CNBLUE: The Blue Moon at the Big Dome
For the evening of the 15th of June 2013, the Blue Moon loomed over the Philippines. In the span of two hours, it shone brightly and perfectly over the Big Dome. Thousands of hardcore Boices, K-poppers and concert enthusiasts filled out every seat of the venue. Made possible by Pulp Live World, CNBLUE finally included Manila as a pit stop for their renowned Blue Moon World Tour. Their previous stops had included Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei and Bangkok.
Jung Yonghwa, Lee Jonghyun, Lee Jungshin and Kang Minhyuk took our country by a screaming, flailing storm. You’ve seen these boys in the Korean dramas “You’re Beautiful”, “Hearstrings”/”You’ve Fallen for Me” and “A Gentleman’s Dignity” which had all aired in Philippine local television. Beyond their good looks and their interesting personalities both onstage and offstage, CNBLUE is composed of four guys who are musicians to their core. Different from the typical K-pop acts, CNBLUE is essentially a rock band, playing their own instruments and composing a great number of their own songs. Lately, even our local hit charts have been invaded by their recent releases.
The day before their concert, CNBLUE’s first ever free public press conference was held at SM Megamall, causing a huge uproar in the Metro. Thousands of rabidly devoted fangirls filled up every possible point of access in every floor of the venue. Some were slumped down on the floor, peeping through the glass in between. Patient and unwavering, the Boices had waited for the entire day and withstood the smolderingly anxious pits just to catch as much as a glimpse of the guys. It was intense, to say the least, but well, if there’s anything that K-pop fans have proven over the years, that reaction was just a portion of the amount of energy they can muster.
The Big Dome was completely packed during the evening of the Blue Moon concert. All the VIP and patron seats had sold out a few days prior, causing the organizers to open up the general admission section to accommodate more people. Thousands and thousands of Boices flocked the Big Dome, many of them travelling from provinces around the Philippines just to see the band for one evening. Majority of the crowd were garbed in the official sparkling CNBLUE shirts, customized Boice paraphernalia, handmade banners and the official Blue Moon light sticks. Dressed to kill, they wholeheartedly enjoy the concert, proving to be one of the loudest and liveliest crowds in Manila.
From the beginning to the farewell bow, the Big Dome was a roaring sea of blue lights. A few minutes past 8:00, the stage burned a brilliant blue, with the CG-directed introductory video of the band members preparing themselves for the show. With spherical lights framing the center, three massive panels (the biggest one in the center and one on each side) and the widest array of lightings, the stage looked extravagantly stunning. The stage also featured a ramp on the sides that the band walked in at the middle of the concert. Even though I had been to a lot of other concerts, the set-up for Blue Moon was still, without a shadow of doubt, mindblowing. Being there felt like a different world entirely.
The opening riffs of “Where You Are” rang throughout the Dome and the four members made their appearance. Instantly, the crowd was raving. Followed by”Get Away” and “One Time”. After that, Yonghwa, the band’s frontman, shouted in Filipino, “Magandang gabi! Kami ay CNBLUE!” as he welcomed the audience to the Blue Moon.
The set list was well planned out, dividing CNBLUE’s songs from the mellow to the heavy ones or as Yonghwa playfully called it: “DSM” or “Dark, Sexy, Metal”. The mellow set included “Love Light”, “Feeling”, “These Days” and “Y, Why”. The DSM set, on the other hand, included “Just Please”, “In My Head”, “Intuition”, “I’m A Loner” and the hit “I’m Sorry”.
Theatrics aside, the show was very much driven by the characteristic passion of the four boys. All of them made a special effort to learn a few Filipino words such as “sabay-sabay”, “kamusta”, “Masaya ba kayo?” They even introduced themselves in Filipino. Despite the awkwardness present in their accents, they spoke with utmost sincerity.
Yonghwa, true to being the leader of the band, pulled out all his energy and charisma to win over the crowd. He sang and shouted ecstatically to psych up the Big Dome. He even went as far as pulling off a few weird shoulder dances in some songs. Really, his natural dorkiness and playfulness were both funny and endearing.
The taciturn guitarist and occasional vocalist, Jonghyun, rarely said anything, but he definitely made himself heard with his formidable guitar-playing skills and of course, his silk-like vocals. Add to that, every time the screen focuses on him, the crowd went into a radical frenzy.
Jungshin, the band’s bassist and rapper, was brimming with words and ideas for the audience. Next to Yonghwa, Jungshin made a lot of effort to speak to the crowd, unrelentingly catching the audience’s fervor whenever he spoke.
The fourth but definitely not the least member is Minhyuk, the band’s drummer, who despite being stationed at the back, still stood out. He had this positive aura that made him look like he was greatly enjoying himself. He smiles a lot. Although he only spoke rarely, he expressed his gratitude to the fans and even claimed that he loves lechon and jeepneys.
Compared to other concerts, K-pop concerts connect with the audience in a more personal level, and CNBLUE’s Blue Moon definitely achieved that. From their obviously arduous attempts to communicate with the audience in both English and Filipino, their naturally funny quirks, to the extravagant and explosive productions, they managed to give the audience the time of their lives. During the encore, the audience had prepared a surprise for Yonghwa’s upcoming birthday. The other three spoke in complete Filipino (from reading out of small papers) as they executed the surprise for him. People in the patron seats wore party hats while some in the upper box held up a huge letter-by-letter greeting. Altogether, they sang Happy Birthday, which highly amused Yonghwa and even said that it was a special evening for him. Among other things, who would forget the left-right confusion initiated by Jungshin before they performed “Love”? And well, Yonghwa’s “I love you, Singapore” stunt and the immediate “I love Philippines!” recoil at the end of the ad-lib song?
Seeing CNBLUE was definitely a momentous experience for everyone who was there. It was great, explosive fun to see those guys take the stage in our homeland along with a horde of people who love the band. Hopefully, it would invite more K-pop acts to visit our country. Right now, we can only hope for that. Meanwhile, we treasure the memories of the evening that the Blue Moon shone over the Philippines.
Blue Moon Tour: CN BLUE live in Manila was presented by PULP LIVE WORLD
Written by Sandra Mae Laureano
CNBLUE Live in Manila Setlist
Where You Are
Have a Goodnight
La La La
In My Head
I’m a Loner
You’ve Fallen for Me
Try Again, Smile Again
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