Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The 2AM Experience: from a non-fan but married to one

I never really imagined myself writing an article about Korean bands, much less 2AM. But thanks to my wife who is a huge fan of the group, I have been immersed in their pop culture whenever she gets the opportunity, whether I like it or not. Im not saying I dont like 2AM, or the very least Korean music. I guess its a new thing for me, since im rather loyal to Japanese music more than anything else foreign in an Asian kind of way.

Anyways, again my wife is a big fan of the Korean Boy Band 2AM that when the announcement came that they will be visiting the Philippines in a 4 day "Meet and Greet" tour, she was ecstatic so say the least. They were slated to visit on April 27 to 30. She planned to attend the meet and greet on April 29 Venetian Mall and April 30 Eastwood City. In fairness to her, she never forced me to accompany her, she was always giving me the option to duck out whenever the opportunity presents itself, but being the diligent husband who worries that her wife, despite being physically capable of defending herself, might be too overwhelmed by a stampede of hundreds of raving drooling fangirls.

It was the Eastwood leg that I was able to attend and witness part of the event. Part because I wasnt really in the event itself, I opted to wait for her at Green Leaf and Tea cafe situated right behind the stage across the mall's open area fountains. Its a good 100 feet away from what I would imagine a sea of girly chaos once 2AM shows up and I would imagine being safely tucked behind 100 feet of distance, two layers of glass walls and a pair of earphones listening to the sound effects of Star Craft 2 cranked up on the highest volume possible.

I enjoy listening to foreign music, and thus its foreign musicians. When I was into Japanese music, I made it a point to know the songs and the singers, trying to translate the lyrics, knowing their backgrounds and how they came to be. Knowing all that history made the appreciation more meaningful, and not just asian sounding voices who just happen to look pretty and jive well with the beat. That's what my wife was doing when 2AM came into the music scene. She has been into the Korean pop-culture long before K-Fever was even prominant in the Philippine social scene.

The moment 2AM showed up, the screams of fans penetrated the distance and whatever object blocking the tidal wave of high pitch hell. I dont want to imagine how my wife's eardrums survived being in ground zero.

Now it made me wonder, as 2AM strode up onstage and started to speak a dabble of english and lots of korean, if the audience actually appreciate or understand what they were talking about onstage, knowing fully well that chances are 98% of the fans dont know a single word of Korean. Back in my cafe lair I could hardly hear any of 2AM's voices out of the screaming shrills of their fans. Its like listening to the announcers at the World Cup with vuvuzulas in the background.

In my wife's defense, she wasnt one of those insane screamers, she herself was extremely annoyed with them as she was there to listen to 2AM's voices and not from their fans. She controlled her urge to rip throats as she strived to listen to their voices especially when they started singing their ballads. Again, with the issue of language being lost in translation, I often wonder if 2AM's heartfelt songs probably written with such emotion actually recieved the proper response from a crowd who knows nothing of what they were talking about.

Chang Min belting out "You wouldn't answer my calls", a supposedly tearful ballad of trying to get back to the one you love, is cruelly cheered upon by hundreds of non-Korean-speaking Filipino women who wouldnt care less about the song and secretly wished they'd rather strip onstage. Of course that statement is up for debate, and i expect one from my wife when i get home later. :P

I heard from my wife that 2AM never expected to have such a huge non-korean fan following, which adds them to the long list of surprised celebrities who never thought that somewhere in the world, in an island populated by people who look like Mexicans, somehow their influence have such great value and their lack of interest to actually visit such island on a daily basis had given such neglected fans so much pent-up emotion that the only way they can release it is something akin to a phenomenon called a sonic boom.

Guile would have been proud.

My wife, despite disappointments that the event fell short thanks to certain mismanagement of expectations, she was happy enough to have gotten the experience and seen 2AM in person. We listen to their songs almost everyday while driving to work, and I must admit, just like the Brown Eyed Girls, the group 2AM and their songs grew on me, especially after hearing certain histories of each member, particularly Jo Kwon (who I was shocked to have realized it was that rubber-bodied comedian in this weird teen gameshow my wife watches on the Korean cable channel). She also told me that 2AM was so impressed with the fan base here that they're considering coming back for a second tour.

Remind me to bring thicker earmuffs.

Note: My wife was apparently impressed with my article she posted it as a "review" on her website, take time to visit as well, hehe.

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