SHINee Shine During Fan Meet in Chicago
On May 8, 2016, SHINee held a fan meet at Rosemont Theatre in Chicago. Telling by the crowd and the amount of aqua light sticks, the event was a rousing, raucous success to the point where members were in tears, especially Onew.
Prior to the event, there were worries that SHINee wouldn’t have a crowd as tickets weren’t selling well. Third-party sites like StubHub and Vivid Seats had tickets (many overpriced) available for all sections. For a while there, it looked like there were going to be many empty seats. Fortunately, this was not the case as the majority of the theatre was full save for a few seats here and there. The exuberance of the crowd, the aqua balloons, and the shiny aqua glow sticks that waved wildly throughout the evening hid any holes.
The excitement over meeting SHINee was evident even before entering the venue as lines wrapped around the theatre, through the parking lot, and toward the mall. Looking at the faces in the crowd, the most noticeable aspect was how diverse the crowd was! The line wasn’t composed of just teens and twenty-somethings: Children, middle-aged people, and even elderly women were present. Seeing the age diversity was impressive because the range was so vast. This wasn’t like the B.A.P concert weeks earlier where there were a handful of people who were older or younger: Each age-range was well-represented for the SHINee meet and greet.
The flash mob before the concert showed how hardworking and dedicated fans are when going all-out for the concert experience. For each dance, it was clear a lot of practice went into every step with only a few missteps caught by casual watchers. The flash mob consisted of a group dancing to “Sherlock,” “Everybody,” “View,” “Replay,” “Ring Ding Dong,” and “Lucifer.” Viewers were into the display and even did fanchants, which was a nice touch.
Entering the theatre, everything seemed a bit more organized since the B.A.P concert. Lines moved along a bit quicker, but inside the theatre was a nightmare with people gathered by the merchandise line. Buying merchandise was more difficult than during the B.A.P show because so many fans wanted goods, especially light sticks! Even though lines were crazy, Shawols were super polite and helpful.
The Meet and Greet
The meet and greet started later than the 7pm start time by about 20-30 minutes. While fans waited, the theatre piped random SHINee songs through the speakers. Unfortunately, “random” has to be used lightly here because there were times when “Dream Girl” was played three or four times in a row and “Lovesick” several times in a row as well. Sometimes songs were cut off partway through to switch to another repeat-track, so this was a bit of a nuisance. However, fans did do fan chants during the songs, which was cool. When each song stopped, fans cheered loudly as if the meet and greet was about to start, but it turned out there was cheering over nothing until the show finally started.
I was pleased they began with my favorite song: “Everybody.” The SHINee boys were clad with dark suits and opened with strong charisma and energy. There was so much energy in the theatre that it was difficult to tell whom was feeding off who: The fans feeding off SHINee’s energy are the crowd being powered by them. As SHINee performed, the enthusiastic waving of light sticks was so mesmerizing that it was easy to be fixated on the sea of aqua. Looking at SHINee’s faces, it was clear they were surprised and thrilled of what they were seeing despite being focused on their vocals and dance.
SHINee disappeared backstage following “Everybody,” leaving without a word. There were a few awkward moments before the MC came out.
Throughout the fan meet, the MC, Martin, was energetic and enjoyed the crowd’s energy. Several times throughout the night, he made cracks about how we’d cheer anything. He tested the theory by letting us know he ate eggs that morning, to which the fans screamed, proving his point.
SHINee finally returned to the stage and introduced themselves in English. It was adorable watching them beam with pride at the fans’ reactions as they introduced themselves. Minho and Key seemed surprised by the reactions. After introductions, SHINee had an opportunity to view a fan video made to show their appreciation. Fans discussed what SHINee meant to them and how their music helped in their personal lives. The boys looked emotional before Onew mentioned that the video and the statements were confirmation they were doing things right and that they were reaching fans in a meaningful way. Key was more surprised at how we international fans had so much SHINee merchandise prompting to ask how we got it. Fans shouted out their suppliers and stores, making the SHINee boys really happy. The boys looked misty-eyed before singing their fluffy, irrelevant song “Hello.”
