If you’re reading this entry, I supposed you’ve run out of options and concluded that the only way to watch your favourite SM artiste perform in Korea – is to purchase the expensive and exclusive SM Global Package.
I’ve been through that struggle and here are my learnings from my experience with purchasing and attending SHINee SPECIAL PARTY – THE SHINING (1st – 2nd Sep 2018 @ KSPO Dome, Olympic Gymnastic Arena).
Disclaimer: I am no expert in this matter. What I am sharing is based on one single experience that I had. Things may change and vary across different concerts and artiste so please use my experience as a reference point.
1. Global Package is the only guaranteed method for foreigners without Korean Alien ID
For most of the SM concerts that I’ve been keeping track of (at least for SHINee), their ticketing is only available on Korean ticketing websites like Yes24, Interpark and Auction. Some of these websites do have ‘global’ edition where international people can create an account but 99% of the time, SM does not allow their tickets to be released on the global sites.
It is not possible to buy tickets without a Korean ID/alien card
I’ve attempted creating accounts on these korean ticketing sites but I’ve never successfully gotten any verification. Once, I had a successful verification (after uploading my passport details) but they said that my verification was not able to purchase items like tickets. they are seriously extremely strict in this.
To make public ticketing even more insane (and perhaps to control the black market re-sellers), they restricted the sale of 1 ticket to 1 user. This means that the chance of sitting beside your friend is pretty much impossible. In korean ticketing, you have to select the exact seat and if someone selects the same seat as you, you will be bounced back to the selection page and it’s just damn bloody difficult to get good seats (floor and level 1).
Also, their refund policy is rather flexible and you can secure your tickets and decide whether you want to pay for them over the next few days. This is why the tickets are usually sold out within minutes of launch, and then progressively, these tickets will be released back. Sometimes, they announce a specific time where they will release the tickets back in but all these doesn’t matter unless you have an Alien ID Card.
Can I buy resale tickets?
Yes, you can buy at your own risk and pray hard they are not strict with the ID check.
(Actual Day Experience)
Global Package: They were giving out wristbands which printed the words ‘ID check has been done’ or something along that line. Global Package Participants were given the wristband on the bus. If you’re a Global Package Participant, you can also visit the booth with your tickets and lanyard and they will put the wristband on for you.
On-site Ticket Collection: If you’ve bought your ticket after the delivery schedule, you will have to collect your ticket from the ticket collection booth and show your passport/ alien card ID. They will put the wristband on for you. Each concert session has a different colour wristband.
Tickets that were delivered: For those without the wristband, they will ask for an ID check. Even if you have a wristband, you might even get checked! My friend got checked for all 3 shows but thankfully, it was her own ticket with her name printed on it.
Anyway, I personally saw two people getting rejected at the door (but I am not 100% certain that it was due to ID check). One girl was a caucasian and my friend was just commenting like it’s quite obvious if her ticket printed a korean name. I suppose that most re-seller tickets will be in Korean. That being said, I kind of heard of someone who bought a resale ticket from stubhub (at x3 the price) and i can’t remember what method she did, she managed to get a wristband and skipped the ID check.
Can I buy tickets at the venue on concert day?
Yes, this is the only method you can consider if you fail to get a Global Package. I’ve heard people queueing up like 18 hours before the concert and if I’m not wrong, SM kind of reserved 2 sections (some what restricted view) for on-site selling. Please note that payment has to be made in cash only. If I didn’t recall wrongly, there was a twitter account saying that there was 400+ people in line at midnight. Anyway, those people that I’ve heard queueing managed to get their tickets successfully. Also, during the earlier parts of the concert, it seems like there were staff going around marking out the empty seats. Halfway through, there were still fans streaming in. My friend said she saw tickets with handwritten seat number so there’s a possibility that they were selling tickets at the eleventh hour but I’m really not sure about this.
2. How much more are you paying for Global Package?
On the day of global package sales, the website crashed. It was such a bittersweet moment. I love it cause it shows that SHINee is still so popular. I hate it because I almost couldn’t get anything.
