Saturday, May 17, 2014

2NE1's "All or Nothing" Concert in Manila

The only thing I did today was go to a concert, but it was much more exhausting than work on a Monday with gym after. Ironic how those with VIP passes have to worry more than those with GA passes about reaching SM Mall of Asia Arena early. Because VIPs don't have reserved seating, and since MOA Arena throws all ticket classes together into a single group outside first and then only filters them going in, VIPs have to fight for a good spot. And the only way to win that is to come early.

I felt old, lining up outside with mostly high-schoolers dressed in layers, as in typical K-pop fashion, with pink Blackjack headbands on their heads of hair dyed in ombre or outrageous colors and their bags festooned with button pins of 2NE1's faces. And all this while the temperature was that of high fever. I was dressed simply, in my favorite black shirt, gray denim jeans and black high-top sneakers. I didn't know how the others could endure the heat with what they were wearing.

Teenagers can be very persuasive, especially when they band together to achieve a common goal. Two hours before the start of the concert, while I was at McDonald's getting BFF fries and Coke floats for me and my work friend Bianca, everyone apparently chanted that they be let in already, so security conceded. I hurried back for fear that I'd lose my spot in the line with Bianca. Because I knew the venue didn't allow food or beverages inside, I had to throw my purchase away. I wasn't even able to touch the fries, though I was able to down two out of the three Coke floats in the meal combo.

We had to stand in line again inside, this time in our respective ticket classes. Contrary to what one might think, holders of VIP passes don't all have good etiquette. In tonight's case, probably because most still weren't past adolescence. Some still cut in line. Most couldn't keep their mouths shut. Everyone pushed their way in, disregarding security's orders not to.

The concert started only 11 minutes late. I've only ever gone to 4 concerts—Avril Lavigne's, Katy Perry's, Big Bang's and this one—and it seems Koreans don't like keeping their fans waiting. That in itself is a good enough reason to like 2NE1. Another is how great their dancers are, especially the Kwon twins who spent half the time either shirtless or wearing mesh tops, which I hope wasn't the only reason they were very well-applauded throughout the entire concert.

The Kwon twins, shirtless, during CL's performance of her solo "MTBD (멘붕)"

Winner, 2NE1's almost-front act, elicited earsplitting screams from the girls in the crowd too. I say "almost-" because they were tagged as the front act in posters and articles but they didn't really perform until after a few songs by 2NE1.

2NE1's front act, Winner, in Death Note-esque attire

The crowd favorite among 2NE1's members was Dara, naturally, as this is her home country. She was hilarious, serving as translator for the other members most of the time. She made CL shout "Boom! Panis!" (Vice Ganda's newest catchphrase) and chanted it repeatedly herself while making Minzy and Bom do a sexy dance to it. She even performed her novelty single "In or Out" with the girls and their back-up dancers during the encore, complete with choreography, though she forgot some lines from the second verse. Her crazy antics and candid remarks really are what make her the most fun member of the girl group, such as when she said, "Naku! Delikado 'yan!" ("Oh no! That's a bad idea!") when Bom was doing the CL MTBD (멘붕) dance bit on the floor with legs raised in the air.

CL putting frosting on Dara's nose from the cake given by a sponsor to the latter

2NE1's "In or Out" performance during the encore, with Dara in the lead, of course

CL, as usual, displayed why she's the leader of the girl group. She dances well, though probably not as supremely as Minzy. She has a wide vocal range, and not only does she sing but she also raps. And she's enough to make a girly girl like Bianca describe her as "nakaka-tomboy."

Some sultry dance moves from CL and Minzy during their performance of "I Love You"

CL wore fur for her first costume change during the concert, and though she was sweating profusely, she was still poised and beautiful. Her look for the night sort of reminded me of Samantha Jones of Sex and the City.

"그리워해요 (Missing You)"
Minzy, the youngest of the four, seemed all grown up. She was very obliging when fans requested for her to take a selfie of herself on their cameras. I saw her do it twice, one on an iPhone and one on a Pentax. The same Pentax was also used for a selfie by another 2NE1 member. Which one I cannot recall anymore, but the point is...lucky Pentax-toting bastard.

Minzy taking a selfie on a fan's Pentax

Bom still amazes me at how she can dance onstage wearing a short dress or skirt. Good thing that she was wearing jogging pants already when she indulged everyone with one back bend kickover after the crowd chanted "Bom, tumbling!" during the encore.

My favorite performances of the night were of "그리워해요 (Missing You)" and their rock version of "Ugly" and "I Don't Care." Of course, they performed all their other songs well, and without lip syncing, I might add.

Up in the air, during their performance of "그리워해요 (Missing You)"

"I Don't Care," rock version

They surprised everyone when they brought out Jason Abalos, Joross Gamboa, Ram Julianda (of local dance group G-Force Stallions) and Sam Milby during the bridge of their "I Love You" performance. The girls gave the guests their own versions of a lap dance, with CL lifting Ram's shirt and Dara actually sitting on Sam's lap and fake-smothering him with kisses.

The girls about to give their special guests (from L to R) Sam Milby, Ram Julianda, Jason Abalos and Joross Gamboa a lap dance during the bridge of "I Love You"

It is the group's 5th anniversary today and they were very happy to celebrate it in the Philippines, especially Dara. YG Entertainment may train other girl groups to follow their lead, like they did Winner to follow BIG BANG's, but I don't think they can ever recreate the way these girls' talents and personalities all combine wonderfully to create what the world knows as 2NE1. I think we'll see more of 2NE1 in the years to come.

The girls giving fans their attention, receiving presents from them such as flowers, stuffed toys and quirky hats

Disregarding the waiting-in-the-heat and having-to-throw-away-my-fries-and-Coke-float parts, I think this was by far the most enjoyable concert I've gone to. Perhaps next time, however, I'll just opt for a patron or lower box seat—reserved seating and a better view of the entire stage...not to mention less chances of getting my view obstructed by banners, light sticks and fricking monopods!

Apparently the others were there to document the whole thing non-stop, forgetting that there's YouTube and most likely a DVD of it to be released after

2 comment(s):

xiel said...


I just want to get an idea on what time to go to a concert for a VIP non-reserved seating. How early did you go to MOA?

Thanks much! :)

-One OK Rock fan :)

leeflailmarch said...

Hi, Chel! Try to queue at the venue at least 4 hours before the concert. I think we went there at lunchtime.