*Warning: Lots of Pictures ahead*
Let me just say:
The good money I paid for my Rain concert tickets?
That $400 bucks I spent - it was worth every single friggin' cent.
The entire evening, I screamed myself hoarse, waved and clapped just like all the other rabid females fans around me.
Bi was LESS THAN 5 METRES away from where we sat!
I was really blown away by where our seats were. It was just so friggin' PERFECT! I swear those had to be the best seats in the house. The $888 seats are right in front of the stage, so the good bit is that you get to watch everything from the front, instead of the side like us, but there is a huge gap between the stage and those seats, and they aren't elevated, so not only is the audience further away from Bi, they would have to look up to see the performance.
As for our seats, I had seen the seating plan, of course, but I had not expected to be just next to the stage. I thought we would be in one of the closer sections, but not close enough to see him in person and maybe we had to rely on the big screen monitors.
The stage is rectangular with little diagonal cutouts at the left and right front corners. We were sitting right in front of one of the diagonal sections - stage left, centre of the 3rd row. When I saw where we were gonna be seated, I got all excited - I was like, Wow, we're actually close enough to see Rain!
Thanks SO much to Meips who got us the discounted tickets, and the great seats!
OK, now that I've gotten that bit out of the way, here's the story of the evening:
Jenny and I had it all planned out: She drove to my place at 6pm, and we took one car to the concert. She had arranged for us to park at her friend SK's condo to avoid any possible post concert jams. His place is right opposite the Indoor Stadium, just need to cross the bridge to get there. He had even given her the keycard so we could get access into his carpark.
But before that, we went to a nearby food centre for dinner - Jenny said that there was a really good wanton mee stall there, but it wasn't open. So we settled for laksa instead. As we were eating it, I was praying that I wouldn't be so suay as to get a stomach upset right in the middle of the concert!
After we parked, we took a slow stroll across to the Indoor Stadium.
There were already lines forming at the toilets and at the entrances.
This was around 7.20 or so. But we got in smoothly, took a toilet break and proceeded to our seats. The ushers directed us and as we walked towards them, we got increasingly more excited as we realised how close we were going to be.
We started fooling around with the complementary fans that were given out, and started taking pictures, much to the amusement of the security personnel who were stationed around the stage. They must have thought that we were a bit crazy. But there were really excited fans all around - the lady to the right of Jenny had called her friend to tell her about how close she was to the stage, and another lady at the back of me had just spotted her friend across the stadium and was speaking giddily into her mobile.
As you can see, I'm wearing my specs so that I can get a clear view of Bi!
Jenny with the fans!
Me in front of the stage
Here we are, seated
People were streaming in slowly.
The concert started late, around 8.30 and just before it started, I think I saw JY Park (his manager) who came from backstage and went straight to the sound people, presumably to give some last minute instructions.
Oh, and Jenny and I also got filmed by the camera man! Not sure what it was for, but the camera man looked Korean so I assume he's part of Rain's entourage. We posed and smiled away for the camera, hee hee! Jenny was like, "Ooh, ooh, maybe Rain will see us when he watches the video!" Cynical old me declared, "Please, they will probably edit us out!" Although, that is a nice thought! Wonder if they will produce a Rain in Singapore Concert DVD? I will most definitely buy!
Here's the stage curtain, and that's Rain's own little sign, whatever it means. You should have heard the crowd go when there started to be some movement behind the curtain!
The show kicked off with a myriad of water bubbles gurgling and rumbling on the giant LED screens. A mock submarine came into sight, exploding onstage...
And tada, Bi appeared!!! bursting into his opening song, It's Raining. It was a spectacular sight! The crowd, 7000 strong and about 95% women, went wild! (Clip 1 , Clip 2, Clip 3)
Check out my photos of him - we were this close:
OK, to do the man justice, here's a better picture of him (not taken by me)
Bi, in person, does not look very tall on stage - although he is in fact 1.84m. He also looks thinner - either that or he lost some weight on tour with all that crazy dancing. And his abs are really that good. Initially, when I saw the Rain's World album cover, I thought to myself - there must have been some serious photo-shopping done there. But honestly, the man's (I feel almost like I should say "boy" instead, dammit!) abs are really pretty damn good! And he's a hottie! This guy really does know how to work the crowd. Lots of cheeky grins as he flirted with the audience.
