Toronto was the first stop of the Youth World Tour, which meant anxiety and anticipation for the boys and maximum hype for us.
- There had been little time to prepare for this year's show, yet I somehow managed to assemble a double-sided DoPil fan five days before the show. The results weren't exactly up to par, however, time restrictions were in place. I did not have the opportunity - nor the materials - to construct a second board after completing the first rendition.
- Having transitioned from Jae to Dowoon at the conclusion of the Live & Meet last year, and then developed wandering eyes for Wonpil with the drop of Beautiful Feeling, a DoPil sign was the best compromise until a bias could be resolved on show day.
We entered the venue through its main doors. Though Roy Thomson was connected to the PATH, indoor access was blocked, and all foot traffic had been directed to the main entrance. This was, of course, much to my dismay, for I had wished to avoid the dreary, rainy conditions altogether by making use of the underground network.
Just like Massey Hall, security was quite lax. And again, they seemed to care more about water bottles than anything else.
Once inside, several members of security were positioned along the stage and in front of each stairwell leading to the main orchestra. They did not budge for the entire duration of the show. Eliminating them from images proved impossible. Once again, cameras seemed not the main issue for them. It was more imperative that we remain at our seats despite standing.
A prime location for music appreciation, Roy Thomson did not disappoint in terms of sound quality. Regardless of the tier or row, clarity remained uncompromised. Whether it was ongoing performances or ments, each segment was crystal clear with depth and contrast.
Our seats were extremely close to the overhead speakers, but echoes were next to nothing. There was also no interference between mics nor other musical equipment. It was truly an upgrade from the crackly discord of the ACC.
Jae was a solid performer who thoroughly enjoyed his time on stage. He engaged in countless adlibs during songs, which only made the experience more enjoyable and memorable. Easily hyped, he didn't bother with concealing his emotions and simply let them run wild. He didn't quite finish his emotional speech this time around, but had a good laugh over it.
Sungjin, who recently made his return with an ahjussi buzz cut, constantly made amusingly bizarre expressions over the course of the show. His studio-quality vocals rang throughout the auditorium with absolutely no variance in strength nor definition. Despite not having much to say during ments, he was determined to deliver the message that he had enjoyed himself at the first stop of their tour. During the ending ment, he recalled the evening as "정신없어" - a good kind of "dizzy"; without realizing it, he had completed three songs in a giddy blur - he had said.
Dowoon was very cute in his new platinum hair. He sat behind the drums in his own little world for majority of the show and only stood up during the opening ment so front row attendees could spot him. The only other times he abandoned his elevated platform for the main stage were the ending ments and latter half of encore. This maknae is still as adorable as ever, and I'm honoured to have been able to witness his growing vocal participation in the band's songs. In his ending ment, he apologized and told MyDays to wait for him; the exact timeline was undetermined, but he confirmed that they "will be back".
From our seats at the far left, we were unable to see Wonpil very well for majority of show. Regardless, he was very sweet and cute; his facial expressions were few, yet it was obvious that he was moved by the audience's unconstrained engagements. For the moments where he was under the spotlight, he serenaded us with gentle, adept vocals. During ments, he made sure to acknowledge our efforts and even teared up slightly towards the beginning; in his own words, it was "unbelievable" that the crowd was able to enjoy and relate to their music even though if the lyrics were in Korean instead of their (our) native language. For the next show, he vowed to work harder to improve his English so that he'd be able to crack jokes like Jae and Brian.
The "Youth" Tour in Toronto was, hands down, the most orderly encore I've taken part in to date. Spirits were crazy high and the members were having fun, but MyDays remained well-behaved. Instead of dashing up to the stage at the start of the encore, they didn't shift an inch from their seat. Of course, members of security were constantly observing our actions, but the scene remained calm.
I shall define the final performance of "Sing Me" as "calm" by ahgase standards. There was no shoving, no hair-pulling, and the aisle remained clear for the members to walk by. Fans were, dare I say, conservative. But this degree was very much appreciated, as it enabled all participants to enjoy the show (and depart free from injuries/muscle strain).
Brian took centre stage with his bass, and it was at this moment that I finally saw his profile in clear, unobstructed view. He later ran down the set of stairs on the right side to find his friend, Terry, in the crowd.
Highlights of the night included:
- Wonpil looking directly at me during the first chorus of Sing Me while singing on stage!! (It was as if time froze for those few seconds and my surroundings had diminished to darkness.)
