I wasn’t supposed to write this commentary anymore – you know, the moment has passed and all that – but I did something that pushed me to write this again: I watched fancams from Ricky Martin’s M+A+S Tour which started on the same weekend as Rain’s “The Best” Asia Tour. People who are not into Ricky Martin might not be able to relate and would probably just view this as another one of my attempts to ‘discredit’ Rain’s performance. I don’t really care, these are my observations and everyone is free to throw in their thoughts.
This is not a comparison of their shows, nor their performances. That would not be fair, not only because they have different styles but because I personally did not see their shows in the flesh. I am just basing it on photos and videos. What I am going to focus on is that one thing I felt while watching Ricky’s fancams from M+A+S which I did not feel when I was watching those from Rain’s Beijing concert: PASSION. Ricky was oozing with it; Rain was sorely lacking. I don’t know what is the current state of their personal affairs this very moment; like all others I am basing it on what I see and read from their respective press releases and interviews. I do know that right now, Ricky is one free man. He has freed himself from his personal burdens. Rain, on the other hand… call me judgmental or whatever but I think all of us will agree that this man is so far from being free. As a result, Ricky can focus on that one thing that he loves, and that is performing. He didn’t have to prove anything to anyone anymore. He has channeled all his energy in delivering a good performance, and he, indeed, delivered it very well.
With Rain, I feel that there’s always a struggle to prove himself despite everything he has achieved. Especially now with military service looming and everyone’s eyes is on him. Like always, he’s trying to do everything as if he feels that time is running out that he sacrifices quality over quantity. Look at his current tour. It’s basically a rehash of his old concerts with a couple of new numbers and a laser show thrown in just to say that it’s something “new”. But if you look closely, it’s really nothing new. I mean, he’s still doing that Nan strip number that he’s been doing since 2005, isn’t he? Why can’t he throw it away? Because it is the one number that shows his abs, and he thought all of his fans go to his concert just for that so he’s still doing it? Just a guess.
I’m bothered by this because, to borrow someone else’s comment, I’ve seen Rain in his best form and I know he could do so much more. There were moments when I know and feel that he’s performing with fire in his eyes and he’s doing it with all his heart. Surprisingly, the Intensity performance is one of them. I know and I agree with some observers when they said that he performed not for the audience but for himself, but that’s one of the things I liked about Rain. When he’s being pushed up against a wall, he makes sure he delivers just to prove everyone wrong. I saw the fire in his eyes in that Manila show; believe me, I am too close to the stage to miss that even if he was wearing sunglasses. But lately, he’s just going with the flow. He’s been a bit on the heavy side lately, and while I have no issues with his weight because I should be the last person to call someone else ‘fat’ as I am fat, myself, I am concerned because it has affected both his singing and dancing. At the Beijing show, he was fine in the first two numbers – not anywhere near awesome, but it’s far from being bad – but he started faltering after that. His moves were so heavy and lacked the snappiness that I love about his dancing. Most of his songs, particularly his ballads, were sung off-key. Fan accounts attribute it to a bad microphone, but really, I never knew that microphones can cause a singer to go off-tune. And wouldn’t that suck so much that whenever the mic worked, he was terribly off-key?
Moreover, I saw the photos from Beijing and most of the time, there was no fire in his eyes. I’m not sure if it’s fatigue or sadness, but definitely there was no energy there. But that’s just me in my wannabe-psychologist/psychic self. Real psychologists and psychics might have a different opinion.
It makes me wonder now if those cutesy ‘fan service’ things that he did in Pattaya and Beijing that we PH Clouds have been so bitter about were just used to cover up the inadequacies in his performance. In Manila, we didn’t need that because he was so. damn. good. Elsewhere, he has to be cute or else the audience might demand a refund. It’s not a nice thought, but we can’t say it’s not plausible.
Honestly, I’m not sure what the whole point of this commentary is about. I guess what I really wanted to say is: Why is Rain doing this tour, anyway? Does he really need one? What is he doing this for? Is it just for the money? Is it for the fans, for himself, or for someone else?
PS: Can I just throw this message out for Rain: Ji Hoon, unless you have someone like Ciara Sotto doing the pole dance for you, please please PLEASE stop doing that I Like You Again number. It’s been three tours, and your female dancers cannot pole dance to save their lives. The pole is actually more graceful than your dancers. If you can’t scrap it, at least change it up. It’s not like we’re going to miss it, anyway.