Recap and Review:
INTENSITY featuring RAIN and U-KISS
September 11, 2010
A few months ago… stop. That was wrong. About six weeks ago, I was at the belief that Rain performing for a concert – sorry, SHOW – in Manila is next to impossible. “When pigs fly”, as I always say. I haven’t checked yet, but do pigs have wings now? Because last Saturday, the impossible has happened: Rain had a gig in Manila. And with U-KISS to boot. Who would’ve thought, huh?
I have documented everything that lead to this event on this blog, so I’ll go straight to the events of September 11. It started at 3:00am, after we played car chase with U-KISS along Roxas Boulevard. We checked out the venue and practiced where we would stand at the moshpit (note: see this entry for more details). We would’ve stayed there until the concert if not for the fact that we didn’t bring our CPH concert uniforms. What, you thought I’d say, “if not for the fact that it’s too early”? Did you know that a group of Japanese fans had asked us to take them to the venue as early as 4:00am to queue? Yes. FOUR IN THE MORNING. We just had to dissuade them from doing that because it’ll be dangerous for them to queue in the dark at an outdoors venue. We ended up compromising with 6:00am, which is still too early per Filipino standards but that’s what they want, so…
So us late-night “business partners” had our sleep. When we got up, the sky was overcast and although we’re prepared our raincoats, it would be such a bummer for this concert to be literally rained out when it has been bright and sunny the entire week. Rizza, et al went to MOA at 6:00am to assist the Japanese fans and to save our spots in the queue for the rest of us who cannot afford to queue all day because we had other tasks like picking up more overseas fans from the airport, taking them to the nearest Ticketworld outlet to claim their tickets, coordinating with sponsors and concert ticket winners, checking on the other overseas fans who queued up on the other side of the venue, etc. So if anyone complained that we cut in line, that was the reason and I hope you’re embarrassed with yourself right now.
We had visitors from Korea, Japan (about 60+ fans), China, Singapore and Macau, and Filipino fans who flew in from as near as Cebu and as far as the USA/Guam. One Korean Cloud literally flew in just for the concert: she arrived Saturday afternoon and took the Sunday 1:00am flight back to Korea. And here I thought I’m already an insane fan. I’m just in nursery school compared to them. The Japanese Clouds brought gifts to be distributed to PH Clouds and we were really overwhelmed by their gesture. I’ve always said that Clouds tend to be unhelpful of other Clouds. I guess it’s time to start eating my words. I’m hungry, anyway.
There were a few down points, such as security people confiscating our souvenir photo cards because they said we need to secure a permit for that. (Permit to hand out gifts. How’s that, huh.) And then just before we were let in, we were told that banners and especially lightboards will not be allowed entry into the venue. This basically freaked us out because… c’mon, a KPOP show with no concert paraphernalia??? That’s unthinkable! Although glowsticks were allowed in, but it really sucked because that also means no BiKyo banners for us. Sad. (Look at me feeling bad about this when I’ve always said that I abhor concert paraphernalia. This entire Rain-in-the-Philippines thing has totally ruined Agent P.)
Just before we were let in, someone from the Philippine Daily Inquirer (and is a regular in this blog) interviewed me and a couple of international Clouds for her feature article about this event. It will come out this Saturday at PDI’s Super! section so watch out for it.
Finally, we were let inside the venue at around 6:00pm. We walked as fast as we could to the spots we ‘practiced’ that morning, and this was when friendship was tested. I guess it’s true that there’s no such thing as friendship and even respect for elders when it comes to fangirling. It was amusing watching mid-to-late-20s and early-30s women fighting tooth and nail for frontline positions with the Golden Girls. Meanwhile, I decided to take a spot which is technically 3rd row from the front but I’m right at the aisle so I have nothing obstructing my eyes and my camera. That is, until one burly security guy decided to stand there, although he said he will be careful about blocking our view and he’s just there to protect us from the pyros. Which, from what we heard, are last minute additions to the show because Rain demanded them. Which is just right, and totally expected because we all know Ji Hoon, right? He would want his show to be perfect. It’s also a good spot to take photos because if I choose the corner like Ella did, it would be too close (we’re talking barely one meter away from the stage here). It’s nice to be too close to the stage at a Rain concert, but not if you’re intending to document it. I would have to crane my neck and/or raise my hand high just to get a good angle. Although my spot turned out to be a disaster at some point because I stood behind a Golden Girl and seriously, you wouldn’t want to stand next to a Golden Girl at the moshpit of a Rain concert, especially if you intend to keep a steady hand for your fancams. Case in point: when Rain lifted his shirt to show his abs, all I got is a blurry, unfocused photo because the Golden Girl in front of me was spazzing like crazy. Some of my friends almost lost their arms and shoulders from being squeezed tightly by a Golden Girl.
