Saturday, September 20, 2014

Witnessed History: Gilas Pilipinas @ World Cup

Wow, how time flies. "Eleven days in August" was already more than a year ago. Much has been said and written about Gilas Pilipinas and their performance at the recent World Cup, my favorite is Nikko Ramos' piece, "Through fun times and flatlines, mabuhay ang Gilas." I may not be able to write a blog entry as good as his but I can certainly say that we both had eyebags during that magical week =))

After the "almost", "coulda", "shoulda", "woulda" games,  Gilas finally and officially won over Senegal. The first win in decades on the international stage. I honestly cried a bit when the buzzer finally ended. I wont be embarrassed to say it because I think I share the same emotional investment with majority of the country. We're even recognized by FIBA as the "Most Valuable Fan -  Best Country!". I hope that MVP can continue with the Gilas program and we'll be able to host the next Basketball World Cup! For now, goodluck Gilas on the Asian Games!

CNBLUE Experience: Can't Stop Live in Manila

Months ago, I've blogged how I'm deeply into Korean rock band, CNBLUEl. Since then, I've decided that I should watch them live when I get a chance. Three months later, it was announced that their "Can't Stop" tour will have a Manila leg but I didn't expect that the ticket prices were that high! I don't think I can spend PHP10k for a concert ticket, I ended up buying the least expensive tickets for me and my sister. I told her, she's lucky that they're not selling General Admission, or we'll be there =)). I actually lined up for 1 and a half hour during the pre-selling to be able to buy first row seats. The things I do for CNBLUE!
Fast forward to the night before the concert, of course I was excited. I think, the last concert that I attended was David Cook's in 2010. I was worried because it was raining hard and I even woke up in the middle of the night because of the noisy thunderstorms. The next day, the situation was even worse, its flooding in the entire Metro Manila. I'm lucky that I live across my office, I was able to go to work but officially, it was declared that our team can work from home because of the flood and bad weather. My sister and I left my condo at around 5PM to avoid the rush hour in MRT. We're fortunate that we're only a train ride away to Araneta Coliseum but we still decided to be early instead of cramming. When we arrived at Gateway Plaza, we saw several group of girls in CNBLUE shirts who also went early.

Countdown starts...
During CNBLUE's press conference, they mentioned that they wanted to try Jollibee. We ended up craving for ChickenJoy, conversion din kame =)). At around 6:45PM, we decided to try to get in the coliseum already, good thing that they started the entry much earlier. It's still raining hard so its better to wait inside the venue. When we arrived in our Upper A seats, we realized that its not so bad since we've chosen the center part=)). I peed several times TMI while waiting because I don't want to miss any part of the concert. We noticed that there's a lot of empty seats even though its only minutes before 8PM. Our seatmate told us that the concert is sold out but there's a lot of fans who couldn't go to the venue because of the city wide flood. I've read a lot of fan accounts on twitter of those who were stranded and who traveled really early just to make it. Fifteen minutes before the show, I went to the bathroom again and when I was walking up to the stairs, there's a large group of people going down. Apparently, the people on the SVIP and VIP areas were compressed to occupy the front seats, so the people from the upper box thought that they can move as well. After that momentary chaos, people still ended up sitting on their reserved seats.
Sea of blue =))
By 8:15PM, finally, the concert started. "We can now open our light sticks!" I bought PHP150 light sticks that work but look like it wont last til the end of the concert so we're conserving it hahaha. The official light stick costs PHP800. Similar to other Can't Stop tours, they started with "Time is Over", "Diamond Girl" and "Intuition" before finally introducing themselves. Ang lakas maka-uto pag umeeffort sila magTagalog or English =))
Kamusta ka? Ako ay JungShin. Thank you very much.
Kamusta? Ako ay JongHyun. Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. I hope you have fun!
Kamusta? Ako ay MinHyuk. Salamat sa pagpunta nyo dito kahit na may bagyo
Ako ay YongHwa. Namimiss ko kayong lahat

