On a drizzly, dreary Saturday November 22, VIXX stopped by Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Indiana for one of two U.S stops. For a month leading up to the concert, excited fans gathered on the Chicago VIXX!!!! Facebook fan page to discuss their biases, share information, and plan for an excellent evening. K-Pop coming to the Midwest is a rare event. VIXX joined B.A.P, who performed April 19, 2014, as the only K-Pop group to perform at Star Plaza. With high hopes in hand, the fans gathered to cheer for VIXX. Despite VIXX’s awesome performance, many fans were unhappy with the organization and how the concert was handled.
VIXX’s performance was set to begin at 7pm, but Limelight Entertainment (the event’s organizer) delayed until 7:30 and delayed again until 7:47pm. Because of the late start, the shortened show ended around 9pm. This was due to poor organization on Limelight’s part. Regardless, VIXX’s performance made fans happy.
“Error” started the show with a roar of cheers. The opening sequence left fans pumped as the members appeared on the screen then appeared on stage. Fans danced and chanted their way through the song. Which each new song, N, Ken, Leo, Ravi, Hyuk, and Hongbin got more into it. Even with the low turnout, VIXX fed off the loud chants making for a great night.
VIXX earns credit for their stage presence. After a 13-hour flight from Korea to Chicago, then immediately being whisked away to the theatre for a few hours of prep time, the boys showed no signs of exhaustion.
Performances pleased though some sections had mild lip-syncing. The majority of the show was without lip-syncing, so it was nice to hear them perform. Leo, Hongbin, Hyuk, Ken, and N have amazing vocals, especially in “On and On,” “Eternity,” and “G.R.8.U.” Ravi’s voice is actually raspier and slightly deeper than expected; recordings don’t do him justice!
One of the best performances was “Light Up the Darkness.” VIXX gave 110 percent! Leo’s emotion gave the song so much power. Their sharp dancing proved that dancing hard isn’t an excuse for poor or lacking live vocals.
“Only U” provided a great emotion. Even the slightest voice waver provided chills. Some fans started crying. The boys sat for this performance to allow vocals to shine. At times, Leo’s voice sounded strained, but that could have been due to a subpar sound system.
VIXX played off the fans well. When they perform on music shows, they seem reserved and businesslike; in-person, they are flirty and humorous. Celebrity Circle fans saw how much fun VIXX can be when they made eye-contact and laughed with who danced to songs like “Eternity” and “Rock Ur Body.” Even Dark Lord Leo shared many smiles.
This connection carried over to the Hi-Touch event. VIXX tried their best to make eye-contact with fans and remain charming and engaging. N, especially, worked hard to please fans.
VIXX’s professionalism should be commended most of all. During awkward moments, they kept their composure like when the “translator” only wanted to discuss herself and hug the boys. Instead of making the moment weird, they used it as a chance for audience interaction. Sadly, the boys had to do their best to keep their wits often because of Limelight’s poor execution.
Limelight the Lowlight
Everything leading up to the concert equaled disaster. One look at Limelight’s Facebook page offers a snippet of the issues concert-goers had. Those few comments don’t cover all the issues fans faced.
When the VIXX concert was announced in October, Limelight did well answering questions in a quick, friendly manner. Dealing with them provided humor and personality other companies’ lack. Limelight does know how to connect with fans.
The aforementioned aside, Limelight does not seem like it’s well-equipped to handle large-scale concerts. From the word “go” everything was a mess from miscommunication between them and Jellyfish Entertainment, VIXX’s agency, to poor information relayed to fans.
Ticket costs were high. Even on the day of the concert, many seats remained unsold, which is shameful since it sends an “I don’t care” message to VIXX. Celebrity Circle seats ranged from $220-$300; B.A.P’s tickets through Powerhouse were considerably less ($180 got me two main floor tickets a few rows behind Celebrity Circle). Granted, Celebrity Circle seats did come with a Hi-Touch, but that hardly made up for the show being out of many people’s price range. Besides, with the concert being so close to the holidays, money is tight for many. Plus, 2PM was in Chicago a few days prior leaving K-Pop fans with the choice of which group they wanted to see more.
Tickets also came with the Starlight Dream Package option which came with a snapback hat, hoodie, beanie, and light stick for $60 extra. On one hand, $60 is decent, but rolled into the cost of tickets, the price seemed outrageous. Originally, I had two Celebrity Circle seats with the dream package, so my tickets cost $620 for me and a guest. Because the cost was so high, I got refunded on the Dream Package, sold my Celebrity Circle seats, and downgraded to the $84 back-row balcony seats. The cost of Celebrity Circle tickets ate away at my soul and literally kept me awake every night because I could not justify the cost. Two tickets should not cost more than rent. However, for those who could justify the cost, thumbs up.
