When I first got wind last May that “Boys Over Flowers” actor & (boyband) SS501’s leader Kim Hyun Joong will be coming to Manila, I dropped a subtle hint to my friend (& concert tag team partner) Ava if she would be kind enough to accompany me. Note that mejo strict ang standards ni Ava so I really thought I had no chance in hell with this request. I didn’t get any reply from her end when I posted the question on facebook. I thought that ignoring the request was her kind way of saying “no” so I let it go and went on my Macau trip thinking that I’d probably miss the concert anyway (Apparently, I got it mixed up with another K-pop concert—UKISS). Fast forward to last Thursday when I realized that the show hasn’t happened yet. Right there I threw shame out the window and flat out texted her—“I want to watch this K-pop concert, PLEASE GO WITH ME!” Truly I wasn’t expecting the reply that I got…a resounding “yes!” with the words, “I planned on watching it too kahit mag-isa!” attached. Alright, at least we’re on the same page!
Saturday arrives and I had plans with my cousin Joseph before the 8pm show. As I was dressing up that morning, it was definitely a no-brainer that I was going to wear my usual black shirt, jeans & trusty converse sneakers. Apart from upholding my rocker reputation, I wanted to set myself apart from the Tweens who will surely be dressing up in the latest fashions or matching fan club shirts…plus black will help me blend in the dark! When I finally met up with Ava & Ian, they were in black as well. Aha! So this was going to be a covert mission!
The "Covert" Girls
Ok, the place wasn’t packed, nor did we expect it to be. The lower levels were modestly filled—meaning if I were the performer, the sight of the crowd down there would please me. Besides, BEAST (short for Boys of the East Standing Tall) is a relatively new Korean boyband—they’ve only been active since October 2009—so they’re not going to attract the same crowds as the Taiwanese F4 or even Super Junior.
A little after 8pm, the lights dimmed, the lasers zapped around the venue, the smoke machines started and then…the Pop Girls entered!….the who?!?!
Ok, really now…will someone please tell me where all this bad fashion is coming from? They did 3 songs (Thank God) and each new song signaled the stripping of an article of clothing (Oh My God!). They’re practically in diapers and the whole thing was JUST. SO. WRONG. Does this mean I’m too old?
The crowd modestly claps…and then suddenly goes nuts because Beast came out next.
That's Ava's boylet in the middle
Of course I didn’t understand a word they said / sang but it was entertaining & fun nonetheless. Seeing the kids with their matching shirts, (professional looking) banners & neon light thingies swaying in the air made me reminisce about the good ‘ol NKOTB days. Aaahh…good times, good times…
And then something happened quite unexpectedly…some dj/host goes up onstage, stops the whole K-pop fun…& starts a Q & A!…..?!?!?! I found it annoying actually and the three of us wished that the ground would open up and swallow him whole. On one hand, I’m pretty sure the kids didn’t mind…but I’ve been to a lot of concerts and honestly, that sort of thing really slows down the momentum of the songs/music. A friendly reminder to the Tweens, that’s not how real concerts go. Wait til you grow up and you’ll see what I mean.
After the Beast boys, came XLR8. Here’s a pop quiz for you: XLR8 are: a) an 8-man pinoy pop group, b) talents of GMA 7, c) an addition to ava’s (not so) secret collection of young boys over 12 and below 19 years of age or d) ALL OF THE ABOVE!
Now, I have the utmost admiration & respect for these guys—shempre, I’ve heard nothing but praises (dipped & coated with love!) from Ava & Ian. They’re sweet, nice guys looking to carve their names in pinoy pop music. But I’m sure both Ava & Ian would agree…they’re not going to get any more love & respect if they continue wearing these GLITTERY LAMBAT OUTFITS…WITH HOODIES & HAMMER PANTS!!!! (for the closing number they wore blah brown outfits. Ava says, “First lambat…and now, ano yan…SAKO?!?!”)
Below is Ava’s boylet in the red shirt (underneath that glittery lambat). His name is Hideaki or Aki for short. Yes, legit born & bred in Japan! (na half pinoy)
Again, the kids modestly clap…but we started to panic a bit because their last number wasn’t even done when the girls started screaming for Kim Hyun Joong. I thought there was going to be bloodshed.
Dressed in immaculate white, he finally enters the stage …from the ground up, via a trap door…impressive, since I’ve never been to a concert where that’s been done before. Honestly, he’s not my favorite Korean F4 member…but…dang was he a cutie! Even Ava wasn’t immune. It was quite funny because before that night, she can never remember any names of Korean actors/singers. To her, they were all “Kim Sam Soon”—which is the name of a female character in a telenovela entitled, “My name is Kim Sam Soon.” But after seeing Hyun Joong, wala na…naka tatak na sa utak ni Ava. Try and surprise her one time…”Ava, anong pangalan ng cutie Korean boy na pinanood mo?” Sagot: Kim Hyun Joong! Mabilis pa sa alas kwatro!
That effing host goes up on stage again…twice pa during Hyun Joong’s entire set. One was for another Q & A. Why is it that pinoy hosts (the wrong hosts in my opinion) always asks the most stupid questions. My favorite that night was, “You have a lot of beautiful Filipino fans in the audience, would you ever consider having a Filipina girlfriend?” ….?!?!?!?…Haller?! Do you honestly think he would say NO?! The guy looked shy & awkward enough as it is, let’s not badger him with questions that would make him feel even more uncomfortable.
The second time he came up, he brought Gelli De Belen & Candy Pangilinan (?!?!?!) with a birthday cake and they encouraged the crowd to sing him Happy Birthday because it was his birthday a few days earlier. I thought that was pretty sweet…I’d seen that done during one of the WWE shows in Manila and another during the first Incubus concert. But…how Gelli & Candy had the privilege of doing that, stumps me.
Though he started with ballads, the tempo picked up when he did some fast songs & brought out his own back-up dancers. I loved this part because I was so used to seeing him on Boys Over Flowers playing Mr. Unrequited…the dude can dance! (and then I remembered na leader nga pala sha ng boyband…duh!)
The finale of the show saw all the artists and the kids from the charity organization coming together to do a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Heal the world.” I’ll stop right there and only add that the Beast boys were so cute because they also did the actions being done by the little kids.
All in all it was a fun evening. I’m glad to have been there to witness it. Thanks to Ava & Ian!
Now Universe…is there any way you could bring all the other Korean / Japanese cuties to our shores? But before you do, please exterminate first idiot hosts who ask stupid questions.