Monday, 20 June 2011

SHINee @ Abbey Road Studios 19/6/2011

Okay so first I found out about SMTOWN coming to Paris. Major freak out moment. And then I discover SHINee are coming to the UK? HOLD THE PHONE. Are you serious?! Second major freak out moment of epic proportions!

SHINee are an all male quintet all the way from South Korea. Their music is labeled "contemporary" and are one of the hottest bands around at the moment, with huge hits under their belt like "Ring Ding Dong", "Lucifer" and "Hello".

They were about to make their debut in Japan, so to celebrate they decided to hold a mini gig at the Abbey Road Studios in London, where The Beatles recorded. So! Where can I get tickets? Sign me up!

...What do you mean it's only for Japanese fans?! Well, I suppose it makes sense considering they're making their Japanese debut, but one has to wonder...why did they come all the way to England to do it? What about the English fans?

I guess you could say we were pretty annoyed and frustrated, that's like dangling a bone in front of a dog but still keeping it out of reach. Still, despite our disappointment, we couldn't help but be excited either. SHINee were coming to England. They were not only going to be in the same continent, but in the same bloody country. Korean artists never venture here at all, so either way it was an absolute privilege they were here in the first place so what better way to celebrate by being there and showing them our support, and showing that they actually have a strong fanbase here?

I rocked up just after 9am after making some friends on the tube (I was wearing my customised SMTOWN T-Shirt from Paris so I guess this made me rather distinguishable), and there was already quite a few people there. Some arrived at 7 or 8am, and some people had even come as far as the Isle of Wight. This event was going to be a bit bigger than I thought.

The atmosphere was already buzzing; people were chanting SHINee's name, singing their songs...but you could tell there was apprehension in the air, too. I mean, how long would we have to wait until they arrived??

Our answer came quite soon; a silver van turned up between 10-10:30am. Naturally I got my video recorder out, but unfortunately an excitable fan next to me started jumping up and down, so even though I managed to capture SHINee (Onew, Minho, Taemin and Key) on camera, it was a bit shaky. Annoying, but at least I got a shot of them. We were concerned that Jonghyun didn't arrive with them...where was he? Why wasn't he there? Was he going to turn up at all?

As the time passed, plenty of SME staff members, Abbey Road staff members and Japanese and Korean TV crew came out to film and take pictures of the crowd, even interview us as well! Everyone in the crowd did chants like "We want SHINee", "SHINee saranghae!" (Trans: "SHINee I love you!") and "London SMTOWN". The crowd also sang along to some songs and plenty of people brought and made their own banners to show their love and support. Despite being cramped and squished into a tiny place (because let's face it, fan events = squishiness and people trying to push in) the whole atmosphere was electric and positive, there were no fights or arguments between fans or anything. In fact, most people behaved pretty well the entire time.

SIDENOTE: There was a MEGA MEGA CUTE Korean MBC reporter so if anyone knows his name, you must let me know. I am in love with him and wish to have his babies. Thank you.

By the time 2pm came around, Jonghyun finally arrived. The crowd screamed of course, but as we saw him go up the steps he didn't look very well at all and it left us very concerned. We hoped he was okay but he certainly didn't look like he was in any position to perform.

Fans for the gig also turned up. We knew the venue hall could only accomodate 130 people so I was expecting to see 130 fans. Wrong. There were only about 20 fans and not all of them were Japanese, which left the rest of the crowd very confused and, once again, slightly annoyed. How did these British people get tickets?! And why were there only around 20? Sure, the venue is probably also filled up with SMTWON staff and camera crew, but adding them altogether doesn't make 130 people so where were the rest?!

Anyway, despite the way I kind of felt about the event, I genuinely wished and hoped they had a very good time. Sincerely! I mean that. I mean, if I won tickets I certainly wouldn't have wanted to be booed, which is what some people did when they first arrived. Of course some of us told them not to because it wasn't fair or nice.

They went in round about 3pm and we knew the gig started at half past...but we had absolutely no idea what time it was going to end. Some people decided to leave - though not many - but I stuck around in the hopes of catching a good shot of SHINee before they leave England.

The gig was quite short - only 45 minutes! - But then again it wasn't exactly a proper concert so I suppose it made sense. Jonghyun left shortly after it finished but the rest of the members didn't come out until 5:15pm, roughly. Okay, this is where the crowd went nuts. I was suddenly shoved forwards and was practically merging myself into the girl in front, and because everyone was becoming excited they started to jump and shake themselves about, which meant my camera was wobbly again! I was unamused, I was tired, my legs and back were aching, I was bloody starving, and this behaviour was not helping my mood. Thankfully SHINee moved to the other end of the crowd first, which sent the crowd on my side into a frenzy as they gathered onto the other side to catch a glimpse. Me being the smart one (for a change), I knew they were going to come our way as well so I stayed where I was and I also had more room too, so I had a moment to breathe! SHINee came our way so naturally everyone came back, but I found myself in a slightly better position and managed to hold my camera much more steady this time, so I got a really good shot of the 4 of them facing us and waving. They turned their backs to us to do a bit of filming, and then we started to chant "SHINee saranghae!" The band members turned round pretty much as soon as we started chanting this, and waved at us again. They eventually retreated to their van and officially left Abbey Road Studios.

As I had been facing the studios the entire day, I finally got the chance to have a good, proper look at the crowd. Christ there was a lot of people! I hung around for a while as I wanted to wait until everyone or most people had left as I didn't want to be caught up in all the people-traffic, so I managed to talk to some competition winners who were actually Japanese! They really enjoyed the show, asked how I got into K-Pop, who my favourite member was etc. We must have been chatting for about 5-10 minutes before a security guard came over and told us we must leave the venue immediately.

As I left I clocked the super-duper cute Korean reporter guy, so I went up to him and said thank you for everything that they had done. He told me that the footage they took would only be shown on South Korean TV, so I'm hoping someone records it...? I kind of chickened out in telling him he was cute, I felt a bit silly, but he was definitely one to drool over.


Was it worth getting up at 5:45am? Was it worth standing up 9 hours straight with no food, water or toilet breaks? Was it worth being squished to an inch of my life? Was it worth having my leg bashed against the wall and receiving a nasty bump as a result (although that was entirely my fault)?
Was it all worth it, the possibility of being on Japanese and/or Korean TV, seeing SHINee in the flesh and up close, making new friends, being surrounded by people who understand what this is all about?

Would I do it all again?

In a bloody heartbeat.

Gomawo SHINee! Come back to us soon!


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