August 14 marked my 6 month anniversary. I’ve been in Korea for 6 months.
It’s been the shortest 6 months of my life. The weekdays are so busy they fly by, which means I count my time here by weekends. And there’s only been about 20 of those.
So I knew that I had to do something epic on my 6 month anniversary. It was a Friday–there was simply no choice.
So what did I decide to do?
My two church friends from far away were in the Seoul for the weekend and they wanted to try for Music Core. And I’m like
Unfortunately I work, unlike these public school teachers who have the summer off. So I wasn’t able to get there until 8:30pm. My Shinee friend usually doesn’t get there until this time, so she thought it would be okay.
You may remember my previous music core experiences. Twice I went for Exo and was defeated smashed and utterly wasted from disappointment. But then I tried again for Speed, and not only did I scream along for the pre-recording, but I also got a selfie with one of the members and even the live show!
I really didn’t feel the need to go to music core again…unless it was for social reasons. I hadn’t seen these girls in months and while music core had already been crossed off of my list…Shinee was performing this time…
If you remember, we didn’t get to Digital Media City until 1am when we went for EXO. We were in the 400s. I couldn’t believe it–there were already 400 people there for an 11am pre-recording?
Well–my expectations and thoughts are consistently challenged and rearranged here in Korea.
I got there at 8:30 to see a GIANT mass of fangirls there for first check-in–and apparently the most busy/crazy/overwhelming shinee show in the past 7 years (according to some hardcore fans).
Last post I did a guide on how to get survive a concert in Olympic Park. So here’s a guide on how to get into Music Core. Believe it or not normal person readers, there is actually a demand for this information. Most of the posts on the internet about this are outdated. So to anyone looking for this information, this is the method as of August 14, 2015.
Get to the MBC building. The MBC building is located in Digital Media City–a giant cobblestoned square of statues and coffee shops and important buildings.
There are two subway lines that stop at Digital Media City. From Suwon, I take the KTX to Seoul Station and then jump on the Airport Line. My friend takes the Gyeongui-Jungang line–but that’s an entirely different set of directions. And I like this one. So get off of the Airport Line (aka Airport Railroad) at–you guessed it–Digital Media City. Wander through the giant station (you’ll be walking for a while) to Exit 2 and take the escalator up. You’ll arrive in a quiet area with some trees and benches, a busy road to your left, and a small road to your right. Cross the small road to a bus stop (it’s just a sign) and take either the 7711 or 7730 for 4 stops. These busses come quite often so no need to worry about timing. Jump off the bus and walk straight into the square. Then turn left, cross a street, and you’ve officially entered the MBC area!
Check in: Each group does their check-in slightly different, but just remember this–the earlier the better. There’s no real estimate for when you’re allowed to check-in it just depends. For most groups, at some point in the late afternoon, a post will go up on Twitter, and the fan club presidents will then be allowed to put up a sign somewhere with information about the time and a phone number. You take a picture by the sign and text it, as well as your Korean name (or name written in Korean like 말로리) to the listed number. You’ll get a text back from this person with a number. And that’s your number. Keep it close. As for me, I was number 600.
Knowing that I didn’t get in previously with a number in the 400s, I didn’t really entertain any notions that I would get in as a 600. But that’s okay. I felt pretty veni vidi vici about the entire experience and I was mostly there to spend a weekend with my friends. So while getting in would be AMAZING, as long as I got to spend time with them, then it wasn’t a loss.
Learn your check-in time: this is very important. The president (s) will host different check-in times throughout the next few hours. If you don’t show up, you’ll be crossed off the list. It’s a way of weeding stupid, lazy, or uncommitted people out.
8:00pm was the first check-in time, so my friends in the 100s had already shouted “ne!” when their Korean names were called and were thereby officially present.
The next check in was at 8:30am.
Go get some sleep: I heard that sleeping out at Digital Media City isn’t legal. That doesn’t mean it isn’t done. That doesn’t mean I haven’t done it. But–sleeping elsewhere, especially if you know exactly what you’re doing, where and when the check-in times are, how to get there, etc etc –certainly has it’s perks. We had a hostel in Hongdae, just a few stops away, reasonably priced and with a flatscreen and working shower.
Return for morning check-in: Go back to DMC and look for the crowd. At this point, the fan club president will go name by name, according to your number, and you go up and show her your picture on the phone. Once again, if you’re not there when your name is called, you have about 0.3 seconds to appear before you’re crossed off of The List. When you do appear, another girl in the presidency will write a new number on your wrist. With all the people who didn’t show up, you’ll more than likely have gone up! I went from 600 the night before, to 433 in the morning!
