucking there and I missed it when I first walked in >:(
I was so nervous waiting in line for my light stick because what if someone took my spot in the pit? What if in the two minutes I'm gone 1000 people flood the pit and I'm relegated to the back? WHAT IF????? I finally pick up the stick and the lady tells me to test it out before leaving because I get no refund after I leave the area if it’s damaged. I literally rip open the packaging which is a feat in and of itself because the paper insert is taped tightly against a hard plastic sleeve and I pretty much bend peel the plastic back to get the lightstick, slicing up my fingers pretty splendidly, but WHO CARES OMG MY LIGHSTICK!!! I turn it on, and I gasp out loud, and it is so beautifulllllll. Seriously, apart from my EXO-tainted view, the design of it is really quite nice with the gradation of white reflectors A+++++
Armed with my lightstick, my arm, no my entire body now feels complete, and there's no more nagging worries on my mind and I can finally relax, which means....trip to the bathroom! I do my business (#1 if you were ACTUALLY curious ahem) and I'm about to wash my hands when I suddenly hear a collective roar of screams outside and I'm like LOL FUCK SANITATION and I sprint out the bathroom door without washing my hands. (If you want to un-friend me now, I understand.)
I find out that it's only a video playing, but I fly down the steps and try not combust into a cloud of shrieks as I wedge myself back into the crowd. I can feel the energy growing even when the vid is nothing but glorifed propaganda, and the murmurs are getting louder as everyone watches the audition recruitment video. And people start screaming when Lay starts talking and when they advertise the US audition locations and then whenever their favorite bands show up as part of the SM brainwashing. I'm not really diehard into any other groups, so I just kinda stood there emotionless, waiting for everything to pass and for people to calm their tits, waiting for EXO to actually SHOW THE FUCK UP
And then the video ends and we returned to watching the banners of ads scroll across the arena. Some of these ads are brightly colored and it's obvious they're ads. The funnier thing one is the ad in white letters against a black background. When it switches to this darker ad, the entire concert floor gets noticeably darker because of the ad is majority black, and people think that the concert has started because it's gotten dimmer and there’s a hush that falls over everyone. And then a few seconds pass and we realize, it’s the fucking ad again and the general dull roar resumes. It happens EVERY single time, it's so funny. I was so entertained by this. I'm starting to think that I was getting a bit delusional from my solitude...
Someone near me finds the EXO V app live stream and a few crowd around her to watch. I am so surprised by how she discovered it. Was she refreshing the app constantly?...because this was an unannounced broadcast. After the concert, I go back to watch it and Baekhyun is so precious passed out on the couch, sleeping with his legs spread wide open. Kai's "mollayo, chicken burrito-eyo (✿ ^o^ ✿)" is too fucking cute I want to reach into the screen to pinch his little cheeks. I can't believe this happened behind the stage. They were such babies in the vid and then they come out to perform Overdose with so much masculine charm.
After a while, the same SM audition tape plays again and for the new people who had joined the arena, they cheer intensely like our first time and we go through exactly the same applause pattern again. People are still trickling in at this point, either from the line outside or returning from having purchased merchandise. The arena that’s now becoming more filled is beginning to pulse with anticipation. It’s around 6:45pm and it feels like a fucking lifetime that I've been standing there, and I am so bored staring at the ads scrolling across and I’m starting to think that maybe the concert will never start and that maybe they just roped us into this pit area to gather for an informal EXO conference for fans. We'd all be gathered here, standing very closely to each other, voting on and searching up EXO music videos on a desktop that would appear on the screen, and we'd watch and sing their songs together. That's all we'd do. We would be both the audience and the performers for three fucking hours.
The suspicion doesn't last long though, because eventually, it comes.
It’s around 6:50 when the lights start to dim, and the improbable dream begins…