As always, the wait came to an end and it was time for the trip. The first step is getting there of course. Dallas is in that sweet spot where it takes just as much time to drive to it as it would to fly, so I opted for the cheaper driving option. Door to hotel, it was about a five hour trip. When most people hear this they wince, but as a Texan from the middle of nowhere I don’t consider a five hour trip much of a big deal. It’s either five hours in the car, or about as much time dealing with airports, security, delays, landing, and all that fun stuff. Personally, I’ll take the car option. The drive is long but pretty easy. You change major highways once and you’re pretty much there. Dallas traffic is pretty heavy but not bad if you just go with the flow. I left my home at about 10:45AM on Thursday, March 5th and got to my hotel’s parking lot at about 3:45PM. Considering I had to go into central Dallas, I made fantastic time. I checked in and took a little nap as I usually do after five hours on the road. I ordered a pizza for delivery and had a deliciously unhealthy dinner. Then, I had a night out on the town. It was a good time, there’s always plenty to do in a city as big as Dallas. With that taken care of, it was time to get some sleep to be nice and rested for the reason of the trip the next day.
I woke up the next morning around 11:00AM or so. I always let myself sleep in so I can be nice and rested for the main event. I showered and got ready for the show, making sure several times I had everything with me like my tickets, portable battery pack, earplugs, all that good stuff. The ticket line and wrist band pickup was scheduled to be open at 1:00PM but I wasn’t worried about getting there first. I was also not thrilled with the idea of getting there a whole six hours before the show even started but that’s the hand we were dealt. I called for an Uber at about 2:15PM and got to South Side Music Hall about 20 minutes later. Traffic in that area was noticeable but not awful. It was close to downtown but far enough out to miss the bad stuff.
When I got there, it was fairly easy to find the wrist band handout spot. There were some signs to help, but the main reason was there just wasn’t much of a crowd. I guess I had BLACKPINK and Red Velvet in my head, and was expecting this to be a bustling area an hour into the start of it, but honestly, it wasn’t at all. I don’t think there were more than 50 people there at that point. Considering I got wristband 156, I guess some people got theirs and took off. As it got closer to the forming of the line, things got more busy of course, but still just not as much as I thought it might. As usual, my social awkwardness kept me from meeting or talking to many people, however I did actually talk to someone which is pretty good for me. Heh. I overheard one group talking about traveling to Korea, and one guy mentioned he wasn’t sure about going to Japan expressing concerns over the transit system. I chimed in and told him it sounded about the same as Korea, which led me to kinda wedge my way into their circle for the wait to line-up time. Admittedly I didn’t say much beyond that but it was nice to at least talk to someone. Thank you guys for letting me join you. Props!
I also bought some merch as we were waiting. The pickings were fairly slim: short and long sleeve tour shirts, a hoodie with the same design, a poster, and a little tote bag which sold out just as I got to the table. I ended up getting a shirt and a poster. The shirt is pretty plain and a bit on the cheap end but nice to have. The poster is good quality but like most posters it got pretty scuffed up throughout the night. Oh well, it just adds more to the memory of it, I guess.
Line up was scheduled to begin at 4:30PM but it actually began at a little past 5:00. Line management on part of the staff was pretty much none. Luckily, the honor system seemed to be in place and I was able to find more or less my place in line. People passed the time chatting, blaring music, doing dance covers, and so on. I gotta give it to K-Pop fans, they really are social. I honestly wish I was more social so I might partake, and perhaps a little younger so it might not be in my best interest to ask for ID if I did. I would say “just kidding”, but for real guys, the K-Pop fandom is much more youthful than the Japanese idol fan scene. It almost feels like a weird role reversal.
Finally, by 6:30PM or so, we’re making our way into the venue. They were lightly checking wrist band numbers but I don’t think they were making too big a deal about the order at all. As we made our way in you could get a separate 21+ band to get drinks. I got one, but there was no time for that. If you wanted a drink you lost valuable spots as the bar was off to the side. Instead I took a quick bathroom break, then secured the best spot I could. With one hour left to go, I was starting to wish I had sat more in the line. My back and legs were starting to get annoyed at standing for several hours, and now there was no chance to even stretch. It was a bummer, but at 7:30PM, the show began and all my aches and pains were an afterthought.