Sub-title: Oh. My. Effin’. GAH!!!!!!!!!!
People who know me know that I don’t usually openly gush over my favorite artist. No matter how much I love him, if I see something I don’t like, I’ll openly say it.
THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS.
I’ve been listening to Rain’s World (the album) since yesterday morning and I must say it’s Rain’s most well-written album, so far. There are no bad tracks. Everything is catchy and well-produced. I don’t know how the heck did those reviewers who said the album sounded rushed, etc etc. got their opinion, because, speaking as someone who is not your everyday fanatic fan, this album totally ROCKS.
With that out of the way: I went to the showcase not expecting anything huge since it’s a showcase. I never thought I’ll be seeing a concert. And boy, WHAT A CONCERT IT WAS. If this is just a teaser to what we can expect from the World Tour, then I am definitely looking forward to seeing the entire thing (unless they give us insane ticket prices, that is).
But let me bore you a bit first with our pre-concert whatnot.
We got to the venue at around 12 noon, thinking we don’t have to hurry as we are already assured of tickets. However, Rizza got a call from the BiKyo Family ladies from H0ng Kong that they have been at the venue since 9am and people are already lining up. :!: Also, Helena and Raina are already at the venue (and Helena still has to run back to work – geez! This woman works too much. Kinda like Bi). When we got up the Olympic Stadium subway station, volunteers are already waiting on top of the stairs, who gave Rizza a guide booklet on where to go and what to do. But there really is nothing to worry about as there are volunteer ushers and signs everywhere (in English, Japanese and Chinese). It’s really such a huge and organized event.
We met up with both Helena and Raina, who gave us our ticket stubs to exchange for those yellow access bracelets. We then went to the R-seats line where this view greeted us:
Yup, there’s already a line!
We looked for the HK ladies to give them their bracelets (they were there at 9 and they were in the middle of the queue already), and then we saved our own places in the queue. We then took turns going out to eat or buy merchandise, while the other two stayed on to watch the line.
The album sales booth.
Tita Remy and Tita Susan checking out the merchandise booth.
Rizza writing a Cloud Philippines message for Rain for the fan book that the volunteers will make.
Agent P showing off her (inverted – pabbo-yah!) bracelet.
After our two unnies have finished their business, Rizza and I went out to go to the bathroom and/or stretch our legs, and to have photo-ops as well.
The sky was very clear that day… almost no clouds. Probably because the Clouds were all in the stadium. har har har
Rizza and I just had to immortalize our banner in Seoul.
Gah, I so wanna steal this one.
Now here’s the pabbo part (for us). While waiting for our new friend from Singapore (who became an honorary Filipino that night :smile:), I heard the music emanating from inside the stadium. Rain was having his soundcheck! I rushed to find a spot where I can take a peek and saw them rehearsing for It’s Raining. I was watching intently until Rizza approached me with Weilin (? please correct me about the spelling, chinggu) and said we should go back to the line coz they might not allow us to go back anymore if we went in too late. Just as we are about to reach the end of the line (which has snaked outside the stadium already), the line started moving, and it was moving really really fast! Ow sh!t! I ran – well, tried to run – and I still couldn’t reach where Tita Remy and Tita Susan were. I tried to walk as fast as I could, but the line is just moving way too fast. Ok, Pau, after that fateful (and painful) Namsan hike the day before and now this inability to catch a freakin’ line, take it as a sign that you should get your butt off the computer and start working out. Anyway, fortunately, the line has already made a U-turn and Tita Susan and Tita Remy were already on the opposite side of where we were, so it saved us a few meters of catching up. We just had to cut through, which is fine as the people behind us in the line already know that we already saved our spot. So apparently, wearing a uniform actually serves a lot of purpose. One of which is, people would easily recognize and remember you in situations like these, so there is no cause to complain.
So anyway… the line had stopped, and we still had to wait a few more minutes before they finally let us in. Of course, we spent the waiting time for more photo ops and introducing ourselves to our much younger neighbors in the queue.
Cloud Philippines, represent!
Cloud Philippines, with our honorary Filipino from Singapore.
NOTE: the above photo was taken by this young Korean who can speak perfect English because she took college in the US. She took up photography and I had a grand time talking to her because we spoke the same language.
Ok, so finally, we’re in the stadium! Our friends from Hong Kong graciously saved us a seat at the lower part of the bleachers, so we got a good view of the stage. It’s still too far compared to the privileged flat area people, but we got our tickets for free, so I can’t complain.
On my left: The StarM World Tour section.
On my right: The JYPE Rain’s World section.
Of course I had to have one of these pics.
The four of us at the stadium.
Rizza and Agent P with BiKyo Family.
If you look closely behind the tarp, you’ll see some people dancing. I thought it was the dancers still doing some last minute rehearsals. I found out later that it’s not.
In the few hours that we were sitting there freezing ourselves off, we were wondering if those flat area seats will ever get filled. This was taken around 6:45pm. The event, including the front acts, is supposed to start at 7pm.
True enough, at exactly 7, the pre-show started. There were a couple of Bi clones – good dancers and singers, but just too ‘Bi’ – and the main act of sorts, the boy band PARAN. To be honest? DBSG’s throne is still secured.
Then, at around 8, this is what the flat area looked like:
Where did all these people come from??? I take it all back; apparently, there ARE 10,000 insane people in the world.
