Aftermath Report: Alden Richards ‘Wish I May’ Album Launch
17 October 2015 – SM City North EDSA Cinema 11
The only thing I wished for was to attend Alden Richards’ album launch. No, wait. The only thing I wished for was to see Alden Richards in person. Just a glance would be enough. But with his current status wherein every public appearance he makes becomes a security nightmare, my fear for my own life overrules my desire to see him. I already considered myself ‘retired’ from active fangirling and just decided to admire Alden (and Maine) from a distance.
It took just one Facebook comment stating that I wanted to attend the launch but I don’t feel like going through all the rudiments of going to Manila to pre-order the special CD bundle, lining up for the first-come-first-served event all by myself, boxing for position against a bunch of rabid fans of all genders, etc. etc. for my fate to be reversed. Again.
A friend from way back – as in 15 years back – my Ricky Martin days responded to my dilemma. She said she will add me to her group to help me get the CD bundle. In exchange, I will join them as volunteer helpers for the album launch, in case they needed extra manpower. Which means I might end up a ‘Rogelio’, if necessary. (Note to my non-Filipino readers: ‘Rogelio’ is Kalyeserye jargon for bodyguard/security detail.) Many friends have expressed apprehensions about my decision to attend but… whatever! I’ve done it soooo many times before, I can pluck myself out of fangirl retirement and do it again. For the love of Alden. Lezz do thizzz!
October 17. With the Alden Nation group, I arrived at the war zone, er, SM City Cinema 11 at the designated calltime, and was handed this:
I don’t know what wonderful thing I did in my past life to deserve this, but hey. A blessing is a blessing. Thank you, Lord!
We entered the venue and waited for instructions. Basically, what we ended up doing while waiting for the cinema to get filled up was to act as sit-ins for the sponsors’ chairs. Which means, I basically spent more than two hours sitting on a lazy-boy chair while listening to songs from Alden’s album.
This was the anticipated war zone? I can certainly live with this. hahaha!
Since I had that opportunity to listen to the tracks from Alden’s album (more than twice, if I may add), here’s my brief ‘review’ of it.
To be quite honest, some of the tracks needed a little bit more improvement, production-wise. Alden’s voice sounded fine on Wish I
Maine May, Dalinay, er, Thinking Out Loud, and the other original track, Urong Sulong (lyrics of which sounded very Kalyeserye ). His voice was particularly lovely on Thinking Out Loud; it’s like he’s whispering sweet nothings on our ears. However, his voice sounded ‘nagbibinata’ (just approaching puberty) on God Gave Me You and How Great Is Our God. It could’ve used a little bit more improvement at post-production because when Alden sang those songs live, he sounded fine.
But that’s just me and my amateur ears.
The CD bundle’s packaging and inserts were of top-notch quality, though. Let me tell you, when an XXL-sized person can squeeze into an L-sized t-shirt without bursting at the seams, you just know that the shirt is not made of cheap material.
Anyway… back to the event. The doors were opened at 3:30pm and screaming fangirls (and boys, and somewhere in between) with their battle gears (ie., banners and lightboards) started trickling in. Solid Alden fans, AlDub/MaiDen fans, corporate sponsors who are also fans… they’re all there. Kudos to SM and GMA Records people for keeping everything in order. I expected the worst, and it didn’t happen. There were a few misunderstandings here and there, particularly with regard to seating arrangements and such, but these were promptly addressed.
Later on, members of Alden’s family have arrived. There’s this guy who, from a distance, looks like Alden’s dad Richard, Sr. (aka. Daddy Bae) and the fan groups from the other side of the venue did mistake him to be Daddy Bae. They kept chanting ‘Daddy Bae! Daddy Bae!’, which prompted the fan groups on our side to chant back, ‘hindi siya ‘yon! hindi siya ‘yon!’ (that wasn’t him!) The waiting time wasn’t boring at all, I tell yah.
You could just imagine what happened when Daddy Bae did arrive at the venue. It was like Alden, himself, has arrived.
At that point, I was informed by our group’s admins that my assignment for the night was to take photos. And I can do that freely at the cordoned-off VIP area (with the lazy boy chairs) because of my ID. Say wut?? What just happened? I expected to be a Rogelio; nobody told me that I would be an accredited photographer for that event! Fortunately, I had the sense to bring Mini-GD-TOP. If didn’t, I would’ve been banging my head on the wall out of frustration.
The program started on time (I heard this will be a standard thing for all Alden events because of his super-insane schedule), but before Alden’s set, we were treated to song numbers from some GMA Records artists. I really didn’t pay attention; I just used that opportunity to scout the area for the best vantage point to take photos and to tinker the settings on my camera (yes, I know I’m bad, but I was saving my battery and memory card for Alden). The only two acts worth mentioning, at least as far as this blog is concerned, were James Wright and the winners of the GMA-NPA reality-based show To The Top, T.O.P.
Hey, this guy is actually quite good-looking, like a poor man’s James Reid *ducks away from James Reid fans*. Also, who writes his songs? Because I think, Alden could use a song or two from whoever writes James Wright’s songs. I only know two songs from him and they’re both catchy. I particularly like the theme from the teleserye My Destiny.
