Holding a concert in front of a crowd filled with their most passionate fans is a dream any singer carries. For fromis_9, the dream nurtured for almost 5 years became reality this past September 30, when they kicked off the first day of “LOVE FROM.”, the group’s first-ever concert. For three days straight, fromis_9 put on a show of nearly three hours, with 23 songs being performed in front of approximately 2,000 flovers each day.
To keep a record of such an important milestone, Promise Publications interviewed Arodean, Folt, and Shaun, three international flovers who attended the Korean leg of the concert. They talked about the planning of the trip, the moments that touched them the most,
and Saerom’s abs.
To start off this interview, tell us… How did you come to support fromis_9?
Folt: I stumbled upon them during Idol School. Turned on the TV and the first evaluation episode was live on air. Decided to watch it and got interested. Then, by chance, I happened to meet them when they were having a guerilla event or fan meeting of some sort (I came to Korea to study in early 2017 and now work here). As I kept on watching Idol School, I got hooked more and more.
Arodean: For me, it was a YouTube recommendation of fromis_9 performing Red Flavor at KCON. I thought they looked extremely stunning, and after watching that, I kept getting recommendations for them. I think I fell in love with them after getting to know their personalities by watching Channel_9 In The HOUSE.
Shaun: I started watching Idol School because of the contestants I knew from Sixteen, including Jiwon.
I also watched Produce 48, and so did my younger sister. She really got into Gyuri, so I introduced her to Idol School and fromis_9, which triggered me to get into them too. It’s always felt like a gradual thing for me, but if I had to put it down to one thing, it was my sister getting hooked by Gyuri that eventually pulled me in too. We’ve both been into K-pop for over a decade. I was just watching a Channel_9 video with her right before this interview!
Now that we know how you became a flover, what made you decide to attend this concert? Was it a no-brainer or did it require a lot of planning?
Folt: For me, it’s a no-brainer. Thankfully, I have the resources and everything else to attend the concert. It is easier [being in Korea], but the distance from my city (Busan) to Seoul is very far, which I think is my biggest obstacle. I need to take care of travel expenses, lodging, and also taking leave from work, but I’d say it’s something worth fighting for. I had several experiences in this (going to Seoul for fromis events such as fan meetings, fansigns, performances, birthday cafés, etc.), so it’s not a tough task.
Shaun: If I’m honest, due to the costs and the fact that the news of the concert was released only about a month before, I thought we wouldn’t be going.
However, once my sister learned about the concert, she really wanted to go. I figured we would go at that point. If we could get tickets, that is.
We actually got plane tickets and accommodation before the concert ticketing started. There was a worry that the tickets could sell out quickly since it wasn’t a big venue, but somehow we got tickets to the first and second nights, and with that settled, everything else fell into place easily.
There was a lot of planning, I guess. We flew in from Singapore on the morning of Hayoung’s birthday, the day before the concert, and flew out on the evening of the third night.
Arodean: I had leave/vacation planned out near the concert dates before the announcement from PLEDIS, so all I had to do was extend it to cover the concert dates plus travel, which worked out perfectly.
After a year of watching fromis_9 content non-stop, I told myself that I needed to go see them before my death. At this point, I think I consider myself a die-hard fan.
There was some planning involved, such as when to fly to Korea [from New York City] and where to stay. The hardest part was, of course, trying to get the concert tickets. I had to plan all of it out and get permission to go to South Korea due to the nature of my job [military] before I got my concert tickets.
Since I will be on a long work trip next year, my thought was, “If I don’t see them this year, I don’t think I will ever be able to”. I was always jealous of flovers that got to see them at KCON, and when I found out that they wouldn’t be going to KCON in the U.S. this year, I was devastated.
Seems like it’s not just among the Korean military that fromis is popular.
Haha, yeah. I think I understand why they like them. In the military, my unit is considered a family, but sometimes there is this loneliness that manifests itself, especially on deployments. fromis_9 is my light that fills the void, it sounds cheesy, but it’s really how I feel. I’m always grateful for all the content they put out. I know it’s not easy for them with their schedule, practices, dieting, etc. But they always give their best, and flovers too in supporting them.
Arriving at the venue, how was the atmosphere outside?
