Days before the concert – or as some of the complaints I read on the internet said, the ‘concert’ – I had no idea if we’re going or not. I mean, me and my Kpop-loving friends basically said we are all going to see it, but nobody has made any real plans. I think this was mainly because Charity was indisposed for the longest time, having been touring non-stop all over the Philippines because of work. See? Who sez only celebrities have insane work schedules?
Then, before I knew it, eleven of us agreed to meet up and go to The Party together. This eleven included Lou’s mom and Djo’s hubby. Charity will be meeting with us at Araneta straight from the airport, since her plane arrives barely two hours before showtime.
Truthfully, since I haven’t seen my friends in ages (it felt like ages because in the past, we would see each other at least once a week), I was more excited at the prospect of seeing them again rather than seeing the concert.
Team Manong searches for tickets:
We agreed that since we’re not exactly 2NE1 fans (although some of us are), we are not that willing to pay regular price for the tickets. First of all, the ticket prices are insanely expensive. Second of all, with the line-up that includes five, yes, FIVE front acts, common sense tells us that this is not exactly a 2NE1 ‘concert’. Thank you, J Tune, for giving us that tidbit about performances not being called a ‘concert’ in Korea if the artist is not going to be on stage for more than 2 hours. Therefore, paying php8,000 just to see the artist for barely an hour is not exactly worth it. Unless we’re Blackjacks, of course. I mean, look at me talking about paying php8,000 to see an artist perform for an hour. I not only did that last year, I also paid php13,000 to see that same artist for 45 mins in a foreign country (I still consider that episode of my life as a fan as the single biggest waste of time, effort and money, though. Never mind that it’s Rain).
I arrived at the Araneta at around 4:00pm and noted that there wasn’t that many people queuing in front of the venue. Comparing that to previous Kpop gigs that I attended at the Araneta, I thought looking for good ol’ Manong would be a breeze. However, as we found out later, it wasn’t that easy. Apparently, most of the ticket holders decided not to queue early since it’s a reserved-seating scheme (unlike, say, in Super Junior concerts where it’s free seating so fans would have to line up as early as they could in order to grab the best spots in the VIP area). We were surprised to find the Araneta about 90% full when we got in. In the end, only three of us (Pre’, Kairu and me) managed to snatch VIP tickets. The rest decided to buy Upper Box B tickets at regular price, because that’s the nearest they could get given our budget.
Almost famous moments:
We agreed to meet at Starbucks to plan our strategy for the tickets. While waiting for the others, our section was suddenly cordoned-off for whatever reason (later on we found out it’s because they allocated that part for customers who were already inside the venue) and we thought a VIP has reserved it. We waited until we were dragged out of there (which we weren’t). Suddenly, we saw a record executive whom we met because of Rain through the glass walls of Starbucks. I joked if I should bang the glass walls to get his attention. As I was saying that, I stood up and Mr. Record Executive suddenly turned his head towards my direction. He stopped to look at me, smiled and waved to greet me, so I greeted him back. Whoa. I’m in waving-hands-terms with record executives. I’m sorta famous around here. nyahaha!
Then, while we were waiting for our contact near the Red Gate of the Araneta, I saw someone familiar passing by. She looked at me with a flicker of recognition, so I greeted her ‘hello’. It’s the segment producer from Rated K, the one who interviewed us when Ms K wasn’t around yet. We exchanged pleasantries, and I was so glad that she still remembers me as the one from the Rain feature they did last year. See? I’m famous!
(If anyone takes these paragraphs seriously, I’m gonna do some serious )
When front-acts are not exactly front-acts:
Pre’, Kairu, and I arrived at the Patron area just as the first band – the name of whom I don’t quite remember right now – was singing their last song. My seat was at an entirely different block from theirs, so we had to separate. There were a couple of vacant seats next to mine which I don’t think will be filled anymore, and several rows in front of us were practically unoccupied. Fortunately, only the tech booth separated my block from Pre’s and Kairu’s, so I told them that if they want, they can take the vacant seats next to mine so that we can watch the show together. Anyway, if the owners of those seats arrive, there are still plenty of vacant seats in front of us to transfer to. Kairu actually wanted to transfer to the rows in front of us, but I noticed that our row is slightly elevated from the ones in front of us, so even if the audience stands up and there are taller people in front of us, we can still see the stage. Which turned out to be moot and academic, as I will expound further later on.
