CNBLUE storms Manila

Patricia Esteves - The Philippine Star

They’re not your typical K-Pop boy band. They don’t sing to pre-recorded music or dance to pop beats in synchronized moves. Meet CNBLUE, one of South Korea’s famous rock bands.

MANILA, Philippines - The band quietly slipped into the country for a special concert last night at the Araneta Coliseum, part of its Blue Moon world tour, which took the group to Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Australia. The group will continue its concert in North America and Europe, according to concert promoters.

CNBLUE consists of Jung Hyong-hwa (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Lee Jong-hyun (lead guitar, vocals), Lee Jung-shin (bass guitar, vocals) and Kang Min-hyuk (drum, vocals). The group originally started in Japan in 2009. It debuted in Korea in 2010 and popularized heartbreak songs I’m a Loner and I’m Sorry.

The group has a massive following in Asia, particularly in Japan and Taiwan. In the Philippines, I’m Sorry ranked No. 1 in the MYX daily chart for several weeks. CNBLUE has a Filipino fans club which has 5,000 members.

Chaos ensued at the open press conference of CNBLUE last Friday when thousands of the band’s fans trooped to the activity center of SM Megamall despite the threat of (and eventual) heavy downpour.

Charmi Asuncion, an 18-year-old student from PUP, said she and her classmates went to the venue as early as 5 a.m. to get the best seats. So many CNBLUE fans endured long hours of standing just to see the boys in the flesh.

Another die-hard fan, Chloie Natividad, was oblivious to the overcrowding, pushing and shoving at the second floor. 

“I hurt my knee but it’s OK, I don’t want to miss this opportunity,” she said.

The press conference was scheduled to start at 2 p.m. but was delayed for two hours. To kill time, the organizers held fun games and gave out free tickets to the winners.

Each time the fans thought that the CNBLUE boys were heading to the venue, they screamed; real throaty voices that gathered crescendo until they became wild squeals. That’s the ritual in any K-pop meet and greet or a concert, and it always has been. K-pop stars and even the fans and reporters covering K-pop events have to endure all that eardrum assault. 

That’s why efforts of the hosts — Kring Elenzano, FHM hottie Jinri Park and TV Patrol reporter Gretchen Fullido — to keep the frenzied crowd at bay went futile.

“Please calm down, the boys will not come out if you scream too loud because they will feel threatened. Korean security is all over and they will pull out the boys, so please do not shout,” Park said.

But this fell on deaf ears because as soon as the boys came, fans let out ear-piercing screams.

CNBLUE boys seemed delighted and not too mind with Hyong-hwa even telling the crowd to “make some noise.”

During the interview portion, the boys said they’re grateful at the overwhelming display of love and support of their Filipino fans.

The boys got wild cheers when they talked in Tagalog words “Magandang hapon,” “Salamat” and “Mabuhay.”

“Magandang hapon po, ako si Min-Young,” one of the members said, further drowning the mall in shrieks.

Min-Hyuk is the most popular among the group, being the most charming, gushed fan Charmi. “I’ve dreamed of seeing his cute face and pillow lips, now my dream has come true.”

The CNBLUE boys said they felt honored to finally perform for Filipino fans.

“It’s our first time here and we are very, very happy. We’re really excited to meet our Filipino fans,” said Min-Hyuk.

The band appreciates the fact that Filipinos love its music even if it’s in Korean.

During the fun games, Pinoy teenagers even sang excerpts of the group’s songs.

“I’ve studied to write and speak Korean because of CNBLUE,” Charmi said.

Meanwhile, the boys said they would love to visit Cebu, if given the time and opportunity. They are very eager to try Filipino food as well, even asking for suggestions on what to eat. A fan shouted “Balut,” and the others, “adobo and sisig.”

Meanwhile, Hyong-hwa said he would love to star in a Filipino drama. His Korean dramas Hearstrings and You’re Beautiful, opposite actress Park Shin-hye, were aired over ABS-CBN in 2011 and 2012.

CNBLUE looks forward to more world tours, particularly coming back to the Philippines to perform as frequently as they can for Pinoy fans.

Hyong-hwa, who will celebrate his 25th birthday on June 22, was given an early birthday treat during the press conference. The crowd sang Happy Birthday and gave him a huge cake. He blew the candle and said: â€œThis is my best birthday ever, you guys are the best.”

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