IMG_2599Sunday, June 22nd, marked Block B’s first U.S. performance through a commanding takeover of the Westbury Theater in Long Island, New York. The seven members, Taeil, B-Bomb, Jaehyo, U-Kwon, Kyung, Zico, and P.O, wasted no time as they exploded onto stage with “Very Good”, the energetic and in-your-face title track from their fourth mini-album Very Good. If the song alone didn’t have fans, also called BBCs, out of their seats and cheering, Zico yelling “Wassup America!” definitely did! BBCs were kept on their feet jumping and dancing as shortened versions of “그대로멈춰라! (Don’t move!)” and “Wanna B”, Block B’s debut singles, followed quickly after “Very Good”.
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After three songs Block B took their own seats as the night’s MC introduced herself and the boys to the crowd. There was a quick Q&A session about the boys’ experience with New York and their international fans. B-Bomb shared that his favorite place to eat was Shake Shack (definitely a good choice!) and Zico explained that the first thing he did in the city was take lots of pictures by getting on the floor with his legs spread and taking air photos. BBCs were then treated to something special as seven lucky fans were handpicked by Block B to come up on stage! Block B gave their seats to the lucky ladies and serenaded them with “로맨틱하게 (Dreams Come True)”, from their first album Blockbuster, and presented them with roses. Then, as the seven BBCs left the stage, Block B continued with “싱크로율 100% (Synchronization 100%)
IMG_2725The flower giving wasn’t the only surprise for fans! Six other lucky BBCs were handpicked again to take part in a charades game with the boys. Zico’s depiction of Spider-man as he leaped across the stage flinging webs was only barely matched by Kyung’s cocky one-handed weightlifting act. In the end, Kyung’s team won and the lucky three fans on his team walked away with signed merchandise! Block B’s ever-present energetic selves were toned down a bit as they sang “빛이되어줘 (Be The Light)” from Very Good and “했어안했어 (Did You Or Did You Not)” off of Blockbuster.
Fans were treated to another personal interview with the boys where Taeil shared that if he wasn’t a singer he’d want to work with animals, Zico decided that the three words that best describe him are “passion, fashion, and action”, B-Bomb was revealed to be the member who makes the most mistakes, and all of the members expressed their desire to visit Canada- so keep a look out Canadian BBCs, Block B wants to head your way soon!
Block B and BBCs united their voices for a wonderful performance of “Mental Breaker”, track from Blockbuster (and my personal favorite!).  “Mental Breaker” doesn’t have much in terms of a fan chant but the song is filled with so many little vocal layers and interspersed talking bits that give the song amazing depth; BBCs picked up on all of these and made the boys live performance of this song that much more special and exciting to listen to! After thank you messages from each of the members – including a special treat from Taeil who sang a snippet of his solo song “넌어디에 (Where You At)” for the fans – Block B ended with “난리나(Nanrina)”, another energetic hit single from Welcome to the Block. Fans weren’t kept waiting long though as they returned quickly  for an encore, performing “Nice Day” and a remixed version of “Very Good”, bringing the show full circle!
IMG_2915The boys of Block B were just as energetic and exciting as expected! They took total command of the Westbury stag and if there were any nerves about their first U.S. performance they definitely did not show it. Their playfulness came through during each song and fan interaction and it goes without saying that Block B is made up of seven incredibly talented members! That being said, as amazing as the group may be, poor planning and execution by the organizers can still make for a lousy event. Block B was incredible, but I’m seriously questioning the time and effort that went into planning this show. Admittedly, this was advertised as a showcase and showcases in Korea generally involve the same type of fan interaction and game playing that took place at the show, as well as limited song performance. However fans were charged as if this were a concert. With a VVIP ticket costing $220 (and that’s without service and processing fees), I would have expected Block B to sing more than 11 songs, with one being repeated and two others shortened. For a show that lasted about an hour and a half, Block B only sang for roughly 35 minutes. Even the cheapest ticket was $80 since they never opened up the $40 ticket tier due to poor sales. That’s a lot of money to spend to see a group perform and have them not perform. What gets me is the number of popular title tracks that weren’t touched like “닐리리맘보 (Nillili Mambo)” and their latest single, “Jackpot”- those aren’t songs I would have expected them to skip. Moreover, even if this was called a showcase, since it was Block B’s first appearance in the states it’s understandable that many fans assumed they’d be getting a standard style concert especially since they paid for this show at concert ticket prices. The marketing and ticket pricing for this show should’ve been much better.
IMG_2648To me, even Block B’s role in the fan interaction parts of the showcase was downplayed. The MC spoke more than any of the members, and that’s not just because of her fluency in English versus the boys’. Although fans were told that the multiple Q&A sessions (which they really should have combined into one Q&A to cut back on transition time) were in place to bring them closer to Block B, I felt like I heard the translator and the MC speak and comment far more than any member. Not to mention it was hard to tell who was being asked each question since the MC did not seem to know their names. I guess “We’ll ask this question to you” works, but it definitely doesn’t feel as personal. Let’s also not forget the times they were referred to as “B Block”. I really do commend the MC as a volunteer to get up on stage and speak in front of such a large crowd of people. Her voice was clear and she seemed very comfortable in her position. It’s always commendable to see people act confidently on stage! But I heard “B Block” far too many times for me to consider it as an accident, and when you pair that up with the lack of using their names to address them I have to really question if she was a fan they picked or if they just didn’t prepare her enough to play the part.
