Answer: The General Admission section of Mall of Asia Arena.
We never really planned on watching Super Junior’s Super Show 5 in Manila because of two reasons: (1) the concert is on a Thursday, and per the promotional posters, it will start promptly at 7:00 pm. With the amount of traffic that we would have to wade in before any of us can reach the MoA, we simply cannot make it at 7:00pm unless we decide to leave work earlier than 5:00pm. Obviously, this concert was scheduled with the students, aka. those who are currently on semestral break in school, in mind. (Well, if we think about it, Super Junior’s target market in this country isn’t exactly the working class, as evidenced by the amount of parents and guardians waiting for their kids outside the venue.) (2) The ticket prices are too steep for us who aren’t exactly fans of the group. I think the promoters are introducing a new pricing scheme, that is, make the prime seats more affordable and make the nosebleed seats more expensive. Or, as I would’ve described it, “hindi makatarungan” (unjust ticket prices). Because for a supposedly ‘poor’ country like the Philippines, paying more than a thousand pesos for a seat that’s sooooo far that the artist on stage is as small as a dot is definitely unjust, in my opinion. But then again, the venue turned out to be about 98% full, so I’m probably the only one who thinks that the ticket prices are unreasonable. Side note: with all these concerts and events with uber-expensive ticket prices selling out, does anyone still believe that the Philippines is a poor country?
At the last minute, Charity, Lou and I decided to check out the concert. We had initially planned to seek for ‘discounted’ tickets, but there weren’t much available. Those which are actually available are still too steep for our pockets. The concert has already started at 7:30pm, and we’re still outside with no tickets. We noticed that we’re not in a hurry to get in even if the concert has already started, though. A lot of people are also still lining up at the ticket booths to get tickets even if they’ve already missed about an hour of the concert (it’s a 3-hour-plus concert, by the way). I guess we all had the same plan, and the plan backfired, so we all ended up burning a huge hole in our pockets buying regularly-priced tickets.
And because we’re so cheap – well, not so much, considering how expensive the tickets actually are – we opted for Gen Ad. The nice thing is, each ticket holder was given a nice Super Show 5 bag tag as freebie.
So off we went to the gates. Unfortunately, while our bags were being inspected, the guard got hold of my DSLR and insisted that I surrender it at the baggage counter because professional cameras are banned at the venue. As much as I assured them that I won’t be using it because it’s unusable at Gen Ad – not true, of course, but they don’t need to know that I’m using super-zoom lens – they won’t let me in if I don’t surrender my camera. Actually, it’s not really about the fact that I won’t be able to take pics for my blog. I’m really not confident that my camera will be safe in their hands. I asked the head of security, what sort of guarantee can they give me that they will hold themselves responsible should my camera gets damaged or stolen while in their possession? I mean, under normal circumstances, this particular establishment insists that we don’t leave our valuables such as gadgets when we leave our bags at their luggage counter because they will not be responsible for any loss or damage, and now they are insisting that I surrender my valuable item to them because, “it’s an order from the promoter because the Koreans told them that the use of professional cameras is prohibited”. You see, I’ve been to concerts overseas, including Korea. At times, taking footage is prohibited. But they never tell us to surrender our cameras at their baggage counter or else we won’t be allowed to enter the venue. They are very much aware that they could be sued by the customer if anything bad happens to their valuables while in the possession of the establishment. If we get caught using our cameras during the concert, they would approach us and tell us to stop filming, and at times, would be asked to delete the footage. If we insist on doing so despite multiple warnings, that’s the only time they would either confiscate the camera or throw the violator out of the venue. But in the Philippines, their way of enforcing the no-cameras rule is to take our cameras away. When I challenged their rule, Mr. Head of Security confidently said that they are going to take full responsibility if anything happens to my camera. And I’m like, “oh really?” Does anyone really believe that? Seriously, I wish a time would come when someone would sue SM (as in SM Mall of Asia, not SM Entertainment) or any establishment because they took our valuables away due to some rule of no taking footage and something bad happens to the surrendered item. Let’s see if they would really take responsibility like they confidently told me so.
Anyway, I decided to give in and surrendered my camera because otherwise I would have to say goodbye to my hard-earned 2,000 bucks. I already made the effort of going to that faraway place, plus, we’ve already missed the first hour of the show; now is not the time to be stubborn. But wait! Before we could enter, we were told that we still have to validate that E-plus card thingy that they gave us when we bought the ticket. And I’m like, what the hey? We didn’t even ask for that card. We didn’t pay for our tickets using those cards, and those cards are NOT the tickets. So why should they bar us from entering the venue just because we didn’t pass by the E-plus counters to validate that card first? Seriously, what is up with that?? Isn’t that illegal or something? I think they know that they’re not dealing with children who will be intimidated by their stupid rules, so as we were challenging this other rule, some guy approached the gates with the validating machine and said we don’t have to go to the counters, he will just validate our cards right there.
