When I started planning my 2018 trip to Hong Kong back in 2017, the only thing I knew was that it would coincide with a trip to Japan, where my top priority was seeing TVXQ or Kim Jaejoong in concert (whichever came first). When TVXQ announced their three days at Nissan Stadium to finish off their Begin Again tour from June 8-10, I started planning.
I couldn’t believe my luck when GOT7 announced their EYES ON YOU World tour – they would be in Macau on June 2! I was now planning a vacation that included concerts of my two favorite K-pop groups!
Like previous entries for this series, this isn’t a fan account of the concert. I focus on the city, getting tickets, getting to and from the venue, the venue itself, the staff, fans, and basically the overall experience of going to a concert in this particular city and venue. To keep my entries from getting too long, I will split this into two parts:
Part 1: Getting tickets, the venue, staff, fans, and transportation to and from Cotai.
Part 2: Getting to Macau from Hong Kong, Senado Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral, transportation around Macau, food, final thoughts on Macau.
Travel Dates: June 1-3, 2018
Show Date: June 2, 2018
Venue: Macau East Asian Games Dome
I bought tickets from Macau Ticket. The process wasn’t too different from buying from Ticketmaster, except, unlike Ticketmaster, which almost always finds tickets for you until the initial sales rush dies down, I selected my seat off Macau Ticket’s website right away.
The unfortunate thing about this site was the server performance. At the time tickets went on sale in Macau, it was 10pm on the east coast U.S. – I was up until 1am attempting to secure tickets and was still unsuccessful. Each time I managed to fight my way through the failing servers, they would crash again while I had a ticket in my basket, and I would lose the ticket because I ran out of time. A little over six hours after tickets went on sale – during my commute to work at 5am – I was able to snag a seat which, to my surprise, was much better than expected!
Location: Macau East Asian Games Dome Cotai, Macau
Because I was staying at the Harbourview Hotel in Macau and the venue is located in Cotai, I took one of the free casino shuttle buses to the Parisian from The Sands, which was right across the street from my hotel.
Almost all of the casinos in Macau offer free shuttle buses between their affiliated casinos and the two ferry terminals. The Sands shuttle buses go to the Parisian, Venetian, and both ferry terminals (Macau and Taipa).
Looking at the map, the walk from the Parisian looked very easy. It wasn’t.
After finding my way out of the shuttle bus parking lot of the Parisian, I stepped outside, and, after snapping a few pictures of the fake Eiffel tower, saw the Dome right in front of me just across what looked like a reasonably walkable distance. I was very, very wrong. And unfortunately, it was also a very, very hot, humid, sunny day.
While venue was about a five minute walk from the MGM, it was surrounded by construction. Nearly an hour and two construction-blocked routes later, I finally found the only unblocked walking route to the venue.
Besides taking a local bus (which had a stop right outside the entrance), the only ways to get there were to walk all the way around the MGM from the side closest to the City of Dreams casino (and it is a very. long. walk), take a taxi, or drive.
Before the show
The venue was basically surrounded by nothing. The closest place to get water or drinks was the sports center across the street, which had three or four vending machines (and because of my unfortunate luck and poor planning that day, I didn’t have enough small Hong Kong or Macau currency for them). For food or something other than bottled drinks, it was about a 5 minute walk to the MGM.
What was nice about the venue was that even several hours before doors opened, the main lobby area was open and air conditioned. When I entered around noon to cool off and take a brief rest, there were already about 50 or so fans inside (many of them seemed to be fansites).
Around 1:45pm, the staff showed up and asked the fans to leave so they could begin setting up. Luckily, the area right outside the building was covered and shaded.
One thing I absolutely love about GOT7 shows is all the free goods fansites and other fans are kind enough to hand out beforehand.
During the Turbulence tour, all we had to do was be lucky enough to be around or close by to get something before the supply of banners, fans, pins, photos, or whatever was being given away, ran out. In Macau, we had to show our ticket to prove we were going to the show. Some sites seemed to require showing them something on our phone (most likely a Weibo or Twitter post about the giveaway).
Unfortunately I didn’t pick up my ticket until 4:30pm and missed out on some really great freebies, but I did get a cute Mark fan which I love and plan to bring with me on the North American tour!
Overall, the staff was very professional and easy to work with despite the language barrier. They were very helpful when I needed to get my ticket, and worked hard to keep order as more fans started to fill the area outside.
My only complaint would be that the giveaways often result in – at best – long lines of people trying to get some free goods, and at worst, a chaotic mob of people pushing and shoving their way to the poor soul caught in the middle who couldn’t hand out their goods fast enough.
The staff sometimes tried to move perfectly formed and orderly lines one way or another to make it safer or easier for pedestrian (and in some cases vehicular) traffic, but every time this just resulted in the line dissolving into chaos as some people, rather than keep their place in line, attempted to dash to the front of it, causing a bit of a domino effect. As the freebies were always in limited supply, the staff would have been better off just waiting until they ran out.
