OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Young fans lined up by the thousands early Wednesday outside Oracle Arena and Oakland Coliseum complex, anxiously awaiting an evening performance by the South Korean boy band BTS.
BTS has taken the music world by storm, and Wednesday morning thousands of young, mostly female, fans turned out for the chance to stand on the floor of the arena at the concert later Wednesday evening.
“So, K-pop is just like, high-energy, electronic, like, hard bass and fun colors,” said Wild 94.9 radio host Crystal Rosas. “I don’t know what it is, but something about a whole bunch of boys on stage, foreign boys, signing, dancing; girls love it!”
“Right now, I feel like I’m gonna cry if I see them,” said 15-year-old fan Andrea Hernandez. “Because these bosy are so much to me, or to all of us!”
The BTS Army, as the groups fans are known, began lining up well before the opening kick-off of the Oakland Raiders Monday night game against the Los Angeles Rams. The first fan to show up was Isabelle Bone, who has been traveling from city to city, following the tour.
“We can resonate with them so much because they used to put out band fan bombs on YouTube video of them just goofing around, doing stupid things,” said Bone, who is a self-admitted K-pop fan. “We thought that was funny.”
Bone — who is a college student in New York state — said she had already attended the first three L.A. concerts, was in Oakland for Wednesday night’s performance, will be traveling to two tour dates before heading to New York for the finale.
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Her journey hasn’t been without its challenges. In Oakland, she became a crime victim. She had pitched her tent at the front of the line, traveled to a nearby hotel for a shower Tuesday night and when she returned her tent had been stolen.
“I had a tent, went to a hotel to shower and got a text saying — ‘You have to come back now, someone stole your tent,” she told KPIX 5.
Police later returned the tent, which had been removed by some rowdy Raiders fans.
Why take such a risk in a dangerous part of Oakland?
“It just worth it (risking crime in Oakland) to see them,” she said. “Their stage presence is amazing. I never get tired of listening to their music.”
Bone was standing in line with her new friend, Ashton Moreno, who had arrived Monday morning after traveling from her hometown in Phoenix.
“If you ask any fan, they will say they feel like they are very close friends with them,” she said of the band.
Moreno said aside from the concert, she was in line so early to get a crack at buying band merchandise which sells out quickly.
“Merchandise sells out very, very fast,” she said.
Aileen White was fourth in line, arriving at 10 a.m. Monday, and told KPIX 5 she had followed the band around the world. She attended concerts in Korea, Los Angeles and will be heading to the band’s stops in Canada before finishing on the East Coast.
“I have always wanted to do something like this,” she said. “My mom’s sister is a Deadhead so she would travel with the Grateful Dead all around and I always thought that that was so cool…Then I fell in with BTS. Doing a world tour with them just sounded so cool.”
White said she had strung together several jobs to help fund her journey.
“I took up some part time jobs — serving, cat sitting, tutoring — and just like put away as much money as I could,” she said.
The BTS fan frenzy has sent ticket prices soaring in Oakland. Tickets for the sold-out concert were being scalped for $550 for the nosebleed sections to $2,650 for a premium seat.