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Friday, August 17th, 2012...was the day Canada's National Exhibition (CNE) opened, and they were also offering a special Opening Day discount: $8 tickets instead of the normal $16. It was also the day me and a friend (M) had planned to meet up and visit our dear friend (A) who was working there. I had a special event that I wanted to attend: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir was performing at 2PM and again at 5PM; I wasn't about to miss that chance. So M decided to come later, while I woke up around 3pm, planning to attend the 5PM show. To get to the CNE, I had to take the TTC down to Union Station, then take a streetcar that would arrive at the CNE directly. While on the streetcar, I guess you could say I was kind of freaking out because it was taking longer than expected, and I have a history of getting lost. Another story for another time. Anyways, I got there just in time to dash towards the ticket station, get my ticket, and dash again towards the Ricoh Coliseum where the event was happening. Lucky enough, I was there just on time and managed to find a relatively okay seat.
After that I went to go say hi to A who was working in the Food Building. It was nice seeing her again, though it wasn't actually that long of a time since we last saw eachother hahaha. After that, I wandered a bit and then met up with M. We shopped around for a bit (I bought a mini stylus for my phone. It fits right into the audio plug!!) until dinner time, and left for the food building.
We wandered for a while until M settled for her dinner choice as did I: a Cheeseburger Poutine which consisted of traditional poutine (fries, cheese curds and gravy) with ground beef, mustard, ketchup and pickles on top. IT WAS LIKE HEAVEN ON EARTH.
Though I wouldn't blame you if it looks disgusting to you via this picture. Let's just say the lighting wasn't the best in there. Anyways, we ate, we talked, and then we waited for A to go on break/end her job session and we'd all go home. Except the problem was that when M went to go look for her, she wasn't there. We called her, and no answer. It was rather weird but eventually we got hold of her and through various walks around the food building, we finally found eachother. We exited the food building and started discussing our fears and whether we'd dare to go on some of the rides, as well as stopping by M's friend who was also working there (and gave us free drinks :D). It was a great time laughing and talking with friends again :) The day finally ended as we went onto the streetcar back to Union Station and talked some more all the way home.
Saturday, August 18th, 2012...was the day of the AllTV Korean Culture Caravan feat. special guests Younha and Shayne!! Blog entry featuring the glorious commentary of my friend (S) who went with me :) Also, it's text heavy.
Okay, so S, her friend(SF) and I agree to meet around 2:30pm at North York Center station. I originally had a dental appointment before this, but it ended early so I got there around 2:00pm. Went to what used to be Fabricland and reminisced about the fun times I had shopping for cosplay material. I also took advantage of the awesome view of Loblaws (open concept ceiling: there was none. How dangerous that could be! The possibility of people throwing watermelons down and such.) and that took up the rest of my time of waiting.
S (self-proclaimed awesome btw) calls to tell me that she arrived, and we discuss about our individual whereabouts. We agree to meet at Mel Lastman Square cause discussing this topic is getting us no where. Out of the building I go! and onto the Mel Lastman Square grounds. I can hear music from my S's side of the cellphone, and she says to follow the music. I had to pull the phone away for a bit because for a couple seconds I thought I was hallucinating and accidentally mistaking the music from her side as music that I'm trying to follow. I do hear music, and it's not from the cellphone this time and I follow it. Lo and behold Shayne and Younha are on stage practicing for the show. My friend sees me, and we finally actually meet up. We stay near the stage, and I take a couple videos because it's Shayne and Younha.