There were 6 options for the Package Sales. Basically, it was every single combination possible.
|Fanmeet Session 1
|Fanmeet Session 3
|Price (Economy/Twin) in USD
Digesting the information, I can draw the following conclusions
- 1 Fanmeet is worth $100 USD (Original price is 77,000W so that’s about 30% more expensive)
- 1 extra night stay is worth $100 USD each (Most ridiculous mark-up as the rooms were not even $100 USD per night for 2 pax)
Markup: $449 – $79 (Fanmeet price) – $100 (2 nights, twin share) – $20 (Event: Surround Viewing/SM Museum) – $70 (refundable deposit for translation device) = $180
From the $180
- 2-way transport from hotel -> event venue @ COEX -> concert venue -> back to hotel
- Special Merchandise
- 1 poster with poster tube, 2 clear folders in an envelope, 1 magnet memo board, 1 mirror card, Stickers, 1 lanyard
- Snack Bag
- 1 good quality paper bag (with the concert image), 2 water bottles with concert image wrapping, SHINee branded ribbon for the Snack Box (which contains pastries including 1 SHINee colour macaron)
I bought the Superior Package: 3 concerts, 3 hotel nights, 1 event @ $869
What we were given:
3 Fanmeet – $77 x 3 = $231
3 Nights Hotel (We stayed at Riveria Gangnam) – $50 x 3 nights (twin sharing) = $150
Surround Viewing for Shinee World V @ SM Coex – $20
Balance: $869 – $231 – $150 – $20 – $70 (translation device) = $398
From the $398
- 2-way transport x 2 days
- Special Merchandise
- 1 poster with poster tube, 2 clear folders in an envelope, 1 magnet memo board, 1 mirror card, Stickers, 1 lanyard
- Snack Bag x 3 times (we did not manage to collect the snack bag they gave on day 2, between the sessions)
So why the disparity in prices?
I am not sure if this is true but.. the more you pay, the better seats you may get.
People who bought deluxe had higher chances of being in the arena/floor seats. For myself, 3 sessions were all on Level 1 and at the facing right side of the stage for all 3 nights. I was pretty upset as I was Onew-biased and I badly wanted the left side. I’m not sure how much variations they do for the ‘balloting’ but it seems like most people on my bus were on the same side as us too. For simplicity of organization, I guess that was the easy way out.
Anyway, now that I look back, if I knew that deluxe packages give you better seats, I would have paid the premium T_T
Superior Hotel List for your information and based on price estimate for 1 night during that period.
(Not sure if SM uses this list all the time)
- Courtyard by Marriott Seoul NAMDAEMUN @ $227
- Courtyard by Marriott Seoul TIMES SQUARE @ $185.54
- GLAD YEOUIDO HOTEL @ $144.82
- RIVIERA GANGNAM @ $135.31
- THE SPLAISIR SEOUL MYEONGDONG @ $116.84
Uploading the screenshots from the ticket pricing for future reference.
In summary, the price ranges from $499 (economy/twin) to $1229 (Deluxe 1/single).
Conclusion: Save money for rainy days like this.
3. The Global Package Experience
We checked in one day earlier to the same hotel as our flights arrived one day earlier. I bought the room off hotels.com, not via the SM Travel method (which I assumed will be more expensive). On the day before the concert, we had to be at the lobby to collect our Special Merchandise (part of the package) and choose our tickets at random at the stipulated timing between 7 to 8pm. As we went out for dinner, we only reached the lobby at about 7:50pm and by the time it was our turn, it was about 8:30pm and we only had 3 envelopes left for the tickets. The tickets were all placed in pairs inside the envelopes and we had to pick one at random, for each fan meeting session.
The best seats we had was row 15 (4th row from the front) and it was at section 4 (near the small extension stage where Onew, Minho and Taemin visited). For the other 2 sessions, we had tickets in section 3, row 19 and 21 if I did not recall wrongly.
To be honest, I was pretty disappointed with the tickets when we first received them as all 3 sessions were on the right side. Being an onew biased, I wanted left side tickets at least for one session. It was highly likely that everyone in my hotel received the right side tickets so I guess that’s just the lazy way out for SM.
(Day 1 – Fan Meeting Day 1)
We had to gather at the Hotel Lobby at 12:15pm. The merchandise that we pre-ordered was also given to us.
We were directed to the bus and proceeded to the SM Coex building. Basically, the fans were divided between 2 special events – 1 was SM Museum and the other was surround viewing for SHINee World V. My hotel/bus was allocated to the Surround Viewing session at 2:30pm. There was quite a bit of free time before the show and everyone was flooding the SM Gift Shop and the SHINee items were pretty much swept away (as compared to my visit the previous day). The atmosphere in my Surround Viewing session was a little weird. There was no cheering and barely anyone took out their lightsticks. My experience was pretty much a far cry from my friend’s experience back on 525. The hall was half filled as well. I supposed that most fans would have already watched the SV on their own. We did not get to finish the entire viewing as we had to gather at 5PM to board the bus which will bring us to the concert venue. We missed about 4-5 songs. I don’t know how to describe the experience I had during the SV so I guess I shall not say anything.
In the bus, the tour guide distributed wristband to us. Wearing this wristband would indicate that your identity had been checked.
From the bus carpark, we had to walk about 8-10 mins to the global package booth. The guide told us to turn on our translation device to test if everything was working fine. If it did not work, we could do an exchange at the booth.
