I can’t believe it’s already been two weeks since Monsta X was here! I’m usually not much of a concert goer, but I’m pretty flexible when it comes to K-pop groups. They don’t often come to Paris and they never come to Boston, so I gotta see my faves when I can. And Monsta X was high on my list! They were one of the first groups I discovered, and they’ve been in my Top 5 ever since. (I literally change favorites all the time, so in my world that’s a big deal) Plus I really liked Beautiful, which I think is their best album and title track so far. So suffice it to say that I was super excited for this.
I usually don’t reveal my inner fangirl to the public, but I let her run wild just this once. I bought a bunch of Monsta X merchandise: light stick, tank top, face mask, tote bag…even a necklace Wonho that wore. That mask ended up being much bigger than I expected so I didn’t keep it on, but I still made my boyfriend take a picture of me with all my gear.
I wasn’t the only one raring to go. From the moment I entered the theater, I could tell this concert was going to be insane. The entire place was filled with fans singing loudly and proudly to Monsta X songs two hours before the show even started. And it continued all the way through to the end of the concert. K-pop usually is a bit of a solitary experience for me; none of my friends are really into it and indulge me at best. I feel like it’s very niche for Westerners, so it’s always nice to go to an event and see you’re not the only one.
The hype only intensified when Monsta X took the stage, starting strong right off the bat with “Beautiful.” (My current favorite!) They have a reputation for being charismatic and powerful onstage, and it’s clearly well-deserved. Their music is perfect for a concert because it has such a strong beat – it makes you want to cheer and dance along. Add in their sharp choreography and impressive lights and stage effects, and the whole thing was awesome. We all started out sitting down in the mezzanine, but everyone was up and permanently standing halfway through. They played all my favorite dance jams: “Hero,” “Ready or Not,” “Oi” (my personal favorite go-hard song), and “Be Quiet.” They kept the high energy level up to the end, closing out the show with their four title tracks to thunderous applause.
While their hard-hitting tracks made up two-thirds of the show, they took the time to have some mellower sections with songs like “Ex Girl” and “I’ll Be There.” Those typically aren’t my style, but it showed off their nice vocals. I also really liked the unit stages, which are always fun and unique. My Korean isn’t great, so I appreciate that Shownu, Minhyuk, and I.M. picked a song like “24K” so everyone could sing along. And of course, they took lots of time to talk to the audience and doing fan service, like showing off some French phrases they learned : “I love you,” “Paris is great,” etc. Apparently my WordPress plan doesn’t support video uploads, so unfortunately I can’t share Hyungwon saying “You’re all beautiful” in French. (He used the masculine plural form to include both genders, which I thought was nice!)
Some other thoughts and observations:
*It’s hard to say who was the most popular member. The fans especially went wild when both Wonho and Hyungwon appeared, but the other members got huge positive reactions as well. Monsta X is clearly popular over here in France, and it’s great that they got such a positive reception. Hopefully they felt the love.
*I definitely wasn’t expecting so many teenagers in the audience. I mean, I know a huge amount of K-pop fans are teens. But Monsta X’s age range is 21 to 25, so I guess I was expecting a crowd that was more college-age and young adult? Though I generally have an age complex when it comes to K-pop (I’m two years older than Shownu), I didn’t find it too weird. I was mostly there for the music and experience, and seeing my bias was an added bonus. But that age gap showed when I got a little tired of the constant screaming. (Not hating, just facts – if I was sixteen, I’d be right there with you all!) If NCT 127 ever comes to town, I’m going to feel like a grandma.
*My boyfriend wasn’t overly familiar with Monsta X. He knew a couple of their title tracks, but not much else. He stubbornly remains a closet ARMY, so anytime I show him something he’ll usually say “Yeah that’s okay, but I like BTS better.” But he did enjoy the show, especially the choreography. His favorite song is apparently “Hero.” He also kept saying how impressed he was by Shownu – or rather, “that tall guy with big shoulders who was in the middle a lot.” But seriously, who isn’t impressed by Shownu?
*They were having battles on who was most romantic and who had the best aegyo, and Wonho got so awkward and just ended up doing his Spongebob laugh. A-dorable. Also, I know lots of people go on about how hot he is, but I never thought much about it until his unit stage with Hyungwon where I could see his abs clearly from like 300 feet away. He’s obviously more than his body, but that body is no joke.
*Minhyuk and I.M. were the hard carries when it came to interacting with the audience. Minhyuk was lively, chatty, and full of energy. He really helped guide the conversations between the members, clearly earning his title as the moodmaker of the group. And as the designated English speaker, I.M. was in charge of hyping up the crowd. He definitely delivered, and he seemed super confident and at ease.
*All of the members are talented, but I think Kihyun and Jooheon are really strong performers. You can tell that they’re good from watching videos, but it’s really something else when you see them live. Their duet was absolutely stunning.
*Hyungwon, my bias, was in fine form. He drove the fans in the front wild with his waving, winking, and blowing kisses. Also, I had no idea that he was a DJ?!?!?! Clearly I’m not a very good Hyungwon stan. But it was fun to see that side of him.
All in all, I had a wonderful time at the concert. I loved KCON France last year, but I was sitting far away and didn’t see any of the groups up close. The enormity of the moment didn’t really dawn on me. This time I could see them all pretty closely, even from the mezzaneine. I didn’t even have to look at the giant screen, so I felt much more involved in the experience. And it was pretty surreal to be watching the same goofy guys I saw playing around with animals on V-live just that afternoon.
I was so impressed by Monsta X. I never doubted their abilities, but seeing them live just confirmed what I thought before. They have great vocalists and rappers, and their choreography is practically flawless. I’m floored that they were able to dance to 20+ numbers without showing a hint of exhaustion. And while they come off as dorky and extra on their shows, when they perform they’re nothing but professional. Jooheon said something about liking that the audience was so diverse, and it struck me as a very nice thing to say. They obviously have to do fan service during these things, but it seemed like they genuinely meant it. I’m so happy that I was able to see them in concert, and I hope that more K-pop groups will come to Europe. In the meantime, I’m heading out to see K.A.R.D. next week!
P.S. I want to give a shout out to my awesome boyfriend. He paid a lot of money to see a group he didn’t really know, he had to sit in one of those folding chairs because the theater was so crowded, and he spent the night feeling old surrounded by people half his age (he’s six years older than Shownu!). And while he did end up enjoying himself, he really did it all just so I would have someone to go to the concert with. So here’s to him: Thanks so much for always indulging me when it comes to K-pop. I love you lots!