While waiting, we were treated to numerous commercials from major sponsors (including one very long ad for the Manila Hotel that had us community singing to “Goin’ Out Of My Head”). At one point, Kairu was complaining that she’s starting to fall asleep. Can’t blame the kid, though, she hasn’t slept since preparations for this event has started. I also started to feel bored and sleepy that I held on to the railing and tried to take a nap. Meanwhile, we saw lightning cutting through the clouds somewhere in Manila Bay and prayed that it will stay there. Interestingly enough, I got text messages from friends informing me that it’s raining really hard just a few kilometers away from MOA, yet the sky was clear right above the concert venue itself. I guess the prayers of thousands of fans that it won’t rain have been answered.
Finally, at around 8:15pm, the show started. TV host/DJ KC Montero acted as the MC, and I have to say that he’s not bad at all. He knows how to work the crowd. Although I think he’s not exactly friends with U-KISS fans at the moment, but he said Rain is really good so he’s absolved from the wrath of Clouds.
First off was Christian Bautista, who started his set with One Way’s Wrong Number. I think that was a clever move on his part because that certainly pumped up the Kpoppers in the audience who might think that he’s out of place in this show. He’s actually not out of place because he’s internationally famous, himself. And I must say that he has improved tremendously in his stage presence. I enjoyed his set, and so did our non-Filipino friends. I think Christian has added a few Japanese women on his growing roster of international fans.
Here’s a little useless trivia: the first girl that Christian serenaded with Beautiful Girl is actually a blast from my past. She is a music photographer covering this show and her boyfriend is a famous musician/DJ who used to play for the band that I used to stalk. So yeah, both of my worlds have finally met. Never thought that would happen.
Christian ended his set with the song that made him famous throughout Southeast Asia, The Way You Look At Me.
Next up: Charity’s little brothers, U-KISS. *cue screams from teenaged fangirls*
The boys started with Bingeul Bingeul from the elevated stage. And all I can do is gape at them. Are these really the same guys who have just arrived at midnight with barely no time to rest before they had to go onstage and then have to fly back home again that very same night (just writing that sentence tired me out; imagine them who had to do it)? I see no trace of exhaustion from them. Ok, to be honest, I think Kevin and Eli did look worn out but they still performed as well as they usually do.
They looked thinner from the last time I saw them 3 months ago, except for Ki Bum who seemed to have beefed up a ‘bit, and Kiseop who is slowly turning into one incredibly hot dude. And ok, I’m not just saying this because I know his father will be reading this blog entry, but Alexander looks incredibly handsome these days. I mean, I’m not the only one who noticed it! Just ask a certain Japanese Cloud who is so smitten at Xander right now especially at his side profile and the fact that Xander is smart, classy and sophisticated (her words, not mine). I’ve been looking at all the photos I took and Xander’s bad photos weren’t even remotely close to bad. I think I should commend his stylist, too, because she finally learned how to apply the proper make-up to Xander that will enhance his features.
The one thing I like best about U-KISS is their ability to work the crowd. Of course, having three members who are fluent in English is a plus, but I think it wouldn’t work if they don’t have the gift of gab and the charm for it. This is the one thing that puts them ahead of the other Korean acts, including Rain (sorry, Clouds). Although the ‘talent show’ has put off those who are not aware of this thing called ‘fan service’ (although to be honest, I am aware of fan service but I’d rather live without it) but it’s all for fun and it did work for their fans. C’mon, I’m sure you all found Kevin and Dong Ho cute with those girl group moves, right?
I’m wondering now how did the other Clouds, specifically those from overseas, have reacted to me, Lou, Kairu and Charity singing along to U-KISS’ songs? We even know their fan chants. I think Charity was ‘questioned’ about it by the Korean Clouds but she was able to give a very convincing answer that appeased them. I’m just not sure if I’m allowed to post her defense so I’ll just leave it at that.
The boys performed four songs: Bingeul Bingeul, Mworago, End of the Road and Man Man Ha Ni. It was short and sweet. They hinted of a possible return to the Philippines once again for another concert, so I’m looking forward to that.
Next up: RAIN.
My blog platform is acting up on media uploads, so I decided to post the rest of the photos at my Facebook album. Do check ’em out.