Anyways, we watch them perform and eventually S's friend (nickname: SF) arrives :D (SF was not the random Chinese girl with short hair seen in the subway station.) We stay there for a bit more, but we are a bit hungry, so we drop by Wendy's to pick up some lunch and we make our way back, taking advantage of an empty bench conveniently in a shaded area. We eat, we talk, we share kpop stories. Eventually, we finish lunch and it's probably a good time to save our seats for the show (though it was still pretty darn early at the time). There's the stage, then an area for people to crowd around, and then actual raised... stone foundations for us to sit on. It's sort of like a coliseum. We sat three foundations up, directly in front of the stage, and watched the people practice for quite a while. At some point we joked that by the time they actually perform, we'll know the words because they practiced so much. In any case, we sit and talk for quite a while before eventually more people arrive. Two people I met previously from a past kpop flash mob come and greet me. We talk, and it turns out they're volunteering. I was going to volunteer too, but then dental appointment happened and you know how that goes = 3=;;
They go back to their spots, and me, S and SF go back to talking as more people being to pour in. A good 30 minutes later, music starts playing. It's GANGNAM STYLE!! At this point, the seats are pretty full, but not super crowded full. All of a sudden, a guy in black w/gold tipped hair (the PSY) + 2 girls go up to the... uh. Y'know, the flat ground for people to sit on (seriously though, what is that called? the sitting group area? idk :/) and they start dancing. Then more people get up and join, and eventually it's a group of about... 30 or so people dancing to Gangnam Style. It was hilarious and highly entertaining. For some reason, the song plays again. This time, the same thing happens but they dance a different style of Gangnam Style (the dance version) and it's down to like 20? or so people. Still entertaining imo.
Anyways, the song ends and everyone is back to doing whatever it is they're doing while waiting for the show to start. Some time passes, and two girls go down the stairs next to where we're sitting and they motion to their friends, telling them (rather loudly lol) that people are giving away free Melona bars. (spoiler: Melona was one of the sponsors for this event, so you'll hear more of them soon.) Soon, everyone knows and they're all gradually leaving to go take advantage of this offer. When S, SF and I heard about this, we agreed that I'd stay and watch over their stuff while they go and get the bars. When they came back, S had brought me a Strawberry bar, while she got a... was it lime? It was melon~ it was green, and SF got a fish vanilla/red bean ice cream sandwich. Tbh, I still don't know if Melona would be considered an ice cream because it's got a different texture and density than normal ice cream would. It was my first time eating a Melona bar, so this difference stood out to me.
Time passes, and more and more people are starting to fill in the empty spots. It was around this time that I saw a group of five guys dressed in traditional Korean outfits leave from an obscure door beside the stage and up the stairs. More about this later. Volunteers began passing out the event schedule flyer for the event, followed by more volunteers (Ohhh so this is what I would have to do if I had volunteered!) with boxes (and boxes) of extra Melona bars. They were throwing it into the crowd, making sure everyone knew it was free, and it was like a never-ending spew of Melona bars. S caught a vanilla/chocolate tayaki, woo. It was kind of funny the way they were so careless with the bars, but at the same time people were showing off their talents of being able to catch things in midair. With everyone who wanted a Melona bar with one in their possession, the show finally started.
It began with the MC (this Caucasian lady who apparently represented Canada in this Korean show with all these international ladies who could speak Korean and they'd discuss various topics regarding Korea, I think) announcing that "K-POP Star Audition", consisting of 10 (I think) Korean-Canadians would start off the show. The people who stood out to me was a short girl that made up for her height in energy and confidence. She started with Beauty and the Beast on the piano while slowly built up to a ballad-style of Gangnam Style. I really enjoyed her twist on it. The entertaining part was when the music started to get faster and soon she was full-out singing (yes, singing. Not the talk-singing which is the way PSY does it) Gangnam Style. It was great, she was dancing a bit to the parts and did not falter one bit. Everyone was cheering and rooting for her.
The second one was a (my guess) half-Spanish half-Korean girl who danced and sang to 2NE1's I Love You. She did a great job, not to mention from where I was sitting, she looked rather pretty ^^ She had charisma on stage, and definitely grabbed my attention. Her vocals were stable while dancing and it stayed in tune throughout the performance. They were both winners in my mind. After all the auditions, everyone was called back out on stage and they announced the winner. Turns out they had chosen two winners, and it was exactly those two people who I felt were the best overall. They were awarded an all-expenses-paid round-trip to Vancouver to audition again-- but in front of JYP, YG, and SM-- and everyone cheered.
