(Now, I didn’t exactly go to this concert myself, but my sister did and she has all the video footage to prove it! It’s a pretty good showcase of how the audience looked at the concert since she sat so high, and the POV makes it feel like I’m actually there!)
My sister went to go watch the K-pop group Seventeen perform at the UBS Arena in Elmont, right here in Long Island, NY. The group had become one of her favorites in recent memory, and she was offered to go by some family friends of ours who also got tickets. The prices weren’t all that bad, and this was the only chance to finally see them live as far as she was concerned. (We had watched a documentary/concert type of film about the boys a few weeks beforehand, so we all urged her to take the chance to go to an actual concert before she regrets it later!)
When we picked her and my mother up from the concert, they inevitably had videos to show us. Recording during K-pop concerts is nothing new and anyone could look up a specific concert of a specific group if they wanted to on YouTube, down to the exact day (in case FOMO hits). Arguably, the most important thing to bring to a K-pop concert is the group’s corresponding lightstick. Lightsticks are exactly what they sound like, sticks that the fans hold up and wave around during the performance. But don’t get it confused; these aren’t just any ordinary glow wand. They are specially designed to mimic the on-stage lighting, from its color to how much it flashes. As for performer/audience interaction, my sister remembered their “Snap Shoot” performance, where the gimmick is that the boys will pick out someone in the crowd and ask them to dance. Whatever dance they do, the boys will copy!
I think it’d only be fair to compare this concert to the Khalid Coachella concert we saw in class. Both concerts had people recording, singing along, shouting/screaming in their excitement, and yet, they’re both still different. Popular concerts like Khalid’s were more of what we know; an artist on stage accompanied by a band or some dancers, big screens, stage lights, and a lot of pointing/laughing/vibing with the audience. With K-pop concerts, there seems to be a lot more of an emphasis on the branding, for lack of a better phrase. A usual occurrence at K-pop concert venues is the sheer amount of fans giving out freebies before the event. It’s everything from photocard trading, to free wristbands, free banners, and sometimes fun activities that fans can participate in (an example that comes to mind is the “random dance challenge” a friend of mine participated in while waiting for the BTS concert a while back). There’s the lightsticks that are unique to every group, the “ments” section where the idols get to talk about how thankful they are to have fans like you, etc. You don’t exactly see this kind of behavior at any Western concerts, which is interesting.