Showing posts with label IU Hereh Manila Part 1 (Kconcert) 4.2 || 4. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IU Hereh Manila Part 1 (Kconcert) 4.2 || 4. Show all posts

03 June 2024

K Concert Review: 2024 IU HEREH World Tour Concert in Manila (Pre-Concert) 4.2 || 4


I'm still on a high from the IU concert here in Manila (or specifically, Bocaue, Bulacan) more than 24 hours after it ended. And I know I need to write about it to help me somehow lower my energy from that super wonderful experience. 

Some disclaimers before I proceed. Oppa is the real Uaena (name for IU fans). IU is on his Noona List. And he even took  photos of IU's fifth album, Lilac. IU is all over our house - Oppa's shirts, pillows, calendars, posters, magnets, wall clock, phone case, photo cards, albums, coaster, etc. So yes, Oppa is a huge IU fan. 

On the other hand, I'm more like a Uaena's wife. :D Don't get me wrong though. I love IU! I may not be an expert on her music but I love listening to her songs. And I love her as an actress too! I really enjoyed watching her on PersonaDream HighYou are the BestThe ProducersMoon LoversMy Mister, and Hotel Del Luna. So why am I explaining myself? Because I am not going to pretend that I know everything about IU. Some fans tend to gate-keep and I just want to make things clear lest I be accused of being a bandwagoner. 

Also, this is my (and Oppa's too!) first Korean concert. So everything's new to us and we're not aware of the general standards of K cons. I'll be writing about what we actually experienced, that's all. 

Ticket Selling

Pulp Live World was the concert's promoter in Manila. The show was scheduled for June 1, 2024 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan (which is in the outskirts of Metro Manila). 

IU announced her concert dates on January 17, 2024. And I recall that around March (or was it February?), the Maenas (name for IU's fans in Manila) began complaining about the lack of announcements from Pulp regarding ticket selling dates, seat plans, ticket prices, etc. This went on until April. It even reached a point where Maenas would comment on every social media post of Pulp to ask about the details of the IU concert. Some time in the middle of April, the announcements finally came. Ticket selling would be on April 28, 2024 at 12 noon, Manila time. Ticket prices ranged from Php2,500 to Php12,000. 

As a first time K con ticket buyer, I was really anxious because there were a lot of rules, tips, instructions, etc. to read. I had to bookmark a lot of stuff to make sure I can easily refer back to them when needed. Comments on Pulp's announcements were really helpful too. Expert K con attendees generously shared tricks on how to get these precious tickets. 

On April 28, 2024, I logged in to the Pulp ticket selling website as early as 10 a.m. Queueing was set to begin at 11 a.m. and I wanted to make sure that I won't miss it. From 11 a.m., I kept on refreshing my browser every 5 minutes until around 11:50 a.m., when I started refreshing every minute. 

At exactly 12 noon, I got my queue number. 824. I've experienced buying basketball tickets in the past and I know that a queue number below 1,000 is not that bad. And since buying was limited to 4 tickets per person, I felt I had a fairly good chance of getting good seats. 

Waiting was not that long. In less than 10 minutes, I was able to get in to the ticket selling site. I couldn't figure out how to select the specific section though so I had to make do with choosing the ticket tier we preferred. The system assigned me seats, I paid with my credit card, and everything was done in a minute or even less. At 12:10 p.m., I received my email confirmation and my tickets were in my Pulp account. 

Because of my experience, I initially assumed that the ticket selling was smooth, fast, and glitch free for everyone. But after reading through people's complaints on social media, I realized that the K con gods probably just gave me rookie luck. A lot of buyers' transactions were problematic - their credit cards were charged but the transactions didn't appear to be successful (no email confirmations and/or tickets were not in their Pulp accounts). The credit card systems were flagging down the transactions as fraudulent, hence, they were being rejected. Selling had to be paused several times to fix the system error and to get rid of all the bots carting tickets. 

