With the temperature hovering around 100 degrees we decided to forgo an early arrival, which unfortunately limited our time to mix with the fans and check out all the fan signs and fashions. Even arriving 30 minutes before the doors were due to open meant we felt the full force of the Texas summer sun. There were long lines and groups of people who had braved the high heat for hours, showing the dedication of the true Shawols. SHINee is a S.Korean group who made their debut in 2008 under SM Entertainment. They are particularly known for for their vocal abilities, and well as amazing choreography and dance skills, with a fashion look that has become iconic for many.
As per usual the entry process was chaotic, but we all slowly made our way inside to the blissful air conditioning. Our San Antonio travel group split up as we all had seats in different sections, and I managed to grab a quick beer and a chat with a few SHINee fans. It is amazing how friendly the US Kpop community is and friendships were quickly made, with fans from all over the country, and world, mingling and learning more about each each. Bonding over favorite songs or particular bias brought everyone closer together.
The auditorium was pretty full, although the Fan Meet itself was not sold out. I blame this on scheduling something for basically the same time as KCON as lots of fans had made travel plans, including flights, to go see SHINee in LA before the Dallas Fan Meet was announced. I did meet one young lady who had seen them at KCON and actually was on the same Dallas bound flight as them, but unfortunately most fans had to choose one or the other.
I had time to get to know a little about those in the neighboring seats and then the auditorium lights went dim, the excitement level of the crowd began to rise and the screaming began. There are really no words that can adequately describe the anticipation, excitement, and tension of those minutes before a Kpop concert begins, if I could bottle and sell that feeling I would be a millionaire. SHINee fans, called Shawols, are particularly dedicated to their idols.
My seats weren’t particularly good so please excuse the quality of the photographs. Sometimes I took photos of the big screen to show how, although they were far away down on the stage, their presence dominated the theater. Ring Ding Dong was played on video on the big screen to pump up the excitement. Each time I thought the crowd couldn’t get any louder, they proved me wrong.
The first song was Everybody (2013) followed by Hello (2010). SHINee debuted in 2008 and have produced many excellent songs between then and now so choosing a limited number for a Fan Meet must have been difficult, however, these two choices worked the already screaming crowd to be even more vocal. The choreography was amazing and every member was on point, with sharp crisp moves and overflowing enthusiasm. Their vocals were good, but the venue sound system seemed to be lacking at times. In fact this, along with the entry procedure, would be my two main criticisms of the evening.
After the first two songs, and a quick change of clothes for them and a video for us to watch, everything calmed down a little so that the MC, Martin E Kim, could direct some questions to the members. One of the questions meant for each member, “where will you be in 10 years?” was hijacked by Jonghyun who answered where he thought each would be in 10 years time. He thought Onew and Minho would be acting, Taemin would be performing solo, and Key would own his own fashion brand. This made me a little sad as he didn’t specifically mention them all being together in SHINee as a group. A fun moment was when Key spoke about the way the first thing some of the other members did upon landing in America was to download Pokemon Go. He said he felt like his Dad because he didn’t understand them.
The game choice of the evening was charades with each member having 4 audience members on their team. The players had been chosen earlier from those who had arrived early to the venue. Key got to choose the order of play through a quick ‘guess the song’ game which his team won. After he saw which category each team received, with Minho getting ‘Sports’, Taemin ‘Occupations’, Onew ‘Emotions’, Jonghyun ‘Animals’, and he himself getting ‘Movies’ he decided that to help him determine which team played in which order he would ask each member for ‘aegyo’. Minho’s hip wiggle was deemed inadequate and he was chosen to go first. Minho and his team did quite well, although ‘curling’ slowed them down a bit. Occupations seemed a little tricky for Taemin with him being yelled at by Minho when his acting of water polo was sooooo wrong with him lying on his back and looking nothing like a water polo player. Key was at a disadvantage with movies as his category, and even with some assistance from Onew and other members he didn’t do very well at all.
Onew was absolutely incredible with his portrayal of emotions, a category which was perfect for him, and his team whizzed through guessing them correctly so many times it is no wonder he ended up as the eventual winner. And he was so fun to watch.
It is difficult to describe the dorkiness that is Jonghyun. His facial expressions were so fluid and sometimes downright weird, yet somehow his team were able to guess which animal he was channeling. He did dinosaur by holding up one arm and everyone guessed it correctly. It was almost like watching some kind of avant garde theatre performance.
After another short break for an outfit change SHINee was back on stage with Lucifer (2010) and Sherlock (2012) which for many of us are among their most iconic and most loved songs. Their performance of both songs was all you could ask for and more. Their singing, dancing, stage presence, and just everything coming together was almost overwhelming. After singing and dancing they said ‘goodbye’ and there was a pause, and an indrawn breath from the whole audience. It couldn’t be, it just couldn’t end like that.
And it didn’t. We chanted, and waited, and chanted, and they came back on stage to continue to wow us. This time with Replay (2008). This was the song that started it all and I think many of us were nostalgic watching them perform. Eight years and counting, that’s a long time for a Kpop group to exist, and SHINee not only exists they continue to come up with new and wonderful songs. Again the performance was spot on and a joy to watch.
And that was followed up with View (2015) which showed us once again each of their colors and their charisma as they continued with yet another top notch performance. We were all sad that the evening was drawing to a close and yet so happy we had been able to spend some time among family enjoying an evening that will stay in our memories forever.
So what I haven’t mentioned would be the fan chants, the audience singing and dancing along to the songs, the humor and sheer likability of each member, the love they have for their fans including even recognising one from their Chicago Fan Meet, and overall just how enjoyable the whole evening was. And how could I not mention the birthday surprise for Taemin when the whole audience held up mini banners and sang him ‘Happy Birthday’.
Thank you SHINee for coming to Dallas, you have shined brightly for a long time and here’s to hoping you continue to do so for many years to come.
Y’all come back soon.
Have a great day everyone.