Aftermath: Alden Richards ‘Adrenaline Rush’
21 September 2018 – Kia Theater
I had difficulty figuring out how to begin this Aftermath report. My blogging skills have been really rusty these days and the concert has so much feels, I don’t know where and how to start.
To warm up, I re-read the beginning part of my blog re: last year’s Upsurge concert. Guess what, the first paragraph basically said the same thing: I don’t know how I’ll write about the concert.
This is my overall takeaway from Adrenaline Rush: Alden Richards made a statement. That statement being: “This is me. This is what I want. This is what makes me happy. I will do things my way from now on, and I hope you’ll still be there with me and believe in me as I proceed with this journey.”
Alden made a brave move with this concert. Personally, I was wondering why he decided to ‘torture’ himself and stage a major concert while in the middle of filming an ongoing drama series (among many – and I mean MANY – other things). I guess a simple interview or social media post is not enough for him to send his message across. In the midst of it all is the fact that he staged this concert at a most challenging time, when his marketability as a solo artist is being questioned and fandom loyalties have been doubtful. I believe that Alden has hurdled that challenge with Adrenaline Rush.
Going into this concert, I had wondered how different Adrenaline Rush is going to be from Upsurge. I tried not to expect too much. Upsurge was so good, it’s going to be hard to top.
I’m glad to be proven wrong. Adrenaline Rush is not just different, it’s better than Upsurge. In my opinion, of course. The production team certainly outdid themselves with this concert.
And because it’s almost 1:30am as of this writing, I’ll be presenting my points using the tried-and-tested-when-I’m-lazy Random Bullets list.
1. Production aspects: The stage design was simple, but the lighting… AWESOME. It’s not just a sight to behold. It’s a delight to capture on cam. Some of my photos looked super-HD even if I used my old Canon DSLR, and it’s because of the excellent lighting.
Everything on this concert has leveled up, production-wise. Even Alden’s clothes are much better here. It suits him more, and I’m not just referring to the style. The actual fit of the clothes is perfect. He usually looks bulky when he wears suits but this time, he looked lean even on cam.
I also liked the song selection more on this concert compared to last year. The inclusion of Haplos on the repertoire received a very positive reaction from the audience. I also like that they launched the new song, Kapag Malapit Ka, here. I didn’t have the chance to listen to the new album before the concert so it’s my first time to hear it when Alden performed it. My verdict: The sound is something that you might hear from a Viva artist instead of Alden Richards. But it fit his voice well. The tune is catchy and very R&B contemporary. I love it!
Random side note: I’m the happiest fangirl when Alden and One Up sang *NSYNC’s Bye Bye Bye at the boyband medley. It’s one of my favorite songs way back in the 90’s. I even danced along in my seat during rehearsals, which I was only able to do because taking footage was prohibited, hence, I’m not saddled with my camera.
2. Alden has mentioned that he had a say with everything involved in this concert, including the songs and the guest line up. It showed in the way he performed those songs and the camaraderie with his fellow performers. Another random side note: I was bashed a few days ago for saying that Alden seemed happy despite the insane work schedule that he has. Someone even remarked that I failed to see how huge his eyebags are. Well, yes, he has huge eyebags. But beneath those huge eyebags are a pair of sparkling eyes that would only appear when a person is truly happy.
I’ve been regularly taking photos of Alden since 2015. I know a pair of happy eyes when I see them, whether he’s physically tired or not. And besides, Alden himself said that he’s happy doing what he’s doing. Who are we to question that?
3. There is a very noticeable improvement in Alden’s vocal technique. I think he had a different voice coach this time and the positive changes were evident. He has a fuller sound now. I also noticed when I was reviewing the photos that even Alden’s movements and facial expressions while singing had more variety compared to last year. He crunched his face, dropped his jaw (hence, the fuller sound), and I even spotted a couple of “ugly faces” (that face that singers have when they’re being particularly expressive when singing that they don’t care how their faces look) among the photos. Of course, we’re talking about Alden Richards here so his “ugly” is not really ugly , but I hope you get my drift.
4. Another noticeable improvement is Alden’s confidence as an overall performer. His dancing has leveled up, as well. And of course, the ‘buwis buhay’ stunt. Who could get over that?
5. Here’s another facet of Alden that had a noticeable improvement: his comedic skills. It’s not easy trading banters with the likes of Betong Sumaya and especially the Comedy Concert Queen Ms AiAi Delas Alas, but Alden held his own with these comedy veterans. The dance-off with Betong and his nearly-SPG exchange with Ms Ai were hilarious. And who could miss his little interpretative dance to the tune of Basang-Basa Sa Ulan as sung by Ms. Ai?
6. And speaking of confidence, last year I noted Alden’s bravery to tackle Bruno Mars songs at Upsurge. This time, he not only sang Bruno Mars. He opened with a Michael Jackson song. He sang a couple of Aegis tunes. He did a duet with THE Regine Velasquez-Alcasid. His OPM medley included songs by VST & Co., The Dawn and Bamboo. You got enourmous guts for a non-singer, dude!
