CN Blue in Manila, Part 1
This is probably one of the very few Aftermath reports where I won’t bitch so much.
CN Blue is in town for the Manila leg of their Blue Moon Tour and yesterday was their press conference and fan party. It’s quite rare for an artist – a popular K-pop artist at that – to do a presscon that’s open to the public, with a venue that’s quite accessible to the masses. Security nightmare? You bet it was! Just take a look at this photo which I stole from my Facebook timeline and I don’t know who to credit so if this photo is yours, please feel free to inform me:
The encircled portion shows where Rizza, Bamn and I ended up sitting during the event. But I’m getting wayyy too ahead of myself on the story.
I’ve told quite a few times here on my blog and on social media that I cannot afford to buy prime seats for CN Blue’s concert even if I really want to because I chose to ‘invest’ on a Korea trip instead (yeah, that Korea trip involves a certain man who’s coming out of prison, although frankly at this point I’m not even sure if we’ll see him because we haven’t heard any details on his discharge yet). I will have to settle for Mt. Everest, or in this case since there won’t be Gen Ad seats, Mt. Apo. (Update: I’ve just read that Pulp Live has decided to open the Gen Ad section, so I guess it’s really Mt. Everest for me, then.) So when this event was announced, I had to make sure that I will be there so that I’ll at least get to see the boys up close. However, as I’ve said, it’s a security nightmare from the very beginning. I’ve already reached the point where I’m more concerned about self-preservation rather than seeing my favorite stars up close, so I’m not sure if I’ll be willing to tough it out at the Death Zone again.
Thankfully, I have very good friends.
I already knew that fans would most likely line-up outside Megamall as soon as the sun rises – or maybe even before that – so that they’ll get first dibs at good spots to see CN Blue. (Now that I think about it, the only real good spots would be the VIP area, and only those on the guest list are allowed access to that area, so investing not only energy but also time would be a bit of a waste if you’re not on the guest list, in my opinion.) Rizza, who is now a certified Boice (oh geez, I used the term ‘certified’ and it’s on the list of my Most Hated Words along with ‘bias’ and ‘core’, as in ‘core group of a fan club’ ) had made plans with a friend from another fandom to enter the mall before it opens via their access to the gym which opens at 7am. Meanwhile, I had to maximize my few ‘bulakbol’ times away from work so I timed it with my visit to the Korean embassy for my visa application. I decided to just go to Megamall after going to the embassy.
Long story short, I arrived at the mall at around 10:30am. And just as I had expected, the Event Center was already teeming with CN Blue fans.
Rizza had secured a spot on the barriers, and there were about nine people behind her (I knew because I went up one floor to look for Rizza from the top and I counted the number of people standing behind her) so even if she had reserved me a spot – and I honestly don’t know how she could do that – there is no way I could join her. Well, I tried, but the girls around me were giving me ‘WTF are you trying to do, woman?’ glares so to save my own skin I just decided to look for another, much safer spot. Rizza and I could just meet after the event.
I walked around the area to look for places where I could park my buns without getting squished too much, and found my old spot from the UKISS era:
At that time, that spot was still relatively open. There’s only one layer of people in front of me, and they’re not as tall as the ones in Rizza’s spot. I decided to stay there and started praying that things won’t get too rowdy.
Then, something super-wonderful happened.
Around 10:55am, Rizza called and asked me to text Bamn to ask if she’s coming, because apparently, Bamn pulled some strings and managed to put our names on the guest list. I texted Bamn and she said she’s still iffy about going to the event, knowing how many people are already there (ah, the magic of social media) and she doesn’t want to risk it. At that time, she hasn’t gotten confirmation that all three of us were, indeed, on the guest list. She’s also not sure if the list we’re on is for those who will gain access to the press area or just for the cordoned-off area for the early-bird fans, so she asked me to investigate because if the places we’re in at that moment were better, we’ll just stay where we were. Let me illustrate this further for better understanding:
Rizza took this photo at around 7:30am. You can see how neat and orderly everything was. (Operative word: WAS.) The chaired section is for those on the guest list, ie., press people, BoicePH staff and other guests. Behind the VIP area was a cordoned-off section, supposedly for fans. Beyond that cordoned-off area is free-for-all. Rizza was in that corner on the lower right-hand side of the photo, where the two barriers meet. I asked one of the guards how can we gain access to the cordoned-off area, and he told me to just enter. What, no purchase needed or anything? The merchandise booth is right at the entrance of the cordoned-off area, so I assumed that one should buy something from the booth to gain access. The guard said no, anyone could just enter. Which means if I enter, I would be lumped with the mass of humanity that’s already there and still increasing as I was interviewing the guard. That also means that the people on the guest list that Bamn was talking about will be placed in the serene, secured area with chairs. Oh, wow. BEST. NEWS. EVER!