Talk about a disorganized event. I think in a way, we’re lucky that we came in late. I couldn’t imagine the confusion and chaos earlier in the day when they were admitting thousands of people in the venue at the same time.
We entered the venue while someone was singing How Am I Supposed To Live Without You? – don’t ask me who because I didn’t recognize the voice and didn’t see the face, and actually unless it’s Kyuhyun, Siwon, Eunhyuk, Kangin, Heechul or Shindong I won’t know who that guy is even if I saw his face – and went straight up, literally, to Gen Ad. It’s my first time at MoA Arena’s Gen Ad section. Apparently, blogger Professional Heckler’s Tweet was right: MoA Arena’s General Admission section is closer to the sky than to the courtside area. At the Araneta, we can still sort of see the faces of the artist on stage from Mt. Everest seats. At the MoA Arena, I couldn’t tell who was on stage unless I look at the video screens (of course, I’m talking about the SuJu members who I actually know by face). Also, at MoA Arena we cannot see what’s happening on our side of the stage as opposed to Araneta where we could still see the whole stage even from way up Mt. Everest.
What made the experience worse? The people in front of us refused to sit down even during ballad numbers even if our tickets say ‘seated’ instead of ‘standing’.
Our view was actually good if they sat down. Charity asked them numerous times, but they refused to sit. After a while, we learned why. These girls actually don’t have seats in this section. Their seats are somewhere else, and they’re encroaching on space that don’t belong to them. We actually have all the right in the world to tell them to leave, but by this time we’re just too exasperated to complain.
Oh well. So much for my rants. So how was the show?
Given that we missed the first hour of the show (and the last few minutes because Charity and I dashed to the luggage counter before everyone else does as I don’t want to line up for hours just to claim my camera), I am not in a position to ‘review’ nor ‘recap’ it. (I’m actually not sure why I still categorized it as “Aftermath”. ) I’ll just do my usual bulleted list of comments.
1. I don’t know if it’s just because everyone missed him, but Heechul got the loudest cheers from the crowd. And he looks so manly now! No more Lady Hee-hee? He’s still good ol’ Heechul who loves “molesting” Siwon, though.
2. I also don’t know if it’s because he was indisposed when Super Junior became popular in the Philippines, but Kangin didn’t get as many cheers from the audience. A very obvious “who are you?” vibe can be felt whenever he does his solo stages or spiels.
3. I think I’m starting to like Kyuhyun. His voice was just so lovely, and he was in full hyperactive mode at the concert. I think he overdosed on sugar or something.
4. To be perfectly honest, one reason why I didn’t enjoy the concert as much as I should is because I found SuJu’s onstage energy as quite lacking, to say the least. I understand that they arrived on the same day and barely had any rest before the show, but I’ve seen other artists who had the same schedule and they didn’t just ‘wing it’ on stage. Most of the time, the SJ members we’re just walking/strolling aimlessly on stage. Ok, given that it’s what they always do, but in the past (I’m comparing it with the other Super Junior concert that I saw), they would stroll and give a lot of fan service. Here, they still do fan service but not as much as before. Kulang sa ‘kulit’. It became more obvious when they performed a low-batt version of Sorry, Sorry.
Then again, every Tweet or Facebook post that I saw regarding the concert were all saying that they absolutely enjoyed it and this was the best among the three Super Show concerts in Manila, so far. So what do I know, right? Maybe I’m just a hater. Wahaha!
5. The Tagalog subtitles at the video intermissions are a nice touch. But my absolute favorite, and the one that saved the concert for me, is the spot translator of their spiels who, based on her accent, was obviously a Korean who is fluent in English and Tagalog. She did not just translate what the members were saying. She also did it in the exact way they said it, hence, the wit of their words didn’t get lost in translation. It’s like watching live action anime. I think it’s brilliant. Maybe the producers of any K-pop concert in the Philippines (of Kpop artists who can’t speak English, that is) should considering making this job permanent for her.
6. Shindong greeted us ‘Merry Christmas!’ I think he got confused at the Christmas decorations which are already in place even if it’s just October. (Actually, those decors have been in place since July.)
Despite being higher than Mt. Everest and not carrying a camera with zoom lens, I managed to take a few super-wide angle shots using my Note 3. Yes, I’m that bored. I think they look nice, though, as it gives an idea of what the Manila version of a Sapphire Blue Ocean looks like. (Also, I took these pics so of course I would think it looks nice. hehe)
(For more of my Aftermath Reports related to Korean entertainment, please visit my K-pop Events Aftermath directory.)