Doors opened around 6:30pm. Despite the huge mass of people and all the stairs we had to walk up to get to the doors, it was very orderly and easy. We had a bag check and, just like the U.S. – no bottled drinks allowed. It was with some bitterness I tossed my still half-full bottle of water into the trash.
After bag check, we split off into different lines depending on which entrances we needed to use to get to our seats, had our tickets scanned, and were given a cheering slogan by one of the fansites for the fan project during “Thank You.”
Basic. Actually, there’s not many places we could go once we were in the stands. Most venues I’ve been to, you can at least get down to the concourse, where concessions or merchandise are being sold. Not here. It was either inside, the bathrooms, the deck area, or outside the ticket gates completely.
It didn’t seem as though any merchandise, food, or drinks were being sold at the venue at all, which is something I’m not completely used to, because there is almost always at least one bar open in the small venues I have been in. Large venues almost always have food and drink concessions open.
What shocked me the most was how empty this supposedly sold out show seemed. Not only were huge sections of floor completely empty, but as I watched fans file in, and 8pm drew closer, it became more and more clear that huge sections of seats in the A and B-level sections were never even sold. Just before 8pm, the staff told fans in the A sections to move down to the B-level (which was crazy to watch, but luckily, fans were pretty orderly and no one fell down the stairs).
I’m not sure what happened, or why so many seats went unsold (especially in the lower levels), but it’s clear GOT7 could have sold even more tickets had more been available, as the show sold out on Macau Ticket’s website. According to Google, the capacity for this venue is 15,000 and there was definitely less than that at this show.
During the Show
Fancams and Photos
The staff was very very strict about photos and videos. Even before the show, while I was trying to take photos of the stage, I was tapped on the shoulder and told “no photos.”
Of course that didn’t stop me (or others) from sneaking a few here and there.
While it didn’t seem like they were kicking anyone out, fans did risk having a flashlight or laser shined in their faces until they put their phones down. Normally, it’s only fans who are easy to spot or get to who get harassed by the staff until the staff just gives up completely, but more than once the staff assigned to my section would wade into the center of the row, just to force someone to stop taking photos or recording.
Being very obviously foreign with zero Cantonese or Mandarin language skills, I didn’t really interact with any other fans. So instead, I just kind of people-watched.
Generally, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but the fan behavior was similar to American fans – some order mixed with some self-interested chaos. Before the show, this mix of order and chaos was mostly demonstrated in the lines that sometimes formed for the free goods and the mob that was so quick and easy to form if it wasn’t put under control early. During the show, fans were mostly orderly, there was the usual cheering and screaming you expect at concerts, but no one was rushing the stage until the last two songs of the encore (the staff put a stop to it pretty quickly).
Something that wasn’t an easy thing to get used to was that the entire audience – including those with floor seats – sat the entire show until the encore, when we finally stood up. I’m not sure if this was a venue rule or a fan culture thing, but sitting during concerts always feels very strange. Sitting makes it really hard to fully get into the show when I can’t jump and dance around. On the bright side – I did have an unobstructed view the entire time, so that’s something.
The worst behavior I saw was a few fans throwing phones onto the stage, clearly hoping one of the boys (mostly Mark at one point) would take a selfie with it.
I really just want to ask to please do not do this. Not only are you risking breaking your phone but you could hit one of the boys. It’s also just rude. Mark was kind enough to stay out on stage after most of the others already disappeared, trying to find the owners of the phones and even taking a few selfies, but please, do not throw your phone on stage.
After the Show
Getting out was quick and easy. The moment the ending credits started, people started to leave. Usually I try to stay, but it was nearly 11pm and the final shuttle from the Parisian was at midnight.
Hoping I could save myself the long walk, I tried to find the MGM shuttles instead, which would take me to the ferry terminal that was a 10 minute walk from my hotel. It was less convenient than the Sands but at least I wouldn’t have to walk all the way back to the Parisian. Unfortunately, when I tried to go to the elevators that would take me down, I was stopped and asked to show an MGM card. I turned around and started my half-run-half-walk journey back to the Parisian.
I got to the Parisian just after 11:15. Rather than waste time trying to find the shuttles, I stopped at the concierge to ask where they picked up. Even though the directions were simple, I never would have found them without asking. I boarded the shuttle at around 11:20 and we were off to the Sands by 11:22.
The day wasn’t perfect. It was hot and humid and I made some stupid decisions when it came to eating properly (a.k.a nothing at all besides a single egg tart) and keeping myself hydrated. Still, like every concert experience, I ended my day loving every moment of it, even the not-so-perfect parts.
I was in Macau. To see GOT7. It’s hard to have a bad day when you’re in a different country seeing a group who makes you laugh and smile and in general makes your day brighter just by being themselves.