But first, we have to be sure that we’re on the list. Bamn had already texted that her contact has confirmed that we’re on it, but we have to be really sure before we pluck Rizza out of her miserable state in the barriers. It was a miserable spot because of all the pushing and squishing, but it’s also good, view-of-the-stage-wise. However, the registration table wasn’t open yet at the time because it’s still too early, so I cannot ask anyone at that point. Feeling a bit more secure about my fate, I decided to take a few bites at the nearby Food Court. I was already feeling famished and thirsty at that time; I couldn’t imagine what those people waiting it out at the Death Zone were going through.
Around 12:30 or so, Bamn texted again to say that she was informed that guests can now enter the VIP area. I did see a couple of ladies manning the registration table. I decided to approach them and ask so that we can get it over and done with. Lo and behold, WE WERE ON THE GUEST LIST. I tried my best not to scream and do the Dance of Joy right there. The ladies told me that the first two rows are reserved but I can take any seat beyond that. I was like, I’ll take any seat as long as I’m not included in the Big Lump of Fangirl Oatmeal at the Death Zone. At that point, the entire Event Center outside of the VIP area was already part of the Death Zone. I took a 3rd row middle seat, then looked for Rizza. I found her, but she seems to have fallen into stupor that she didn’t even know that I was calling her cellphone and the girl beside her has been tapping her on the shoulder to tell her that I was trying to catch her attention. When she finally saw me, I signaled her to get the hell out of the Death Zone, go backstage and give her name. The relief on her face was so evident. And why not? This is not just a small blessing, it’s a HUMONGOUS blessing. Two hours prior, I never even imagined that I would be seeing CN Blue at this event in peace. Well, relative peace.
As soon as Rizza sat on her esteemed VIP chair, a few people screamed, and naturally the entire place followed suit. And then, I felt my chair being pushed forward as if a tsunami came barreling in. OMG, that was so scary. The crowd came pushing in and the guards were barely able to hold the barriers in place. The sad thing about it is, it was just one or two people who decided to scream for no apparent reason, and the rest of the crowd decided to follow without even knowing why. It became a recurrent thing during the entire afternoon. At one point, a sofa was brought onstage for some reason – actually, it literally just passed by – and there was chaos. That was just a sofa, could you imagine if there were people on it and it was CN Blue?
The good side of it is, thanks to all the pushing, now we’re just literally a couple of steps away from the stage.
We were exchanging Tweets with friends who asked us how we’re doing. Just after Raia mentioned about getting one’s slippers stepped on (I think this was her experience at the UKISS Megamall event), we saw this:
You just know that things have leveled up when you see people literally losing their shoes.
Around 2:30, event host Kring Elenzano kicked off the festivities with the fan party (parlor games galore where the winners get free concert tickets! How’s that!). You know what, I gotta give mad props to Kring because she was able to instill some crowd control the entire time she was on stage. Of course, she can only do so much and you just know that no matter how many times you say, “don’t scream once the boys come out because they might perceive it as a security threat and decide to cut the event short”, once the boys are there it’s every (wo)man to him/herself. Indeed, when CN Blue arrived at the venue, it was sheer madness. My ears are still ringing from all the screams. Kring and RX 93.1 DJ Jinri Park had to beg the crowd to calm down, cheer without being loud (what?) and just smile at the boys (again, what?). And to stop pushing because people are already getting hurt. I think it kinda worked with the pushing part, but the ‘don’t be loud’ part? Good luck with that.
(Side note: by this time, Bamn still hasn’t reached Megamall. She was even asking Rizza if we’re hungry because she’d bring us food if we are, and we’re like, “Bamn, get your butt over here right now unless you want a repeat of Rain’s Manila presscon where you missed your chance of getting in because you decided to eat ensaymada instead!” Fangirling Lesson No. 1: If you decide to eat, go to the bathroom, or do whatever when the event is not yet over, you will miss the good stuff. Fortunately, Bamn made it just a few minutes before CN Blue arrived.)
