That is the one word that best describes my FT Island Manila Showcase experience. In the words of Magic 89.9 DJ Grace Lee who hosted the show (and, I should add, did a wonderful job with it), “I’ve been to many big concerts of international artists, but this crowd here has got to be the loudest!” My ears are still ringing until this very minute. I don’t know if I’ve just officially declared myself “old”, or it’s just that I’m not an FT Island fan, hence I did not scream as much, hence my ears became the unfortunate casualty.
In all fairness, we had fun last night. Even the Golden Girls Tita Ruby and Mommy Chie, who watched the showcase with us because they wanted to see ‘Jeremy’, thoroughly enjoyed the show even they only know one song: Still from the You’re Beautiful OST. In the case of Lou and myself, we armed ourselves by listening to FTI’s latest album Cross and Change a week before the showcase so that we would know at least one or two of their songs. Charity listens to anything K-pop and watches a lot of Korean music shows, so their songs were at least familiar to her ears. It’s also fortunate that FTI’s MV for I Hope (바래) has been on constant rotation at MYX and they naturally had to play that at the showcase. It was the second most applauded song there; first place, of course, goes to Still. The PICC was transformed into a huge noraebang when that song was played.
I don’t have to go into details since I’m sure there will be a lot those littering around the internet – that, or I have no idea about their setlist and I can’t even recite all of the members’ names so I’d really rather not go into details to save myself from further embarassment – so I’ll just give a few comments.
(1) Practically all of the faces I saw at the PICC are familiar. This is the first K-pop event I attended after the K-pop Con so I’m not sure if they were also the same faces that followed 4Minute when they were here (I was in Korea when 4Minute was here). But my friends tell me that they probably are, and they will probably be the same faces we will see at U-Kiss’ promo tour and at the Super Junior concert.
(2) As expected, most of the attendees are kids. There were a lot of oldies, too, but most of them were outside the venue waiting for their kids to come out.
(3) The PICC was not full, but like I previously said, the crowd was LOUD and lively. I think, given the ticket prices and the fact that FT Island isn’t exactly popular in this country (this might change once You’re Beautiful gets aired on local TV, though), this event can still be considered a success.
(4) During the Q and A portion, Lee Hong Ki expressed his (pleasant) surprise that his group has fans here. He even acknowledged PrimadonnaPH at one point, which made me tear up a little because I’d give anything just to have my idol openly acknowledge the presence of my fan club. Yeah, I know CloudPH is acknowledged by The Cloud and J Tune, but it’ll be different if it’s Rain himself who will do that. I’ve yet to hear him acknowledge my country in his concerts and fanmeets even if there are Filipinos in attendance. Although he has said that he loves our country several times especially during Ninja Assassin promo, but it’s one thing to say that he likes the country; it’s another thing when he acknowledges that he has fans here that support him so much. (Sorry, Nimbus Cloud has just taken over my blog.)
(5) *Agent P prepares to run and hide after posting this part of the entry I don’t know what the heck was going on with the bass player and the second guitar player (the ones on Hong Ki’s right side) because their instruments were both off-key. Oftentimes, I have no idea which ones were off-key, the guitar and bass, or Hong Ki himself. I don’t know if they tuned their guitars properly during sound check. Being someone who was around bands a lot for four-plus years and have seen more than enough sound checks in her life, I know what a properly tuned band sounds like and sorry, FT Island is not one of them. (Someone might throw me with a ‘blame the roadies for messing up their equipment’ excuse but if you give me that excuse, then that means FT Island is just a bunch of cute kids who could play instead of being a group of musicians. You’ll be surprised at the number of guitar-playing singers who don’t even know how to tune a guitar. A true musician would know if his/her instrument is in tune just by playing a single note. Since they played an entire set with several moments of out-of-tune-ness, there must be something wrong with the players’ ears themselves.) Actually, if I am to become too technical about the entire thing, I could say that there are many young garage bands loitering around this country which are much better than them. But since FT Island members are cute and I actually like Hong Ki, I decided to just forget about the horrible playing and just try to enjoy the experience as a whole. I’ll take exception to the drummer and to the lead guitarist (Jong Hoon?), though. They, especially Jong Hoon, are quite good (and quite cute, as well).
Also, I like the tone of Hong Ki’s voice, but I think he should consider re-training himself to sing the proper way. I heard there was a time when he had to stop singing because of throat problems, and in fact he was nursing a bad cough here in Manila. That is because he’s not singing properly. He’s singing through his throat and not through the diaphragm, so if you listen to him, he’s in tune but it comes out flat, and he sometimes just screams the song in one volume instead of adding a little ‘feel’ to it. He could end up destroying his vocal cords and retiring his singing career early if he continues to sing that way.
Lastly, I may be biased, but Yong Hwa of CN Blue has more ‘grit’ as a rock star than Hong Ki. I don’t know if his ‘Jeremy’ image has affected it, but Hong Ki trying to look serious while performing has not helped him look like a maangas rock star. He looked too stiff, as opposed to Yong Hwa and his “I OWN YOU ALL” staredowns during performances. I honestly enjoyed Hong Ki more on the few moments that he was on “Jeremy mode” because those were the times when he looked relaxed on stage.
I was able to take a ton of photos even if we were seated far from the stage. I’m posting a few here, but the rest are on my Facebook photo album. They’re not as good as they should be because I oftentimes had to maximize my camera’s zoom lens for this, and I don’t understand why the digital noise became much worse when I resized the photos. The original ones don’t have this much grain on them. Still, I have to say that my Canon sx200, which I bought specifically for the purpose of fan-girling, has not failed its purpose. I love my camera!
PS: I was rummaging through the photos I took and there was one photo of Jong Hoon tinkering with his second guitar while the drummer was singing. This guitar was the one he mentioned to Grace Lee that he cannot use because there’s something wrong with it, and Grace said, “someone’s gonna get fired”. The photo showed that he was tuning the guitar right in the middle of the song. So yeah, I guess their guitars weren’t tuned and the members found it out the hard way. But wait, does this mean the FT Island boys themselves did not do sound check?? Bad!