I know Pulp set up complaint forms to handle these issues but I'm not sure how quickly these problems were resolved. It's just unfortunate because some people were not able to secure the seats they originally wanted and had to settle for other seats, only to find out later on in the day that seats in their desired sections became available once again. That must have been really frustrating. 

Tickets were sold out (within the day or the day after if I'm not mistaken). Then Pulp decided to open up more sections/seats, which were sold on May 11. People were complaining about how this was a problematic move. And fans were saying that this was the reason why tickets were not sold out. 

Tickets were available online through the Pulp account on May 20, 2024. 

Pre-Order of Merch

We did not have an IU lightstick. And while we're not expert K con goers, we wanted a lightstick for the full experience. 

We initially ordered from a local seller who was importing stuff from South Korea. However, according to the seller, Edam was unresponsive and could not commit to a delivery date. Given how the concert was happening really soon, the local seller decided to cancel the orders and refund our payments. I was so tempted to buy from Lazada but I was so scared I'll get a fake one that won't work during the concert. 

Good thing I was patient because Pulp sold concert merch, including the lightstick. Selling was on May 19, 2024. You had the option to pre-order or if you can't wait, you can buy from the merch booth set up in a mall in Manila a few days before the concert. I opted for pre-order with pick up at the venue. The online transaction was smooth and I was hoping claiming would be stress-free too. I was not quite right but we'll get to that later. 

Pre-Concert Concerns

Our first major concern was the venue. The Philippine Arena is located in Bocaue, Bulacan. Depending on where you're coming from and what route you choose, this area is roughly 26 to 32 kilometers away from Manila. Private car owners would probably just need to deal with travel expenses and the traffic. But commuters have the added challenge of figuring out the logistics of how to get to and from the venue. Pulp offered bus services but slots were sold out immediately and no added seats were offered. Some Maenas carpooled to the venue. 

Maenas, who are probably used to the problematic traffic/transportation condition here, would find a way. But I'm concerned about the foreigners who flew in to watch the concert. I'm not sure how they managed but I hope they didn't have a hard time. 

Oppa and I know our limitations. We're old (at least compared to the other fans!) and we live outside Metro Manila. We know we can't handle driving around 80 kilometers going to the venue (on a good day, an hour and half would probably be enough but sky is the limit on bad days), lining up under the sun, waiting, sweating, going hungry and dehydrated, watching the concert, and driving back home for another 80 kilometers when we'll most likely be super tired and sleepy. So we opted to ask one of our friends to drive for us and our Kuya patiently waited for us the entire day (and night!). 

I was concerned about the weather. It was so hot weeks before the concert. Then we got a typhoon a week before the show. I was not sure what to expect but I think I was more concerned about the heat. I sweat a lot and I didn't want to pass out due to exhaustion from the heat. I had to plan my outfit well to make sure I was comfortable and I would last until the end of the concert. 

Food was not really a problem because we knew there were going to be food stalls. Oppa initially wanted to drop by a mall before heading to the venue so we could get a decent lunch and toilet break. But when we heard horror stories of how people got stuck in traffic in previous concerts (some would even miss the entire concert), we ditched that plan and decided to head straight to the venue. 

Parking was another concern. The vicinity maps posted by Pulp on social media were really helpful because we were able to determine what parking area we wanted to stay in. We need to master the venue more though because there appears to be better parking areas. 

I was concerned about toilets too. More specifically, clean toilets. But I was prepared for the worst and I guess that helped temper my expectations. 

Oppa made sure we had a full tank of gasoline a day before the concert to make sure we could leave right away the following day. 

Going to and Waiting for the Concert

For my OOTD, I chose comfort over style. I wore a dri fit shirt and skort to make sure my clothing can handle the heat. I brought along two rechargeable fans to help cool us down. Oppa and I had our own water bottles filled with ice water. But we controlled our liquid intake because we didn't want to be peeing a lot without knowing the toilet situation. We had some crackers too in case we get hungry while waiting. 

We left home at around 10 a.m. and we were at the venue in an hour and a half. We were so excited to see a lot of people walking around already that early. 