IMG_2658Lack of preparation seemed to run rampant throughout this showcase, especially when it came to picking contestants for the flower giving and charades game. This show was by no means sold out and the fan selection really brought attention to that fact. Almost every other ticket stub that was called did not have a person in that seat (which was a surprise that people could even tell since everyone had moved as close as possible and forwent their purchased seats as soon as the show started) and it quickly became awkward waiting to see if someone was coming on stage or not. It also added an unnecessary amount of time to game preparation. Plus there were mix-ups on chosen fans since one girl thought she had been picked and came up on stage for the flower giving only to have another also follow her on stage (which I still wonder how she got onto the stage so easily) and replace her. Better planning, pre-picking of winners, and a better explanation to the MC and fans of what was going on would have made all of the awkward downtime and confusion almost non-existent, and would then hopefully have provided more time for more songs! For an $80 – $220 show I’d like to hope that everything would at least run somewhat smoothly, but there was so much backtracking. For the game specifically, a fan was picked and then told to wait off stage because the MC forgot to explain the game and the boys hadn’t been split into teams yet. It looks unprofessional and makes the concert feel messy when you’re constantly stepping on your own feet and back-pedalling. I also wish they had announced that the fans they were selecting were only from the VIP and VVIP sections. As a regular section ticket holder, I don’t mind being told that VIPs get special perks- they should get special perks, they deserve it! But when you announce these fan events as if everyone has a chance to win them, it makes it more disappointing to figure out that you’re not in the running.
IMG_2808Finally, the hi-touch/fan signing/fan photo could have been much better organized. Every ticket holder had the hi-touch, since the $40 tickets never went on sale, but keeping the hi-touch until the very end was a poor decision. Every single person had to wait for an extra hour after the show in order to participate in what their money bought them. It would’ve made much more sense to have the photo-op and fan sign before the show as VVIPs and VIPs were filed into the venue. Or, if it really needed to happen after, then force fans to keep their tickets and mark them as each event happens. File people out through the hi-touch and then go on to the more exclusive events so people don’t have to wait around any later on a Sunday night. Marking tickets (and/or taking them away at the end of the event) would have also eliminated the hi-touch problem that happened at the very end. I am so, so sorry to every BBC that had their hi-touch taken away from them because one fan tried to sneak her way back in. It’s unfair that this opportunity got taken from you because of someone else’s selfish actions. And I also will commend the organizers because, although it sucks for those who didn’t get their chance, cancelling does keep the boys safer in the end. But if you created a better system than just lining people up section by section and created a way of tallying people (for example, by requiring then to show their ticket before entering the hi-touch and then marking it or taking it away at the end so people can’t reenter) then this whole mess could have been avoided.
As a hopeful worker in this industry I’m ashamed by what I saw at Block B’s showcase. I think it’s incredibly unfair to charge fans at such high prices and then essentially keep them from what they obviously paid to see- Block B performing their songs on a stage in the United States. But even more than that, I’m angry as a fan. Block B and their music are precious to me and I feel like I was ripped-off. I’d hate to think of this as my only time to experience a performance of theirs live, and again I will say that what the boys themselves did was nothing short of wonderful! Every time they were performing on stage there was this great energy exchange between the boys and their fans that made me so happy to be a part of! I hope they’re in someone else’s hands next time around because this unorganized mess of a show did not do Block B justice- and Block B, like any music group, deserves nothing short of the best.
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17 Comments
  1. I was at the NY concert, my friends and I are a few of the fans who were denied the hi touch. Your review was extremely astute and highlighted some of my biggest issues with the event. Of course the showcase was amazing and fun, but the disbelief when the night came to an end was palpable. I’ve paid $96 for front row seats at full length concerts held in Madison Square Garden; I found myself paying the same price to sit in the back of a small theater in Long Island. (I did love the intimacy of the venue however.) The disorganization lead for a lot of annoyance. The doors only opened around an hour after they were supposed to and, of course shows tend to start late, but it was a bit much. I could talk all day about the planning problems, but you’ve covered them thoroughly. Thank you for your review! I feel a sense of validation reading that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