After that, Kollaboration Toronto winners Thoroughbred came on to perform. I wish I could comment on how much I liked it, but I'm not Korean so all I could do was admire how fast they could rap and clap/bob my head/cheer when it was necessary. I could definitely feel their passion and what they were saying was really from their hearts if that helps. S enjoyed them a lot, commenting on how she liked “these bread people.” After their performance, the MC came out again and formally welcomed everyone to the show, and began to introduce the sponsors and invited each representative to come up and say a little speech. When they were all done, and all the sponsors were listed and thanked, the show went on to the main performance. Now, this is probably the moment I start to really suck at explaining things so hopefully you can still follow along. Also, the ordering is a bit hazy so bear with me.
There was a little pause, and then traditional Korean instruments could be heard being played behind us. With all the people standing around the rim of colliseum, S, SF and I couldn't see anything, but we definitely heard it. A worker tried clearing up a path on the stairs, but eventually he left and the music players ended up going around. When they finally came into view, I noticed that they were the same guys who had exited the obscure door, but this time the four of them had drums slung across their chests, lead by someone also in a suit but instead of drums, he was holding a cymbal-looking kind of instrument and hitting it with a special stick (sorry! idk what it's called). They went back down the stairs they had previously used to exit the coliseum and formed a line on stage. They performed and showed off their amazing drumming skills together. It was definitely a joy to watch. Then they split with two on one side of the stage and 2 on the other before doing a finale and leaving. S noticed one of the drummers from earlier because of his distinct “angry eyebrows.” S’s BIAS FOR THE DAY WAS DAEIN, NOT TAEWOOK.
It's around this time when a girl comes out dressed in traditional Korean clothing as well, and holding two very floral/feathery fans. She dances for a while on stage, expressing the images of a butterfly and swan with her movements and the use of the two fans. Two little girls come out and they dance a little with her before settling to the side until she finishes her dance, then the two girls leave again. A boy dressed in normal clothing (reminding many people of Spiderman due to the shirt colours) comes out and my understanding of the show so far was that somehow the boy had been dropped into ancient Korean times, and had found this beautiful "butterfly" dancer and was hypnotized by her beauty. Going along with this storyline, she taunts him here and there, and then she leaves him alone on stage.
Four guys in masks come out, and stand in front of the drums that were left on the side of the stage. They menacingly playing their drums while gradually cornering the present-time guy into the middle. They open back up, he escapes, and they form a line again. The masks come off, and it's the same four guys from before!! This is the moment when they began to showcase their individual skills so while playing together, at times 3 of them would drum quieter and the final guy would drum in a more skillful way, and it would continue this process for each guy. After their solos, they split up again and went back to the side of the stage all the while still drumming.
A man in.. oh no. Someone is bound to scold me for this. Was it karate? Judo? Heck, I don't know okay. TAEKWONDO. All I know is that it was white with thick black trimming and a black belt. My point being, a man in black and white comes out and he performs some spinning leg kicks and cool punches in the air; all in time and going with the rhythm of the drumming. The boy in normal clothing comes back out and he is eventually following the "Master" and copying what he does, gradually "learning" various moves. The boy was a fantastic actor and the audience loved how humorous he was. The "Master" decides he's good enough and presents him the same outfit that he is wearing. We all thought this was great, but turns out there was more. One of the drummers stops and comes forward with two slabs of wood and holds it in the air on the shoulders of the Master. The audience goes "OOOH" and the drumming gets quieter. The boy gets ready, and WHA-PAK! He swiftly does a spinning leg kick and breaks the wood into pieces flying away from the audience and towards the back of the stage. Everyone cheers and applauds, and they both bow before the "Master" officially hands him a nicely folded taekwondo outfit. The boy excitedly puts it on, and then they both exited the stage.
Next, it was a guy in the same kind of decorative, traditional Korean clothing along with drums strapped to his chest who came out except this time, he had a special hat on, with a long flexible antenna-thing attached to the top of it (sorta like the antenna on the back of a car) and on the tip was a very pretty white ribbon. The guy with a toilet paper ribbon on his hat was so cool. S wants a hat like that. He walked around the stage demonstrating his amazing drumming skills while bobbing his head in a way that the ribbon looked like it was dancing in the air. The boy, now with a taekwondo outfit comes out and like a cat, he's distracted by the ribbon. He quickly takes off the outfit and begins to follow the ribbon-man. There's a little comedic performance of him trying to catch the ribbon like a cat.
