[CNBLUE] can stop

[This is not a concert review nor a report but a jumble of thoughts]

It was short of a miracle that I was able to watch CSPH. Typhoon Mario aside, I wasn’t really planning to watch but a friend took the trouble of giving me patron tickets.

I should have been in Ha…waii but somehow I landed in Ha…noi before making my way to Manila. It required a lot of bargaining and manoeuvring to work out my schedule at work. The things I have done for a band that I’ve been a fan of for only nine months… I haven’t even done any of these for Arashi in all my nine years as a fan (unless stalking them in Gwangju for the Asia Song Festival in 2006 and queuing up in Yokohama for concert goods in 2007 even if I didn’t have a ticket to get in count).

But I digress.

I didn’t realize there was a typhoon in Manila. I thought the typhoon was in Honolulu, pun intended. Until I arrived and our plane was stranded on the runway for three hours. It could have been more but I didn’t count because I spent the entire time sleeping while other passengers were fuming and trying to use their phones.

After two more hours and forever waiting for my luggage, I finally managed to get out of the airport and the full impact of the typhoon confronted me. I realized I was lucky to have landed safely. It must have been meant to be, CNBLUE and I are so real I swear. I mean, seriously. C’mon.

I guess not even Mario could stop CNBLUE and the show must go on despite the glaringly empty sections (arena and stands). Understandably so since many were unable to come due to the weather conditions and tickets were not sold out (the local promoter was still selling tickets the day before). If not for my free tickets, I wouldn’t have come too (of course my plane ticket especially since I had to take a detour was more expensive than the ticket price). Let’s face it, and I am still in shock over this, Kpop concert tickets are very expensive for the average Filipino. Of course it is not cheap to bring foreign acts, logistics and production cost alone would mean you have to pay a premium price. But compared to J-pop overseas concerts, I find K-pop still more expensive.

Regardless of the circumstances, CNBLUE’s performance that Friday night was energetic. My friend who watched the KL leg said it was definitely more high-octane. This was my third Can’t Stop leg and I feel I have come full circle.

I first watched them in Bangkok in May, which was the first overseas stop. That was barely a month after the Sewol tragedy so the band tried to keep the performance lowkey (plus a lot of coverage rules). It was my first time to watch them live, a few months since becoming a fan, and it was a record of sorts to watch them perform that soon. Despite the frogs and eyesore neon lights, I saw for myself that what everyone said was true. CNBLUE is best appreciated live.

The second time was in Busan, on the eve of Yonghwa’s birthday itself. What made this concert experience more memorable was watching the band perform You’ve Fallen For Me live, in the only double encore they have done so far on this tour. As a friend who was also there said, “no one can take Busan away from you.”

And now, Manila, which is the last overseas stop of this tour. Isn’t it a very poetic coincidence? Whatever, it’s still some coincidence that brings the circle to a close.

Props to Yonghwa, Jonghyun, Minhyuk and Jungshin for putting up a great show despite the conditions. I know it must have been frustrating for those who couldn’t go because of the typhoon but the show must go on and the band proved that they are professional rockers, rousing the audience on their feet and “making sorijilooo” as if the place was full to the rafters. That alone deserves admiration and gratitude that they gave the audience, including myself, a memorable show to take home with.

It’s been a very musically enriching nine months with CNBLUE. The band has provided the perfect balance to my J-pop preference. But, and I’d be candid, it has also been a very vexing period. The fanwars, the over-delusions that defy logic and reason (even gravity for how do they keep sailing), the rabid fans, the infighting… these are just a few of the things one has to deal with in K-pop. Not that they are absent in J-pop, of course not. But in K-pop, and particularly in this fandom, it’s magnified a hundred times more.

So many times I have wanted to just leave the fandom but I have met friends along the way who know better and some have witnessed it all, from the best to the worst. “Isn’t CNBLUE’s music worth supporting? Isn’t their music bigger than the antis? Just ignore,” one advised. Easier said than done but I have been trying having learned from recent experience. However, I still think it’s easier to just fangirl on your own except that no fangirl is an island. That’s what makes fangirling fun, the interactions. You can’t spazz alone, otherwise you’d look cray cray than those who croak incoherently from the dark muddy fields.

For sure, I have learned a lot not only about music but about fandoms, fandom culture and fandom politics. It’s been a very interesting learning experience and I am glad to have met many wonderful people, learned about the music of CNBLUE and saw a piece of the Korean pop culture.

My rule as a writer is, always write what you know. And this precious whirlwind of an experience has given me a peek into a culture that is interesting and fascinating. I do not know nor understand everything, but I have gained some insight.

Thank you for the music and the friendships.

For now, I have come full circle. I can finally stop.