Shaun: Well, most people were wearing white, the color assigned for the first day. While queuing to get our tickets, what stood out was how quiet and orderly it was, and the fact that the vast majority of people there were Koreans. For the second day, the white became pink, and there were flovers dressed in costumes like the pink Squid Game outfit, pajamas, pink animal suits… it was more creative that day.
Arodean: I was extremely nervous. Since it was my first time in South Korea, and I can’t speak even the slightest Korean, I didn’t want to get lost and be late for the concert. So I ended up walking to the venue on Friday, arrived at around 11 AM, and found nothing there but a “LOVE FROM.” banner. The staff was looking at me weirdly, so I proceeded to walk away and sat down at a nearby table umbrella. I’m used to waiting for 6-8hrs before the doors open at K-pop concerts in the U.S. Luckily, this was not the case.
My plan was to sit down and wait to line up, but I forgot to bring my passport, which was needed to get my ticket. I ended up walking to my hotel and then back to the venue, arriving there at around 3 PM. That was when I started to see a line form.
On fromis Discord, we planned a meetup and got together before getting in line. We didn’t know what to do or expect on day 1. It was nice seeing a lot of international flovers in line, so we weren’t completely left out.
When it was near the time of the concert, all we could see were white shirts and attire. It was a sight to behold. I felt like it was a place I belonged. flovers were talking, people came with friends, and some were just standing around. I could see a lot of young fans, either in high school or college.
Folt: The fact that fans actually came to the venue 4 hours before concert time kinda surprised me. Usually, at least in Korea, there’s no reason to come so early in seated concerts like these. You can just come 1 hour or 30 minutes before the actual performance. Since we had the on-site merch purchase, which was open 4 hours before the concert began, fans were already there lining up to get their entry bracelets, buy merch, and claim concert photocards. As for interactions [between flovers], I think it’s not an exaggeration when they say, “like artist, like fans”. Most flovers are introverted and tend to keep to themselves, or just hang out with those they know. There’s no such crazy festive atmosphere with people singing or making noise, haha.
But many people share freebies, slogans, banners, cheering kits, etc… Which shows that flovers are willing to share with each other to support our girls.
We heard there was an official fan club booth called “flover ZONE”. Did you go there?
Folt: Yup. “flover ZONE” was a separate area where you could show (and brag) your Weverse flover membership, and then they would reward you with a photocard. Wait, I think I can share some pictures of these.
So, in that place, we got our tickets, bought merch, and claimed the concert photocards. That long line of people are flovers queuing to buy merch on-site, the area on the far up is the “flover ZONE”, and on the right (kinda empty), is where we got our tickets.
In the “flover ZONE” booth, they distribute the photocards randomly, so you won’t know what you’ll get. There are 8 member cards and one lucky card. You can get any member, or if you’re lucky and pull the lucky card, they will give you all 8 member cards.
That’s awesome! Did you get any merchandise for yourself? We know official merch was sold both online and on-site, but how about fanmade?
Shaun: Yep! You could buy with the app on-site and then pick it up, or you could queue up and buy as well. I bought a few items but didn’t manage to get the shirt, which is a bit of a shame. Didn’t go for fanmade merch, but I noticed some people with fanmade slogans.
Folt: Oh, yeah, of course! I have my own K-pop business too, so I buy for myself and for other people. Fanmade merch was also available. Usually, in concerts like these, fansite masternims will sell handbanners/slogans. You can buy on the spot or pre-purchase and pick them up at the venue. I collect unofficial merch too, so I bought them as well, hehe.
Arodean: There were some fanmade items like stickers, film strips, and drawn photocards. Someone would leave them out in a container and anyone could take one of each. Slogans were also available. Some had to be preordered ahead of time, but I managed to grab Jisun, Nagyung, Jiheon, Jiwon, and fromis_9 for 13,000 KRW each.
Out of the official merch, I managed to grab everything but the hat at the venue, it was the one item that sold out instantly on all 3 days. I bought all the pickets too. The staff who took my order probably thought I was weird because people would usually just grab one picket of their favorite member. This one staff saw my order and let out a sigh…
I flew all this way to Korea to see fromis_9, I’m not going home empty-handed, haha.
Before the show started, how was the atmosphere inside the venue? How did you like your seat(s)?
Folt: In my opinion, the venue was too small for us. There were many flovers who couldn’t go because they couldn’t get their tickets. We could fill twice the capacity of that venue. But a small venue means even people in the back seats, or on the third floor, could still see the stage really well.