I've heard this several times, with different versions, but YongHwa's trademark beat box before "LOVE" is still amazing live!
JongHyun on lead guitar & vocals
I really like JongHyun's smooth vocals plus he finally lets go of his ahjussi hair  which was showcased in "These days",  "Miracle" and "Blind Love". CNBLUE's dual vocals really set them apart from other bands worldwide and provide variety on their performance. After that YongHwa is back as lead singer for "Cold Love", one of my favorite songs in "Can't Stop" album. Sometimes I wish that this is their carrier single because its a strong song but "Can't Stop" song really showcased their versatility and growth in musical style. Anyway, "Cold Love" is sooo much better when performed live, otokkkkeee!!! After that they played "Robot",  "In My Head" and "Greedy Man". Its also a sweet surprise that they sang "Sleepless Night", JongHyun's only composition on Can't Stop album. Cue "Hooo hoowoohooo, sweet my love" fan chant!

After "Let me know", YongHwa did the impromptu "Manila song". The lyrics is just composed of two words "Ohhhh" and "Manila".=)) I've seen a Youtube clip that he had a mistake of saying Singapore in the Blue Moon Manila tour last year. He certainly made up for that! =)) It was followed by a reggae version of "I'm a Loner" before doing the much loved debut song.

The upbeat set, "Coffee Shop", "I'm Sorry" and "Lady" are responsible for my sore throat and body pains today. The songs are great in the album version but they improve it by 100% when done live! Its so amazing plus there's their bonus, funny attempts to dance! =)).

In the last three songs, YongHwa is back on keyboards as they sang my good vibes jam "Try again, smile again". YongShin is real! So much bromance between YongHwa and JungShin! There's also the Tom and Jerry moment when JungShin doesnt want to leave JongHyun's spot.=))

I was able to record the chorus of "Can't Stop" but after that I decided to just concentrate on singing along, swaying my light sticks until "Like a Child."

Of course, we knew that there's an encore. JungShin took the lead on "Wake Up" chants, I can't remember if this is the part where he cutely acknowledged that "My English is *shakes his head* not good. I'm good in Korean." =)). There's a time when YongHwa asked the crowd, "Masaya ba kayo? Ako rin!" Then asked JungShin "You ko rin?", nagtaglish si Yong =))
YongHwa: I say CN, you say BLUE, CNBLUE! I say MA, you say NILA =))
During the encore, there's a fan project where they used LED balloons in different neon colors. Unfortunately, they only distributed it on the lower section but nevertheless, it looks so cool! 
Maknae's birthday
BoicePH even prepared a birthday cake for JungShin, their reaction was priceless when they saw his new dog's miniature on the cake! MinHyuk egged the crowd to sing the birthday song, "Sabay, sabay!"

Every "Can't Stop" tour ends with "Love Light". Yong said that he'll pray for Philippines and he hopes that the song will be the light to us. They sincerely appreciate the effort of Boice who braved the typhoon and flood to attend the concert.
Credit: MinHyuk's twitter 

CNBLUE took a selfie with us!! My sister and I are somewhere in that encircled part=)). To thank the fans, they bowed to the right, left and center before getting off the stage. The thing about seeing them live is that it makes you want to see them play live again! YongHwa, the leader, effortlessly hits all the high notes, he's full of energy and is very funny especially when interacting with the crowd, with the help of JungShin, the happy virus carrier. MinHyuk who's on the back with his drum set is such a sweetheart and thrives on his drum solo moments. JongHyun, is the night's bias wrecker IMO, has the good combo of awesome smooth, soothing vocals and "Jongasam" guitar moments! What to expect on a CNBLUE concert? Not much of special effects or costumes unlike other KPOP acts, they're just on their simple shirt & pants with their instruments. Honestly, its just a bonus that they're four handsome namjas, what's striking is their "just music" attitude.

One of my realizations is that, "its expensive to be a fangirl!" BUT my sister and I's additional life goal is to watch a CNBLUE concert in Japan =)).