On September 24, A few UAC students were lucky enough to have been given tickets to attend INK (Incheon K-Pop Concert 2016). INK is a free yearly concert hosted in Incheon, South Korea. At this concert, top Korean pop groups graced the audience with performing two of their top songs. Top groups in attendance this year included SHINee, Red Velvet, AOA, MONSTA X and many others. Having never been to a K-pop concert before, I can say that it was unlike any concert I have attended in the U.S.
Crowd Diversity: First of all, the sheer number of people in attendance was incredible. The Incheon Munhak Stadium, which hosted the concert, has the seat capacity of 50,000. In the audience I saw every age group from baby to grandparent as a lot of people came with their families. There were also a lot of college age individuals as well. We ended up walking through the crowd a lot–trying to snag better seats–so I got a good look at the crowd. I heard people speaking Japanese and Korean but surprisingly, a lot of English speakers as well. Everywhere I looked, I saw groups of college aged English speakers screaming along to the songs.
The Energy: The concert itself was not confined to the stage. The audience made up a huge part of the performance as well. Many of the fans were out of their seats moving along to the music. It was interesting to see that people who knew the songs didn’t sing along to the whole song but would just yell out key lines. The most amazing part of the concert was the glow lights brought by the audience. Outside of the venue, color changing glow lights were being sold and the majority of the audience has purchased them. In the top section of the audience it appeared that practically everyone had bought one. Initially, everyone was shining their own choice of color but by the end of the concert everyone had turned their glow lights green. I don’t know if there was any meaning behind everyone turning their light the same color but it was beautiful to see a sense of unity in the crowd.
Performance: K-pop groups are huge! I didn’t see any boy or girl group have less than 4 members. It was clear that every group had a lead singer or two but typically most singers also had a solo piece in a song. Their outfits were also an interesting factor to observe; everyone on stage was able to showcase their own personality and style all while wearing something similar enough to fit in with the group. Even with the girl’s group, AOA, who all had essentially the same outfit on, they were all able to stand out for themselves with their own unique hair cut or hair color. In addition to all of this, choreography was the most important factor of the performance. No two performances were even close to being alike; even between the two songs that each group had to perform. Every performer was so confident and in sync with the performance. If there was ever a mistake in choreography, it was impossible for me to tell. U.S. concerts really need to step up their game. The choreography for a lot of our at home performers is no way near as active as a K-pop performer’s. The last incredible component of this event was the pyrotechnics! Each group performed on stage with their own specific set of pyrotechnics. Some groups had full on fireworks. Other groups had flames coming out of the stage. It was incredible but I was frankly surprised that nothing caught on fire. With fireworks shooting out in such a confined venue, I was so sure that something was going to catch on fire or hurt someone.
Overall, I had an amazing time at INK 2016 and look forward to many more K-pop concerts in the future. Note: The photos that were not taken by me were obtained from Source: www.InkConcert.com