This entry was posted through the generosity of Burger King. We initially vowed never to eat at fastfood chains due to limited budget (trust me, it’s more expensive to eat at McDonald’s, BK, etc when you’re abroad) but we had to do it because our hotel sucks. Internet is not free, and it’s not a PCCW hotspot. I had wanted to post this using my cellphone, but apparently, you could only post so much using a handheld device. I had to go back to the hotel to pick up my laptop just so I could post this entry. Yeah I know it could wait until I go home, but I wrote this until 4:00 this morning so I just had to post it NOW. That’s dedication for you. hehe
I really don’t know where to start because yesterday was nearly perfect for us. Despite hearing all sorts of rumors – which turned out to be true, but I’d rather not go into details unless other people have openly talked about it, thus there is no need for me to talk about it further – everything turned out good in the end. In fact, ‘good’ is probably a huge understatement. It’s wonderful.
The blessings first came to us when our friends from BKF-HK helped us get our tickets. You all know what we went through with all the ticketing whatnot but we ended up with good seated VIP tickets for both shows. However, we are so lucky to have such wonderful friends who have good contacts (hehe) that we ended up with VIP Standing tickets for the first night.
Ok, so that solves the ticketing issues. Now comes the next problem: queuing up to get a good position at the moshpit. I know very well that some fans can go as far as lining up the night before the concert just to secure their places at the free-standing area. I brought this up to my companions and asked them if they are willing to go to the venue as early as 7am just to queue. All of them complained. So ok, compromise. Since I am scheduled to meet Ida of BKF-HK at our hotel at 9:30am for our tickets, I told them that we’ll leave after that. Needless to say, we ended up spending quite a bit of time at Sasa before leaving TST at around 11-ish. We decided to have lunch at Citygate, which was such a bad idea because all the outlet stores are so tempting, I had to constantly chant, “we’ll do it tomorrow… we’ll have all the time in the world tomorrow…” (wait, shouldn’t I be more concerned about the budget and not the time?? )
Long story short, we finally got to AsiaWorld Expo at 2:30-ish. There was a small line of about 70 Japanese and Chinese fans already waiting at the gate. The Japanese fans told us to have numbers written on our wrists for the queue, and for a moment there we got confused if the rule only applies to all of us or just their group. We ran towards the ‘leader’ who was jotting numbers on their wrists and I saw that she was giving them temporary tickets. That’s when I realized that they are one big group and the rule only applies to them. So we went back to the end of the queue. After a few minutes, one of the guards asked us to form two lines, one line for the A1 section and the other for the A2 section. We got A2 tickets, so we went to the other line. That other line only has about 20 or so people, while the other has at least 50. Cool!
They opened the gates just a little before 3pm and we hurried towards an empty hall where barricades have been set up for us to queue in. So we queued in. Here’s where the awesome part came in: I’m sure most of you are probably aware that a lot of fan groups have this habit of asking just one or two persons to queue and then later on it turns out those one or two people are actually lining up for about 20 persons. Before you know it, you who have painstakingly queued for hours will end up at the far end of the line because hundreds of them have cut in line in front of you to join their friends. BUT! This concert introduced this very wonderful system. We went inside the barricaded area, A1 on one side and A2 on the other. Once you are inside, you can go out again BUT you have to get a stub from the guards on duty. You can’t go inside and cut through the queue if you don’t have the stub. The guards will make sure of that. If they can’t, the rest of the people in line will take care of that. There were a lot of fans who asked their friends to queue for them who got broken hearted upon knowing that they can’t make singit anymore. Of course, there were some really incorrigible ones who still managed to make singit – the group in front of us managed to squeeze in 10 of their friends – but it’s still ok because there were only about 30 people in front of us, so we still have pretty good chances to get a good position at the moshpit. When I woke up yesterday, I already have this sort of feeling that it’s going to be a good day. At that point, everything has been perfect. We didn’t have to go there so early, and yet we got a good position at the line. And the best part is, cutting in line is not allowed.
While waiting in line, I finally met Winnie after three years of chatting on this blog practically every day. We also met some fans from Japan and Hong Kong, and after the show I also met the famous Vivian from BKF-Taiwan. Meeting Winnie was so surreal. After greeting each other, the only thing I was able to say was… “what’s new?”
Finally, we were allowed access to the Arena at 7:15pm. Now here comes Problem No. 2: we had to run. Omigad. Why, as in WHY is it that every time I go see a Rain concert or event, I always have to run?!?! I was wearing my Shape Ups, but the thing is, I practiced walking with it, not running with it. And the distance from the waiting area to the A2 section was really, really long. Halfway through, I had this choice: continue running, or collapse and probably have a heart attack? So I just walked as fast as I could. Unfortunately, the others can run, so at some point I really had to run, as well. I still managed to get a good spot at the corner where the main stage and the runway meets with just four persons in front of me. Earl and Ella, our two maknaes in the group, were right smack in front. Which later on turned out to be a blessing (for me, at least). To give you a good idea of where we were, here’s a photo of the main stage, taken without zoom:
My legs and feet were cramping like crazy afterwards, but good thing that Rain had this rave party at the encore part of his show. The dancing and jumping eased my aching legs.
