Back in December 2018, I had the amazing opportunity to see K-pop boy group Teen Top at their stop in Houston, Texas for their “Night In USA” tour. This was the band’s fifth time coming the States, if you include both of their appearances at KCON LA 2013 and KCON NY 2014. Though the group is not very popular internationally, Teen Top had a decent turnout at their stop in Houston.
When I first heard that Teen Top was coming to the States once again for a US tour, you could say I definitely lost my mind. For those of you who don’t know, Teen Top is one of my two ultimate bias groups. Being a fan of the group since pre-debut, I knew I had to go and see them again. Once hearing about the fan engagements, I instantly had my eyes set on the VVIP ticket, which included Fan sign, Hi-Touch, Photo-op, three guaranteed Polaroid pictures with any member, as well as first entry into the venue. Teen Top is really well known for having great connections with their fans, and going to their tour stop in Houston definitely showed that.
AT THE VENUE
Once arriving to the venue, I was nervous. This was the first time I was going to experience this much fan engagement with a group. I have previously done fan engagements with other groups, but NOTHING compared to what I was going to experience with Teen Top. The most I ever had was a photo-op and hi-touch, so I was overwhelmed with how much the fans were allowed to interact with Teen Top.
Staff came and lined us up by order number and gave us our badges with our names written in Korean on them (which, by the way, I definitely think a lot of venues should do, as this was the most organized concert I’ve ever been to). Then we were brought into the patio part of the venue where we would have our whole spiel with the boys. While walking in, the staff handed you an album that you could get the boys to sign. But if you didn’t want them to sign the album, they also give you a paper they could sign instead. Once everyone was settled, the boys walked in and I may have lost my mind once again. They showed up right behind me. Not too long after the boys introduced themselves, the fan sign started. I was number 33 out of, I think, 120.
THE FAN SIGN
I was really nervous, but that nervousness left the moment I reached the first member, C.A.P. Before the fan sign, I told myself that I would speak to them in Korean (since I know Korean). As I walk up to C.A.P, I told him hello in Korean. He couldn’t 100 percent read my name — it was written really small since I decided to write it in Korean — so I told him. He wrote my name on the album and signed it. I then told him thank you in Korean and moved onto the next member, Ricky.
I repeated the same process with him that I did with C.A.P, telling him hello in Korean. Ricky looked a little shocked and said hello right back. He then looked at my badge and read my name back to me. I responded with yes as he was signing his name. After he finished signing my album, he handed it back to me and said “Thank you, Robyn” in English. Flustered, I responded with “Thank you” in Korean and moved on to Niel.
Again I said hello in Korean. He didn’t say anything and silently took my album and started signing it. I remembered that he knows my friend, who is currently in Korea, and decided to talk to him about her since he was really shy. “Umm … You know Alorah?” I said to Niel in Korean. His head perked up so quick it made me jump a little. Not to mention the next member over, Changjo, also overheard me talking and was staring at me, waiting for Niel’s response.
Niel looked right into my eyes and responded, “Yes, I know her” in Korean.
I then replied, “Oh, she’s my friend.”
He replied with “Oh really?” I had to move on because our quick conversation was holding up the rest of the line. As I move on to Changjo, I politely greeted him the same way I did the others. As I’m watching Changjo sign my album, Niel was still looking at me and said in Korean, “She’s still in Korea, right?” I replied with a head nod and said “Yes.” Not too long after that, Changjo finished signing my album and handed it to the last member, my bias, Chunji. I thanked Changjo in Korean before moving in front of Chunji. I said hello to him in Korean like I did with the other members, and he wasted no time in signing my album. After he finished, he handed my album back to me and said thank you. I quickly said thank you back and RAN back to the line as there was a huge gap between us.
HI-TOUCH & PHOTO-OP
After the fan sign finished, the next engagement was hi-touch and photo-op. They set out five chairs for the boys to sit on as the fans first went through hi-touch, then moved behind them to prepare for photo-op. After every photo, the boys would then get up, turn around and say thank you to everyone. I was in the fourth group to go through this process. After experiencing the fan sign, I was definitely a lot calmer now. Going through the hi-touch, I just said hi to all of them again. My group then moved behind them and was getting ready to take the picture. I was originally behind Niel, but the lady behind me knew that Chunji was my ultimate bias and offered to switch places with me. I didn’t waste no time! We switched quickly! Then they took the photo. After that, the boys got up, turned around and thanked us. I thanked them as well and then got back in line to get ready to take the Polaroid pictures.
Now this part of the experience is really long and embarrassing. So instead of making you guys read this, I made a video about it on my YouTube channel. If you want to see the full experience with full detail, click here.
I always say this whenever people ask me who is the most entertaining group or who I would recommend to see live. It’s Teen Top. They just have an amazing stage presence, and they make sure that everyone, whether they’re in the front or the back, feels included in their concert. Their vocals are so amazing live, so is seeing their dorkiness in person. They keep the concert going, making you hungry for more. I had the opportunity to be dead center as well as touch the barrier. It was insane. Every member looked at me as I was definitely having the best time of my life. ALSO, I HAD ROOM TO MOVE. I have been to multiple concerts where I would be squished, not being able to move at all. But with Teen Top, I could literally bust out the full choreo to their song “Rocking” and STILL have room to spare. It was so nice not having to worry if I was too close to someone.
I think Teen Top picked the best songs for the concert, for sure. Like I said, I have been a fan of theirs since pre-debut, and that night definitely showed it. Every member, except Chunji, would look at me and be like, “Wow she’s nuts” or something like that. But there was one member that was definitely enjoying it. Niel. He made it obvious that he could see me, pointing at me any chance he could as he saw me not only do the fanchants but also scream out the lyrics while moving my lightstick like a maniac. The last song they performed was “Oh! Good,” and I FINALLY had the chance to just watch my bias — he was in front of me for a good majority of the song. Close to the ending of the song, Changjo decided to grab two water bottles, go to the middle and throw water on us. Since I was front and center, I got soaked. But it was definitely worth it.
I had the opportunity and battery to record the whole concert and upload it to my YouTube channel as well. If you would like to see the concert footage, click here.
Seeing Teen Top for the second time was definitely more insane than the first. They have matured so much compared to when I first saw them, but I have also matured with them. If Teen Top ever comes back to the US to do another tour, I highly recommend you consider going. You won’t regret it!
All images courtesy of Robyn Rush.