Note: we couldn’t find a SM Passport Booth. WHY DID THEY LEAVE IT OUT T_T
When entering the venue, we wore the global package lanyard and the wristband. We did not get any ID checked and there wasn’t any bag check. This was a surprise as the other concerts I attend are usually very strict. The staff also distributed a concert souvenir (transparent photocards, different designs for each session) when we entered.
There are toilets situated inside the concert venue but the queue is pretty insane but I guess if you go in 20-30 mins early, you should still be fine.
Lightsticks: There was no calibration counter unlike the Japan one. In japan, they actually calibrate your lightstick to your seat number. Also, the japan lightstick works well for the concert as well. I saw a fan holding all 3 lightsticks throughout the concert and the colour were all in-sync. After a long thought, I concluded that the korean design was still my favourite as it projects a star shadow when you hold it close to a plain background.
Although the concert was stated to be 100 mins, it dragged on till 120- 150 minutes cause SHINee was just too sweet and they didn’t want to get off the stage. okay i’m talking nonsense. I’ll be writing about the concert experience in a separate post.
(Day 2 – Fan Meeting Day 2; 2 sessions)
We did not follow the Global Package transport as we wanted to visit Key’s birthday cup sleeve event and my friend wanted to be there early to collect the fan goods.
We started off the day with a visit to a cafe which was having Key’s birthday event. The cafe was decorated with items and there was even an area where you could take a postcard as a souvenir. By ordering a drink from that cafe, you will receive a cup sleeve (with key’s birthday event messaging). The cup sleeve material was pretty amazing. It’s the sturdy type which doesn’t come folded. I’m pretty impressed with the Korean event cup sleeves.
Attending a concert event at 2PM (Sunday) was definitely a brand new experience for me. Most of the time, I attend concerts in the evenings/night and it felt a little weird walking into the concert hall in sunny weather. Nevertheless, despite having 2 fan meets on the same day, they changed the interaction segments for every session so we still had somewhat of a variation and surprise element. For Day 1, they did a questionnaire event where they had to describe each other. For Day 2 Session 1, they played a game where they had to do pass an inflating balloon. For the second session, they did the blindfold + charades; which (for me) was the best out it all!
Anyway, the fun part about attending a concert in Korea was that there will usually be massive fan goods giveaway events. As 2018 was their 10th anniversary, many fans came from all over the world to be here and everyone wants to share their happiness with everyone. I received a fan card from Peru and.. even an under the radar fan like myself printed some fan goods to give away. As I do not have a twitter following nor do I have a fan site, I gave my stuff away randomly to friends of friends and to the people that i collected fan goods from (well, kind of like a trade) and my friend’s customers (she was selling some stuff). I’m pretty impressed with the quality of my fan good – I designed and printed stickers of their lyrics and the printing quality was pretty impressive. Well, if you’re one of the lucky 100 that received my fan good, hope you like it 😀
On the first day, I told myself that I didn’t need to get these fan goods as I’m not like a super collector or something but on the second day, I started to queue for one and then I got addicted to the mad rush of queueing after queueing. There were times you queue up and get nothing and sometimes, you queue for an unexpected surprise – there was a Japanese fan who was giving out CDs and official concert pins (which sold at 500Y). I didn’t keep contact with any of the people that I met that day (I still find it hard to get acquainted with strangers as I grow older) but I feel happy that our fandom is so generous, nice and kind.
The finale of the final session was definitely the most memorable. The fan project was a paper airplane which represented diamond heart. Although it was quite heavy and couldn’t really reach the stage, 4 planes still somehow managed to land on their hands.
Fan projects are amazing. We sang 3 full songs across all nights – Replay, their debut song; Beautiful, a song from their 3rd full length album in their 5th year and Our Page, their final song for Ep3 (that was before they released countless during the concert). Despite my terrible singing, the voice of the masses still sound amazing. I stan my fandom. Heh.
[After the Concert]
You will have to return the amazing translation device (yes, it worked like 80% of the time for me) to the SM Global Package Counter after the concert. There was quite a long queue and I hope the money finds its way back to my PayPal account some day. This was the first time SM is trying out the translation device and I would say it was an awesome job cause.. my knowledge of korean is limited to the basic key words and greetings.
To get your snack pack (which is branded with SHINee paper bag and includes 2 bottles of SHINee diamond water and a dessert box with SHINee ribbon), you will have to return to your bus in the CarPark. On the 1st day, we followed the bus back to our hotel but on the 2nd day, we decided to hang out with the other friends of friends.
I’ll do it all over again, every single time.
Hope this write-up helps you in some way or another. 🙂
*Updated with a SM Korean Concert Ticketing Guide 2023*