Watching concerts has never been easy—from buying tickets up to the last minute before concert starts. It’s actually harder when you do it in Korea, especially for an artist as famous as EXO. Having been to so many of their concerts in the past, there was never an instance where I did not stress over getting a ticket (not even a good seat anymore, just any ticket). It was especially hard getting good tickets in Korea, at least for EXO. In their regular ticketing session, everything sells out in just half a second. No kidding. But why go to Korea when it’s hard, you ask? Aside from making it as a reunion with fandom friends from all over the world, the reason is quite simple: the boys speak more freely and more relaxed in Korea. Devoid of any translators, or feeling the need to rush, they talk to the audience as if we are friends, and that’s something you don’t experience a lot in attending concerts in other countries.
Having experienced a lot of mishaps in the past with tickets (e.g. bought ticket for crazy high prices from resellers), I was determined to get one the right way this time. Fortunately, since a very good friend of mine accidentally booked an extra Global Package, I offered to just buy it from her. It was the cheapest package (priced at USD 399 or roughly PHP 18,000) but it included the hotel, good tickets (for this course), a backstage tour, and a lot of other freebies. Everything about the Global Package was so smooth-sailing. After our payment was confirmed, we could log in to our SMTOWN Global Package accounts and see our status. Weeks before the concert, we were informed of which hotel in Gangnam we were staying at and how to get there. SM also managed to send us the itinerary through our e-mails, and the Global Package also gave us the privilege to pre-order concert goods, which mostly gets sold out at the venue. I must say I have to give five stars to the SM staff managing the website; they answered queries as fast as you can say “Oh Sehun”.
Now I’m not gonna go through the Global Package mechanics, you can find that all here, so I’ll go straight to the Global Package experience. A day before the concert, you could stay at the hotel and they would inform you what time the SM desk tour is open for the lottery of tickets. For us, the tour desk was set up on time at the hotel lobby—tickets, freebies, pre-ordered goods, and ID for the tour the next day. We didn’t get to choose our ticket. The staff gave a batch of tickets for us to pick from, all of which were in black envelopes so we only knew which side we were after we chose an envelope. Many asked me before if the Global Package tickets are better than regular tickets and I’d answer “yes”. For standing tickets, the queue number was definitely one of the first numbers, some were lucky enough to get one digits. For seating, it didn’t guarantee front seats, but you would get second floor for sure, which I think was a great bargain. The staff informed us that we have to be ready at 8:00 AM the next day for the activities the next day.
On the day of the concert, we gathered at the lobby and got on the bus at exactly 8:00 AM, led by our tour guide (who mostly spoke Japanese, but can understand English at least). The first order of business was the concert venue tour. We had a chance to step on the very stage EXO performed on. Now you see, we have been fortunate enough to work on K-Pop concerts before, but nothing felt as emotional and as surreal as that moment you step on EXO’s stage; you get to see how they see you. We took a group photo and went back down for the backstage tour. We saw EXO’s resting area, and I noticed there were many snacks and the clothes rack were covered in black cloth. We dropped our letters at the box provided there and we were lead to another part where there were EXO’s standees.
After the venue tour, we went to COEX where we had our EXO-themed lunch, and a tour of the COEX Artium. I brought my coupon so I was given a chance to get an EXO stamp before we entered Artium. After an hour, we went back to our hotels to prepare for the concert.
After an hour, we gathered at the lobby again to go to the concert venue, and upon arriving, the tour guide told us to be at the bus at least an hour or two after the concert. I managed to exchange my standing ticket to a seating one, not expecting for a good seat. Once I got in, however, and I showed my ticket to the usherette and she muttered “front,” I felt nervous. I sat down at the best seat I ever had the experience of getting—second row, middle part of the extended stage. My heart felt like it was trying to get out of my chest and I could not fathom my unbelievable luck. I was near enough to almost touch Chanyeol’s hair!
And then it’s time. Lights went out and the VCR played. The members were introduced one by one, as the new EXO lightsticks changed color per member. Everything felt magical and high class; it was a different world.
They started with their debut song, MAMA which was beautifully remixed. The second song was their latest title song, Monster and it was deafening once Baekhyun did his solo dance and showed his abs (I’m not gonna lie I almost fell out of my seat). EXO members did their best in every performance, and talked through their ment comfortably. I must say, every water stage was amazing—from the dramatic White Noise (백색 소음) to the powerful Lightsaber. I might sound biased but One and Only (유리어항) was definitely the highlight of the concert. The brilliant melody, and the spectacular choreography performed by the best performers of the group all contributed to one amazing performance. I laud Shim Jaewon for bringing a great concert once again, just when we all thought nothing can top EXO’luXion, here came EXO’rDium to take our breaths away.
The concert was almost four hours long—the ments kept it for as long as it did, but nobody was complaining. I was glad that we had our tour buses waiting for us. The concert ended so late that the last train and buses were swamped with fans. It was such a great concert experience, and it was stress-free (aside from meeting the people my friends and I had to exchange tickets with). If I can go with Global Package for future concerts, I definitely will again. But the Global Package perks were all just icing on top of the already perfect concert experience. And that is why I will definitely watch this concert again, if time permits.
As always, EXO never disappoints.