Well Chasters, I’m beginning this post-Grove CNN report much earlier than expected. Not because traffic was so great leaving the show, nor because of a light crowd at the show. In fact, it was quite the opposite tonight on both counts. After a VERY full day/night yesterday, I had some obligations to tend to this afternoon before the Grove show. I completely disregarded Starbuck’s friendly warning to show up early due to parking/space constraints at the Grove, and thought I could leave two and a half hours before the show to get there two full hours before showtime. Needless to say, L.A. traffic on a Sunday afternoon bit me again, and after taking almost 30 minutes just to get into the parking garage and finally park my car, I was inside the Grove complex with still an hour and a half to go before showtime. Plenty of time I thought to get a decent spot to take in another special Christmas performance by our Charice. Boy was I wrong!
I spoke with Jazzy as I neared the Grove who informed me that the place was already packed to the brim, and he in fact did not even have a view of the stage from where he was standing. That news did not bode well for me, and so I decided to park on the Rooftop of the parking garage (8th level) to expedite my parking and rush on down to the stage area. However, as I stepped out of my car, I saw a row of people already lined up against the edge of the rooftop, almost seeming to say, ‘we’re just going to stay right here on the rooftop to watch the show because it’s already too packed down there!’ Again, I thought to myself, there’s no way that the place could already be packed to the brim a full 1.5 hours before showtime! So I walked past the row of roof-top spectators, and rushed on down 8 flights of stairs where I was immediately faced with a WALL of humanity in front of me at the bottom of the stairs leading to the Grove entrance.
I walked up to where I ‘thought’ was the entrance to the viewing area, and observed a full security detail blocking the entrance, and advising people that the event was already at full capacity. I then noticed the big white signs next to the entrance which also stated that the event was already at full capacity. I walked up to one of the security guards and asked if there was any way to get inside the viewing area. The guard told me there might be one possible entrance still open, but I had to literally walk to the far end of the other side of the complex (about a 15 minute walk) to see if they were still letting people in. I had no other choice but to do a mild sprint over to that location, but I should have stopped half-way there because of the hundreds of people walking towards me as if they too were turned away on the other end as well. Needless to say, all entry points to the viewing area were completely closed off, and there was NO way inside the Grove, with still an hour to go before showtime!
I then thought to myself, well, I could just join the others on the rooftop of the parking garage to at least take in some of the music, although the view would be very distant. So I did another mini-sprint back to the other side, and instead of waiting for the two elevators in operation, began the climb up the 8 flights of stairs to finally reach the rooftop to take in the show. Upon summiting my Mt. Everest, and virtually out of breath, I noticed all the people who were previously overlooking the view from the edge of the rooftop were gone. As I walked closer, I saw why that was the case. The brilliant security personnel at the Grove deemed it too dangerous for people to watch the show from the rooftop, even though there was a 4 foot wall keeping us from falling over the edge. So they cleared the entire rooftop, and I now reverted to Plan C, which was going down one flight to the 7th floor, where I recalled seeing an open area near the staircase with albeit a very distant and obstructed view of the stage.
I rushed over there and got myself right against the railing, and to my great relief, I was actually able to see most of the entire stage! So with 15 minutes to spare, I thought I was in for a unique aerial view of Charice! Unfortunately again, the security personnel came by and decided we were too danger-prone being next to the railing, so they pushed us all about 10 feet back from the railing, and now, our distant view became essentially no view at all of the stage. I couldn’t understand why we had to be a good 10 feet away from the railing, but apparently, that was the ‘safe’ distance to prevent us from ‘falling’ over the railing. So now, I was standing behind a yellow police tape, ten feet from the railing, surrounded by at least 20-30 other ‘spectators’ who also had no better option at that point.
It was 5 minutes to showtime, and I figured I was ‘due’ for a speed bump in my Chaster journey. Up to this point, I had experienced nothing but sheer joy and good fortune for every Charice performance I’ve been to. From being in the 1st row at the Grammy Block Party directly in front of Charice to the 15th row at the DFF Las Vegas in October, I’ve been very blessed to have seen and heard Charice up close. Yet, I found myself now, on the 7th floor of a parking garage, standing ten feet from the railing, seemingly hundreds of feet away from the stage, hoping that the sound from the speakers would reach us in the parking garage. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed about not being able to get there earlier in the day. However, at that very moment, I realized one thing: there are thousands of Chasters all over the world who would have done anything to trade places with me, where I was standing at that moment, just to get even a distant view of Charice as she sung live for them. With that thought in mind, I came to realize that ANY opportunity we have to witness Charice live, whether from the first row of a concert hall, or from the rooftop of a parking garage is a special experience for any Chaster. So I settled into my standing-room spot from the parking garage, and hoped that the artists would at least stand somewhat in the middle of the stage area because I knew that if they stood at the front portion of the stage, I would have no view of them at all because of a building blocking my view.