I’ve seen a few episodes of To The Top and these guys are actually good. They harmonized quite well, which is to be expected because hello! Ryan Cayabyab! However, they still need to polish their stage presence. I think exposing them to events like this would be a good training ground for them to be more comfortable on stage.
Aside from the front acts, there were also some fun games from the event’s sponsors. The effects of Kalyeserye was very evident on several instances, like when one fun games contestant revealed that her name is Regine, and the entire crowd followed it with ‘woo!’
One particular moment that touched me was when the host (a DJ from Barangay LS-FM) was interviewing some fans, and two of them proudly said that they don’t belong to a particular fan club; they just attended the event on their own simply because they love Alden. I joined in at the cheers for that one because I am one of those people who are supporting Alden on my own. That is, until I remembered that I am covering the album launch because I belong to an Alden fan club now.
Ok, enough of that. Let’s bring in the star of the show!
Alden started off-stage with an a capella intro of Thinking Out Loud. I immediately placed myself at the left side of the stage, right in front, along with the other photographers and bloggers covering the event. At first I was worried that I might be covering the people behind me, but I waited for anyone to tell me to leave my spot and it never happened. So… yay! I eagerly waited for him to come out from backstage and anticipated what many people have described as ‘makatanggal kaluluwang kapogian’ (literally, gorgeousness that could leave you breathless).
My first impression? I didn’t see him as ‘makatanggal kaluluwa’. He was… down to earth. He’s very handsome, yes, but he has this aura of humility in him. Unlike certain other celebrities who look so god-like that you could just stare at them in awe once you see them – I could mention Ricky Martin and Piolo Pascual in this category – Alden looks approachable. Like he could be your buddy.
Which, according to numerous accounts, is exactly what he is to his fans.
He has proven that a lot at the launch. I heard that he wasn’t supposed to have a photo op, but Alden himself has insisted that he MUST have a photo op with the fans so the organizers had to totally revamp their initial plans. At the launch, there were supposed to be a couple of tables that would separate Alden from the fans during the photo op. On the spot, the fans demanded the tables to be removed. The organizers were quite hesitant to give in to the demands for safety and security reasons. It was Alden himself who decided to remove the tables, on the condition that the fans should remain calm at all times, or else he would halt the proceedings and leave. When my (and three others’) turn came for the photo op, I will never forget the look on his face when he said, “thank you talaga!” while giving me a handshake. He looked like he was thanking someone who did soooo much to him. Dude, all I did was buy your CD and watch your shows! Why are you thanking me like I saved your life or something? Such amazing gestures from someone who’s now considered a Superstar. I guess I was held off-course because I am so used to masungit idols that encountering an artist with this kind of fan service is so new to me? (I better stop before this entry transforms into one big #hugot rant.)
Other impressions: (1) Like what Lola Tinidora said, Alden has no pores on his face! If he didn’t have that pockmark on his right cheek, he would look like a wax statue; (2) damn those fingers are wayyy too long, and I have a certain weakness for beautiful manly-hands, so…; (3) he’s thin but lean; (4) he has a smattering of chin stubble, which is another weakness of mine. I am still wondering why I didn’t turn into jelly when I was literally just an arm’s length away from him. Maybe because I was busy taking photos?
As for his singing… let me just put this out of the way. Alden has always said that he’s not a singer and he’s only doing this because his profession as a matinee idol requires him to do so, so I lowered my expectations on this. He actually sings in tune for the most part, in fact, one of the things that I noticed about him is that he always takes the same key whenever he sings his own songs, even in a capella (watch those Kalyeserye episodes where he would sing spontaneous split-screen duets with Maine). He only goes off-key it when he becomes emotional, which happened quite a lot of times at the launch. He was teary-eyed for the most part. I do think that he still needs to have some serious vocal training if he intends to make more albums and do more concerts in the future. His voice tends to crack at random times (again, nagbibinata).
But let’s give credit where credit is due: he sings live. Can’t say the same about other artists who also have albums but opt to lip-sync away their performances… (but that’s another issue altogether)
Going back to Alden’s looks. I mentioned above that I chose to position myself at the left side of the stage. I did this because I learned from one of Alden’s interviews that he thinks that his best angle is his left because of his dimple. I wanted to capture the dimple on cam, so I chose that side.
However, when I was reviewing the photos, I noticed that his left side is:
… either Aga Muhlach, or…
… John Lloyd Cruz.
Later on during the photo op, I transferred to the right side of the stage to capture him from the other angle. And that’s when I realized that his right side…
… is Alden Richards. Thus, I preferred this side over the other side, even if that other side has the trademark dimple. I’m weird that way.
Here are some (some? It’s 100+ photos ) of the photos I took from the launch. The rest shall be posted at the Alden Nation official Facebook page. (To view the slide show on high-res, please click on ‘FS’. Thank you!)
So. Will I be doing this Alden Richards stalking thing on a regular basis now? Well, given that I will be at his Market! Market! show on Friday and at the Philippine Arena on Saturday for Eat Bulaga’s Tamang Panahon, I guess I am officially out from fangirl retirement. For now.
Acknowledgment: Special thanks to Arlene and Cherrie of Alden Nation for the opportunity!
BUT WAIT! I am not going to end this blog entry without bringing up that special AlDub/MaiDen moment that almost made me drop my camera in amusement:
Dude, it’s your solo album launch. Why are you thanking your fans for supporting you AND Maine?