They allowed us to enter the venue hall 1 hour before the concert started. People usually wait in anticipation. Some people practice fanchants, some prepare their lightsticks, and others just keep going back and forth to the restroom, haha. As for my seating, I had floor seats for the first and second day, which were really close to the stage, so it was good. On the final day, I was in the back row on the third floor. Kinda far from the stage, but it also gave me a new experience and a different kind of thrill!
Arodean: I didn’t get the best seats, but in the end, I was just happy to be there. The venue was small enough that you could still see the members somewhat clearly regardless of seat.
There was some confusion for a lot of flovers trying to find their seats. I think it was their first time going to a concert, so the staff was busy directing where they should be sitting.
While waiting for the concert to start, there was a K-flover behind me giving out fromis_9 polaroids from Neogen. Very nice guy.
Everyone around me tried to speak Hangul to me. I felt bad because all I could say was thank you.
Shaun: We were seated in different sections for both nights, but the venue was small enough that you could see well no matter where you sat.
Before the concert started, they played instrumentals of fromis_9 songs, along with the occasional merch video.
It was quiet. I remember on the first night, when the concert started and the VCRs were playing, we were all watching quietly. Jiheon then commented that no one cheered when the members appeared in the VCRs, so everyone started to cheer during the VCRs from then onwards.
Was it your first time seeing fromis_9 live? How did it feel when they finally stepped up on stage?
Folt: I’ve seen them many times in the past, but this time there were many feelings involved, I have to say. But… I think it can be expressed as “excited”.
Five years’ worth of wishing for a concert finally became real. I think the feeling is the same for all flovers, haha. We all had mixed feelings. Happy, touched, worried, etc. But the biggest one would be excitement.
Arodean: I teared up and just ended up crying as they were performing “Glass Shoes”. It was my first time seeing them. To be able to hear flovers cheering so loud for them as they stepped up on stage was a memorable moment. Thinking back to that day, I think a lot of the flovers there are more emotionally invested than I thought.
Shaun: Yeah, I’ve never seen fromis_9 live or via video call before.
Oh, it was amazing. When they started the second song, “Glass Shoes”, it was special, given that it was their [pre] debut song. The song before that, “Somebody To Love”, was performed behind a veil of some sort, so we could not see them properly. “Airplane Mode”, though, really drove the crowd wild. The combination of the fact that we’d never seen it performed before and how the choreography looked just had everyone screaming.
Was there any performance you were looking forward to? Did it live up to your expectations?
Folt: Of course! I am a huge fan of “Airplane Mode”, “Fly High”, and “0g”. I was very happy when they actually performed those three songs live, especially since they came up with a choreography for “Airplane Mode”. All flovers should watch that great performance, it showed how much effort the girls put into it.
Arodean: Because it was day 1, we didn’t know what to expect. The entire time, I was hoping that they would at least sing “Airplane Mode” live. But flovers got more than that, a flawless choreography with it. As soon as the music started for “Airplane Mode”, everyone screamed. It was unbelievable.
The whole concert exceeded my expectations. To be able to see so many b-side tracks performed with a choreo, such as “Up And”, “Cheese”, “Airplane Mode”, and “Hush Hush” was a dream come true.
Listening to Hayoung and Jiwon singing “Fly High” also gave me the chills. Their vocal is absolutely no joke.
Shaun: I didn’t know the setlist, but I did know that we were to sing “Clover” to the girls for the first night, so I was looking forward to that. The girls were both confused and touched. It was great to hear everyone singing it. There’s something about joining in the fanchants/songs together and hearing the crowd as one over the music.
Oh, we heard about that! The sing-along event was shared with flovers on Weverse and a different song was sung to fromis_9 each day. How did you feel during that secret event?
Arodean: It made me tear up. I knew the lyrics to the song [“Clover”] since they sang it on fromis day, so I was able to sing along. I wasn’t aware of it until it happened. The staff gave out the slogan/lyrics of it when we walked inside the concert, but I can’t read Hangul that well, so I didn’t understand what it was for. The members looked genuinely surprised and flovers sang it really well, haha.
Shaun: Hayoung started crying and turned away from the crowd, while Chaeyoung ended up on the floor. Some of the other members joined us in singing the song and walked around. I was surprised at how well I knew the lyrics, doing my best to sing but also watch the girls at the same time. I definitely got a little choked up myself.
