By: Laura Beaty
Contributing MoonROK Editorialist
8 years, 2 months, 7 days.
Walking up to Verizon Theatre on Sunday afternoon, it was abundantly clear that the fans there had waited from SHINee’s debut until now to see them live.
As SHINee developed their careers and focused on promoting in Japan, it appeared unlikely that the group would ever promote outside of Asia. American fans had seemingly come to terms with the likely fate of being silent supporters for SHINee’s entire career. A fan meeting in Dallas, Texas, of all places was not on the radar for Shawols (short for SHINee World, the group’s fanclub) until the one in Chicago in May.
I took pictures and chatted with fans outside of the venue. So many people wanted to share their stories of how they became fans of SHINee. For some people, SHINee introduced them to Kpop. For many younger fans, SHINee was seen as the group their favorites should look up to. Fans travelled from Singapore, Finland, and Bahrain to be here. The majority had never seen SHINee live before. However when the lights went down, and SHINee appeared, nationality borders and age lines were erased.
Everybody (which happened to be the first song they performed) became one, appreciating seeing SHINee’s faces for the first time in real life HD, instead of in 1080p on a laptop screen. After they performed, SHINee turned their backs to the crowd and watched on the screen behind them a compilation of video clips sent in by fans. These clips reiterated the sentiment I felt outside; that many fans have unique stories of how they came to love SHINee.
SHINee casually performed “Hello”, before launching into the Q&A segment. Where the members could, they answered in English. Key spoke excellent English, Onew and Minho tied for the crown of “limited, but hilarious” skills. When they couldn’t, the emcee Martin did a great job of interpreting. As my seat neighbor pointed out, his energy matched well with SHINee’s personalities.
Key busted the other guys for downloading Pokemon Go before they even reached immigration at LAX. Onew said the next role he wanted to act was “something….. your boyfriend?” (cue the screams), while Jonghyun claimed the fans’ “cuteness” made the group want to work harder. During charades, Minho gave the worst, (but also the best) aegyo I’ve ever seen. Come to think of it, Taemin’s “bird” and Onew’s “trumpet” were pretty suspect on the aegyo scale as well.
Being the weekend of KCON in Los Angeles, and with such short notice on ticket sales, it was tough odds to sell out a show in Verizon Theatre on a Sunday night. But even as a small crowd, what we lacked in numbers we made up for in spirit. During “View”, the fan chants were as crisp and clear as they would be at an Inkigayo recording.
Seeing SHINee perform their hit songs (“Replay”, “Lucifer”, “Sherlock”, “View”) to our Sunday night meet-up with the same energy as I’ve seen them perform to a packed stadium truly showed their professionalism, and how much they care for their fans, no matter where they come from. Even though the two hours went quickly, SHINee made a lasting impression on those who had waited so long to see them.
After the show, I talked to some girls who were chosen to go on stage to play charades with SHINee, and they mentioned how kind (and handsome) the boys were to them. A few cried while talking to me, saying how meeting them was a dream come true. They weren’t the vapid tears of a hormonally overstimulated fan, but the tears of someone truly touched by a once-in-a-lifetime moment. I hugged them, their friends hugged them, and even a few strangers stopped to hug them as well. Everyone understood the sentiment of how special this night was for American Shawols.
8 years, 2 months, 7 days.
They say good things come to those who wait, and I couldn’t agree more.
Tags: Concert Jonghyun Key Minho Onew SHINee Taemin