Something that is inevitably unique to hardcore fans of anything is how far we are willing travel for something we love. For me, it’s concerts (and hockey…but that will be a separate series).
I’ve met fans from all over the world, who have traveled just as far as I have – or farther – just for a concert. And no matter how many concerts you’ve been to, how many cities you’ve visited, or how far you’ve traveled, there are four things we usually do when we visit a city for a concert: figure out what the venue is like; look up places to stay; find places to eat; and explore if we have time.
I want to hopefully give other fans a little more information about the cities and venues I’ve visited, and my experience.
This is not a fan account. The purpose of this series isn’t to give a play-by-play of the concerts, but to give fans an idea of what it’s like attending a concert in a specific city or venue.
I’m going to start with GOT7, the group whose three-part album series inspired the title for this series.
I’ve seen them 4 times so far:
FLY in New York City: July 5, 2016 @ PlayStation Theater
TURBULENCE in Toronto: November 13, 2016 @ Massey Hall
TURBULENCE in Washington D.C: January 22, 2017 @ Echostage
TURBULENCE in Los Angeles: January 29, 2017 @ Pasadena Civic Auditorium
Tomorrow will be one year since I saw GOT7 for the first time. So what better post to start with than FLY in New York?
I’ve been to PlayStation Theater for several shows, starting when it was still the Best Buy Theater. Of all the venues in NYC, I am probably most familiar with this one.
Location: 1515 Broadway, New York, New York
Seating: GA floor; 2nd floor seating.
Balconies are generally for guests of the performer(s) – they have never been open to fans when I go. The side-stages below the balconies also now seem to be handicap only, though they used to be open for everyone.
In my experience, the staff are professional and easy to talk to if you are a rational, calm, human being. One thing they are extremely good at is moving the line. The venue is in the middle of Times Square, so the line tends to get broken up in order to not block the entrances of parking garages, other theaters, and restaurants, and the staff does a good job in keeping this orderly.
They aren’t perfect. For GOT7 in particular, they moved the P1 (the top tier VIP ticket) line in what seemed to be an extremely nonsensical way once it was time to go in. We were brought inside and corralled into a tiny hallway outside the doors that would eventually open up to the left of the stage. This shuffled the line in ways that landed a few, understandably annoyed, early-morning-arrivers, in the back of the new “line” with those of us who showed up close to noon. To make things worse, the staff dropped us there and left. It was a mess. So no. They aren’t perfect. But having visited Playstation at least five or six times, they are usually good at what they do.
Generally, there is no bad view at PlayStation Theater.
I’ve been on the rail.
The side stage.
In the back on the first floor.
And in the seats.
But the rules for GOT7 are different. Because if there’s one thing IGOT7 love more than going to a GOT7 show, it’s capturing every single second of it.
Basically what I am saying is…if you’re short like me, and aren’t in the first two or three rows on the first floor (or on the rail on the 2nd) – wear heels or platforms. Even then, you may have to resign yourself to watching the entire show through peoples’ arms and their cameras.
And then there’s the signs.
Your best bet is to make yourself as tall as possible, and move around if you have to. The further back you are, the more room you have to move, and the easier it is to find that one unblocked spot…at least for a few seconds.
But hey…if you can’t see, make the best of it – jump around. Dance. Scream lyrics and broken Korean at the top of your lungs. Hold up your own camera phone and capture everything you can’t see.
Being in the back isn’t ideal, and yes the phones and the signs can be annoying, but don’t let it ruin the experience.
Because I returned to DC after the show, I didn’t stay anywhere or do anything other than sit in line during this trip. So, everything below comes from previous trips.
Housing Work’s Cafe
I talked about this place in a previous post – if you love books and coffee, then this is definitely the place for you! It’s in Lower Manhattan, so if you’re staying in Midtown or Upper Manhattan, you will need to take the subway or taxi (try to avoid Uber or Lyft, as the prices in NYC are exorbitant).
Alice’s Tea Cup
Whenever I’ve been, we’ve gotten food to go, so I’ve never actually eaten inside, but it’s a tiny tea shop on West 73 St. in Manhattan. As the name suggests – it’s a tea shop with an Alice in Wonderland theme. And it’s usually packed (there’s not much room to begin with).
Usually, I stop in Koreatown, because it’s on the way to the venue and familiar. We go to Shilla a lot because it’s affordable and has a large menu, so it’s a place that can easily accommodate everyone.
Mandoo Bar has great noodles! The seafood noodle soup I had there was spectacular.
After the show, we tend to eat at Applebee’s or TGIFridays. I know. Nothing special. But there is something extremely satisfying about apps and a drink right after a great show.
Where to Stay
The nicest hotel I’ve stayed at in NYC. Maybe a bit expensive if you’re on a budget, but it’s across the street from Playstation Theater, and when you’re sharing with three or four other people, it starts to be a little more affordable, and a much better alternative than many cheap NYC hotels.
A good budget hotel…it’s a bit far from PlayStation Theater, but close to Penn Station. It’s no-frills, but the two times I was there, the room was clean, and if you’re only looking for a place to sleep and shower, it’s fine.
Be careful if you book a hostel. In 2010, NYC passed legislation which prevents the legal operation of most hostels (though many operate officially on the books as “hotels”). There’s been a push to allow hostels to operate again, but so far I haven’t seen or heard of any changes (please comment below if things have changed).
I’ve stayed in two hostels: one was being illegally run in a building meant for affordable housing (which we didn’t find out until the morning we checked out), the other was, to our knowledge, legally run.
These experiences happened in 2008 and 2009 – before the law went into effect in 2010. But the point is…if you book a hostel in NYC please check to make sure it is a legitimately run business. If you use hostelworld to book or find a place, you are probably safe.
And that’s it for FLY! It’s not much, and I hope later entries for this series will be more comprehensive since I’ll be taking notes and pictures specifically for the blog.
Have you traveled far for a concert? What was the most memorable place you visited?