I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I went to see K.A.R.D.! It seriously only feels like it was a few days ago. Getting to see one K-Pop group this summer was already pretty lucky. But when K.A.R.D. announced a Europe tour, I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist. Literally the morning after the Monsta X concert, I snatched up tickets and immediately planned my trip to London.
It’s easy to see why K.A.R.D. is so popular internationally. K-Pop already has a huge Western influence, but their music and performances are literally tailored to appeal to our half of the world. Just look at the special stages that they chose: “Monster” (Eminem, not EXO), “Bitch Better Have My Money,” “The Way,” “Side to Side,” and “Empire State of Mind.” These are popular American songs that people will know all over the world. And while they’re all technically pop or hip hop, they’re fairly diverse in style. K.A.R.D.’s own music is heavily influenced by latin and tropical house, which is another huge market. This set list shows that K.A.R.D. is keenly aware of their demographic – that and they really like Rihanna and Ariana Grande (but who doesn’t?).
Usually, K-Pop groups play up their relatable side to appeal to fans. No matter how glamorous and dressed up your favorite appears to be, you will see countless videos of him or her being cute/shy/dorky. But sometimes I think K.A.R.D.’s creative team goes against this trend, marketing them to be somewhat unapproachable – especially in their music videos. I really see K.A.R.D. as the popular kids in school – the trendsetters that everyone wants to be friends with. They’re all freaking gorgeous, their fashion is always on point, and they appear cool and confident. There is a duality to them, but in their case their onstage personas are much stronger than their offstage ones. So although I was mostly there for the music, I was wondering what they’d really be like.
So is K.A.R.D. really the perfect combination of crazy talent, killer looks, and great personalities? After this fan meeting, I can confirm that the answer is yes. They’re every bit as cool as you think they would be, but they’re also just like the rest of us. It’s totally clear that they really love their fans. They were so excited to be there and were really enthusiastic about talking to everyone and playing games. Even though they’re technically rookies, they seemed relaxed and at ease like any professional. It was a really great opportunity to get to know more about them, and I’ve definitely moved up from being a casual fan.
I was a little nervous about going to this concert. I specifically spent a lot of money on balcony seats, but we got switched into standing when there was a ticketing issue. I’m introverted and borderline agoraphobic, and I hate crowds. More importantly, I’m really big on manners – which (understandably) tend to fall by the wayside when you have the chance to see your favorite up close. Fortunately, it ultimately wasn’t really an issue. The venue was small, I had my friend Jess to keep me calm, and I was determined to enjoy the experience.
While I had a great time, there are some fan behaviors that I’d like to address. I’m going to get up on my soapbox for a second, so feel to scroll down after the next picture. People get really excited to see their favorites – especially with idols, who don’t visit Europe often – and stuff happens. Even if it’s annoying, it’s par for the course and I go along with it to a certain extent. However, there are some things I saw that were just excessive:
- Not letting K.A.R.D. (or their translator) talk. Screaming and cheering during the performances are great – we did it too. But it got to the point where you couldn’t even hear anything K.A.R.D. was saying. (This also happened at Monsta X)
- Constantly filming and blocking other people’s view. I literally don’t have any good pictures of the concert, because some people in the front held up their cameras the whole time. Jess got a couple of nice ones because she’s slightly taller than me. and I cropped them, but you can still see all the phones.
- Not respecting other fans’ personal boundaries. There was some girl behind me who was pretty much glued to my back. If that doesn’t already sound like an invasion of my personal space, she put her elbows on my shoulders so she could hold up her phone and get good pictures. And when that didn’t give her a good enough view, she literally rested her elbow on the back of my head. Please don’t be this person.
- Not respecting the idols personal boundaries. This is what really got me. A girl next to me threw a fan-made gift on stage and it nearly hit J.Seph in the head. He was clearly really shocked, and he didn’t recover for about two minutes. They probably see anything with all the lights, so just imagine something suddenly flying past your face out of the darkness. The sad part was that the girl had no idea what she did, and was proudly hollering “That’s me! That’s from me!”
Okay, rant over! I don’t want to be a Negative Nancy, but if I can’t vent on my blog where else can I do it? Certain things are bound to happen at a concert I get that, but those things were overstepping. I think a lot of us get tunnel vision when we see our favorites (myself included), so I hope writing about it will make people think about this at their next concert. We all can stand to be a little more aware of others.
In any case, seeing K.A.R.D. was awesome. I’m a huge fan of all of their music, and we were treated to all the songs off their debut album plus the English version of “Don’t Recall.” And I really liked their subunit stages and their covers. They’re really top notch performers, and it was such a kick seeing them live. Maybe it was because it was a fan meeting rather than a concert, but I really felt like it was a more intimate event than others I’ve been to. There was just this super fun and casual vibe.
I also got to go to my very first hi-touch and group photo. To be honest, I had totally forgotten about this until a couple of days before the show. I bought the expensive tickets for comfort, not the perks. So I scrambled to get the perfect casual yet chic outfit right before I went to London. I didn’t think the members would remember me or even notice me more than anyone else, but I wanted to look good because I knew I’d have to look at that picture forever. (Fun fact: I showed a picture of K.A.R.D. to my non K-Pop friend and she was like “Yeah, you’re gonna have to dress nicely.”)
I barely remember anything about the hi-touch except that I forced myself to make eye contact with all of them. The photo session was more memorable because they put me right behind my bias J.Seph, who turned around immediately after the photo and gave me a big smile (ugh, the fangirl feels!). I was infinitely grateful that they didn’t put me in front of him – I was wearing a somewhat backless romper, and I didn’t really feel like exposing my whole back (and probably my bra) to him.
For all that planning of my outfit, meticulous upkeep of my makeup, and carefully avoiding getting sweaty or dirty all day (I stupidly ordered pho for lunch), I’m 95% sure I look horrible in that photo. The lady took forever to take the picture, and she would literally snap it the second I relaxed my smile. So either I have resting bitch face, or I’m derping. What’s a girl to do? If the photo isn’t too horrible, I might post it here.
All in all, it was a wonderful time with lots of little anecdotes to fondly remember. I’m gonna get mushy, but the best part of this was getting to go with my friend Jess. We met last year in line at KCON France (I’m based in France and she’s based in England), and we hit it off. I liked K.A.R.D. enough to go it alone, but I’m really glad I checked to see if she was going. It turns out that we’re super compatible and we pretty much have the same K-Pop tastes. We’re both not so subtle SM stans and we’re both awkward NCT 127 noona fans, among other things. So here’s my shoutout to Jess – I’m super grateful that I have a friend to fangirl with! Also, thanks for letting me use your photos.
Despite my fan behavior grouching, this was probably my favorite K-Pop concert so far. I’m definitely planning see more idols if I have the opportunity. Dreamcatcher posted a video for French fans, so I’m sincerely hoping they’re coming to Paris. Also, SF9 is going to Boston while I’m home for the holidays, so I’m debating picking up tickets because when do idols ever go to Boston?!?! K-Pop is making a concertgoer out of me!
Sources: DSP Media, My Music Taste, K.A.R.D.’s Offical Twitter, and my friend Jess