Event coverage: Teen Top heats up the night in Budapest

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Crew members of Petőfi Csarnok in Budapest, Hungary are standing in an awe watching a crowd of teenage girls and boys screaming their lungs out. It’s 18:35, we still have a good one and a half hour until the concert begins, and there is literally nothing going on, Teen Top‘s songs are played in the background to the 150 lucky fans who could watch the last part of the sound-check. We are standing at the cafeteria, a good distance from the stage, and still the screaming is ear-deafening. Petőfi Csarnok has a long history of musical performances, it’s not like nobody has ever seen a concert before here, but still you can see the shock in these people’s eyes. They have no clue who the members of Teen Top are, but this level of response from barely 150 people singing along foreign lyrics is something new to them as well. We warn them, when the gates are opened, it’s going to get a lot worse.

This is the very first K-pop concert in this small country in the heart of Europe, and fans are literally going crazy right in front of my eyes. I have been to a couple of pop concerts before, but I have never seen anything like this. When the gates are opened and fans with regular tickets flock together, a sudden sense of fear strikes me. Seeing all these normal people, who were casually chatting outside the venue, literally go wild once they reach the stage, seriously sends chills all over my body. I could not help but think what it would have felt like to experience this in a bigger venue, with tens of thousands of K-pop fans. It’s fascinating!

Everything goes according to plan, the boys are not even a single minute late, and as soon as they appear on stage, my ears go deaf. A good thousand people are screaming at the top of their lungs. Teen Top looks tired, timidly smiling and waving to the crowd, as if having cold feet. But the group is undeniably cute and I cannot help but smile heartfelt as the members try their luck with Hungarian pronunciation, greeting the crowd in most fans’ native language. There are people from neighbouring countries as well and the boys do not forget to ask around where people came from. They seem to be surprised that they are the very first Korean pop singers to perform here. Small talk revolves around how they had very little time to look around the city, but had a chance to see the Danube and the Chain Bridge, finding this city to be a beautiful place. Every single sentence they utter is met with loud cheers and flag-waving. I have never seen so many people go happy from sentences like, “We sat in a cafe in Budapest.” It is seriously too cute to describe.

After the first three songs, media representatives are asked to leave the pit, and I am dragged away by the representative of one of the Hungarian national TV channels, M2. They got the news of the concert very late and could barely make it, but then ended up filming a couple of songs, and interviewing people. The very first K-pop coverage on national TV since Psy. The reporter, who is a locally famous young singer, Fluor Tomi, is literally swept away by his emotions, saying he didn’t know how he missed out on this K-pop wave. Being an experienced stage performer, he is also very much impressed by Teen Top – and the fans.

Towards the middle of the concert the boys seem to liven up, and they truly start to enjoy the performance and the crowd, sending the fans into a frenzy. By the end of the concert, I literally have trouble standing still, being dizzy from two hours of constant screaming of the crowd. Everyone’s exhausted by this time, but the encore is still met with incredible vocal power from the fans. The concert comes to an end, and the Teen Top members leave the stage with huge smiles on their faces.

Already at home, I read some fan comments on SNS about how they don’t feel their throats and feet, but still had the time of their lives.

Teen Top surely impressed everyone, from fans to crew to this very reporter, who never considered herself a fan, but might just as well change her mind now.

Photos by Xiaolong (1-17), Renáta Németh (18-30)

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