(An Indonesian blogpost is available here, with different pictures)
There are many ways in which a concert can go wrong.
Chaotic ticketing, weak security, blasted (not blasting!) sound system, electricity breakdown, LCD malfunction… lots.
There are also times in which a concert is well designed and prepared, then something unexpected messes it up: overexcited fans.
That was what happened during BABA B1A4 Showcase in Gandaria City, Jakarta. That day, March 12, 2013 was hellishly hot, but the fans were lucky that the mini-concert was held in a hall situated in a fully air-conditioned shopping mall. They started queuing since about 10 in the morning, although doors would be opened at 18.00 while the showcase would start at 19.00. There was no problem during the wait, though: but when the showcase started, soon it became apparent that some fans were way too enthusiastic.
These fans were mostly the ones who had formed line since the early morning and filled the front rows. They began pushing each other as soon as the five members of B1A4 appeared on stage after a colourful, Liechtenstein-styled opening VCR. B1A4 opened their set with the cheerful ‘Beautiful Target’ and ‘Bling Girl’, followed by a chitchat session. B1A4 introduced themselves, mostly in Indonesian. Fans screamed so loud when Gongchan said “Saya Gongchan yang imut,” (I’m cute Gongchan) while putting one of his fingers on his cheek.
During the talk session, the MC asked what Indonesian food B1A4 had tasted. They said they liked sate madura and nasi goreng—which Sandeul said was similar to Korean bok keum bab, although it tasted differently. Their talk was difficult to be heard in the midst of continuous screaming of fans, who seemed unfamiliar with an event format that includes talk sessions.
The next question was If the members were girls, which B1A4 members they would like date? Sandeul chose Gongchan, because the maknae was very kind-hearted, and he thought he could eat a lot if he dated Gongchan. CNU too said he’d date Gongchan, who now looked a bit embarassed but lifted up two fingers anyway to mark the number of members who had chosen him so far. And as for Gongchan, who would he choose? He said Sandeul with his warm personality. Poor CNU! Jinyoung chose CNU though, whom he said was a great person to talk with. Baro chose himself, the ‘funny and handsome’ one.
And as B1A4 members were answering the next question—about Where they wanted to go in Indonesia (‘Dunia Fantasi’ said Gongchan, ‘Bali’ said Sandeul)—the situation on the front rows was already too difficult to handle. Fan after fan fainted and the guards had to take them away. B1A4 members looked very worried, and Jinyoung’s repeated ‘Relax!’ and Baro’s and CNU’s pleas to the crowd went unheeded. The showcase then had to be paused so that crowd could be controlled again. While guards handed out bottled water, the MC asked everyone to sit down on the floor. The showcase wouldn’t be started again if there were still fans that stood up. “If you won’t sit down, it’s better if you leave,” said the MC.
About 20-30 minutes passed before finally everything was under control again. We bet B1A4 too didn’t expect their Indonesian fans were as crazy as this. They returned onstage, not resuming the chitchat session, but continuing with If and Chu Chu Chu. Afterwards, there was a surprise from Indonesian BANAs: a giant yellow birthday cake for Sandeul—whose birthday was actually on the 20th. The whole audience sang happy birthday for him, and he tried a batik shirt on, while Gongchan—his chosen imaginary date—held his jacket and helped him put it on again later.
Next was the couple game, in which 5 lucky BANAs—chosen randomly by drawing ticket stubs from a bowl—were welcomed onstage to imitate romantic movie posters with B1A4 members. The couples had to draw a numbered card. The first to play was Baro pair, who had to re-enact famous Titanic poster; while CNU pair had to hug each other like New Moon poster. Sandeul pair got a BOMB card though, which meant they didn’t get to imitate any poster and had to take Polaroid pictures of the other couples instead. Leader Jinyoung pair had to pose like Saus Kacang poster—if you don’t know the movie, it meant that Jinyoung had to carry the girl on his back. Gongchan pair got ‘MC choice’ card and the MC asked the maknae to backhug the girl.
If unchosen fans thought their torture was over, it was not. While the other four girls were ushered off the stage, the girl who got the BOMB card was asked to stay. She was asked to sit on a chair, and B1A4 members gathered around her. Sandeul asked, “Mau melakukan apa?” (What do you want to do?) Yes—the girl was pampered with so many loving gestures and gifts by the boys during What Do You Want to Do. Jealous screams hit the ceiling!
After the song, Jinyoung and Sandeul were left onstage to do ‘kiyomi player’ while the other three members changed clothes. At one point, Jinyoung and Sandeul asked Baro’s mic to be turned on so that they could ask him what he’s doing. When Baro answered “I’m changing clothes, I’m only wearing trousers now” fans screamed again. B1A4 really knew how to tease their fans!
Jinyoung and Sandeul too then disappeared, leaving the fans with a VCR that showed the members lying to their lovers through telephones to make them go to sleep quickly so that B1A4 could go out and have fun together. Yes, it’s time for Baby Goodnight followed by Tried to Walk with its cute coreography.
Then it was time for the last talk session. B1A4 thanked everyone who came, and they said they’d be back with a bigger stage and a better show. Baro asked everyone in Indonesian, “Kalian senang?” (Are you happy?) and when the audience replied “Ya” (Yes), he said, “Alhamdulillah,” which was actually the way Muslims thank God. He read a letter in Indonesian for the fans, and then folded the paper into a small aeroplane that he launched to the crowd—only to land miserably in the space between the stage and the audience floor. While Sandeul sweetly said, “Karena kamu ada, kami ada,” (Because you exist, we exist).
The main part of the showcase was closed with So Fine and the explosive first single that launched their bright career, OK. We found it hard to bear that we had to sit through this last song, because it really challenged us to dance!
It was not really over, though. Shouts of ‘B1A4’, ‘we want more’ and ‘encore’ rained on the empty stage. Lights were then turned back on, and B1A4 appeared for the last time with You Are My Girl. Explosion of colourful confetti added cheerfulness to the goodbye song. The world seemed a bit bleaker when the show was over, but the happy memories would stay!
Well—not all of the memories were fun though; the chaotic front audience and the forced sitting were not something we would want to experience again. As promoters get better in holding events and concerts, we believe fans too must learn to be able to control themselves better and be more orderly.
Hats off especially to Sandeul, who professionally went on performing although he’d just undergone a surgery and had to sit during most of the performance (and even when he stood up he didn’t take part in the choreography). We hope you’ll totally recover soon, Sandeul!
What’s sure is that we really do want B1A4 to come back again. And we hope it won’t be too long!
- Beautiful Target
- Bling Girl
- Chu Chu Chu
- What Do You Want to Do
- Baby Goodnight
- Tried to Walk
- So Fine
Encore: You Are My Girl
by TP, pics by CJ and JM