Up until this point, it was a very enjoyable performance. However, the show had gone on for long enough that there were no breaks, or intermission. I had to go to the washroom, and it was going to be really hard now that the coliseum was nearly full. Still, I patiently waited, waiting until the ribbon man exited the stage before leaving my seat and saying lots of "Sorry" and "Excuse me" up the stairs. I ran into the nearby Civic Center as fast as I could, did my business and walked back out. Oh no. How do I get back in?! People were crowded at the top of the coliseum, not to mention they were all taller than me. If I thought getting out was difficult, this was going to be impossible. As I got closer, it was getting more and more obvious at how difficult it was going to be to get through.
A nice old man enters!!
He uses the "Kind Smile" move.
It raises my confidence level by +1
He uses the "Gently Nudge Shy Girl For Confidence" move.
It raises my confidence level by +50!!
Thanks to that old man, I was able to gather enough confidence to slowly, yet carefully, say my "Sorry" and "Excuse Me" and managed to get back to my seat with my friends. Unfortunately, I had missed a bit of the show because by the time I got back, the boy and the "butterfly" girl were together holding hands, and that part of the show ended. What happened next, you ask? Let S tell you :3
There were 12 Caravan performers in total, so it was time for the rest of them to appear: a girl on the piano with a mic that was louder than everyone else’s, two female vocalists, a third female vocalist who also had an electric violin that could unfortunately barely be heard, a fantastic flautist, and the drummers again with a couple of them on the guitar and drums-- a typical drumkit that is, rather than the traditional ones. They performed a couple songs, demonstrating their own solo talents, then the Caravan main performance officially ended. The MC came back out, and invited all the performers back out. They formed a nice line, held hands and raised them in synchronicity before bowed together, and then doing this a couple more times as they came forward group by group, along with the MC naming them one by one.
When they all bowed for the final time, they all exited the stage, and the MC proceeded to introduce the next act: Shayne!! He came out, along with staff who moved a keyboard nearer to the middle and Shayne began to start talking and singing:
Next, he performed an original song called "Iyagi" meaning, Story.
After that, Shayne proceeded to introduce the next artist, Younha!! It was a little awkward as the staff had to come out and fix the keyboard and stuff, so Younha ended up talking a bit in English. She was SO cute, and sounded great even with her limited knowledge of English :) When things were done being fixed, both Shayne and Younha introduced the next song: an English version of a song off Younha's newest album, Supersonic: People!!
It was funny because you could tell that Shayne had sorta forgot the lyrics half-way through, but they ended it well and it was a very memorable performance. Next, Shayne left the stage and Younha proceeded to sing a cover of the song, Viva La Vida.
After that, she performed her cover song, also off the album "Supersonic": RUN!! Of course, that was supposed to be her final song, but you know fans... ;) We chanted for an encore and she gave us not one... but TWO!! amazing performances. First song was called Password 486, the second one being Hyesung, also known as Houki Boshi.
All in all, the entire day was so great, and so inspiring, and...fdsjf;jsdklfjsdalfjsd I can only express my emotions in gifs
No seriously. It was AMAZING. I couldn't have asked for anything more, and to be able to be granteda chance to see Younha live, I don't think I'd ever forget it. Not for a while, at least.
Oh, and here's a vlog from Shayne about the concert from his point of view:
SO YEAH. That's it then. It had to take two people to write this entry (mostly because I have the memory of a goldfish lololololol) but I'm GLAD because now it's DONE. It's in words now, and I'm sure I'll be rereading this over and over again because... djsaldjs;ajdak;ljdkljlafjsdaf SO HAPPYYYYYYYYYYY Gah. Spazzing. Feeling kinda crazy atm xD But this entry needs to end, so let me leave you with JD and his friend Tuck from the fantastic show "Scrubs" dancing. That's what I felt like doing after the event, that's for sure. KTHXBYE