So, let’s get back to setting the scene for the actual show! Two words: Sheer Madness. The place was at FULL capacity, so whatever maximum number the Grove holds, the attendance was at that and then probably another few thousand beyond that. Of course, this was the Grove Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, which is probably the biggest one in L.A. every year. And aside from Charice, there were also big names like D. Archuleta, Wilson Phillips and the other teenage boy singer whom I hear is pretty popular with the kids these days. I kind of got the feeling that most of the people there were not exactly there to see or hear one artist in particular, but were there for the overall experience of being there. The crowd just seemed very different to me from the previous night’s show which had a large Cody Simpson and Charice contingent represented. However, I will withhold saying too much more about tonight’s show, because I honestly did not have a vantage point to really make any accurate assertions about the actual environment on the floor in front of the stage area. I heard that they had blocked off the front area with chairs for ‘VIPs’ and such, which of course, kills the mood of a concert by putting the ‘true’ fans way behind the front area and sapping away a lot of the energy from the crowd. I always thought that the die-hard fans needed to be right up in front of the stage to give the performer the reciprocal energy as well. Again, I’m probably saying too much now because, well, I was standing inside a parking garage witnessing this show go on.
From my vantage point, some guy came out to introduce Mario Lopez, who said a bunch of indecipherable things, then I think the Rockettes came out to do a dance number, followed by a sax player accompanied by a band. Then, a teenage male figure came out singing a tune I couldn’t make out, and I thought it was that other teenage boy singer. Well, after about a minute or so, I caught a few glimpses of the figure walking into my view, and I came to realize it was David Archuleta singing. I couldn’t really make out the words to the song he was singing because unfortunately for us, the designers of the Grove did not take the people standing on the 7th floor area of the parking garage standing ten feet from the railing into account for boosting the speaker volume and direction for the show.
This was when I had another epiphany moment, as we in L.A. had playfully bantered with our fellow Chasters in Toronto about which show topped the other. I found myself now actually experiencing FIRST-HAND what thousands of Toronto Chasters experienced when Charice performed this summer. The experience of those dedicated Chasters in Toronto who were situated BEHIND the stage and speakers and also unable to really hear or see any part of the show. Yet, they too stayed there, just to be ‘part’ of that historic event. I’ll just say on that point, regardless of which show had the higher attendance figures, for all of us Chasters, the summer Toronto show will always hold a special place in our hearts, because that was when we all got our first glimpse at what the future held for Charice and her music career on the international stage. One of my all-time FAVORITE Charice videos is actually not one of her singing, but the one of her walking from the back-room to the glass elevators, accompanying Charice as she approached the ‘moment’ when she saw with her own eyes, the 6000+ Chasters who were gathered to see her, and her only. I still can’t believe how cool and calm Charice remained during that elevator ride and the walk towards the stage. I guess singing in front of her mom on the kitchen table is no different than singing in front of thousands of her adoring fans. Just sheer talent, to be shared first for her mom, and now for the whole world. But I digress…
After David sang two songs, he then said something, which I knew was the ‘intro’ for Charice to join him on stage for their duet of “Have yourself a merry little Christmas”. Thankfully for me, David kind of stood in the middle area of the stage, and so when Charice joined him on stage, I was actually able to see them, though they looked like ants to me, but I could still see them! They sang their beautiful song, which I could kind of make out because I knew that song, and it sounded really nice. After the song, it was Charice’s turn for her solo set, and as expected, she burst into “Jingle bell rock” same as the previous night. I was really glad I got to hear this live yesterday, because again, I could barely make out that song from where I was.
Then, Charice began singing a song that I could not make out at all… I knew it definitely wasn’t a song from her album, and it sounded like a Christmas song. I just couldn’t make it out. Like I said, I’ll defer to my fellow Chasters to fill the void on the details for the show. Charice did get a rousing applause from what I could hear after her performance, and then after she left, I wanted to stay to hear one of my favorite groups growing up, Wilson Phillips perform. However, one thing I failed to mention yet was that of all the shows to bring my family to, I chose this one, and my little daughter was getting VERY restless as I had promised her views of a beautiful big Christmas tree and Santa Clause, and all I could offer her were broken promises! So, it was time for us to head home. Although we had hoped to meet up with our fellow L.A. Chasters who also were planning to bring their families as opposed to yesterday’s show which was mostly a ‘work’ day for us :), it just wasn’t meant to be for this night.
So all in all, a small speed bump during this amazing Chaster journey. One that will also have its own unique memories, but one that led to these new realizations for me this night. I thought of getting into further detail regarding last night’s show and dinner/meet/greet time in Part 2 of the Citadel CNN report, but since there have been several really good reports posted by my fellow Chasters since Part 1 was posted, I will essentially make this Part 2 of the ‘Weekend’ report and conclude with one final point from yesterday.
