*none of these pictures belong to me*
After days of trying to figure out how to put the concert into words… I’ve decided the best course of action is to tell you what I remember off the top of my head and then answer your questions in the comments
So please, if you have any questions about the Dress to SHINE concert or how AFTERSCHOOL is in person or even about the fans at the concert, please post them in the comments below!!
I arrived at the venue (Laforet Museum in Roppongi) at around 14:30pm. I arrived early in hopes I could get into the line for buying merchandise, which opened at 16:00. My goal was to buy an AFTERSCHOOL Dress to SHINE jacket as well as an 8-pack of Itunes cards (Not really sure what they’re called…), which came with a pass to meet AFTERSCHOOL in a farewell meeting (a high touch event).
At first I did not see the line for buying merchandise, so I found a nearby park to pass the time. Thankfully, I returned shortly to the Laforet building and found the merchandise line which was growing! I was 17th in line. Soon, more and more people (happy, happy people!) drifted into line. Many of them knew each other and were hugging and squealing and even brought gifts for each other to use to cheer on AFTERSCHOOL during the concert!
At 16:00 the event workers let us into the building, down the escalators, and into a “lobby” area where they had set up the merchandise counter. They (for some reason) had two lines, one for the Itunes cards and one for the rest of the merchandise. After I bought the Itunes cards (with the farewell meeting pass!!) my previous neighbor in line allowed me back in so I was able to obtain a Dress to SHINE jacket as well I’m so broke now, but it was so worth it.
After buying merchandise we went back outside to wait for the concert to begin. There was very little seating outside the building, to my dismay. As I waited for the concert to begin (alone), a few fans from Taiwan (I think?) introduced themselves to me and lead me through the whole rest of the concert experience (I am forever grateful).
It was my understanding that they all knew each other from Taiwan but one was studying in LA, one in Germany (Lizzy calls her Germany x’D), one in Canada, and one in Korea (I think). Most of them have seen AFTERSCHOOL in person before multiple times, both in Japan and in Korea. (AH-MAZING RIGHT!?) AFTERSCHOOL even recognized them and had country “nick names” for them. Nana through a ball to her fan from Taiwan and said “Thank you Taiwan”! :’) If you ever doubt if AFTERSCHOOL cares for the fans, let this prove to you that they really do.
At 18:00 we were broken into groups based on our ticket letters. People with “A” on their ticket were let in first (my friends from Taiwan :'[ ) then “B”, then “C”. I unfortunately was in group “C”. This meant that I had a very little chance of getting a good view. Once you entered into the concert “room” you found your own place to stand in one of the three sections (separated by gates). There were so many tall people at the concert in the front so I was very disheartened when I first entered. But I ended up getting fairly close and had a perfect window between people to see the stage!
(this second picture isn’t from the Dress to SHINE concert, I just looked for an image on google of the room. For Dress to SHINE, this point of view would be from the stage. Then the room was divided into thirds facing the stage.)
I’m so thankful to go, so please don’t read this as a rant of complaining… just surprise ><
The venue was surprisingly small to me. Although there seemed to be a ton of fans, the room was fairly small and it was set up very… annoyingly. I’m 5 foot 5 inches and there were SO many people that were WAY taller than me standing in the front … so I was scared I wouldn’t be able to see without a stool or something :p
I’ve never been to a k-pop concert before or anything… but I expected the room to be bigger and set up differently. It was just a room (no slant), with three or four gates separating the room into the 3 sections with two aisles that the workers could walk down (and tell me not to use my phone to take pictures ><).
I think I was expecting something a little more akin to my (past) high school auditorium or something??
The Concert itself!!!:
The concert began with Nana, Lizzy, and Raina entering the stage in their striped My CopyCat costumes with the jean jumpers/dresses. It was absolutely SURREAL to see them in person. I don’t know how I can explain this to people. But looking at Orange Caramel and AFTERSCHOOL on screen everyday for years, and then suddenly (and finally!) seeing them in 3-D…. I think I’m still in shock. It goes without saying that they’re absolutely GORGEOUS in person. Even more gorgeous than in piectures. I know it’s hard to believe… but you just have to trust me. I don’t think pictures really do them justice ESPECIALLY Raina.
