FANS of Beast, the top Korean-pop male “idol” act, left Smart Araneta in Cubao March 19 with a mixture of happiness and sadness.
Happiness obviously because the boy band had finally come back after five years.
The first and last time they had been here was in 2010 when they were a mere rookie act, but already quite accomplished, having won the Rookie of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards from key Korean music award-giving bodies.
They have since been named back-to-back Artist of the Year in the Melon Awards (2011, 2012), with a string of hits and a discography with quality and diversity that can shame even the more senior Big Bang.
It is not for nothing that Billboard has named Beast the “most consistent K-pop act.”
And sadness because Beast’s Manila homecoming was a “fan meeting” and not a concert.
The Ordinary Fan Meeting (OFM), as it was called (after Beast latest hit album “Ordinary,” named one of the Top 10 Albums of 2015), did not include Jang Hyunseung, the lead singer who was sorting out some personal problems, according to Cube Entertainment, Beast’s management.
The sadness was understandable since Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia (where there are legions of B2UTYs or Beauties, as Beast’s female fans are known), had long wanted to witness the idol act’s legendary “Beautiful Show” concert.
But Song Dongwoon, the maknae or youngest member, had apparently felt the bittersweet feelings of B2UTYs so that at the close of OFM, he declared:
“We’ll come back for a concert and we’ll enjoy taho!”
It turned out Son was familiar with the native tofu since he had stayed for a year in the Philippines to learn English before joining Beast.
‘From Sta. Rosa’
In fact, at the opening of OFM, after performing a breathless set of hit songs such as “Good Luck” and “Gotta Go to Work,” when Beast introduced themselves one by one, Dongwoon opened, “Hi! I’m Son Dongwoon from Sta. Rosa!”
He was referring to the Laguna City where he stayed and attended English classes.
Beast showed its unflagging sense of humor when main vocalist Yang Yoseob, always mistaken as maknae for his baby-faced demeanor, followed up Dongwoon’s introduction: “Hi! I’m Yang Yoseob from Korea!”
Though it might have taken them six years to return to the country, it was as if they had never really left, especially for Filipino B2UTYs who had remained loyal and supportive of the multiawarded K-pop group.
And Beast more than made up for the long absence.
Produced by Cube Entertainment and All Access Productions, OFM saw Beast performing their more recent hits (so no “Soom,” “Shock,” and “Fiction,” sigh!) and engaging their fans through games and taking selfies using lucky audience-members’ phones.
Louine Hope Conserva, a diehard fan of Lee Kikwang, dancer and singer of Beast, said she had to fly in from Iloilo where she was based.
Despite literally going the extra mile to be with Kikwang and Beast, she said every moment of the OFM was memorable.
“From the moment they appeared on stage, I was telling myself, ‘Finally they are here!’” Conserva said.
She added she couldn’t really concentrate on the whole encounter “because naiiyak na lang talaga ako (I was in tears all the time).”
Evincing her expertise on all things Beast, she said she was particularly gratified Beast chose Manila to perform for the first time in a fan meeting outside Korea its choreography of “Suite Room,” a moody, sexy song from the “Ordinary” mini-album.
“And they did it here!” she exclaimed.
“I made this vow that I would never watch any concert unless it (was) B2ST’s,” she said. “That theirs would be the first… (I had dreamed of being a) part of the b2utyful dark gray ocean. And it was worth the wait!”
But she added: “Hope to see them in their first concert here.”
With Dongwoon’s promise, Conserva left the fan meeting with much hope. Next time she comes to Manila for the concert, though, she would have to bring taho.