Sorry for the delay. I got lost in India.
‘Big Bang MADE in Manila’ Aftermath Report, Part 2
When I bought my ticket for Big Bang MADE in Manila, I had wanted a seat somewhere in the center area where I can view the stage in full. I had wanted to see the boys up close, but I also wanted to see the show itself as I know that it’s going to be visually spectacular. I never saw any fancams prior to seeing the concert because I wanted to surprise myself, but since we’re talking about Big Bang, I know that it’s not going to be a run-of-the-mill show.
Unfortunately, prime seats were such hot items so we ended up grabbing seats on the first row of section 217, which is at the side of the arena, directly facing the bridgeway connecting the main and secondary stages. I had reservations about how good or bad my seat was prior to the concert itself, for two reasons: (1) the aforementioned desire to see the show itself rather than just seeing Big Bang up close; and (2) I am blogging about the concert, and since I am also this blog’s official photographer, a good vantage point for taking photos is a MUST.
I had mixed emotions when we finally got to our seats at the Arena. The good news: the ones that I originally wanted were already quite far from the stage. Our seats at 217 were only about 3 meters away from the bridgeway, and since we’re at first row, we were literally just a stone’s throw away from any Big Bang member who pass by that area. On the minus side: That bridgeway… it’s blocking the main stage. I didn’t bring GD-TOP (or Mini-GD-TOP) aka. the DSLR because professional cameras were prohibited, and I really wanted to avoid anything that will give me unnecessary stress on this concert. The ticket price is stressful enough, thank you very much. I just brought Aqua, my Canon SX270 point-and-shoot camera which I bought on sale at an online shop a few days prior to the concert. It has 20x optical zoom and manual features so I think it will still work nicely, though not as nice as it will be if I use GD-TOP.
As I had expected, the bridge became my source of stress when the show started.
AARGHHHH!!!! It was a focusing nightmare!!!
My big mistake was bringing in a camera that I haven’t used in concert-situations. It took a while before I was able to determine how to adjust to that bridge thing being the focus instead of the guys on stage. After a while, though, when I finally was able to figure out the right settings to use and the right angle to take, the bridge even became a nice framing device that gave character to the photos.
Medyo Windows 8 nga lang ang dating, but it’s nice naman, di ba?
The sad part is: because of the constant fiddling of the settings and zooming to its maximum, my camera’s battery drained itself out halfway through the show. Still, I was able to take a sizeable amount of photos before the battery conked out. Check them out on the slide show below:
(You may see the photos in a higher resolution by clicking on “FS” [full screen], or navigate in slide show form by clicking on “SL”)
After the digicam’s battery died, that is when I fully appreciated how great our seats were. I brought my Nokia 1020 as second option, but the slow focusing made me want to throw away that phone in frustration, so I stuffed it back at my bag and used my Samsung phone instead. Can I just say, after this concert? I super-love my seat, that bridge, and the Samsung Note 4 (note: this is not a paid ad for the Samsung Note 4). I mean, just look at these!
Mind you, I only used the phone’s built-in camera app. Of course, the fact that G-Dragon and Daesung, in particular, stayed right in front of us for at least 5 minutes helped a lot. I consider that as a wonderful blessing because, from what I heard, it’s usually TOP who stays on that side of the bridge (which explained why our seatmates were mostly TOP stans). Not that I don’t like seeing TOP up close, but I already had that experience in my first Big Bang concert in Seoul. We saw a lot of TOP that after a while, we got tired of him. Strange, but true. Now for some reason, in Manila, TOP passed by that side only once. The other four passed by numerous times, with GD and Daesung even staying for long intervals. I don’t rank Big Bang members as I like them all, but GD and Daesung were the first two that I really liked in the group. So seeing them up close a lot, with fan service, to boot, certainly made this concert the best.EVER.more to me.
Which brings me to the one item that I didn’t tackle in Part 1 of this Aftermath Report: the fan service.
OK, I know that Big Bang’s fan service towards PH VIPs has become quite an issue after the #NaBigBangKa fiasco. But looking back, I would never think that the group lacked fan service at their Manila concert. (Or maybe I’m only saying this because my main fandom is sorely lacking in fan service that anything else exceeds my expectations? Sorry, I just had to point that out.) I mean, just think about it:
1. Nearly all of their spiels were in English. Coming from a group where there are no native English speakers, this is already a humongous plus point. I must also point out that their delivery of English lines has vastly improved after three years, most notably GD, Taeyang and Seungri. I think G-Dragon is already fairly fluent, as he demonstrated when he was asked for a ‘sample’ of the E-series single (Zutter) and he was like, “what does it mean?” I don’t think that entire part (from asking what ‘sample’ means up to after they gave the sample) was on the script.
And speaking of script: I had expected them to read off their spiels from a Teleprompter. I mean, anyone who is expecting them to deliver their lines without a script is just kidding himself because every concert performer does that. What I did not expect, is that the script on the Teleprompter was in Romanized English instead of the Hangeulized English that I’ve been seeing from other non-native-English-speaking Korean acts:
Mind you, the script is Seungri’s. I wish I was able to catch TOP’s or Daesung’s to see if their script is also written in Romanized English.
Any Korean act (non-English speaker) who makes the effort to truly adapt to their international audience by learning the universal language is already top-notch in fan service as far as I’m concerned.
2. The spiels that were not delivered in English were delivered in Tagalog. Make that near-perfect Tagalog. Did Sandara have a hand on this one? Because it’s just brilliant. A simple “Mabuhay”, “Mahal Ko Kayo”, and “Salamat” would have sufficed, but nooooo…! This is Big Bang!
“Nakikita n’yo ba ako??” – Daesung, in reference to the fact that he can’t see the audience because of his hair.
“Gusto n’yo ba?” – TOP (side note: does anyone know if he also used the particular country’s language when saying “you like?” in the other legs of the tour?)
“Cute n’yo po!” – Seungri. His “I wanna buy Manila house!” is hilarious, too.
“Pogi pogi!” – Taeyang to G-Dragon during their GDYB stage
“Uh…” – TOP *cue massive screams from the crowd
I think the only other Kpop group who spoke our language as much as Big Bang and 2NE1 did was CNBLUE.
3. I did notice that they seem to have avoided taking gifts from fans even if at one point, TOP took a bite of the Big Bang chocolate bar from a fan. I do think that the fan interaction was adequate, which is not surprising as Big Bang is known for being good at working the crowd. I didn’t actually notice what some fans were saying that GD wasn’t smiling that much until I reviewed my photos. At that time, he was so energetic that we just siphoned off the energy coming from him.
Whatever was their real mood that night, we never really noticed anything until #NaBigBangKa came along, didn’t we? We had a great time – I know I did – and the concert was truly spectacular, so maybe we should just leave it at that.
For more of my Aftermath Reports related to Korean entertainment, please check out my K-pop Events Aftermath page.