    1. That means so much to me! My biggest goal in writing and reviewing is providing other fans with something they can relate to. Usually I prefer it to be the great, magical experiences of seeing our idols live XD; but for a concert as poorly organized like this I am glad we can commiserate together as well. You’re definitely not alone! I think a lot of people feel the same way we do which is a shame but also good in a way. Maybe all of us can come together and show these companies that we won’t just accept this nonsense blindly, you know? Prove a point that they should actually think about fans when they plan these events and treat fans better during and after the actual show.
      I’m also really sorry you were denied hi touch :\\ I wish there was something that could be done to remedy that…

      1. I’m at least planning on filing a complaint with Jazzy Group. Would you mind if I touched upon a few of your points or linked your review? I also already shared your review on a Block B NY Showcase group on Facebook, I hope that’s alright with you!

        1. I would be absolutely honored if you referenced to or linked my review! Please, whatever you need to do to make your point. I’m firmly behind you! I’d also love to help in any other way I could [: and I saw it on Facebook! Thank you for sharing I was really flattered!

  2. I fully agree with this article and find it wonderfully written. The boys themselves were incredible,but jazzy’s orgainzation was super poor. I can say that as I helped work this event under them and it just irritated me how none of the supervisors knew who work b really were except for Zico and seemed really amused at having a few big fans like me and the other hired volunteers working for them. I had to teach another girl the members from a tshirt. So you are probably so right about the translator/mc not knowing who they were properly. I must say the D.C concert seemed way better planned n i enjoyed that more, but thank you so much for this super accurate article. 🙂

    1. Thank you! Were you one of the volunteers? Thank you for your time and effort! It blows my mind when people in these companies are /surprised/ by when fans have actual knowledge about the groups they’re working with AND that these fans can act like normal, professional people. It’s like fans are stigmatized to be drooling idiots all the time and that’s definitely not the case.
      Solid work teaching the members with the t-shirt! I’m really not bothered or offended if a company chooses someone who isn’t a legitimate fan to host something like this, but at least fake it ’til you make it. If anything, learn their names and don’t call them B Block D:
      Was the D.C. show better planned? I’d love to hear about it if you’d want to share[:

      1. They were very firm in teaching the DC MC the boys names which was amazing. I helped quiz him and gave him an short summary of the group and career. Both DC and Miami were better.

        1. That’s really really good to hear! At least it got better as it went on, that’s definitely important^^

          1. So glad I googled Block B NY show review…which lead me here. Thanks to all who added comments , gave a west coast fan opportunity to enjoy the boys even if secondhand.:)

  3. Aww thanks ^^ and yes i was a volunteer 🙂 and i witnessed the whole hi-touch thing go down and felt really bad for those that didnt get in. Aso i did the DC concert as a fan and it went MUCH better. The venue had customizes block b drinks (alcoholic n non alcoholic) which tasted awesome. I had the “wanna be” which was non alcoholic. Everyone got into the venue decently. Concert went pretty smoothly except for when calling out who won the chance to be up for charades. A girl got confused and went up and she wasnt actually called or it was double booked. Otherwise great show ^^ then afterwards they had hitouch ppl first and then worked their way to the front vvip. Exit was also easier b/c warner staff knows how to handle kpop concerts and had security on either side of the stage n walkway to prevent someone going twice. It was good.

    1. All I want to add in here is: I have been telling these agencies for months now that I want a damn drink with my concert, so hearing that there were themed drinks makes me SO happy. Now if only ALL the venues that have liquor licences would do this, I would be the happiest concert reviewer in the world.

  4. This was a great review for the showcase and I felt exactly the same way. I wrote about it on my blog (its much shorter than yours lol http://kulturalties.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/block-b-asks-do-you-wanna-b-at-new-york-live-showcase-2/) and I just could not believe how unorganized the showcase was. I did not really mind the ticket pricing because i did go to big bang’s concert and paid a lot more, but I really wish the showcase was longer. I mean I absolutely love block b, but after the show i was happy and disappointed at the same time. I’m glad DC and Miami were a lot (kind of makes me wish I went to the miami show) but I really loved the concert and pray that block b returns again so I’m more prepared for the hi-touch. These guys were amazing and deserves to return to NY with a longer concert and a better organization.

