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Review: Enjoying Monsta X’s LA concert at home in Seoul

  • Published : Aug 14, 2019 - 18:12
  • Updated : Aug 14, 2019 - 18:12

A close look at the K-pop group’s livestreamed concert in the era of social media

(Starship Entertainment)
Monsta X’s world tour “We Are Here” came to an end on Saturday with a sold-out show at Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

In a normal setting, fans -- known as “Monbebes” -- would have just hoped and waited for a DVD release at best, but not this time. Everyone was given a rare chance to enjoy the show from afar so long as they had internet access and purchased Naver V Live’s livestream tickets, which cost 33,000 won ($27) apiece.

When the show began at 7 p.m. in LA, the 21,000-seat venue was lit up with light sticks but the clock showed only 11 a.m. in Seoul. But the time difference didn’t matter as the next three hours were to become something of a novelty. At the risk of sounding cliched, the livestream experience on V Live makes you almost forget where you are and what time it is.

Kicking off the hit-packed set list was “Shoot Out,” a bass-heavy, rock music-inspired banger. As the seven band members appeared onstage, the chat room was soon bombarded with messages in multiple languages, typically consisting of the poster’s favorite member’s name. English, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish -- you name it. The excitement was in the air.

(Starship Entertainment)
It was Kihyun’s name that came up the most. The musician, “one-seventh of the group,” was performing in a chair despite a fractured rib, pulling on fans’ heartstrings.
“Sit down,” they told him. While such communication would not have been feasible in a jam-packed stadium with music blasting through the speakers, V Live viewers are able to share their feelings from the comfort of their bedrooms.

“Should we introduce ourselves to people watching on V Live around the world?” the group asked during the first half of the show. Though small, it was a nice gesture acknowledging the viewers at home. After all, people from the K-pop fandom community, known for the words “I’m broke,” had to pay a not-so-small amount of money.

(Starship Entertainment)
Adding to the fun was the exponential number of hearts that kept coming in. As the number reached 10 million during the show, pop went the screen with the message “Congratulations!” Small things like this kept viewers tethered to the screen.

The show also took an emotional turn as Jooheon sent out a message of equality. “No matter who you are, where you come from or who you love, I love each and every single one of you the same,” he said toward the end of the show.

A livestreamed concert is the latest of several social media experiments that Monsta X has undertaken to expand its global fan base since its debut. “V Live also played a big role in the group’s popularity over the years as the members have frequently streamed and shared their lives with fans,” said a Starship Entertainment PR official.

With all its glories, however, the stream was far from perfect. Some viewers complained about distractions, like the big logos of Starship and CJ E&M on the top left and V Live on the top right. And they were right -- these eyesores continued to appear throughout the show. And because the show was streamed live with no time for editing, expectations for dramatic camera angles or movements were unlikely to be met. But was all the trouble worth it?

The answer might be yes because there really is no second chance to see live what Monsta X described as a “glorious day” they would never forget.

By Yim Hyun-su (hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)