Finally, after several repeats of the JYPE audition clip and Bi’s LG X-note CF, the show started. From the intro of helicopters flying everywhere (in the vidiwalls, that is), you can already tell that this is not your usual album showcase. THIS IS A MAJOR PRODUCTION, in capital letters. And then, here comes Rain, in military garb, coming down from a helicopter and I promptly sang, “the heat is on in Saigon…” (sorry, Miss Saigon moment). But that’s where the similarity ends. Damn, after that long and winding discussion about secret neutral images, this is what we got. ALL MAN, BABY! Those dance moves sure are strong and heavy. I love the entire routine! One thing I noticed immediately was that, I now got the answer why prior to the showcase, the only female dancer I’ve been seeing on the JYPE Dance Team has been Far Young. So it turns out, his new female dancers are Americans. To be quite honest, I like the Korean dancers better. The new ones don’t have the snap and the sexiness that Far Young and the others have.
(Side note: Since we were seated at a place where all we can see is an ant-sized Rain, I planned not to take photos and just enjoy the show. However, after seeing how jaw-dropping the entire production was, I decided to snap some pics just to prove to everyone how awesome it is.)
“I’m Coming” (oh yes, you are)
The next number had me screaming as in screaming like I’ve never screamed before. After the first number, this guitarist moved centerstage and shredded his guitar like crazy and I prompty went back to my bandstalking days with the Crazy Japanese Dude in mind. Then, Rain came out, and all those images of fire were all over to the tune of some hip-rock music. And then, Rain started rapping. It took me a few lines before I realized the song was actually Instead of Saying Goodbye! WHOA! Rain’s uber-cheesy song can be a hip-rock tune! Who thought of this? I wanna shake his hand and tell him he’s a genius. REALLY. Actually, I think the rest of the audience didn’t realize this as well because when he got to the chorus part and pointed his mic towards the audience for the usual sing-along, I think I was the only one who sang. They only realized it when Rain himself sang it.
I loved this number so much that I totally think this whole trip is worth it just for that number alone.
Then came How to Avoid The Sun, also re-arranged. I totally love the new arrangement. And check out the stage production for this number. The King of The Sun.
And now, for the jaw-dropping part. An MV was flashed on the big screens, and I immediately recognized the tune as one of the best cuts in his 4th album, In My Bed (or as I initially called it, the new ‘Nan’). There was Rain, in a bed (woo-hoo!), with close-up shots of his anatomy (the wholesome parts, dammit). And then, he comes in the shower (double woo-hoo!). And then, there’s a girl in the showers! She even had an ultra low shot of her back! But when Rain’s turn came, it didn’t go that low. Howell… So apparently, the storyboard that Rizza saw before (which I posted here in a restricted post) was not for the BMW movie but for this song. This clip had so much shock factor that I was not even able to lift my camera to take a shot. I was that stunned.
And I was right. This song IS the new Nan. Nice segue there.
Next up: With U. With Rain in orange garb (shout-out to my Voltes gals who are into Shinhwa! Orange!!!!), and those cute cute cute dance steps which, I’m sure, will be a staple come concert time. Even I with my two right feet can do those moves.
It’s Raining, the full-suited version. They updated the choreography, too, which is cool. But again, the new dancers simply lacked the spark that the old dancers had.
I just had to take a shot of this coz just when I thought his stylist did an awesome job with his concert garb, in comes that brooch again which I still think is too big. Well, he’s not Rain if there won’t be a fashion faux pas…
Intro clips for Friends, another good track on the album (what the heck am I saying, ALL the tracks on his album are good, including the Nan remix, and this is coming from me who hates remixes). Which prompted Rizza to point out another parallelism between Rain and Ricky Martin. People for Children, anyone?
And in comes the children. This intensified the theme for his concerts, which is Love and Peace. After those war-inspired numbers with him in military garb, now comes the touching part about the victims of war. Awesome concept!
But this is the awesomest of them all. When he suddenly sprouted those wings, we were like, WHOA! :!: I had wondered how they are going to incorporate the wing part in the show. This is the answer.
But again, I just had to point out another fashion no-no. The dangling zippers must go!
The first encore number is my favorite track in Rain’s World, Cassiopeia featuring Lim Jeong Hee.
Their voices blended really well, but I just noticed something: uh, why was Rain kinda reluctant? hesitant? to even come closer to J.Lim? And when he finally did, he held her like how he would hold an ahjumma to help her cross the street. What the heck was that?? (I think I know the answer, but I’ll keep it to myself.)
And the last part, everyone’s favorite, I Do.
Oh no, that’s not THE last. The final treat is the full MV of I’m Coming. Simply one of the best K-pop videos I’ve ever seen. It’s Michael Jackson level already.
Aguiluz! (hehe, Mulawin moment. Note: ‘Mulawin’ is a Tv series in the Philippines about half-human, half-bird creatures)
Ok, so what did I think about the show? It was Ok. NOT! IT WAS AWESOME!!! Totally worth going in deep debt for. It was so good that I actually think the insane cost of production (which results to insane ticket prices) is justified. Not that I’m saying they should take advantage of us… Just a few comments and observations, though:
1. It would’ve been better if they put English subs on the clips where Rain was talking about the album. I mean, I know we are in Seoul, but they are fully aware – and are even proud of the fact – that they are having an international audience. The least that they could do is to consider the Hangeul-challenged ones.
2. People have been pointing out that he showed too much skin on the album cover. But surprisingly, he didn’t show much on the show itself. he didn’t go shirtless. Don’t give me that shyte that maybe he got too cold, coz he had an outdoor show in Beijing in 5-degree weather and he went shirtless.
3. Did Rain discard his sexy dance moves with his female dancers?
Final bits of chika: As we were meeting up with the HK gals to give them their copies of Rain’s World, a reporter from a fashion magazine called An-an (?) approached us and asked if he can interview us. Of course we wanted to be interviewed! We were desperately trying to get the attention of TV cameras the entire time we were waiting for the show to start, but they always take shots of the Taiwanese girls in front of us (maybe because they were young and cute. :phew:) Finally, someone took notice. hehe