Thursday, April 15, 2010

notes from a semi-pro kris allen tard, part 4

Day 2 of my Kris Allen fantarding when he was here in the Philippines last February resumed on Saturday (Manila concert day!), after two busy days that included a company outreach program and my catch-up marathon on the tasks I left that Wednesday I took my personal time off. I did manage to still lurk on the important blogs and message boards for some juicy new details like set list spoilers. Didn't watch the videos though -- a part of me still wants to get mesmerized on "my" night after all (yep, despite the numerous times I've seen his live performances).

I met fellow Kristard Anthony from Singapore at the hotel Kris was staying at. Apparently I missed his arrival from Cebu. He was able to get a picture with Torres though, and since we felt that they might not be going out (security-free) any time soon, we decided to head to the nearby mall to have lunch and buy markers, hoping to get some CDs signed.
  1. Make friends with fellow fans. While there will still be some sense of rivalry/competition (see: picture-taking, because everyone would want to be closer to the idol), a shared experience still makes the event more worth it. Especially if you're stalking alone.
(Side note: I actually planned to check in to the hotel myself but decided against it the last minute. I realized I will be at the venue longer than I will be at the hotel.)

We met Anthony's friend (yet another Singaporean Kristard) Jen at the mall during lunch, where we shared typical fan stories like who was the first celeb we stalked, why we like Kris, and so on. After lunch we went back to the hotel lobby and loitered there for about three more hours, meeting Lourdes (again!) and her friend.

By around 4PM I decided to change to my best "meet-and-greet" clothes and was ready to take off when Kris and the band arrived. Hm. I guess they went out for lunch after all. And he's wearing the freakin' shirt I gave him last Wednesday! I almost didn't notice, so given that and tight security (again), unfortunately I wasn't able to take a pic. I did made a mental note to scour the Internet for Cebu pictures later though, because apparently that was the same shirt he was wearing arriving in Manila from Cebu. And as I've mentioned in one of my previous posts, I was able to find one. Yay!

The call time for the M&G was 4:30PM and inasmuch as I was skeptical that it'll start on time, I didn't want to take chances. Anthony and Jen decided to come along with me too, so we left Lourdes and her friend in the hotel. Later I found out that they spotted Kris again going to the gym. In shorts!

As expected, we were one of the first people to arrive at the venue, which is still being set up. We heard Jabbawockeez and Boyce Avenue do their sound check, so part of me initially hoped that Kris will arrive early too...until I realized that they were probably the first one who did the sound check (them arriving back at their hotel at that time of day totally made sense). My fellow meet and greet winners arrived in trickles, and soon we also found out -- to our disappointment -- that there were lots of M&G passes given out. *sigh* This is expected, but you gotta admit, we've all fantasized for a more intimate setting for such an event as a meet and greet. After all, lesser people = more time to chat with the idol.

The next couple of hours were spent waiting, so we've covered again the usual conversation topics fans share. I found out that one of my co-winners is actually from Iloilo and has already watched the Cebu concert, then flew here to watch again. I also found out that I'm the oldest among the group. *sigh*

(Interesting observation: 3 of us 4 winners are male. This does not count the other fans that we've met in the M&G -- which included two additional two guys.)

We also brainstormed to strategies regarding the M&G, since we were anticipating the less desirable situations once we were there (e.g., it might be a group photo!). I suggested that perhaps we go in separately, either be the very first or the very last (usually the desirable positions, but of course with greater risks involved too).
  1. Keep your cool. This is similar to #5 in the sense that, in a sea of fellow tards, it's best to be the least cray-cray/starstruck (if you can help it).
Staying calm and focused helped me secure a place beside Kris during the predicted group photo (our strategy didn't work -- although one of us managed to get a solo pic) because when our time came to get a photo, I zoomed right there in front while most of the guys in the group looked kinda starstruck at first (that is, when they weren't busy making their way through the TON of organizer people and photographers there -- they can slow one even the more alert fans, you know). Then again, maybe meeting him last Wednesday helped a bit.