After the band, Christian Bautista went by literally like a breeze. As in he suddenly appeared on stage, sang three songs, did a little Sandara name-dropping by saying that Sandy (Dara’s nickname here) said at the presscon that his ‘The Way You Look At Me’ was her favorite song (name-dropping Sandara Park turned out to be the running gag of the night among the artists who were not 2NE1) and then he literally ran off the stage as if he has another gig to go to at that same night (maybe he did?). In fairness to Christian, though, he held on his own just like he did at Intensity last year. His fear that Blackjacks would boo him off the stage turned out to be unnecessary. C’mon, Christian, if there’s any Kpop audience that might boo you off, it’s the one at Intensity. Nobody booed you there, remember?
Suddenly, 2NE1’s Can’t Nobody started playing and mayhem ensued. Everyone was on their feet. Omigad, 2NE1’s next! A girl with the famous pine-tree hairdo and 2NE1-ish clothes and posture was lifted up from the main stage, her back towards the audience. Pandemonium! And then she turned around… it’s Giselle Sanchez, parodying Sandara as Sandara’s ‘cousin’, Luneta Park.
Hey, in all fairness to Giselle, the audience bought her joke. We also noted how she seems to have made intensive research for her material as she knows a lot of 2NE1 songs, even the ones who aren’t really that popular with the non-Kpop fans. We all can relate whenever someone who didn’t do proper research would pretend he or she is a Kpop fan and becomes too annoying, right? But Giselle was clearly not one of those poseurs. In fact, when she initiated a short game in between acts and accurately described a scene from Park Bom’s MV, that’s when I realized that she’s not just some comedienne who did proper research. Giselle is a Blackjack. Kudos to Pulp Live for getting an actual fan to do the job!
After Giselle was another band called Bloomfields. I am so out-of-touch with the current Pinoy music scene so I have no idea who this band is. The only song of theirs that I knew was the first song they played, Ale, Nasa Langit Na Ba Ako? and that’s because it’s classic OPM from the 70s (or was it early 80s?). Two reactions from me regarding Bloomfields: (1) At first I wondered if they were the other half of Orange And Lemons, the other half being Kenyo; and (2) their drummer and main vocalist looks a lot like Big Bang’s Seungri, the TV/photo version. I have to specify which version of Seungri because the actual Seungri, ie., the one in real life, is so handsome and nothing like this guy from Bloomfields.
After them came a game which had major facepalm moments (I really should’ve taken a photo of Pre’ doing a major facepalm while a contestant was embarrassing herself in front of thousands of people) as well as shining moments (that girl who did a Minzy was awesome!). And then there’s Callalily.
Question: did we go to a concert featuring 2NE1, or did we go to a Callalily concert that had 2NE1 as their guest? Because I got majorly confused for a moment there.
Ok, in fairness to Kean? The guy knows how to command an audience. Not a lot of band vocalists has that kind of ability. The downside? He seems to have forgotten where he is and exactly whose concert was he on. No, the constant references to Sandara does not count. In fact, I actually think he’s intentionally doing all those so that he won’t be booed off the stage. Which could be both a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how much you love or hate Callalily.
How did I detect this? (1) When he went to the audience as if the audience specifically went there for him. I mean, WTF? Kean, this is not your show. What the heck are you doing??? (2) When I checked the forums the next day and found out that he’s been Tweeting photos of him buying his Dara shirts and a 2NE1 cd before the show. Ok, so maybe he’s a fanboy. It just doesn’t look and sound sincere to me, unlike Giselle who didn’t have to try hard and constantly say, “I’m a Blackjack! I love Sandara!!!” all the time.
(Note: In case anyone automatically brands me as a Callalily hater, let me just say outright that I’m not. I’m totally indifferent towards them. That’s different from hating. I’m reacting based on what I experienced from watching their set at The Party.)
At one point, I had G-Dragon flashes when Kean went down to the crowd, shook hands, and actually made a beeline to our row by climbing on our seats. I mean this not because Kean reminds me of G-Dragon. Ew, dear god, no. I meant because I’ve seen GD did the same thing at Big Show last February. After Kean left our row, I told my friends, “let’s just pretend that we had a GD moment”. Kean actually would’ve had his foot stuck on Pre’s chair if he did not hold on to Kairu’s hand and made her a human anchor. His security detail wasn’t as lucky, though. Kairu said, if Kean was GD, she would’ve hold onto his hand and we’d kidnap him right there. Fortunately for Kean, he’s not G-Dragon.