At exactly 4:05pm (according to my camera’s system time), CN Blue was brought on stage.
First to enter was Jonghyun, then Yonghwa, Minhyuk and lastly, Jungshin. I took one good look at the boys and promptly concluded that my initial assessment of them at Inkigayo almost three years ago was correct: Jungshin is really the most handsome in person among the four. I’m not saying that the others are not handsome; all of them are, really. But Jungshin just stood out for me. And no, the fact that he’s a bass player and I have a certain fondness for bass players has nothing to do with it. His aura is just glowing. I saw some airport pics when they left Incheon yesterday and he looked gorgeous in there, too. The other three looked tired – which is to be expected – but he looked fresh and lively. He even talked a lot, joked a lot. Unfortunately, we didn’t understand the jokes because (1) the translators didn’t bother to translate those parts; and (2) the Event Center crowd was so loud, we barely heard anything even if we’re so close to the stage. What, did anyone really expect people to follow the ‘don’t be loud’ rule?
1. Based on the amount of screams each member gets whenever Kring asks for a roll call, the most popular CN Blue member in the Philippines is Yonghwa (as expected). Jonghyun and Minhyuk are just about even, with Jungshin as the least popular. Hmmm… fewer competition for me!
2. However, I bet that Jungshin will be the Seungri of CN Blue as I’m pretty sure he will gain more fans because people will now realize how cameras don’t do him justice. He also seems to be the most fun among the boys.
3. I’m posting this one because I love Jungshin and I personally think this photo is the best among the many Jungshin photos I took yesterday. Apologies to those who requested for Yonghwa and Jonghyun pics; I got carried away when I saw Jungshin.
4. Jonghyun seemed to be tired and sleepy. I saw him secretly touching his left eye many times as if he’s trying his best to keep it open. However, I was told that Jonghyun really looks like that all time.
5. Jonghyun’s shoulders remind me of Kim Jong Kook.
6. The Happy Foundation Day Award belongs to: Kang Minhyuk! His make-up person got a lil’ bit too carried away with the BB cream. Runner-up is Jonghyun.
7. When CN Blue took the stage, the boys with the exception of Jungshin looked stiff and a bit tentative. I don’t know if they’re just tired or what. It took a while before Yonghwa finally loosened up. Jonghyun is the stiffest of the four, but again, I was told that he’s really like that during presscons. Maybe he’s the typical ‘rockstar’ type: quiet, just sitting around the corner, being emo…
8. I must admit that I got a lil’ bit disappointed with Minhyuk’s cuteness. I was… underwhelmed. To think he was the one who’s right in front of me.
9. I had wanted to take lots of photos of Yonghwa because I got a lot of requests for it. Unfortunately, the two people in front of me who stood directly in front of Yonghwa refused to budge. It was quite difficult to find a good position where I could take Yonghwa’s photo without someone’s head blocking half of it. I could’ve climbed a chair, but I fear for my life, so…
10. I really appreciate that they took time to learn some Tagalog phrases, and were actually good at it. We Filipinos are so easy to please: want to earn our love? Learn at least one Tagalog phrase. (I think this is one of the reasons why a certain Korean star didn’t earn much love when he was here. I don’t remember him uttering a Tagalog phrase the entire time he was here. He could’ve at least said, “Mabuhay!” since I know he knows that word and has said it before. But I digress.)
Since I cannot remember most of the presscon as the only thing I heard are the screams from fans, here’s the full fancam of CN Blue’s press conference courtesy of Rizza, who had to stand on her chair to get good footage because even the VIPs lost their marbles as soon as CN Blue took the stage:
For more photos, please check out the CN Blue Manila Press Con and Fan Party album at my Photo Gallery.
What started out as a Day of Dread became a Day of Dreams Come True. To tell you honestly, if I didn’t end up a the VIP area, this blog entry will be full of bitchiness and bitterness. That is, assuming I didn’t bail out for fear of my own safety. Thus, I really would like to thank Bamn for letting us tag along and also to her contact and of course to Ms. Happee Sy for including us on the guest list. I’m filing this under my list of the Best Experiences of My K-pop Life.
For more of my recaps and reviews of K-pop events, please visit the K-pop Events Aftermath page.