VIXX is not to blame for delays.
If a show’s start time is 7pm, then please start it at 7pm. A few minutes late? Okay, that is acceptable; but to move the time to 7:30pm then have it start around 8pm is inconsiderate. Furthermore, many fans found out the show may have been shortened to accommodate the late start so the Hi-Touch portion could be held. Compared to B.A.P’s two hour show, VIXX’s only lasted a little over an hour, and this is with the talks and breaks incorporated. For the cost of the show, this was not cool.
Limelight needs to work on their communication skills if they want to be successful in concert organizing. Sure, they’re funny and relatable, but this is meaningless if everything else fails.
- Poor handling of refunds- Limelight promised it would be easy to get refunds if fans requested them. Fans waited several days to several weeks to see money appearing back in their accounts. Some fans could not get refunds at all because Limelight did not mention there was a cutoff date. Ticketmaster, however, tried their best to handle fan issues and put through some refunds even though Limelight initially denied them.
- Miscommunication on what was allowed at the event- Initially, Limelight said cameras with detachable lenses would not be allowed. This led many to believe certain cameras would be okay (iPhones, for example). When I arrived and had my bag checked, I was told to leave my camera, iPod, and phone in the car because they had camera features: “No cameras allowed at all.”
Some fans managed to get cameras and phones inside, so there are photos and videos floating around. However, Limelight had security telling people to put their cameras away; some security even deliberately positioned themselves in front of fans to block their cameras. Some of the event staff seemed to not care, but those wearing the black suits looked like mafia lords and like they could ‘cap you if you pressed the issue further.
If cameras were not allowed, then it should have been stated from the beginning. When some fans asked Limelight why they said some cameras were allowed, they were told the Facebook post was hacked and that was why it was posted. If that was the case, common sense would say to fix the problem and post correct information.
- Check-in- The day before the concert, Limelight posted the check-in procedures on Facebook. Not only is this bad timing because people needed to change travel arrangements, but not everyone uses Facebook so some may have missed this information. There were plenty of fans who traveled to the concert from out of state. For some, arriving for check-in times for VIP seating wasn’t possible. It did not matter because check-in started late.
Starlight Dream Package
As mentioned, the price of the Starlight Dream Package was rolled into ticket costs if fans purchased it. Fans had an option of what size and colors they wanted for their hoodies. A few fans were disappointed to learn Limelight didn’t have enough of certain sizes and colors in stock.
Limelight must have had a count of who-ordered-what because people ordered the package before the show. Therefore, they should have been prepared with enough merchandise in the right sizes to meet fan demands.
There were miscommunications with Hi-Touch holders also. Celebrity Circle fans were promised a longer experience, but they were rushed through because of the show’s late start. The same thing happened with non-Celebrity Circle fans but with a little more chaos. However, fans were happy just to see and touch VIXX; these issues seem mild compared to other problems.
Fans and VIXX were completely annoyed with her. A lot of us weren’t even sure she truly understood or spoke Korean. She sure did like to talk about herself though! She came across as unprofessional, especially when she stopped translating partway through to hug the members. Several times she didn’t finish translating. Leo and Ravi weren’t really amused, and N was caught giving her the stink-eye a few times. Limelight needs to consider hiring someone who can handle themselves professionally next time.
VIXX did an amazing job entertaining fans despite all the issues presented. What’s sad is VIXX took to Twitter to apologize to fans for some of the issues even though it was far from their fault. Performance-wise, VIXX was electrifying and it was clear they practiced hard in order to provide an amazing evening! The majority of fans agree VIXX was better than expected and many left happy they got to see their bias group.
Sadly, the job they did seems to be overshadowed by the pitiful actions of Limelight Entertainment. They should have been behind the scenes making sure everything went well; instead, their actions made for a stressful evening. Hopefully VIXX doesn’t think the concert organization is typical of US shows because it’s not! Hopefully, despite empty seats, VIXX doesn’t feel like the Chicago-area didn’t want to see them. Looking at the Chicago VIXX!!!! fan page definitely says otherwise, but the comments also suggest cost was a reason for low turnout.
If VIXX comes back to the Chicago-area again (which we all hope they do!), let’s hope it’s with a different organizer so things will run smoothly.
Note: One fan did manage to get some excellent photos! Credit to EpsilonXX for sharing!