I love music. I love almost all kinds of music. But I especially love Kpop. I have been listening to Kpop since 2011-2012 with artists like SHINee, Super Junior, 2NE1 and Big Bang. And this past November I had the opportunity to go see one of my absolute favorites, B.A.P, live in Chicago. And I got meet ‘n’ greet passes. I nearly passed out when I did manage to get them. It was my first meet ‘n’ greet, my first Kpop concert, my first solo concert trip, and my first train ride to Chicago. It had a lot of firsts. And it was so amazing.
When I was planning this trip I wasn’t totally sure if I was going to take the train or not. I had considered flying in but then I found that it was too expensive. And there was no way I was going to drive. So train trip it was! LOL … yeah, I kinda knew I was going to end up taking the train. So I booked my Airbnb, which was so much cheaper and nicer than trying to find a hotel, and I booked my train ticket and then I was off to Chicago.
I left on a Wednesday and I came home that Friday. I was fortunate that on the trip there and back I had a row to myself. The seats are much bigger than airplane seats, with a lot more leg room. And with outlets to plug in chargers for laptops and phones. I spent most of my trip there working on a final paper for my courses and dozing off in-between. Some advice, pack food and water for the trip. And make sure you sit on the opposite side of where the sun is shining. I was miserable for a good part of the trip as there are no shades or blinds and my sunglasses didn’t do much to help. But besides that, it was quite a nice trip.
Arriving at Union Station in Chicago, was a little intimidating. I felt totally out of place. And I was really anxious to get settled in my Airbnb. I am not the best when it comes to traveling. I tend to get travel sick rather easy and it is never much fun for me. So by the time I got into my Airbnb and settled I was such a mess. I ended up ordering an uber eats that took way to long and watched Netflix for the rest of the night. And I didn’t do that much the next day before the concert either. Which I got a lot of grief for from my dad and friends lol. I had homework to finish for that Friday. I only ate food and did homework the one full day I was there. And the concert was that night. I didn’t want to do much of anything else.
~Before the Concert
Like I said, this was my first Kpop concert. And it’s important to make a distinction between a Kpop concert and any other concert. Cause trust me you have never been to anything like a Kpop concert before. It was a totally unique experience. As soon as I arrived at the venue (which was a 10 min walk from my Airbnb) I was gifted a bag of goodies, photo cards of my choice, and banners. And nearly the whole time I was talking with complete strangers having the time of my life. It was a such a warm and inviting community and it was incredible.
The highlight of the night, besides the actual concert, was Debbie. She was there with her two daughters and was an absolute hoot. I mean she was so funny and nice and yeah she was probably the oldest one there but she was not letting that hold her back from having a good time. (My mom was convinced I was gonna be the oldest one there. HA!)
Even though I didn’t get any way to keep in contact with these people, it was a night I am not likely to forget. And I can’t begin to share how much I appreciated the way they were so kind and welcoming to me. I don’t usually talk easy to people but with them, it was like I had known them for years.
So, as I said, B.A.P is one of favorite, if not my most favorite kpop group. I haven’t been their fan for as long as they have been around but I love their music and them. Seriously have you seen their faces? They cute as sh*t. I digress. They are incredibly talented performers and it was surreal watching them live and in person. And I was so freaking close to the stage!
I did become emotional during the concert. I had been dealing with so much, with school and just my personal life and then being there, on my own, seeing a group that I am pretty much obsessed with, live, was a bit much. I ended up nearly crying and ended up texting my mom. (I know, I know. Bad form, but she wanted to check in, make sure I was still alive and all that.)
About halfway through, they had a little Q&A session and they were just so damn adorable and funny. And there were a few solo performances. One I was particularly excited for was Zelo’s performance ‘Howler’.
They performed all my favorite songs and it was just an incredible experience. I am still getting all blushy and smiley thinking about it a month later. And they dance for pretty much the entire show. Nearly two hours of live singing and dancing. Woo…
~After the Concert
Alright. I have the photos but I’m not gonna share the photos of my meet n greet, cause I look bad. Like really bad and just no. I knew I wasn’t gonna look good. I am horrible at taking photos. But they looked really good. And made me look really short.
After the photos, we got our signed posters and I left, saying goodbye to the few people I had talked to and then left. I stopped at a 7/11 for some food for the train the next day and then McDonald’s for my late night dinner. I didn’t realize til just before the concert started that I hadn’t eaten since breakfast.
I had the most amazing Airbnb host, who let me skip most of the check out procedures since I was leaving at 5 in the morning to catch my train. I still did most of them. I really enjoyed the space and location of the Airbnb. It was located in Jefferson Park in a really nice residential area. But getting up at 5 am is not fun. At all. I hated it. But after I got to the train station and got some coffee I felt more awake and alive. Still really freaking nervous about navigating Union Station, but I figured it out obviously. And on the way home I basically slept and snacked the entire time not really paying attention to anything else.
This was a trip that I am not likely to forget anytime soon. I loved the whole experience of meeting new people and watching the performances, and then actually getting to meet them. Even if it only lasted for like 2 minutes.