Last week I attended the Winter Lights 2 event, at the Beyond the Stars Palace in Glendale. I had arrived early in the morning, about 9:30am, for press check in, as I was scheduled to shoot the red carpet event at 10:00am. The red carpet wasn’t as glorious as they made it out to be, as the wallpaper or background was extremely tattered and wrinkled. However, I managed to nab a good spot in the center to take full on headshots of the celebrities and artists that passed by through the red carpet. You can view those photos I took here.
The meet and greet with the celebrities started at around 11:30am, and took place directly inside the venue. It was laid out in a “U” formation, with the fans walking in through the left door, and exiting through the right door. To me and others, it was pretty orderly, compared to other events. However, many fans did not appreciate the signing tables to separated the fans from the celebrities, as they wanted to hug them. After the meet and greet at around 1:00pm, those who had finished meeting with the celebrities were herded outside to wait in line again until 2:30pm, which is when the actual show would start. I decided I was hungry and headed out to a ramen shop a couple blocks away. By the time I had come back, fans were lined up and down the blocks, some sitting, some hoping to get some shade. Most of them were hungry, as they didn’t want to lose their spot in line. It was a general admissions concert after all.
When the concert started, they brought out the first few acts, like Macy Kate, Mathias Anderle, Diamante, and others. Most of them performed fairly well, but the audio cut off fairly often during the performances, and sounded like microphone drops. It was irritating for both the crowd and the performers, and one artist, Sole, was forced to perform an acapella rendition of a cover.
The performances dragged on too long and too sluggishly – many of the fans had given up their spots in the crowd to rest their feet. There was no intermission at all in the 7 hour concert, and many of the fans had been there longer than that. I heard many fans complaining about their burning feet, and the sweltering temperatures. On top of that, a fake snowblower intermittently blew out fake snow, causing many fans to cower in an attempt to keep the dandruff-looking chemicals out of their hair, unsuccessfully. As the audience gradually lost interest in those performing, the artists desperately tried to use plots to get the crowd hype again. One tactic I saw used over and over again was the performer saying, “I’m gonna throw some merch to the LOUDEST person in the crowd!” and falsely made the crowd raise their hands not for the performances, but for the free merchandise. Another method I saw many performers use was the phrase, “Who’s ready for IM5 to come out?! They’ll be performing for you guys any minute now.”
After a long 6 hours, the headliners, Hollywood Ending, Forever in Your Mind, and IM5 Band performed. Hollywood Ending performed first. They performed many songs from their recently released EP, and performed genuinely. Forever in Your Mind performed shortly after, with a couple of their songs, including their newly released holiday song, “Naughty List.” They sang with a festive attitude, complete with santa hats and reindeer antlers. You can see some of the photos I took from the concert here.
The last performers, and main headliner, was IM5. Most of the audience was part of their fanbase. I’m pretty sure every audience member’s feet hurt by then, but they lived with it because IM5 was who they had come to see! IM5 announced that they would be performing a special “History of IM5,” which meant they were going to perform a total of 11 songs, oldies included. The crowd went wild! They had never performed so many songs live for any concert before. The boys of IM5 had great choreography, sang with lots of gusto, and were definitely a dynamic and diverse bunch. You can see the photos I took of IM5 here.
Overall, Winter Lights 2 seemed like a hastily put together event, with many flaws. However, their headliners pulled through and hopefully made the crowds happy they came.