(backstage picture of them, from AFTERSCHOOL Japan Facebook)
Then, the most perfect thing happened, Iyokan (E-yoKaeun??). They performed the cutest duet. Eyoung strummed away on her guitar and both sang so sweetly, and to my surprise and delight they even messed with… harmonies! Live! As I haven’t heard E-young sing very much, I was SO surprised by how sweet and clear her voice was. (The same was true for Kaeun, I just expected it for some reason??)
This is a good time to say, that throughout the entire concert every members voice was so on point. Maybe you’ve noticed (or thought) like me that AFTERSCHOOL’s voices (and Kahi’s!) have improved a lot in recent years/months…. and it showed SO MUCH during the concert. I’m confident and proud that AFTERSCHOOL may soon be considered not only a top performance group, but also a group with good vocals. While Raina is known for her “powerful” vocals, the rest of the members have a very clear and pleasing voices… and not just a soft and shy ones. I’m very biased, but as I’ve always considered vocals to be AFTERSCHOOL’s weakness and I’m beyond overjoyed they have improved so much to be able to perform LIVE so well. (Which means the studio has the potential to be even better, right?!)
That said, Jung-Ah also performed a solo during the concert that was soooooooooooo spot on! Like, to be competely honest, there have been times that Jung-Ah has sung that although sweet and good at times, you could also feel it was hard and a struggle for her. Do you know what I mean? Well, those times, my friends, are gone. Her voice was not shakey or hard to listen to. She delivered powerful notes in such perfection I could cry…. Jung-Ah may have debuted as the main vocalist of AFTERSCHOOL, but I think for a time her confidence in her singing dwindled. But, she seriously owned it you guys. OWNED. IT.
It goes without saying AFTERSCHOOL’s dance performance was also flawless. And in person, I think I could see the skill level even more. Since it was live right it front of me, I didn’t have to rely just on the cameraman to give me a good angle.
In person vs. on screen:
So, for me the thing I was most curious and excited about was to see how AFTERSCHOOL looked in person as opposed to how they looked in pictures. The first thing was their HAIR. It is so long and bouncy. In pictures you can see that their hair/extensions are long, but in person it was just like “dannnnnnnnnnnnng”
The person who I feel looked the most different in person was UEE. On stage her beauty was UN-BELIEVABLE *.* seriously, someone should have prepared me. I may be Nana-biased but I was seriously blown away by UEE. Another difference about UEE though was that her face, upon closer inspection, seemed to be (literally) a perfect “V”, which of course is very different the chubby cheeked UEE I picture in my head~~
During my days skimming through ASDaze (#shamelssplug), I have noticed that all the members seem to have lost weight in the past months. I first noticed it in Lizzy and Kaeun, but then also UEE and Raina. This also was very prominent in person.
Now, until now I have been Nana-biased… but my love for Raina grew by like 10000000000000000000000000000000x during this concert. She looks STUNNING in person and her vocals were just….there are no words. Raina’s voice was clear as a belle and absolutely flawless you guys! I’m running out of adjectives to properly describe this concert.
I was really surprised, also, by E-young’s voice (as already stated) and stage presence. The videos I’ve seen posted this year just do not do her justice. They were all amazing in person, but I finally was able to see E-youngie shine~~ and she really did <33
Farewell Meeting/ High Touch Event:
Well, first they coralled us into this little rope fenced off area to wait for the High Touch. My friends from Taiwan led me through it and taught me how to say “I’m from the U.S.A” in Korean. We waited until the end so we could wave to AFTERSCHOOL when we left.
It was abosolutely surreal to see AFTERSCHOOl just a few feet away from me… and then to move down the line knowing I was going to touch their hands. *shaking just remembering*
They are flawless on screen, flawless on stage, and freaking FLAWLESS up close!!!!! #holdme
As you High-Five each member, you have multiple event workers literally lifting you up from behind and shoving you to the next event worker to get you down the line faster… my personal space bubble was breached too many times (hahaha) but it was so worth it. Even in that small millisecond I had with each member… :’)
I was really curious to see how tall AFTERSCHOOL really was in person. When I went to the High-touch event, I can say that I think they were in flat shoes~ and that they’re are definitely around my height which is 5’5. I didn’t think they were much taller than me at all. And I, for some reason, expected Raina to look much shorter than the rest of the members… but she didn’t at all standing side by side.
But I was also bobbing my head up and down in an attempt to bow to each of them in the short millisecond I had with each x’D
So that’s what I can think of off the top of my head~~~<33 Please post your questions in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them