Heaven On a Sunday: Backstage at the 10/9 K-Pop Concert in NY

Photo credit: allkpop

Receiving a glance from SHINee’s Minho, witnessing an impromptu DBSK rehearsal, seeing Bi’s “teddy bear”-hyung in the flesh, and observing 2PM pre-performance. Now before I go any further by leading you all to believe that I was actually able to speak/interact with these guys, please understand, that is not the case. Unfortunately, forbiddance to engage or heckle them with questions was the condition of getting the backstage pass (more or less), so I was the ever observant by-stander, doing my best to hold in the fangirl when I saw these guys in person, mere feet and inches away. I had to play the professional, and because my goal is to become a regular at such events, it is in my best interest to play by the rules. The first thing I noticed when I went backstage was that I was the only non-Korean person there. So I know that I stuck out like a sore thumb. I got inquisitive looks from some staff members and kind acknowledgement from others. Nonetheless, I braved on in hopes that I would get to see my favourite acts in their backstage activities. And boy oh boy, lemme tell ya, I did…

A Glance From SHINee Minho
I was chatting with security and KBS staff when a big red chartered bus drove up to the backstage entrance. I noticed a few male shadowy figures in the bus waiting to step off. I thought that it may be 2PM, SHINee or Beast. I nonchalantly turned to face them as they started to step off of the bus. I realized that it was indeed SHINee with a platinum-blonde Key and a staff member slowly walking toward and eventually past me.

SHINEE: (from left to right) Onew, Taemin, Jonghyun, Minho, Key

You can probably imagine how I must have felt seeing them so close, but once again, I had to contain my excitement. So I watched them walk past…each seemingly in his own world: Jonghyun (hands jammed deep in jean pockets and head down in what seemed to be self-loathing), the ever slender, ever adorable Taemin (whose eyes were covered in shades), tall, sexy Minho (who acknowledged my presence with a sidelong glance right in my eyes) and Onew, who finished up the line looking rather tall, lean and fine himself. They were moving terribly slow, no doubt road-weary and lacking sufficient sleep and rest. They dragged up the stairs to the stage from the back, and when I heard the screams from the gathering crowd in the front of the stage, I figured they’d made their arrival known. I watched SHINee rehearse for a few songs, but by the time they were done, I could no longer find them. I supposed they had left the stage in a flash and retreated to their dressing trailer.

Witnessing an Impromptu DBSK Rehearsal
DBSK, dressed in black and looking sharp, arrived shortly after SHINee. I was kneeling down rummaging through my backpack when Yunho nearly knocked me over as he bolted by with a female staff member. Changmin followed soon after, looking just as pretty as his pictures. They didn’t snail as SHINee had. They rushed in, quickly to their rehearsal and also seemed to disappear into their trailer for hours until the concert started.

DBSK: (from left to right) Changmin, Yunho

I saw DBSK about 3 ½ hours later. It was dark by then, and I was chatting with a young man who was interning for the production company and helping out with the sound equipment. I heard some commotion RIGHT BEHIND ME, and when I turned around, Changmin and a male dancer, were rehearsing some moves from “Keep Your Head Down”. Yunho, with some other staff members, seemed to be in deep thought about something and was resting in the very chair that I sat in 20 minutes earlier. If only I hadn’t moved! If only I were more patient and stayed put! I wonder if he would’ve sat next to me. My breath caught in my throat, because I was so close to them. But once again, I just turned around and pretended not to see them. Talk about frustration! The guys were very cool and seemed unbothered by the noise and chaos around them. I never was able to make any eye contact with either of them, but just being that close was enough to make me smile.

Kim Tae Woo Really Is A Big Teddy Bear!
After my first DBSK sighting, I didn’t think I’d see anyone else that I wanted to so quickly. Boy was I wrong! A very tall, well-dressed and smiling young man began walking from the stage right as DBSK went in, and I immediately recognized him as Kim Tae Woo. He’d just finished rehearsal and was leaving. I knew Tae Woo ssi was tall, but when I saw him in person I was stunned! He looked nearly 6’2” or 6’3” as he walked by me, also with a female staff member. I nodded politely to him and he returned the gesture, got in a chartered van and took off.

Former G.O.D. member Kim Tae Woo

This was rehearsal, but he would show up later for the actual show (and blow the audience away with his amazing vocals!). I always think of Tae Woo ssi as the hyung that took care of a starving, young Bi in his pre-debut days. Bi has called Tae Woo ssi his “brother” and “big teddy bear” on several occasions. Isn’t Bi’s approval enough for us? On top of that, to read his interviews is to get the sense of a really honest and kind person. I was very pleased to see him.

A Fashionably Late 2PM Finally Arrives!
2PM showed up last. I believe they were on a delayed flight from Japan hot off the tail of a show in Taipei (props for your stamina, guys!). Anyway, around that same time I was chatting with the young sound equipment intern and we were looking over the set list. The intern remarked that he’d heard 2PM wasn’t coming. Needless to say, his remark disappointed me. But within seconds of his saying it, I looked over my shoulder and immediately recognized Wooyoung, in a bright red military jacket, followed by Nichkhun, Taecyeon, Junsu, Junho and Chansung! 2PM came and huddled about 8 feet from me, and I allowed the fangirl in me to begin filming them with my small camera. One of their female staff members spotted me and tried to block my view with her body. Grrr! Junho caught me too, and looked right at me! He didn’t seem too pleased, but then again, who knows what he was thinking? Maybe he was nervous. Maybe he had indigestion. Maybe he was tired and wanted to sleep. Or maybe I really was getting on his nerves (^^).

2PM: (from left to right) Chansung, Wooyoung, Nickhun, Junho, Taecyeon, Junsu

Nichkhun also looked at me, probably curious or suspicious of just exactly how I fit in. I put the camera away and went back into professional mode. Now, remember that seating area I mentioned DBSK was using? Well, I should’ve never left it, because 2PM used it to rest for a few minutes and greet other performers as well. As I was trying to ignore them, the intern guy next to me said “hello” to someone, and I realized it was Wooyoung, who walked right behind me to get to a back table. Nichkhun was wearing a sleeveless, silver-studded top with black pants, and I noticed him doing some pull-ups on the bars used to construct the stage. He totally busted me watching him. That was my second eye contact with him. And both times I’m sure I totally came off as the stalker. Sheesh, gotta work on that! 2PM eventually spent the next 10 minutes with their staff behind the stage and finally went up and performed “Hands Up” and “10 Out of 10” to a screaming crowd.

My experience was so surreal. I was in the presence of people that I had seen only in videos and pictures. Not only that, but it seems as though South Korea, which is where they’re based, is a world away. So honestly, I never thought I would get to see them in person. Life has a funny way of presenting opportunities, doesn’t it? It wasn’t the easiest thing for me to get up to New Jersey, but because of the potentiality, how could I not go? I really surprised myself at how well I was able to contain my joy when seeing and being so close to them.

What a day
This is where my journey ends. After 2PM and DBSK performed, I left as quickly as I could so as not to miss my flight back to my home state. As I am writing this, I still can’t believe what happened. I still can’t believe I saw SHINee, 2PM, DBSK and Kim Tae Woo in the flesh, and so close. Wow. I do believe my year is made. ^^

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