Keeping my cool also allowed me to start a small conversation with Kris. I told him that I saw him wearing the shirt I gave him, and he said something along the lines of "well, it is a cool shirt." :) *swoon*. Photo time came and and went (he put one of his arms on my shoulder!), and he thanked me for the shirt as we were leaving the area. *double swoon* On a high, our group went our separate ways, depending on which section and seat number our tickets dictate us to go.

The first two acts came and went, and I, who was seated at the VIP section (4th row) saw an opportunity to upgrade myself to the front row (no one was seated on one of the sections there). Granted it's more on the leftmost side and not really dead center, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. The seats were directly in front of my original seat anyway.

I think the bouncers/guards wouldn't have noticed me hadn't I started singing (loudly) along one girl from the audience who were asked by the hosts/VJs to sing some Kris Allen songs while the stage is being prepped. They asked if I was in my proper seat, and being honest, I said no but can they please please please let me stay anyway? After all, technically I'm still in the correct section, and no one is sitting on where I was anyway. After much hesitation, they finally relented, as long as I keep quiet. Hm. Quite an ironic request during a pop concert, but I said I'll try.
  1. Be nice to the "bad guys". As the adage goes, keep your friends close, your enemies closer.
The security detail were my main "enemies" at that time. As you can see, being polite to them despite their tendency for ass-hatery yielded some perks. Later in the evening, I politely asked one of them if it's okay to stand up; apparently Kris is getting impression that people were sitting down (at least in the front) because they're bored/sleepy/tough. Manong guard says no ("it'll block the view"). I asked him again, this time for permission to go near the barricade to take pictures. Still no.

Okay then. I just sat and sang along the set list I've known by heart. Because I had another trick up my sleeve:
  1. Spoilers sometimes help. This tip may not apply to all, especially to those who want to keep their own suspense building. Me, I don't mind some spoilers here and there -- in fact, I tend to look for spoiler on almost everything that I like (TV shows, etc.) because it makes me anticipate how they will unfold later in real life, or when I get to see it.
Remember when I said I was keeping tabs on the Cebu spoilers? Well, I heard that during his performance of "Alright With Me" there, he went to the crowd and called several people to join him onstage to sing the "yeah yeah yeah" part (similar to what he did in one of his Las Vegas gigs before). Given my proximity, I was willing to take a chance.

Also remember that I was sitting "politely"? When Kris started playing "Alright With Me" I started to put my camera and phone (I was live-tweeting) back in my bag poised to execute my plan. After the second chorus, when I noticed that Kris put down his guitar, I took that as a sign that he's about to go down the stage, so I quickly ran to the barricades and raised my hand just as Kris finished saying he will pick some members of the audience.
"I see some takers..."
I saw Manong guard rushing towards me with a disapproving look on his face, motioning me to get the hell back to my place, I brushed him off quickly and said "wait lang!". For Chrissakes, I think Kris saw my raised hand!
"Come on up, man!"
I was the first one to be called. It turned out that I was the only guy called onstage.

(Side note: I actually almost didn't get onstage, as I was blocked by the bouncers in the exit. I guess they didn't see me getting called, and of course saying that "he called me!" turned out to be the same excuse everyone else is using. Fortunately, one of the other guards finally did recognize me. Whew! Gotta give it to the bouncers, though -- they sure are tough.)

I could rave about the other songs Kris sang during the concert (better check out his rocked out version of Falling Slowly/With or Without You mash-up!) and proclaim that he is one of the most entertaining performers I've witnessed (he really is). But given that this is already 2 months delayed -- other reviews from fans have since been posted and better, funnier performances from Kris have since appeared on YouTube -- I'll end my post here. I can't believe I spouted 12 tips along the way, but there you go. Hopefully someone will benefit from this and the previous posts the next time.

Meanwhile, below is a video of "Alright With Me". See how cray-cray I have become. :P LOL!

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