my recap of the most memorable night of my life
“Things come to an end, whether we like it or not. Sometimes we want more. We know that we want them for a longer time, maybe even forever. But things like these: moments, instances, chance, and circumstance—they occur fleetingly, subtly, and they end just as unexpectedly as they come. But they were magical, electric; they left you hungry for more.” - Kara Ortega, Philippine Star
After announcing that Jennifer Lopez, hereafter to be known as my Queen, would be doing a World Tour (her first tour in her entire career!), I had hoped against all hopes that she would visit the Philippines to perform. The hope of something as gigantic as your idol coming to your country grew each day. At first, they were rumors. Rumors, then, turned into news. And then, the tickets went on sale.
A fellow JLover and BBJLo member, jlopinoyfan, sent me an SMS that tickets were available. Imagine my excitement! The fact that the VIP section was sold out 45 minutes after being released certainly blighted some of my hopes (why did I have to be asleep at that time, WHY!), but I persisted. I settled for a Patron seat. A VIP seat opening up in a few days didn’t seem like a far-fetched hope, anyway.
Our final seatplan ended up this way:
PATRON SEATS: elmo19 (me), jloaddict, RtothaJO, Syd (one of the administrators of JLO Philippines whose BBJLo username still escapes me)
VIP: jlopinoyfan, acelle09
UPPER BOX: VHONafide
November 25 – The Day of the Arrivals
After planning on cunning ways to meet Jennifer the day before, she announced her #tweet2meet contest. Everyone went crazy, as you would expect! We waited outside her hotel, but uUnfortunately, none of us got the chance to see her (not yet). We were happy to see her dancers, though.
November 26: The Big Day
Oh, the excitement! Imagine all the sleep I DIDN’T get trying to imagine how it would feel to meet Jennifer. After a ridiculous number of tweets sent over cyberspace, the lucky winners for the #tweet2meet were finally announced. Again, quite unfortunately, no one from the BBJLo family won. I was disappointed, no doubt about that, but I was genuinely happy for the winners, especially since they were also part of the JLo Philippines family. Around 5:00, I met with VHONafide and JLoaddict at a mall near the venue of the concert, then we travelled together to the Mall of Asia Arena and met with the rest of the BBJLo family, along with a multitude of fans who went to see her for the first time.
While we were waiting for the concert to start, I keep on looking for a chance to meet our Queen. (Hey, you never know.) We talked to the dancers, the crew, but nobody could guarantee that we would get to see her. Finally, around 8:30, I saw the man who could make it all happen: Benny Medina, Jennifer’s super awesome manager. I went up and introduced myself, together with jloaddict, Syd and RtothaJO. I can still recall the exact words I said to him: “Hi Benny, I’m Jonathan, elmo19 from Beyond-Beautiful.” Acknowledging my enthusiasm by returning my handshake, he asked where the people were. I told him they were either eating or getting food (which Filipinos are wont to do in concerts, don’t ask me why), or late (again, don’t ask me why). But, I assured him not to worry because the tickets were sold out and all the people would be there in 15 minutes. As he was about to leave, I told him that, although I wasn’t picked for the #tweet2meet, I was still hoping to meet Jennifer. To which he graciously replied (GASP): “Okay, I’ll be at the sound stage. For now, just enjoy the show”. I literally jumped in excitement and shared the fabulous news with my BB friends. OMG.
At exactly 9:00, the most awaited show in my entire life began. At first, we were all cooped up far from the ramp as the bouncers guarded the stage like they were guarding African diamonds. But, my Queen had other things in mind. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! COME UP HERE!” she said. HAH! Like a cheetah after a gazelle, I raced to the centre of the stage. And, I got in! SEEING HER PERFORM WAS PRICELESS! The energy; the power of the performances were beyond amazing. I cannot, for the life of me, describe the divinity that manifested itself there at that time.
Immediately after “Dance Again”, Syd, jloaddict, rtothajo and I came rushing towards the sound stage where Benny “told” us to go, but he wasn’t there anymore. We came running to the right side of the stage, where the backstage was. We saw Beau, took a picture, and asked where Benny was. He told us that he was in the dressing room at the back. But, we didn’t have any access to get in there! It was heavily guarded, too. Luckily Syd knew some of the dancers from the team who opened up for Jen, so they talked for a bit. When they were about to leave, we quickly (and quite cunningly) followed them. We were able to get in, but not RtothaJO and jloaddict, sadly. The guards wouldn’t let them without IDs.
So, Syd and I took our chances as we traversed through the labyrinth of halls. Along the way, we saw people with ‘meet and greet’ stickers (sponsors perhaps?) exit the room, but still no Benny.
And then, a ray of light in the darkness: Antonio. (Antonio is a part of Jen’s security team.) We carefully approached him and told him that we were looking for Benny because he told us to see him after the show.
Antonio went in the room, and after a few seconds, Benny came out. He caught the attention of the local guards and pointed at us (remember the FSG video club scene where Benny pointed to Jen and her friends, THAT’S how it was like). He said: “Let them in; the rest, no”. Ushered by Antonio to the dressing room, there she was. Oh. My. God. She was all smiles! I introduced myself, shook her hands and hugged her. After the first photo, I hugged her again. And then, we asked for another picture. After the second photo, I asked if I could hug her again because I had waited 13 long years for it. She blushed and said “Aww, that’s sweet”, and gave me another hug. After a few more minutes, it was time for us to go. Damnit.
After our brief encounter, we headed back, and the 7 of us got back together. I was on cloud nine. No, cloud ten! Since not everyone got the chance to meet her, we went back to the rump (no pun intended) of the arena and took our chance in seeing her again, hoping that she would notice us. Then, an unexpected thing happened.
A #tweet2meet winner wasn’t able to claim her prize. She was crying hysterically and asked for our help. So, as all good JLO fans do, we helped her out, and even took with us others who weren’t able to get a chance to meet Jen. We all made sure the girl would get her prize. After prodding with everyone in the know, Jen’s concert drummer helped us. He called Lauren, one of her assistants, and so Lauren and Bethalina rushed back inside. After a few minutes, she went out, all smiles, and with a CD and photo in her hands signed by Jen herself. Oh, she got her prize, alright.
After all that, we capped the night by eating at a restaurant nearby. We ate, exchanged stories, and hugged each other as we bade each other farewell.
We are now planning to have a reunion every 11/26 to commemorate this once in a lifetime experience. The 11/26. The.