Jessi is the kindest person that I never met.
I know that sentence doesn’t make sense to you now but I’ll explain it later.
So, this past weekend (Nov. 17, 2018) I had the incredible opportunity of covering the Düsseldorf leg of Jessi’s first European tour, hosted by Youngbros at Ambis Club. Doors opened promptly at 5 pm, and VIP ticket holders came pouring in for the Meet & Greet portion of the show. Moments after VIP holders were inside, chants for Jessi to emerge began to echo through the venue; excitement filled the air and fans anxiously waited for Jessi to appear. Then in unison there was a loud cheer and Jessi descended the stairs to greet her awaiting fans. The awesome part was, I was also allowed to participate in the Meet & Greet; however, photography came first, and I ended up capturing the moments between Jessi and her fans instead as they got to hug and take pictures with her.
Some fans cried,
others were just completely overcome with excitement,
and then there were those who were just in awe.
Jessi’s humility was contagious and she treated each adoring fan with the same energy as the last: always smiling, arms wide open, ready to embrace the next person. She even took the time to speak with some of the fans during the Meet & Greet, despite being on a time constraint due to the venue having to end her set by 9:30 pm. Due to her kindness, members from her team had to be firm and keep things moving or else Jessi probably would have spent a good chunk of the Meet & Greet talking with fans. But I’m sure no one would have had a problem with that (aside from those outside waiting).
As she hugged and took pictures with the last person in line, Jessi gave a final wave and thank-you to the fans before being escorted back upstairs to her room where she prepared to take the stage.
Then it hit me … “You didn’t meet Jessi!”
I was literally standing feet away from her and it never occurred to me to stop taking pictures for a moment and meet this incredible woman. I guess I thought I could do it later or maybe there would be time after the show … but there wasn’t. Needless to say, I was crying heavily on the inside.
As fans in general admission entered the venue, hits from Jessi’s “Un2verse” EP as well as her other amazing singles played. The crowd filled the venue, and before I knew it, it was hard to maneuver. Luckily, I was the photographer, so I got to go upstairs for a better vantage point. *tee hee*
About 30 minutes later, after everyone was inside, Jessi took the stage and opened with “My Walk.” Despite her explaining that her voice wasn’t at its full potential due to her demanding schedule, she absolutely killed it! I mean, the woman barely got any sleep and she rocked that entire show! But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Between sets, Jessi liked to talk. I mean, she liked to TALK talk. And every single person in attendance was there for it. If it wasn’t for her team, she probably would’ve had a whole Ted Talk on that stage; which also would’ve been fine. What really surprised me was when she spoke on her skin color and how she was basically put down in the industry for being “too dark.” When she said this, you could hear a collective gasp from the audience. I don’t hear a lot of Korean artists speak on those types of issues, so it was refreshing for her to share briefly with the audience her experience with that.
During one of her talks between songs, fans took the opportunity to shower her with gifts and ask her to autograph things like T-shirts and shoes (yes shoes), which she did. She also answered questions and held small conversations with audience members throughout the show. It was nice to see such a down-to-earth artist just being in the moment and not simply going from song to song.
One of her ballads that she performed later in the show stuck with me: “I Want to Be Me.” She stood on stage for a while, talking to the fans, explaining how much this song meant to her and how some of the people she worked with on her label were against it. I couldn’t fathom how anyone would be against this song being released because it sends such a powerful message.
As the song began, an ocean of lights formed and the crowd began to sway. Jessi performed the song with such passion that it was felt throughout the venue. Fans were visibly moved. She even bent down to comfort one fan who was so incredibly touched by her performance that she began to cry. I even caught myself tearing up a bit as I watched from the balcony above. For a moment, I had to stop being the photographer and just listen. It’s such a beautiful song.
But it wasn’t all dimmed lights and ballads.
Jessi performed her collaborative hit with Flowsik, “Wet,” and the crowd lost their minds! Unfortunately, Flowsik wasn’t there, but his energy was definitely felt. During the performance, she grabbed a fresh bottle of water and splashed the crowd. I mean, if you’re going to listen to “Wet,” then you got to be, you know, wet …
I’m sorry, I’ll never make another joke again.
She kept things energetic with her hits “Boing,” “Gucci,” “Arrived” and “Spirit Animal.”
When she performed “Spirit Animal” fans held up pink banners that read “Jessi is my spirit animal” in English on one side, and in Korean on the other. The banners were created by a fan in the crowd, and Jessi thanked her by bringing her up on stage to take a few selfies after the song.
For her last song of the evening she performed “Down,” at which time she brought three people from the crowd on stage to do the choreography with her. It was the cutest disaster I had ever seen. Two of the dancers were pretty much on point with the choreography, one of them included the winner from Jessi’s dance contest, who took the stage earlier in the show during the intermission. The third girl, however, decided to completely do her own thing. I think she ended up on the floor at some point, on her back doing some sort of hip thrust thing. And as I watched from above, I thought to myself, I applaud you. Because if that were me, it would’ve been a train wreck; I don’t even think I possess the amount of confidence she had. The performance ended as it did in the video, with all four of them slowly squatting toward the floor. The crowd loved it.
After her performance, Jessi took a moment to thank her fans again for coming out and supporting her. She then left the stage and made her way upstairs where fans who were standing by eagerly reached out their hands.
The crowd then chanted Jessi’s name for a few moments afterward. It was a great performance.
Come back to Germany anytime, Jessi!
Jessi is the kindest person that I never met.