The first time he came around to where we were - right in front of us doing his little moves, he was literally, looking right straight at us (Or so I would like to believe - our row happens to be eye-level with the stage)
I was like - I can SEE Rain! OMG, Rain IN THE FLESH! His face, everything! Even those famous slitty eyes of his! ...But wait! If I can see him so clearly, it means that he can see me too! And I was all freaked out (loser...) But then, I managed to regain my composure and we started waving at him (oops, is that too groupie- like??)
love this shot
the Rain machine...
one of his final songs - with the animated wings from his Rain's World album. Sorry lah, I'm off centre - the wings should be directly behind him.
He was really playing up the crowd - calling his fans "baby" or rather, "my babies" and teasing the poor audience by pretending to take off his shades, and then not. Of course when they finally did come off, the crowd went wild.
His English has improved tremendously - he spoke a fair bit. He's definitely improved based on his previous interviews and videos that I've seen. Although, I really would have liked it if he had spoken some Korean. He's got this weird American accent going and besides, I think he sounds more charming in Korean.
As expected of any Rain concert, the requisite chest baring, rain scenes etc were all there. Oh boy, and those moves of his - *lots* of chest pumping, gyrating, pelvic thrusting, bumping and grinding, I kid you not. For one of his songs, In My Bed, he was right in front of us when he executed this move so hot I can't even describe here for fear that my PC might short circuit.
Watch it here - the person who took this must have been sitting in our section.
Jenny, the closet Rain fan (I call her this because she's been defending her ticket purchase by blaming it on me - she's just accompanying this crazy groupie friend, you see) really liked that move, and conceded that Rain (pardon the language) "has quite a tight ass", "is a charmer" and "is quite cute in real life." All of which I heartily agree.
And get this - midway through the concert he threw towels (that he used to wipe his perspiration) at the audience. OK, I can see how this might gross out non-Rain fans, but you can imagine the ruckus that caused with the crowd. Anyways - he threw stuff (towels & flowers) 4 times, in various sections of the audience. When he reached our little section, he pretty much aimed and threw the towel in our direction! I was feeling faint as I realised that one of us *actually* might catch it, and I think I temporarily blacked out at that point (loser...) But Jenny, who had her hands stretched out caught it! The top of the towel that is...but then the evil uncle who was sitting a row below us used his 2 hands to yank the towel away from her!!!! So evil right?
And there's a good reason why I call him evil. Him, his wife and daughter didn't even seem that interested in the Rain concert. None of them looked excited that they had caught the towel. So evil - why did he have to deprive Rain fans? Of all people, an uncle. I would rather have had the girl in the first row (who seemed like an enthusiastic fan) get it. What is the likelihood an uncle is a Rain fan? Jenny and I decided that Rain, of all the people he could pick, would not have aimed the towel at an uncle. And so we concluded that the towel had been meant for her :) But she, his sane adoring fan would be adult about it and let it go. Her only consolation, in her own words were that "I touched his sweat!" Eeuw.
The concert was fabulous - I really enjoyed the dancing and the choreography - this guy sure has a lot of energy! The visuals, in particular were very good - there were several curved LED screens, which played a load of videos and animation that merged with the live performance (e.g. see the photo of Rain with the animated wings) It was all really quite impressive. Jenny, who's a more avid concert goer than me, said it's the best she's seen in a long time. And for those who say that Bi is a Michael Jackson copycat, I'm glad that he executed some really cool choreography which made use of Chinese martial art moves - the drunken fist to be precise. It was pretty cool, something unusual that I haven't seen before.
The sound was not so great - there was some feedback and also I think because of where we were seated, the music sounded a little loud and sometimes not quite synchronised with the singing. But hell, it's a Rain concert! Audio can take a back seat to Visuals.
There was the (what I presume to be) Singapore chapter of Cloud, Rain's fan club who were seated in the centre - they bore lighted placards saying "비" and other stuff in Korean that I couldn't understand. There was the usual "Jung Ji-Hoon, Jung Ji-Hoon" chants (Jenny, was doing her own little "Daehan Minguk"* clap-clap-clap cheer in the background - I had to remind her that it was more appropriate for events like the World Cup) Thank goodness I didn't hear any "saranghae, oppa" or anything similar. There was a really big Rain fan just opposite from us, and she was waving a giant placard and dancing wildly along to his songs - it was just so fun to see people really enjoying themselves!