Folt: Personally, I feel like I have to do it sincerely. Not just singing it, but really communicating to them via the lyrics. I could feel the sincerity of flovers in that event for all 3 days. How we said we’re lucky and happy to have each other on the first day (“Clover”), how we confessed our love to them on the second day (“First Love”), and how we promised to always stay by their side on the final day (“Be With You”).
That’s lovely! What would you say was your favorite part of the concert?
Folt: That’s tough… but if I must pick, my favorite part is when they performed “Stay This Way”! I think that’s the song that everyone knows the fanchant for, so the whole venue actually shouts it. It’s unreal. It gave me shivers!
Arodean: I have a couple of memorable moments. While fromis_9 was performing “DM” and “Stay This Way”, the fanchants were incredibly loud. I couldn’t believe my ears. flovers singing “Clover” to the members also made me tear up. Another moment was at the end of the concert, when they came back out after the encore to sing “Think of You”. It was an incredible feeling to watch the members say goodbye to flovers.
Shaun: I think “Clover” and “Airplane Mode” are definite highlights for me, but there were many great new performances, like “Hush Hush”, “Up And”, and “Cheese”.
“Rewind” and “Escape Room” were so good, and doing the fanchant for songs like “DM” and “Stay This Way” with everyone else gave a sense of togetherness. Oh, and I’ve always loved the choreography for “Miracle”. Seeing it live was amazing.
What surprised you the most?
Arodean: Saerom’s abs, haha. You can see it so clearly with the lighting. I guess that’s why it became a meme after the concert.
I was able to see the girls as they were driving off in their van and I have to say they look absolutely beautiful up close, especially Jiheon.
Folt: I think there were two moments that caught me by surprise the most.
The first was during the encore. They sang “Blind Letter”, and after the song ended, there were letters shot to the audience using a cannon of sorts. It showered on us like confetti. The letters were handwritten by the members to flovers, and they also read it to us.
The second moment was after “Mulgogi”. During the encore, they returned to the back of the stage and there was a door closing. I thought that was the end of the concert, but suddenly the door opened and they sang “Think of You”. It made me excited and left me questioning when would it really end, haha.
Shaun: It really seemed like they were about to end the concert. The screens slid in and blocked them from view, then “Think of You” started and they burst out. It was such a good song to end on. Also, the “Feel Good” jazz remix was a nice surprise. I also saw Hayoung hit a flover with a bouncing ball at the end and then fall to her knees to apologize, which was cute.
Overall, how does it feel to attend fromis_9’s first-ever concert?
Folt: I feel proud of them. Of course, I’m happy as a fan, but my feeling of pride seeing fromis_9 finally be able to hold their own concert and perform in front of 2,500 flovers outmatches my feeling of individual happiness. Feels like our long journey finally reached another milestone, and all those 5 years of growth can finally be seen in this event.
Shaun: I think it’s an amazing milestone to top off an amazing last year or so, and I think an amazing year for fromis_9 is an amazing year for flovers too! They won their first music show in September of last year, and since then got more wins for “DM” and “Stay This Way”. Then there was the fan meeting earlier this year, followed by the concert.
For me, personally, it was great to travel, as I hadn’t traveled in a long while due to the pandemic. More importantly, I got to see fromis_9 live for the first time ever. I’ll remember this for a long time to come.
Arodean: I feel really happy and glad that I went to see them. Normally, I would have post-concert depression, but it’s different with fromis_9 for some reason. I can go back to grinding at work with no regrets. I’ll cherish the memories, moments, and experience with me as I grow older.
That wraps up our interview. Do you have any final thoughts? Anything we didn’t ask you’d like to share?
Shaun: I should add that although I wasn’t terribly close [to the stage], yes, all the girls are stunning. It was really special that I could combine Hayoung’s birthday with the concert trip. I don’t know if I should add this next bit, but I could see Romsae’s abs from far away. The girl’s stomach is amazing, haha.
Folt: I hope in the future fromis_9 can also hold an overseas concert for international fans, since that’s what the members hope for too. I hope all flovers keep on supporting them with their whole hearts, just like their song “Stay This Way”!
Arodean: If I can share my thoughts for flovers that weren’t able to go… Please don’t be sad. I think there will be plenty of chances to go see fromis_9. flovers and fromis_9, I wish you happiness.