Texas has seen a lot of Kpop acts come here in 2018, in fact November 11th saw Amber Liu in Dallas on the same night as Teen Top was in Houston. This has meant that many fans have had to make some hard choices this year.
But Teen Top won out for me and many others. I’ve followed them since their debut and was thrilled that they were making a stop in Houston. A friend and I drove from San Antonio and then met up with other fans and friends at HMart to eat and chill before heading to the venue.
Studio PAV has come up with a strict numbering system for entry for VVIP, and I think VIP, to limit the fans coming ultra early to line up to be first through the doors. This seemed to work well for all the pre concert perks, such as album signing, group photo and snap shot photos, but fell apart a little as people rushed in to get to the front of the stage, and to use the restrooms. (Restroom access during the pre concert time was non existent which caused quite a few fans some distress.) Not all of those who should have been at the front ended up at the front.
Getting the perks that Studio PAV, and of course the artists, provide does set their concerts above a lot of the other tours that come to the USA. Being able to get so close to their idols makes the experience a life changing experience for many of the fans.
Although Teen Top looked a little chilly on the outdoor patio where the pre concert perks were taking place they smiled and spoke with the fans while signing albums and taking photos. The fans were happy, excited, and thrilled to be interacting with their idols in such an informal way. Afterwards many fans shared their personal stories about how they reacted to meeting their bias, with quite a few saying they were extremely nervous, or that they forgot how to speak. Whatever the encounters logistics, all were extremely thrilled with the opportunity to look at Teen Top from such a close distance and exchange a few words with them. I pretty much just showed them where their patches were on my jacket and thanked them for coming to Texas.
The concert itself was wonderful, it was so nice to see them perform live after spending so many years with them via the internet. A lot of the fans had been ‘Angels’ since Teen Top’s early years and so there was a lot of pre concert discussion on whether they would follow the LA concert set list or not. Many fans were wishing and hoping for their particular favorite to be performed. (I think there was only one, many two variations from the LA set list.)
There was very little build up and preamble to the show, it kinda just started and caught a few fans unaware so there was a very slight ‘lag’ before the venue erupted with screams of joy and excitement. Neither Teen Top or the fans let up any any time during the night. Even during the slower songs, solos, and ballads you could feel the intensity of both the performers and the crowd.
I was fortunate to be right at the front and got to see them all up close. Unfortunately the stage lighting was very poor which made taking good quality photos somewhat problematic. At one point Ricky’s feet were less than 3 feet away from me but his head/face was in total darkness, or if they were further away they were whitened out by the lights. So although I attempted to take some photos, I actually spent most of my time just watching them. (Hopefully some friends took better photos and will allow me to share. Update – You can see my friend Michelle Salazar aka IG@neon_fighter took some absolutely wonderful photos. So many thanks go to her for allowing me to use them.)
The concert started with Seoul Night, their May 2018 release that was well received and led to an interview with Billboard at the time. That started the evening off in a bright and energetic way. However, it seemed to me that they were a little more subdued than I expected. They weren’t smiling very much, or joking around with each other for that matter. They just were very focused on their performance. Fortunately as the evening wore on they seemed to relax, with Cap surprisingly being the first one to smile, and then he couldn’t seem to stop. The others also began to feel more at home and interacted with the audience and each other with more humor and playfulness.
Between each set of songs videos were played on the big screen behind the stage. These all had different themes. In one we got to see their fun side as they played Twister and the Post It game. These brief breaks allowed them some rest time and costume changes.
The overall arc of the concert was quite measured with the slow down for ballads building back up towards the finale. Even though it had been a long evening with the pre concert activities neither Teen Top nor the ‘Angels’ were ready for the show to end. The audience participation for the last few songs of the night, Crazy, Miss Right, and Rocking was intense. It was an amazing experience being part of such an impassioned and fervent crowd.
Although the concert itself ended, the night wasn’t over as even more fan service was planned for after the guys got a short break. While you had to have the more expensive tickets for the pre concert perks, for the snapshot photos after the show you could have any level of ticket as long as you bought snapshot tickets. These sold for $10 each and allowed you to have one polaroid photo with the member of your choice. Many fans bought a lot of tickets so they could have multiple photos with their favorites. There was a selection of 5 different poses for each member.
One of Niel’s poses was a hug so I have no idea how many girls got to hug him, but it was a lot. And Ricky and I seem to be competing for the most awkward pose of the night. Each one of Teen Top’s members was pleasant, and tolerant of all the fans odd behaviors. Some fans were extremely shy, some seemed a little shell shocked, and yet others were just so very happy. Emotions were all over the place.
It took quite a while for everyone to get all their snapshot photos but eventually even that had to end. Fans slowly left the building and headed home. A few die hard fans braved the cold night air and waited for Teen Top to finally leave the venue so they could show their love and support up until the last possible moment.
It was a fantastic night, with amazing artists, great perks and fun fans and friends. Thank you to each and every one of you who made the whole experience such a wonderful one.
Have a great day everyone, and maybe I’ll see you at a concert sometime soon.
Please do not copy or use without permission and accreditation. All photo credits to original owners. All watermarked photos IG @ neon_fighter belong to Michelle Salazar.