 

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14 thoughts on “[CNBLUE] can stop

  1. Hi, I can see that our journeys into fangirling CNBLUE have been somewhat similar. I watched Heartstrings and went to search who were the actors and it has been over a year now. Time flies!
    I never knew what fandom wars were or seen so many people fight for silly things like they were the mpst important in the world.
    I’ve kind of gone the route of the solitary fangirl because I was too shy to talk to people (except for the occasional comentary on blogs like this) and this gave me the opportunity to observe the fandom as an outsider. I’ve identified some shifts of interest and some people just leaving because they actually thought it’s not worthy it.
    Honestly, it has a been a very enlightening experience and also a very frustrating one. I’ve come to know a cultural and social phenomenon that I didn’t know about and I suppose that’s a good thing, but from an emotional point of view it’s sad that just as the boys get bigger in their careers, fans get more divided and quarrelsome.
    Something has to happen to this fandom to realize it’s not a worthy representation of its celebrities. I can hardly believe the Blue boys wishing for their fans to fight among themselves like this.
    Tkanks for the read. 🙂

    • omg my thoughts exactly!!!

      this experience is indeed an educational one. I just used to read about everything that happens in K-pop but I got to see it for myself and experience the sting sometimes. indeed, it’s frustrating especially since I’m not the type to get into a fandom and not care. but one has to learn to take a step back especially if it becomes too troublesome. it’s sad if it continues and worsens because I don’t think the band wants things to be like this. it’s counterproductive to their efforts. at the end of the day, the fandom will reflect on them but sometimes, all fans care is to get their way. which is not the way.

  2. Ah the fandom…my way of dealing with it is to just ignore what i don’t like and focus on the positive. No need to be sad or angry as that only takes away the fun of being in a fandom in the first place. Anyway for me, the music of CNBLUE is still worth the effort to stay and support them.

  3. I’ve never been a part of the CNB fandom as that’s just not my thing but I’ve been following the group’s progress since they were still just 4 unknowns in Japan. It has been disheartening to see how the fandom has deterioted over the years. CNB is not the only Korean act whom I’ve watched from the fringes and this is the way it almost without a fail seems to go in a kpop fandom as a group gains more popularity and success. It’s just very sad overall but because CNB has a special place in my ‘phanteon’ of Korean artists it feels even more sad. Sigh.

    As I have been, and still am I guess, part of other fandoms that are not music related, I do understand the joys of fangirling/boying with a group of likeminded individuals but when it comes to kpop… Well, it was solely music that brought me into the sphere and it’s music that’s kept me there.

    • to a certain extent, I’d like to blame the Korean agencies for the way they handle their talents and the fandoms. many may not agree but coming from a J-pop perspective, I’d rather that the agencies exercise control on the fandom because in the end, it’s their artists that will suffer the backlash if things get out of hand. and they wouldn’t want the success of their artists to be derailed by bad fandom behavior.

      I am still learning to filter the noise because the band’s music deserves the support.

      thanks for commenting!

  4. The Kpop concert tickets are really too expensive for average Filipinos. The Blue Moon’s concert tickets last year were more reasonably priced than this year’s concert.I went to their concert last year but decided not to watch Cant Stop. I wish they wont make it too expensive.

    • and I don’t understand why… of course yes, it takes money to bring artists and their staff overseas. But I can say the same for J-pop and yet you know where your money went when you go and watch a J-pop show: to the production value. my friends once described a K-pop show as similar to watching Filipino noontime shows lol

  5. it quite boggles me that the tickets of the last two kpop concerts here in Manila were more expensive than John Legend’s concert.The tickets this year are really expensive. I’ve been to a few Kpop concerts and thankfully I enjoyed them all and got my money’s worth. How I wish I can experience a Jpop concert but they never come here.

    • it’s because local promoters throw in all sorts of “perks” like fan meets, photo opportunities etc that’s why they give a premium price for it. oh, don’t forget the rehearsals pass or the backstage pass. I don’t know who is more exploited, the artists or the fans lol

  6. yeah these ”perks” I guess both fans and artists are being extremely exploited.
    I don’t really understand this local promoters sometimes, the tickets are ridiculously priced so of course more seats will be empty.if it’s reasonably priced more people could’ve enjoyed the concert.
    They’ll earn the same way anyway, why not show the artists a full packed venue rather than perform in a venue with embarrassingly empty sections.

    • exactly!!! selling the “exclusivity” does not entirely do the business good esp if you see empty seats. I really don’t get the business model esp when you know your market can barely afford it.

  7. Wow, it’s a loss for CNBLUE boys to lose a fan like you! It is so rare to find someone who bring some senses into fandom. I actually found your blog because of CNBLUE, and I really enjoy reading it.

    The topics are mostly about entertainment industry. But you see, I can see the insights of the posts. It is not just mere fangirling. It is about opinions, thoughts, personality, and many things beyond shrieking our idols’ names.

    I also stopped following several twitter accounts since I got tired seeing how the boys are followed, and in my opinion, being violated for their private lives. I found that I can live just following the official news from the agencies, and from their private social media accounts. *cough* I guess I love Shimba more now than his owner *cough*

    I also considered stopped watching their concert after Daegu, for it was so awesome I do not think I can experience it again. Well, I ended up in Kuala Lumpur last month because I really miss seeing them live. Again, I thought it was going to be my last CNBLUE concert. Anddd.. got the chance to see them live in Tokyo next month! And now, I also think that is going to be the last one. LOL.

    I hope you do not end up hating the boys. You know how love can turn to hate easily. As a BOICE, I really hope that your experiences following the boys in the last few months are great! Please just forget about the nasty fanwars and stuffs. Just think of the good ones 🙂

    • thank you for the comment!

      I’m just one of the countless of fans they have, it’s not really a loss. there will always be someone who will scream louder and be more loyal to them lol I’m just taking a step back though it’s difficult especially since I have my friends too. I still like their music XD

      wow lucky you to watch them in Japan! after CSPH I was thinking, should I go Japan? I really like Wave and it would be great to watch them perform the songs live. but right now, I’m taking one step at a time.

      thanks for reading!

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