(I'm sorry but I'm telling this early as now: if you hate KPop and the fangirls/fanboys who keep singing 'em songs even a little, please don't push through reading this.)
Frankly, at first look and being a lazy person that I am, I simply had no interest of reading it when she sent it to us over Facebook inbox because it was simply too long for me to read. As soon as I skimmed through it, though, it gained my interest and read it.
Now that the long-awaited date of the First Kiss concert is fast approaching, I might as well share with you how a friend has written her piece of mind during U-Kiss' first visit here in the Philippines and how it could possibly convince more people to watch the concert. It has wowed quite a number of people already --- to those who have read it, at least --- because of its touching content and outstanding grammar.
I tried hard not to mind the heat that much.
Glancing at my watch, it said that it was only 8 o’clock in the morning, yet the weather’s already inevitably hot. Late March days (it was March 28) always proved to be merciless - and I am not just talking about the summer’s broil, but of the circumstances as well. I have just gone back from Mass for it was Palm Sunday, and I was making my way to my dorm when I received a text from my roommate, who I will be meeting later on.
“My block mate just called me to say that the people outside SM Annex are continuing to pile up. There was a line formed already by 7 am – we have to hurry! We will not go as planned (which was a 10 am meet-up), I’m actually about to leave now.”
And so, before I knew it, I was picking up random clothes from my closet and I was heading out the door.
By 9 o’clock, I arrived outside SM North Annex. While waiting for my roommate and my other friend, I was able to meet the most courageous, relentless and tireless people I have ever come across to. It certainly looked like everyone was there for a reason and each person I spoke to was genuinely interested in U-KISS. In all honesty, at that time, I only knew little about U-KISS – I was there more for the experience of fandom and to accompany my two friends, who are fans. I was curious, though. I have been religiously following Alexander and Kevin’s All About You segments in Arirang channel, and having watched them made me want to know U-KISS even more. I guess being afforded of a little history/background on the group makes everything more fascinating to me.
And by 10 o’clock - somehow the Annex never looked as packed and chaotic as it did that moment. It was Sunday morning, the gates have just been opened and already, there were people jammed into every last spot available in the four-cornered Annex area. You walk through the long line of guards and you will see angry fans squeezed between two metal barriers. Then you walk a little father, and there are those newly-arrived fans who do not mind waiting. You turn another corner, and there, you will find the fans who choose to squat on the floor, drawing their attention into something else – either by eating or listening to their U-KISS-filled iPods. The Annex is clearly where you get a sense of the various aspects of fandom.
The screaming, the pushing, the carefully-written Korean fan signs billowing out of almost every hand into the suffocating crowd - all these were caused unbelievably by U-KISS. People in all ages coming together and chanting harmoniously for U-KISS - something about witnessing this just stuck with me.
It was very really interesting, after mythologizing this experience from my mind, to be actually living in it. Truly, the whole scene at SM North Annex is much more chaotic, more dramatic, than I expected.
I would probably never forget how loud the crowd roared when the “Bingeul Bingeul” MV was being played on the screen. The air became thick with a sort of otherworldliness, thick with passion. Maybe I was just being nostalgic, but until now, a part of me cannot fully wrap my mind around the idea that this sort of phenomenon could happen.
Still, when you’re there, it’s wholly understandable why this mall tour is such an important event for so many people. The first time I saw the jam-packed crowd, I was really overcome. It astounds me to think that I became a part of history that will forever mark the Annex – and of all the burdens and joy, that go along with it.
What would have to be the biggest testament of the fans’ love for U-KISS was the waiting time involved – 7 hours at the least - with majority of the people standing up on their toes because there was simply no more space left and skipping meals so as not to lose their place in the crowd.
Taking all these into account, I waver between thinking that this would have to be the most special experience in the world and the most traumatic. Only things I love very much can inspire that much passion and disappointment in me.
I have met a lot of artists who take up performing for fun, but cannot perform. When U-KISS came in, everything just stopped – they had that rare quality, that star appeal which we cannot define, and they can definitely perform.
And when U-KISS made everyone who came out to the show scream and dance to their music, I could not be more obnoxiously happy that this was the first mall show I have ever been to – for it was only then that I felt and realized how much cross-cultural love for music can mean something to a person/group of persons.
The showcase had been so much fun, especially the fan services, but my favorite part of the whole tour was the fan signing event. It was announced beforehand that due to the increasing number of fans, they have to settle with the first 300 who were able to purchase the Only One album. My number was 419.
However, we got a wonderful surprise – and before we knew it, numbers exceeding 300 were being called to come up onstage! It was only a matter of time until I found myself literally lost onstage. Yes, with the effortless creatures called U-KISS.
It must have something to do with looking at those seven perfectly chiseled faces, but there seemed to be an unspoken submission when you are in the presence of U-KISS. Because of this, the respect that I have for U-KISS just increased tenfold. Stardom can do its worst, but on a current form, I do not think it is not going to trip up U-KISS.
How amazing was it to have certain expectations of them, only to be proven that they are as special as you imagined? What resulted of course was a head rush of discourse in my mind as to whatever might make the boys interested in what I have to say. I told myself to not stare too hard. But I stared anyway.
People who know me would probably think that given my life in the limelight as a theater actress and performer myself, I rarely get star-struck anymore. However, even if I get to be with celebrities from time to time, I still have a case of the nerves.
This can be seen on how I would probably never be able to live down my walking past the U-KISS guys whom I only used to see on YouTube videos, making eye contact and shaking hands with Kibum (Eli was my favorite though), and then realizing I was literally standing right in the center of the stage, not knowing what to do after having my U-KISS album signed. I would never be able to live down how I turned around, claimed my free poster, and pretended like I did not just get tongue-tied.
And so there I was - hands up to cover my blushing cheeks, my eyes wide with astonishment – waiting for my two friends to get off the platform. They had their own stories to tell, and we could not help but erupt into a fit of giggles. I swear I was grinning the entire time I walked out of the Annex until the second reached home.
- Glenda dela Peña
You might think that this is another long composition, like I did, of a self-confessed Korean pop fangirl but it's more than that.
PS: My grammar abilities felt mediocre during this post. Heehee.