Ok, concert time. Not-so-good stuff: (1) lightboards and glowsticks!!! Sorry, I know they liven up the proceedings, but not when you’re at the standing area with taller people in front of you and those taller people were waving glowsticks and lightboards all throughout the show. (2) People shoving and pushing all over, to the point that we witnessed two near-hair pulling incidents around us. (3) Security was so strict regarding taking photos/videos of the show. You all know that photos are my life. I even brought two cameras for this, one of which was my old Fuji cam which had proven to be reliable when it comes to concerts. I thought, aw c’mon, after this you will eventually get tired and you’ll just let us be. Nope. Midway through the acoustic portion, one guard literally pointed a flashlight on my face and said, “enough.” I tried a new strategy and turned the LCD off so that it won’t be too noticeable, and just peeked through the viewfinder and clicked and clicked hoping I will get good enough shots. The guard still saw me and ended up staying put behind me so that I won’t be able to take pics anymore. Bummer. So I am once again put down to a choice: Keep taking pictures, or risk being dragged out of there by security for being pasaway. No way, man, there will be bloodshed (the blood will probably be mine, though). I put my cameras away and decided to try out something else. I pulled out my “The real Agent P is here!” banner from Macau, thinking, next time that Bi stops by in front of us, I’ll flash that banner for him to see. We were so close to the stage, in fact I could count the number of hair strands he got on his arms, that I’m sure he won’t miss it. However, I was behind a couple of fairly large lightboards, so it just won’t do. Tita Ruby saw me, said she will hold it for me since she’s nearer to the main stage, and then I saw that the banner was passed on to Ella who was right in front.
Here’s the thing: while Bi was singing Only You – by the way, the choreography of that song should not be seen up close because those hip thrusts are LETHAL – he knelt down right in front of where Ella was. Ella raised the banner just as Bi was averting his eyes towards her direction and he read the banner, then he smiled and gave a little nod with a raised eyebrow, kinda like this: . Whoa. I asked myself, did I just see what I think he did or was I imagining things?? Just then, Ella and Tita Ruby screamed like crazy and looked back at me to say that he saw the banner. Omigad, I wasn’t imagining things. Now I know why I was asked to stop taking pictures. If my face was still behind the camera at that point, I won’t be able to witness that happening. Thank you, Mr. Guard! (Sort of.)
Here’s the thing: As I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraph, there were more people at the A1 section than A2. That’s because Rain usually stays and pays attention to his right side, so most fans pick that side when they buy tickets for his concert. According to our BKF friends, they specifically picked that side because they know this habit of Rain’s. You know what? Last night, he spent more than half of the time staying at A2. Ida couldn’t resist needling me and said, “why was he always at your side??? It’s because you’re there!!!!” Well, I don’t know about that.
So anyway, I know you want to know what I think about the concert. I don’t know because I think I would need a Thesaurus to use all possible synonyms for the word EXCELLENT. Rain was in his best element last night. His energy was so high that there were no ‘lazy’ moments. His dances were superb, his voice was near perfect- he had very few bum notes although I couldn’t figure out exactly what key Na is – and he only had trouble breathing after about 75% of the show has passed. Most importantly, his HAPPINESS was radiating all over the arena. He’s SO happy last night. I was near enough to see his eyes and those were sparkling, to say the least. His smiles were genuine. I really would give anything just to know what’s making him so giddy with happiness these days. Also, you know what? I’m not taking credit for anything, but somehow, most of the negative comments I made at my LOR-Japan review were addressed last night. There was a marked improvement in the performance of the female dancers. The stiff ones were not-so-stiff anymore, and that one girl who has excessive movements (aka., ang babaeng parang bulateng binudburan ng asin) was toned down. Of course they’re still far from Far, but they’re getting there. See? Practice makes perfect. When the back-up vocals did their thing, the screeching girls did not screech. Also, when Rain sang Love Story, he did not force that high note at the bridge part because he knows that his voice might crack. He didn’t want me to cry. Well, I almost cried. I almost cried because I was so happy to see him happy. Also, I almost cried because that dang security guy was still so strict with cameras until the very end of the show. So OA. I did manage to take a few photos which I will post when I get back home. But please don’t expect much.
What else? Oh, good energy from the audience. There were lots of guys in there, too; beside me was this French dude who was fanboy-ing all throughout, and also, there’s Earl, but he’s not exactly ‘guy’. One highlight was during Friends. RainHK prepared a lot of cards, printed on which were the Korean phrase for “we shall be waiting for you” (I think this refers to his rumored military enlistment next year). Instructions were printed at the back, saying we should keep it under wraps until the Friends number where we shall be raising the cards for him to see. The entire arena was given these cards. Rain totally did not know about this so when he started with the song and saw the cards, I clearly saw that he held back and he had a puzzled look on his face (he was still at our area when it happened). I was watching him at the video wall and until the end of the song, his face still has the, “what’s this all about??” look. Kinda funny, yet very touching. Just wonder if he actually knew what the heck was that really about. Anyway, hands up to RainHK for that brilliant idea.
Ok, so all in all, this is my assessment of the entire night: I still have one more show left to watch, and I already feel that all the money I spent on this entire trip was SO WORTH IT. One more show to go. I’m so excited.