*Daehan Minguk = 大韓民國, a more formal name for Korea and literally meaning "Great Han People's Nation
In total, Rain did about 20 songs, a mix from all his albums, but mostly from his 3rd and 4th (latest) albums - songs like I Do, 나쁜 남자 Nappeun Namja, 악수 Handshake, Touch Ya, I'm Coming, It's Raining, 태양을 피하는 방법 How to Avoid the Sun, In My Bed, etc. Sadly, he didn't sing 익숙치 않아서 Can't Get Used to It which is one of my favs.
He said goodbye about 1.5 hours later, but promised another 2 final songs, and came back for an encore of a medley of his songs, during which confetti and streamers were released, covering the entire Indoor stadium in white. Jenny and I kept the silver streamers as a souvenir (since, you know, we didn't get the bloody towel)
After the concert - can you see all the white confetti on the floor?
Stage post concert
As we were leaving, there was a jam at the exit...because there was a booth there selling Rain memorabilia, like dogtags, calendars, keychains, postcards, program books, cutout standees etc. Much as I was tempted to buy the standee, I thought that would be a little too much, and so I settled for a picture with his poster instead :)
For the full set of my photos, go here
Clips of Rain in Singapore
Rain arriving at Changi airport + Interview with CNA
MBC Coverage of Rain's Concert (incl. some decent clips of the concertand interviews with fans)
Rain's Arrival, Press Con & Interview by Channel U
Post Concert Articles & Reviews
My Paper 23.01.07
p/s: Is this like my longest post, ever? =P
Unfortunately, the evening did not go completely smoothly. Besides the towel incident, there was also the "Sit down" incident. Shortly into the first song (when people, including ourselves started standing up), Jenny whispered to me that the Aunty behind her was insisting that she sit down. The aunty (including her daughter and her daughter's boyfriend) kept slapping Jenny's arm from behind and told her loudly to sit down. The boyfriend also gave us a dirty look and telling us to sit. We tried to explain that if we sat, we couldn't see because the people in front of us were all standing. I suppose they expected us to tell the people in front to sit down too. I was perfectly happy with them standing - I figured that this was a Rain concert, not a classical music concert, and so standing and enjoying the music was perfectly acceptable. So we continued standing, but poor Jenny kept getting harassed and prodded by the Aunty. Still unhappy, the wet blankets finally got the ushers to make everyone sit down. The uncle in front of us (yes, the same evil one) also gave dirty looks to anyone who was standing and kept shouting "Sit down" every once in a while - how annoying is that?
Our only vindication came when Rain came by our section and shouted "Stand up, Stand up" to all of us, as he encouraged us to get into the mood of the fast number he was doing. So we all stood up and those people couldn't say anything! Hee hee!
Now I wish I was Xiaxue, so that I can properly lambaste all these F***** idiots.
I try not to be vulgar, but I say this because what happened really pissed me off. I was really looking forward to the concert, had paid good money but felt like the evening was marred by this happening. I had a feeling that these people all got free tickets or something. They weren't here because they really liked Rain and wanted to watch him perform. They didn't look excited or enthusiastic at all during the concert - just kind of slumped in their seats. And for the record, these are the same people who left before the concert ended, presumably to avoid any post concert traffic jams. If they're not that interested, then please don't go to the concert and put a damper on other people who really want to be there. Even if it wasn't the right ettiquette for us to stand, couldn't they have asked nicely? It just wasn't right, how rude they went about it. Poor Jenny was pretty traumatised - both of us hate confrontation, but at the same time, we really wanted to get the most out of our concert experience. So we really didn't want to end up having to pick a fight with these people.
In the end, we still had some people in front of us standing - thankfully I could still see Rain when I sat down, so I compromised and decided not to make a fuss. Although I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if everyone had been standing and dancing along to his music. It's just not the same sitting down.
Is it inconsiderate for us to stand at a concert? Moreover a concert like Rain's??? We have a good mind to write into Forum to air our views.