After what felt like eternity, next was Philippine All-Stars, the only artist on this line-up that I was actually looking forward to see aside from 2NE1.
And then, that’s when the REAL PARTY started.
Their set started with Fire – literally and figuratively – and omigad, I’m getting goosebumps. Screams!!! Everyone’s on their feet! On top of their chairs! Frackin A! Standing up is fine, but standing on chairs in a flat area??? With glowsticks and/or cameras raised high up in the air? With one dad even carrying his little girl on top of his shoulders? You gotta be kidding me! Kairu decided to climb up her chair so that she can fancam in peace. Me? Curse me for being considerate. I’m the type who is usually careful of blocking the person’s view behind me because I hate it when people do that to me. Also, my right foot is still healing from that tripping accident I got into last week. The chairs at the Patron area are foldable, like the ones in movie houses. Being a very uncoordinated person, I could easily fall off that chair if I try to climb up. So I had no choice but to grit my teeth and watch the show through the big screens, or as usual, through the LCD screens of cameras . Story of my life.
At the 5th song, I decided, what the heck, I’m gonna climb up a chair, too. This is getting too ridiculous. Fortunately, the security people finally asked the people on chairs to go down because they’re blocking the view of the ones at the back. Unfortunately, 2NE1 only sang 8 songs (6 songs on the regular set and 2 encore numbers) so that didn’t make that much of a difference. Night has already been ruined, thank you very much.
Speaking of which… this is the part where everyone got confused and where complaints started pouring in. After the 6th song (I think it was Can’t Nobody), the girls left the stage. With the way they were saying ‘goodbye’, I instantly knew that the set was over. However, majority of the rest of the audience thought that the girls were just going to do some costume-change. We’re only at the 6th song, after all, and the show was promoted as a “2NE1 concert”. Naturally, most of the audience thought that their set would last at least an hour and a half. We sat down in near-silence and waited for the girls. Nothing. Suddenly, CL was on the mic saying, “you still want more?” Oops. CL had to ask because nobody was asking? That’s embarrassing. But then, as I was saying, practically everyone thought it was just a costume change. When the girls came back, they were still wearing the same outfit. They sang two songs (Clap Your Hands, which was my absolute favorite 2NE1 song so YAY!!!, and I Don’t Care) and then? Show was over. Sandara’s parting shot was, “invite nyo kami ulit para bumalik kami” (invite us again so that we can come back) which was typical Sandara, but that clearly said that the show was over. However, the audience still thought it wasn’t. It took about 15-20 minutes before it finally sank in.
It was anti-climactic. Just as the party was still warming up, it was over. If I paid php8,000 for that, I’d probably also feel extremely shortchanged. Fortunately, I didn’t, so I won’t complain as much as the others.
Having said all that, I’m going to say this: 2NE1 was awesome. Those girls, even Sandara (SURPRISE!) can really sing. I mean, Dara still pales in comparison to the other three who were simply too good, but I think Dara has improved by leaps and bounds. I anticipated the second repeat of her verse in I Don’t Care, the one with the switch to the high note (“nae sarangira mideonneunde oh oh”). It was actually a tough line to sing. But she nailed it. Oh my, I’m officially impressed. Her confidence while singing her old signature song, In Or Out, was oozing so much that she was such a delight to watch. It was a long-time dream come true for her, performing at the Araneta as a singer. It was basically one big F! U! to the ones who dismissed her when she lost her popularity here in the Philippines. Who would’ve thought that she can make this kind of comeback? Who would’ve thought that the much-maligned In Or Out would bring so much joy when sung again after 7 years?
And then there’s Bom who by default is a great singer so saying that she did so well is just repeating what everyone already knows. Minzy took me by surprise: she’s so pretty! She also has this solid tone in her voice, and those dance moves can kill. CL? Simply the baddest. female. in. Kpop. My favorite part in Clap Your Hands is her rap part on the bridge and when she started running from one end of the stage to the other while doing this part, I had major goosebumps. That girl is going to go places, I tell ya.
The biggest highlight of the show for me? Watching those glowsticks doing the I Don’t Care finger motion en masse. I hope someone was able to capture that on video. It was a sight to behold, and a bit cute, too.
All in all? Not a bad night.
For more photos from The Party, please check out my Facebook photo album.
We had late dinner at North Park after the show. No, we didn’t eat there to pay hommage to Sandara Park. (Sorry, bad joke.)