Following “Hello,” the boys held a Q&A session. Prior to answering fan questions, Jonghyun expressed his surprise that fans sang along as he didn’t expect this would be the case. Never underestimate the power of I-Fans, Jonghyun.
The fan questions were pretty basic, including favorite Hollywood actors and actresses; Onew was asked about Descendants of the Sun; Taemin answered questions about his recent solo album; Key got asked about his skin. The funniest portion here was the question about what English names they’d go by. Onew and Key stated the names they already had; Minho said “Brad” while Taemin said something along the lines of “Francisco” or “Francis” (it was hard to hear). Jonghyun asked the fans what they’d name him, to which he heard “Sexy,” causing the others to laugh.
The Q&A session wrapped and went into a game of Charades. Twenty lucky fans were selected to be on stage with SHINee. The fans were split into groups and assigned a member. The fans selected for the game ranged in ages from teens to two women in their 70s! This made my heart happy to see how older fans—a usually under-represented group—got some spotlight. This was definitely a highlight!
The Charades game brought a lot of laughs, and it was cute to see the boys in their goofy glory. Taemin’s group won the game, and they got gift bags and hugs. The losing members, Minho and Onew, had to do several minutes of aegyo, which got weird after a while.
Finally, the games were over and the MC departed the stage to let SHINee perform. They performed “Replay,” “Lucifer,” “Sherlock,” and “View.” The crowd went wild, and it was clear the SHINee boys were having a hard time hearing themselves. There were a few moments where the backtrack was heard more than the live vocals, but fans didn’t really care.
Following the performances, SHINee began saying their goodbyes. While saying goodbye, fans held up their fan made signs a SHINee group created thanking them for eight years together. SHINee loved it, and Minho told fans he loved them before SHINee took a photo with Chicago SHAWOLs.
SHINee are a great group of guys. They’re down-to-earth and friendly. It was clear how they were an act to win fans over. Even though they appeared tired (MC Martin mentioned SHINee had a rough travel schedule), they were cheerful, interactive, and kind. Their actions throughout the night were enough to help win over non-SHINee fans who were in attendance (and there were a few!).
Martin (the MC) was humorous and did a great job interacting with fans and SHINee. He did a better job than a lot of MCs from prior K-Pop shows (2014’s VIXX showcase comes to mind). He looked like someone who enjoyed his job, which made his interactions more genuine.
SubKulture did an AMAZING job promoting the show and making things run as smoothly as possible. They did a great job answering questions and staying in contact with fans. Along with SubKulture, KOndaKorea did well spreading the word and keeping in contact with fans. Both groups deserve kudos!
SHAWOLs, too, were a highlight. SHINee World are a great group of fans who are kind and helpful. The fandom did an amazing job keeping the energy up and lifting the boys. Even before and after the show, fans were orderly and helpful. They made the experience much more enjoyable.
SHINee did a great job. Despite being tired—which was evident looking at their faces—they hid it well and remained energized throughout the show. They tried their best to speak in English to connect with fans, which was appreciated. They performed well and live with minimal backtrack, so fans got to see SHINee as they are. A few fans commented that it sounds like SHINee “ate their albums for breakfast,” which was true to a certain extent. From a performance standpoint, everything was good.
Like with B.A.P, Rosemont’s sound system was terrible. There were times when music and singing couldn’t be heard because sound cut out here and there. With the fans cheering, too, it was hard to hear. From the back, audio was better, just like with B.A.P. Because of the sound issues, SHINee actually sounded pitchy and weak at some points, especially during “Hello.” Apparently, fans didn’t care, so it didn’t matter.
Now, for fans expecting a concert, don’t attend a fan meet. A fan meet is a chance to briefly get to know the idols, ask questions, and play a game or two. SHINee only sang six songs, so don’t go into these expecting a full-on concert experience. This was my first time attending a fan meet, so I really didn’t know what to expect, so I was slightly letdown there wasn’t a lot more music. This is my fault for having different expectations.
The SHAWOL community was loud and proud and among the best moments of the night. SHINee did well to be entertaining and fun during the fan meet. Combined, everything worked out nicely for an enjoyable evening that many won’t soon forget. Hopefully SHINee will be back soon for a full-fledged concert in the future.