We thought Parking A would be best and nearest the exit. So we settled there. We were lucky we found a spot near the entrance/exit so we thought we'll have an easier time going out. :D 

After parking, we decided to get strapped first to get that out of the way. Strapping and claiming of the pre-ordered merch were on the same location so we didn't have to walk a lot. Strapping lines were short and everything went smoothly. They just scanned our tickets (from our phones), strapped us, and gave us our freebies. Yes, no ID check contrary to initial announcements. We were done in less than 5 minutes. 

Next, we had to line up to claim our pre-ordered merch. We expected this line to be short and that we'd be done quickly. After all, we've paid for our item and we just need to claim it. Well, we were wrong. We had to wait for around an hour to claim our item. The line was moving slowly. And it didn't help that the tent's air conditioning system could not handle the heat. I was so grateful for my little handheld fan for helping me get through this part. 

The line for walk-in buyers was even worse. If we had to wait for an hour, they probably had to wait for 2 hours. Later on in the day, some people had to line up for more than 3 hours to buy or claim the pre-ordered merch. I'm not sure how, but I believe there's a better way to handle this. Maybe add more counters? Because it's so unfortunate to miss any part of the concert when you're stuck claiming or buying merch. 

I had to provide my order number and present my ID to claim the lightstick. And once we got everything we needed, we knew we were all set!!! IU's mom gave away keychains (one big and one small), photo card holder, and some IU photos. IU Philippines printed banners that we could use during the concert. 

We were done by around 1 p.m. so it was finally time for lunch. We bought something easy to eat and we decided to wait in the car to take advantage of the air condition. We wanted to nap a bit but we were probably too excited. 

Gates were set to open at 3 p.m. We didn't want to appear too excited so we decided to line up at around 3:30 p.m. And we were dismayed because the lines were so chaotic. There were side and front entrances. And we naturally opted for the entrance nearest our location, which was a side entrance. On hindsight though, that was a wrong decision because we were located near the food pavilion where a lot of people were staying. This entrance was probably the most congested. 

While we were trying to figure out where the end of the line was, the people in front of us just stopped and so everybody assumed that was the end of the line. I waited and Oppa decided to check out things in front to make sure we were doing the right thing. While Oppa was away, the lines just got even worse. Two lines merged into a single line. While single lines ballooned to two or even three lines. And none of us knew where we would end up. 

Oppa called me to say that things seemed better in front but we were scared that we won't see each other if I followed him and we didn't want to waste the time I spent lining up. Oppa came back. But when things really seemed hopeless, we decided to leave and find a better line. 

Some fans were complaining that the ushers were not really helpful. You ask them where you're supposed to enter or line up and they'll just tell you you can enter anywhere. A little help like telling us where the lines were shorter would have been really great. 

We ended up in the front entrance, the line where Oppa said earlier was better. And the ushers there were a bit more helpful. We could go right or left but the kuya advised us to take the left line because it was in a shaded area and there were fewer people there too. 

After the initial bag check, we had to line up again to go through a tent that was also called security or bag check. But nobody really checked us there anymore because they paid more attention to the people who still needed strapping. Those of us who were already strapped could just walk in and head to the arena. 

The whole experience honestly felt like hiking up a mountain or going on a pilgrimage. After lining up and/or figuring things out for more than an hour, we finally reached the Arena steps. And you can notice how everyone felt successful in accomplishing that feat because we were all taking selfies in front of the steps. 

After trekking some more steps to finally get into the venue, then a quick stopover in the toilet (which was surprisingly still clean and not full of people yet), buying water, and going down some steep stairs, we were finally on our seats. I was totally breathless, tired, and super thirsty at this point. 

We had about an hour and a half to go before the start of the concert. The screens were repeatedly showing music videos of IU's latest songs like Holssi, Love Wins All, and Shopper. We had no time to be bored because we were busy soaking it all in and watching as people slowly filled up the stadium. 

To be continued on the second part where I review the actual concert.

Oppa says...4.2.

Noona says...4.