7. Ang cute-cute nila ni Songbird. Seeing them together onstage reminds me of those movies Regine made with Aga Muhlach.
8. I’m just gonna leave these here.
9. It’s my first time to see Ex-Battalion perform and I’m impressed at their ability to work the crowd. Even my almost seatmate Kyline Alcantara, who came in just as Ex-B was performing their spot number Hayaan Mo Sila, was dancing and rapping along with them.
Can I just say: seeing Alden and Ex-B perform Superhero Mo in the flesh made me realize how powerful that song is. The opening strains alone creates an impact. Para kang nahampas ng Mjolnir.
Also, it’s nice to see the ever-humble Alden taking a step back at times to let Ex-B shine.
10. Here With You, Alden.
This photo shows his face when he first noticed the banners and realized what was written on them. He became emotional after that. But what strikes me is that he may be teary eyed and at one point was close to crying full on but unlike in previous similar instances, he didn’t bawl his eyes out this time.
This is just my take, so please don’t throw the “kala mo kung sinong close kay Alden na alam ang lahat” card on me: I think Alden is telling us, no more tears. You’re all here with me. I’m not alone in this journey after all.
Actually, the one who bawled her eyes out at the concert was me.
I’ve been contemplating as soon as the concert ended if I should write this part and share it to the public. As I was looking at the photos and recalling everything about my Adrenaline Rush experience, I realized that this part is really the one that created a major impact on me that night.
“Napakalungkot pong mag-isa. Pero mas malungkot yung feeling na, may mga taong kasama mo nga, pero pinaparamdam sa ‘yong mag-isa ka lang.”
I don’t know what is behind Alden’s motivation when said this. I do know that after he said this, I replied with… “shit, Alden, why?”
I said this because it’s exactly what I’ve been going through as an Alden fan for the past few months.
Since the early part of this year, I have been going through a personal crisis. I think I’m having a mental health issue. (Yes, I have always been insane, but this time it’s personal.) I tried to be strong and hurdle it, but it came to a point where I felt like everything I do is a total failure. I felt like everything I do is not enough. I had random bouts of extreme sadness wherein I sometimes cry at the lamest of reasons. The only reprieve I have from this mental issue that I’m having is fangirling for Alden.
The thing is, one of the worst things that could happen to someone with a mental health issue is to be cyber-bullied. I’ve been regularly bullied in this fandom since 2016, but it’s different when you’re dealing with something akin to depression. Also, the trolls are at their absolute worst now. They’d bash me even if I didn’t say anything particularly bad or particularly about their idol in the first place. And because I don’t engage, some of them would have the liberty of spreading all sorts of speculation and gossip for their lot to feast on. The sad part is some of those posts came from people whom I’ve personally encountered at some point in my being an Alden fan (or at least, they claim to be). And because they claim to know me, people believe them. It came to a point when someone called me an outright liar when I told him that his statements were referring to another person who is not me. I also received messages telling me to quit being an Alden fan because I’m not worthy, or I’m not needed anymore, or Alden has learned about my being a ‘basher’ of that girl that he doesn’t allow me to be anywhere near him (this one’s totally laughable because it’s certainly not true). Even worse, there are people telling me to just go and kill myself. I know I should just ignore them, but in this mental state, it’s difficult to do so. At some point, it will get to you. The worst part is I can’t just talk about this to anyone without them thinking that I’m just being shallow and ridiculous because in the first place, it IS shallow and ridiculous.
I developed some sort of extreme paranoia from the fandom that whenever I attend Alden’s events, I felt so alone even if I’m in the middle of a crowd and I have friends with me. Heck, at the concert, I got very obvious “you’re not welcome here” looks from my original seatmates before I decided to steal someone else’s seat at SVIP center. I get a reprieve once I see Alden onstage, but before and after that is torture.
Now here come those words saying exactly what I’m going through, and it came from Alden himself.
I was dumbfounded.
Two segments later, Alden was telling us fans to continue believing in him. Wag n’yo po akong iwan. Samahan n’yo ako hanggang dulo. Hindi ako bibitiw, sana kayo rin. I think I blacked out somewhat; I just remember taking photos, and then singing along to the next two songs: Yeng Constantino’s Salamat and Keep Holding On. When I reached the first line of the chorus, “keep holding on…” I suddenly realized what the song is saying. I stopped singing and the tears just came out. I stuck my camera close to my face to hide the tears.
Corollary to my “I feel alone” story: It was at the Marquee Mall event for Victor Magtanggol when I realized that my stress-reliever is now my source of stress. I’m tired of being sad. I felt so down that I declared to my little circle of Alden fan-friends that after September 21, I am retiring from being an active Alden fan. I’m still a fan, but I won’t be making the effort anymore as it’s taking its toll on me. I’m just one fan who’s not particularly special, anyway. Nobody will notice if I disappear.
But now, here comes Alden telling me, “‘wag mo akong iwan.” Keep holding on. Sure, he said that to everyone in general. But this is my blog and I’ve always been delusional Agent P, so…
I still haven’t fully decided on what to do. I just know that I got a major wake-up call from Alden on that one.