K-Pop Mania: Crossing Islands for a U-Kiss concert

by: Penny Cunanan

(This is a journey of a Kagay-anon who’d do everything including flying from Cagayan De Oro to Manila to watch U-Kiss.)

When word got out that a K-Pop boy group called U-Kiss would be holding their 1st U-Kiss Concert tour in the Philippines, I was ecstatic. Who wouldn’t? One of my favorite groups would be performing almost half of their songs in their album during the concert and I don’t want to miss that opportunity! Besides, its my first ever kpop concert so I promised myself I’d go to that concert no matter what it takes.

I really don’t want to make this really long and make it too-detailed. Almost two weeks have passed since the concert happened, so I don’t think I could remember everything, so do forgive me. I’ll just share some of the highlights during my U-Kiss concert escapade.

Before the actual concert, U-Kiss held a fanmeeting on a Sunday, the day before the concert proper. Due to the limited time, they only allowed 90 people to see the boys in personal. The concert organizers did a raffle on the concert tickets a week before the fanmeet and voila! I was one of the lucky few who got picked.

I have to say, my fanmeeting was truly memorable. I got to see the group members up close and personal and it was a lucky chance for me (and 89+ fans) to see the different personalities of the boys. The members, especially Alexander, really know how to work and interact with the crowd. And a definite bonus was that three of the members could speak English! Although it was a bit sad that the fanmeet was cut short only 20 minutes because the boys had no time to rest and eat (they were bombarded with schedules when they arrived in the Phils). Still it was something that I could not forget!

Now on to the concert. Me and Kate (my Thai friend) were a bit annoyed that we had to line up at least two hours before the concert because we were worried that people might steal our seats. Anyway, when we entered Araneta Coliseum and found our Patron seats (all thanks to those good-looking usherers), we were satisfied that we actually got the best seats. We were seated on the right side of the stage, so we pretty much have a good view. While waiting for the concert to start, we grabbed a couple of drinks, bought light sticks, and a red devils head band that costs me around 200 bucks. At the stroke of eight, the lights dimmed and that signaled the start of the show.

The show started with seven, selected fan girls dancing to U-Kiss’ hits, Bingeul Bingeul (Round and Round) and Mworago (What). After their opening act, the crowd went wild when the boys themselves came out and performed Man Man Ha Ni, which literally translates to “Am I that Easy.” This song was one of my favorite songs so it was surreal that the boys themselves, were standing on the stage, and performed this one. WOW!

Aside from performing Talk To Me, I Like You, Not Young, Give It To Me, Bingeul Bingeul, and their other songs off their “Only One” album, each members did their solo performances and sub-group performances. Kevin and SooHyun rendered a couple of English pop songs; DongHo showed off his rapping skills (in English, hehe), while Eli, KiBum, and Kiseob, made some fan girls screamed and danced to Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back.” The most exciting and memorable solo stage was from Alexander, when he performed Black Eyed Peas’ “Bebot.” And surprisingly, he had no trouble
pronouncing the Tagalog words while rapping!

One of the hightlights also was the “talk time” with the audience. Like I said, three of the boys were fluent in English so the fans had no trouble understanding them. Also, a few of the members did some fan service and gave us a peek of their well-toned abs. I think a lot of fangirls were hyperventilating when the boys did that!

Another favorite part of mine was when the boys divided themselves to sub-groups and performed a couple of popular songs from girl groups. It was too funny to see SooHyun, Kibum and Eli dancing to Wonder Girl’s “Nobody.” But I bet they could not beat the other team – Alexander, Kevin, DongHo and Kiseob, who embarrassed themselves by singing and dancing to Girl’s Generation’s “Gee.” I seriously love the boys for making us laugh.

When U-Kiss started singing Boyz II Men’s “End of The Road,”, I just knew that the concert was nearing its mark. The boys started handling flowers to the audience and Kevin’s voice cracked while singing. He started tearing up (which made the fans go awww) and soon DongHo joined in the crying. The rest of the boys held their chin up and forced themselves not to cry.

For their encore, they did a Man man Ha Ni/Bingeul Bingeul remix. It was probably one of the best remixes I’ve ever heard from them. While the last song was still on, I squeezed myself from the crowd and made my way to the right side of the stage. My luck came when Soo Hyun walked over the edge of the righ stage. The fan girl in me surfaced and I screamed his name very loud. He saw me and I gave him a thumbs-up sign and yelled in Korean (yes, I know a bit of Korean) that they did an amazing job. I have no idea if he heard me but he just waved back and walked back to the center stage. Well, even though he wasn’t my favorite member, but at least at that moment my presence was acknoweged, hehe.

The fans (including me) were so touched when U-Kiss and their dancers kneeled down and bowed in front of us at the end of the concert. It showed how they appreciated the fans who were there for us. The boys also acknowlegded that concert was not 100% perfect due to mic feedbacks, some lighting effect, and other boxes that were left unfilled, but they still thanked us for watching their first concert.

One thing I was sure that they delivered themselves well during the concert. Yes, this was their first concert, but it looked like they’ve been performing concerts for a very long time. You don’t hear panting and hard breathing while they were performing their complex choreographers. I wondered how they chould have pulled it off when they only had little sleep due to practice? They sure did amazing and performed like pros.

The aftermath

Until now, I still could not believe that I went to the concert. Preparing the concert was not an easy task and all I could do was pay for my round trip air fare and my 4-day allowance. I knew I could not pull it off unless an additional fund was needed from my friends.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my US-based friends for helping me sponsor my concert tickets: Candiie and Rich, you guys are awesome! Thanks also to Chuck for helping me with the hotel pay, Elbert for being awesome (haha), my Thai friend Kate for being my hotel roomie for two days (thanks for the scarf and the “KiBum” stuff toy btw), and to Morgan & Dresden, my childhood friends for helping me with directions and letting me stay for one night at their place (I’m praying that your brother-in-law gets well soon).

I also want to thank my family for being supportive of my “fandom”, even calling me “crazy” for pulling a stunt like this. My mom and dad were totally against it, but they somehow mellowed down and gave me a go-ahead sign. By the way, my mom likes Alexander, so it was cool Oh yeah, thank you guys!

To the Kiss Me Philippines’s staff Justin and Mirza, thanks so much for being my “angels” (you guys know what I’m talking about.). To Kiss Me fans, all of you are awesome!

To U-Kiss, thank you so much for this wonderful experience! I hope you guys will come back for your 2nd concert next year! ?? ?? ?? ???! ??? ?!!!

To God Almighty, thank you for making things possible and for making me safe all throughout this roller-coaster ride.

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