I had mentioned in Part 1 that there was one group of young teenagers who really stood out to me yesterday as we were passing out the gifts before the show. As we kind of ‘threw out’ the secret phrase requirement and just handed out the gifts to all the kids in the area, one family of two teenage girls and their mom came up to us, recognized our Charice T-shirts and told us they knew the secret phrase! What made this encounter particularly special was that this was the first non-Asian, Caucasian family with kids who actually approached us. Not only that, but they were the ONLY ones who actually KNEW the secret phrase which was posted on CM! The older teen named Summer actually came wearing a Charice T-shirt, and after talking with them for a while, we realized that she had fallen in love with Charice after watching her first Oprah appearance, and had even traveled to Las Vegas for the DFF show in October with her entire family!
I spoke with her mom for a bit, and she told me that her daughters were the ones who actually introduced her to Charice, and now their mom was a certified Chaster herself! It was simply awesome getting to talk with them for awhile, and to see how genuine their love for Charice and her music was. Now why am I singling this particular family out? Because as we’ve talked about so many times on CM, my hope is that this type of encounter with a non-Asian family of Chasters will become so commonplace and routine in the weeks and months to come that it won’t be even worth mentioning. We already know that Charice has conquered Asia, and will be the pride of the Philippines for decades to come. But there is no doubt in my mind that as Charice continues her appearances on Glee, and after the next dance single breaks through on the Top 40 charts, Charice will become fully mainstream in the U.S. and it won’t be an anomaly when a Caucasian family comes to a Charice concert fully decked out in Charice gear. It’s gonna happen, and I think it’s just a matter of time.
Not only does Charice and her music transcend age/generational barriers, but she will surely transcend all ethnic/racial barriers as well. It’s already happened to some extent, and it’s going to continue to happen more and more. Her Filipino and Asian fans will always be there, but I’m convinced that Charice will continue to attract more and more non-Asian fans in the coming months. And this is important, because as we’ve already discussed, according to the last official U.S. census from 2000, Asians only make up 4% of the U.S. population! I’m sure that’s gone up a bit since then, but the number is still drastically miniscule compared to the non-Asian population in the U.S. Thus, in order for Charice to break through the Top 40 charts, her fanbase is going to have to shift more towards non-Asians in order to gain that type of mass success in the U.S. I believe America is ready to see Charice not only become the first Asian artist to debut in the Top 10 on Billboard, but to see her become the first mainstream Pop Superstar in the U.S who just happens to be of Asian descent.
On that note, a very brief note about the whole ‘Filipino’ shout-out thing that’s been debated back and forth here on CM. There are arguments on both sides of the issue, and quite frankly, it’s one of those issues that people will just differ on. To offer my own perspective, the first time I heard Charice do a ‘filipino’ shout out on youtube, I was a bit taken aback by it, and became concerned about the exclusionary effect that may have on the non-filipinos in the audience. So my immediate reaction was not very positive. However, when I experienced another ‘filipino’ shout out in person at the Grammy Block Party show, I didn’t get that same sense of discomfort, because it didn’t feel like Charice was excluding people more than it felt like she was just expressing her tremendous gratitude to the largest segment of her fanbase who have supported her.
And during yesterday’s show, Charice actually said “I’m sorry” before giving out that Filipino shout out, as if to acknowledge those who have concerns about her saying that. However, Charice still went ahead and did so, and I could sense a GENUINE and SINCERE desire within her to really express her thanks to the Filipinos in the crowd (who made up a huge number of her fans yesterday) for supporting her. Regardless of what may have happened in the past, Charice is thankful for the current tremendous support she is receiving from her fellow Filipinos in the U.S., and not being Filipino myself, I did not feel offended in any way by that ‘shout-out’ yesterday. Charice has learned through this summer as well to follow up that Filipino shout-out with another shout-out to ALL her fans for their support, and so I really don’t think anyone in the crowd last night felt offended or left-out by the ‘shout-out’. People may continue to differ on this issue, but at the end of the day, Charice is I’m sure already aware of all of this, but still wants to express her love for her Filipino fans in this way at this stage of her career. She may feel okay just thanking all of her fans collectively at some point in the future, but for now, let’s just support her and accept all of her gratitude, because she is truly and deeply grateful for the love she receives from ALL of her Chasters.
Well, it’s been an unbelievable weekend here in L.A., and we’re glad that all of you were able to somewhat share in our experience this weekend through the reports and the awesome videos. On to Rockefeller Plaza for Charice and the NYC/East-coast Chasters’ turn at holiday bliss. T’is truly the start of a fabulous Chaster Christmas for us all! Thank you Charice for the early Christmas gift you’ve given us this magical weekend here in L.A.!
By LAfan, Charicemania.com
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Listening to Charice sing in-person is like listening to a live studio recording, because she is always flawless in pitch, tone, timing and delivery. In this day and age of autotune, other artists also sound really good live because they are either aided by auto-tune on stage, or just lip-synch on stage to a recorded track. >> continue reading
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