- Sungjin squeezing my hand was he descended the stairs into the left aisle
- Dowoon trekking up and down the aisle with a towel over his neck, then stretching out his hands for fan interactions
- Dowoon also took a selca with a lucky male fan near the back of the Main Orchestra
This time around, SubK was a mess. One cannot dismiss the chaos of it all. Early merch and wristband pickups were fine, but as it eased into the evening hours, the lobby filled with impatient concert-goers and hectic operations.
There was a lack of experienced staff members and volunteers continuously made errors, hindering efficiency.
Tour was supposed to start at 7:30 PM, but there entry lines continued through around 7:15 PM. The concert did not end promptly at 10pm, but rather some time afterwards. This may have been due to the brief period lost due to technical errors with the guitars, or owed to the band's post-encore excitement.
The photo opportunity that many My Days had struggled so intensely to obtain was very fleeting, and very poorly organized. Between Roy Thomson and SubK staff, there hadn't been a clear agreement on how the crowds would be organized. Ultimately, P1 ticket holders were separated into rows of 10, who would then move to an area behind a navy curtain setup for the photo.
P1 ticket holders were first to claim their benefit, followed by P2 ticket holders, which, apparently, went by in a matter of seconds.
Order: Sungjin, Dowoon, Young K, Wonpil, Jae
Roy Thomson Hall's mirrored doors were useful in that we spotted the members re-arranging themselves after emerging.
Between SubK and PGTW, one ensured fairness, while the other amiability. The Photo Op benefit included a photo with the group with nine other concert attendees. Nearing the area, it was observed that chairs had been arranged in an arc, meaning that all attendees would be seated - aka not squatting.
However, much like all SubK benefit packages, the experience in itself is very fleeting and hurried, for no coherent reason whatsoever.
As soon as our row was called, we marched forward in a single file. The girl before me had placed her jacket on a nearby table, but was immediately told to remove it. This delayed the process slightly, but not significantly.
Walking by the members, one had a millisecond to conjure up whatever phrases one intended to say. I'd estimate a 50% increase in interaction time since last year's hi touch, or a 75% increase from GOT7's Hi-Touch for the Eyes On You New York show.
- Sungjin; "Hi!' while waving
- Dowoon; "Hi! High five, high five!" while waving and requesting a high five with an outstretched hand. The response I received was an apologetic smile and flustered "Uhh...".
- Brian; "Hi Brian!" while waving enthusiastically. He looked right back at me, as stunningly beautiful as ever. His face was a bit further away than last time, but his features nonetheless prominent in the dingy indoor setting.
- Wonpil; My seat was just to the left of Wonpil, so I did not pass him until the photo had been taken. Rather than greeting him, I hurriedly shoved Minnie Mouse ears in both Wonpil and Young K's directions prior to the photo. Young K didn't even glance in my direction, and began posing in preparation while ignoring me altogether.
I poked Wonpil with the spotty headband briefly; he ultimately caved.
"Ok." He uttered in hushed, angelic voice.
The staff had begun to countdown (1!...2!...3!) at this point. I had no time to react and whipped around to face the front, dropping my second set of Minnie ears and bag on the ground in the process. I would have no idea whether Wonpil had worn the headband, or merely held it in his left hand. (Oh dear.)
While the girls to my right were preparing to leave, I had a brief moment with Wonpil.
"동갑이 요!" I beamed.
He immediately responded with an almost-90-degree bow, as if to thank me.
Initially, I had pondered whether my pronunciation was skewed. But, on the other hand, he could have thanked me simply for making a Korean speaking attempt.
Wonpil has since been confirmed as a cutie, as well as my new DAY6 bias (HAHAHA).
Jae; I did not directly interact with Jae besides a quick glance in my direction. I passed by him speaking with one of the staff members while exiting the photo area. Besides tripping on my tote and casting a quick glance in his direction, I can't remember much else.
Performance-wise, I cannot name a concert better than this one. A stage adorned with liveliness, spirit, uncompromised audio quality, and more-flawless-than-studio-version tunes were the fruits of our tremendous ticket-fighting labour.
While GOT7 persists in the number one spot in terms of adoration, not a single one of their shows has proved as stable in comparison. Perhaps the variance lies with venue selection and artist management, but the differences are irrefutable.
Ments were few, as this was a "tour" and not a "fanmeeting". Fanservice was also far less than that of GOT7. It is precisely this point that I would like to emphasize: DAY6 is quick to establish themselves as musicians - not idols. Rather than fan engagements, it is undeniably more important that fans focus on their compositions rather than stage presence and live extras.
"Do you believe in yourself?"
"No really, do you believe in yourself?? Why not?! Because you should."
With the termination of the show came a group photo. (Mind you - this is the first group photo where my face has clearly made it in the - oftentimes - low-resolution shot.