Still, in my mind, impossible
The poor girl was not prepared to yell out 600+ names. She didn’t even have a megaphone.
Line up: Once check-in is complete, you’ll line up according to priority number. Usually it’s different lines per 100–like 1-100 is the first line, 101-200 is the second line, etc etc. Just ask around to see girl’s wrists. You’re all in this together so usually people are pretty nice.
Merchandise Check: Once everyone is lined up, someone in the SM volunteer staff and/or fanclub presidency will go down the line and check for the appropriate merchandise. Every group and comeback is different–but this information can be found out on Twitter, the Daum account, the official website, or other places. You’ll ALWAYS need a physical copy of the album. Most of the time you also need proof that you bought the song on Melon, as a way of increasing album sales aka their chance of winning the show. This “proof” is a little complicated as it involves you taking a literal screenshot of a) the receipt page with the song and date and b) your personal profile page. They need to be physical–as in, on a piece of paper–screenshots. You’ll also need some kind of ID to prove you’re a person. But be careful–for smaller groups you need to RSVP by writing your name, number, and other info, on their Daum account, and then screen shotting that you did this. I didn’t understand this concept for Speed so even though I actually did it, I was sent to the back of the line and got into the live show only by some miracle. I held my breath–even though I knew I had done everything right–and the girl wrote “S5” on my wrist.
Re-lined: Shinee is a little different in that “official members” aka girls that paid to be in an “official fan club” that hasn’t been opened in 6 years, get to cut everyone and take the fast lane inside. So staff will go down each line and separate the “officials” (S1) from the “non-officials” (S-everyone else).
You are given a new number depending on how many “official fans” showed up. I went from 433 to…247. That means 189 officials had showed up the night before and gotten a priority number. But there were officials strolling in all morning without a number and just flashing their little card and sent to the official line.
Wait in line: As time for the pre-recording edges closer, you are put back in your lines. Even though I was the 247 non-official fan, I was in the 5th line because of my priority number. And then comes the actual nervewracking moments that are far worse than those moments right before getting on a giant rollercoaster, or when you’re about to puke, or standing outside the door for a job interview.
You’ll watch the officials enter the building and you’re like–cool. After them, it TOTALLY depends on the staff’s mood, how flirty the volunteers are, how well behaved your fandom is, how willing they are to break fire safety protocol etc etc. Sometimes they only let officials in. And then there are days like my 6 months anniversary.
MBC staff will come in and yell something in Korean and an entire line will start screaming of joy and start heading in. I watched as the first and second lines, with my two friends, were herded it. Now I knew from the beginning that my chances were extremely low. But at the same time, I had seen how many people they could pack in that studio.
Five minutes later. Line 3.
Another five minutes later. Line 4.
And it really is quite cruel when they’ve already let in 500 people yet…you’re in the second-to-last line. You can see the doors. Is there hope? Stop giving me hope.
You see staff come out and roam the lines, mentally counting, get on their phones meanwhile you’re surrounded by anxious fangirls whispering in a foreign language but you’re all biting your nails.
Then, wait…are you moving forward? Are you…being let in?
But then you realize that they are counting heads. Not everyone in this line was going to be let in. Will you be cut off????
They must have known it was my 6 month anniversary because they cut the line off…two people behind me. A pair of Japanese fanjummas–definitely married with children in Japan–who had come to Korea to support Shinee in Korea, were the only people behind me.
Enjoy the Show! There is a floor box area where the officials stand, and where I stood for speed because there were like 20 of us, and then there there’s room for about 200 in nice comfy seats, and then depending on their mood they’ll line the two stair cases, and have a row of standers behind the last row of chairs. Which was me.
I was given a special balloon and had about 90 seconds to blow it up before they came on stage.
The group comes on and everyone screams and fangirls while they make jokes into their microphones. They usually do the song fully once or twice, and then certain sections are redone for specific angles. Music Core’s style kind of gives me motion sickness watching, but it does mean we get a longer free concert.
The whole thing is about 20 minutes but hey! You saw a pre-recording! And it was free!
So that was a lot of work. It’s a process that takes time and effort and mistakes. But now I’ve passed twice which means that the first time wasn’t a fluke it was real.
Happy 6 month anniversary to me.