    1. Amazingly, this is one of our shorter reviews. ㅋㅋㅋ We really go for trying to bring the concert alive for people when reading reviews. It’s relieving to see other fans are writing up their own thoughts on this too. This isn’t the first showcase that has been mishandled by hasty planning, and these companies need to realize the fans are catching on that they can’t get away with it.

  5. Thx for review, I was interested to see how show went. I’m from Seattle which got Verbal Jint, Bum Key and crew show last month…I think only cuz VJ wanted to visit city of his musical roots, told crowd he grew up listening to Seattle bands. Usually k grps go to NY and fly over us on way to LA, Tickets were $61, show almost 3 hrs and nothing but back to back songs. However that’s the only k hip hop or pop show I’m aware of here in years. Sorry to hear Block B show mismanaged. Happy to hear Block B performed well. I’m not sure how we can show “demand” to get more here…there is an audience but if tickets had been $200 range not sure as many would have come. Smaller venue sold out or close to at 1000.

  6. Great review and a well written article! I absolutely agree with you – the showcase was very disorganized and I felt it was way too shot for the amount I paid. I was also at the NY showcase and had bought the VVIP ticket, which was nearly $250 with all the ridiculous fees and such, so when it ended, I felt both happiness and dissatisfaction. I was happy that I was finally able to see Block B performing 5 feet from me, but dissatisfied as I wished they had performed more songs, like No Joke, Movie’s Over, Halo, Park Kyung’s solo from their Very Good album, and most especially Nillili Mambo. It’s understandable for them not to perform Jackpot since they didn’t promote it in Korea, and it wouldn’t have been fair if they performed it live for us American BBCs while the Korean BBCs weren’t able to see it, though I would have really loved to see the choreography for this fun song. 🙂
    As for selecting fans from VIP and VVIP sections for the fan interaction sections, I also agree with you even though others may disagree with me. I was among the other fans who were chanting, “Section A!” as we were trying to bring attention to the fact that no one from our section was being called. There were a lot of seats from Section E and F being called, so it didn’t seem fair that not even 1 seat from Section A was called at all. The boys obviously have no control when randomly selecting the stub from the box, but making the selection pool a bit smaller would have been more exciting knowing that you’d have a chance to be serenaded by your bias. >.<
    As for the fan signing and hi-touch, both went by way too quickly! I feel that the two events should have been reversed, with hi-touch occurring first followed by the fan-signing, as you stated. At the fan-signing, both Block B and us fans were being rushed by the staff. All the boys made an effort to look at each of the fans as they were handed a poster. However, we couldn’t even hold a short conversation with them because if there was even a 2-second delay, staff would hurry us along, saying, “Keep the line moving!” Actually, P.O’s autograph on my poster was smudged while I was being ushered through the line. D: I’m not sure if a staff member did this as he or she hurriedly slid my poster to Park Kyung (who was sitting next to P.O during the fan sign) or if P.O himself did it. Either way, I was pretty sad when I realized there was a smudged signature on my poster after Zico handed it to me.
    I have no complaints about Block B or their performance. They were amazing and really great! And they really tried their best to make the most of the fan interaction during the fan-sign and hi-touch even though both were so short and fleeting. If Jazzy had planned and organized everything better, this night would have been super spectacular awesome! Instead, we fans left the venue feeling a bit unsatisfied. I truly hope Block B comes back here to the US, but under an organizer who knows how to bring out the absolute best for both them and their fans.
    Thank you for your review and pictures! As someone else commented before, I also felt a sense of validation reading this. Let's hope that Block B will come back here to the US under a better organizer.

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words! And even more so, thank you for sharing your account of the concert as well! [:
      I did notice that no one was called from section A :\ I was in section…C or D? Not many people where called over by us either. Like I said, I don’t mind there being a randomized bias or even a smaller pool of people selected- I just wish I knew that it was going to be limited D:
      I’m sorry about the smudge ]: that’s no fun at all! I know they had to move things quickly to accommodate all that they set out to do but there must have been another way to do it…
      Here’s hoping for another, better company to take over next time! I’m glad that I was able to validate something for you [: and it’s the same for me! All of us can do something, and hopefully we’ll also get to see Block B again without the added ridiculousness of poor organization!!

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