April 22, 2009

LIBERA in CALIFORNIA (pt. 1)

Just got back from 100-degrees-everyday California. Boston's early morning was wet and chilly enough to see my own breaths bloom and vanish in the blue-gray of dawn. Whoever first called this area 'New England' is pretty damn accurate. I hope the weather in London was more welcoming when the boys took their first steps into their homeland.

I have to say that California was awesome. It was a good break from school to hang out with my Cali friends, go to the beautiful Malibu and Santa Monica beaches, have a shopaholic's moment at the 3rd street Promenade, dining at famous restaurants and bars in West Hollywood, and get a haircut at last. Of all the lovely memories of sunny California, seeing Libera was unquestionably the best.

My friend and I arrived at Crystal Cathedral around 9:25AM. We were bit overwhelmed by the size and design of the church. When we entered the magnificent architecture, Libera was already up on the stage, ready to sing at any moment. It was such a lovely greet! On the other hand, I wasn't mentally ready to encounter Libera like that. The morning mass began as we found our seats at the back of the massive church. Yawning and rubbing their sleepy eyes, Libera created the beautiful sound of "Sanctus". They still sounded fantastic early in the morning! Just an FYI- video and photo were allowed during the morning masses because they were to be televised on Hour of Power anyway! 

"Far Away" was followed by Sanctus. Mini Ben's clear voice echoed and bounced off the all-glassed church. He made a little mistake during the actual concert, but they were perfect in the morning masses. I was just really happy and feeling lucky to hear mini Ben's version of Far Away 3 times that day! Kavana supported mini Ben with high notes. The kid is amazing! He was so cute with his little head bopping!

Stefan was like the hidden MVP of the day. His strong and piercing voice in "Salva Me" was simply amazing. There was no sign of nervousness whatsoever. Very reliable. It was my first time hearing Stefan's solo, but I was already building my trust in him. I particularly loved the little choreography in this song. My biased mind found Josh's choreography exceptionally graceful. ;)

The interviews (9:30AM and 11:00AM) were great chance for my friend to take some pictures of them. After the short interview, they introduced "Gloria" and went back to the stage. I could feel the sun blazing right above my head. It indeed was the hottest April day of my life because I was wearing a sleeveless dress and still felt melting down! I wondered how the boys felt under those body-covering white robes. Do they not have some lighter material robes for summer? At least the color isn't black!

I've seen some comments about Josh not smiling much. I think it's a little ridiculous. It was 100 degrees outside and he had two masses and a concert to execute. Yeah I also noticed that he was "less smiley" when he was singing but he was pleasant and polite enough during the interviews and autograph session. If you're worried about a 14 year-old kid being less smiley, I think you're worrying a little too much.

We didn't want to hear the guest speaker twice (her story was very touching tho) my friend and I sneaked out after Libera finished "Gloria". We got lost in the massive campus and saw 5 Libera boys walking by. I told Mini Ben, "you were sooooo good!" and he gave me this cutest 'I-am-flattered' smile and his mouth formed an inaudible "thank you." Big Ben brushed Mini Ben's head like a proud brother. Aww :)

Minutes later, we spotted the entire group like half a mile away. They looked like a bunch of white bunnies hopping around from afar. Lol. While we were sitting at a bench, the whole 23+ of them walked towards us. They didn't really seem to care about us but obviously we were kinda freaking out inside but trying our best to stay calm. Mini Ben noticed us and gave us a smile. Aww miniii Bennn!

I think we started to form a line around 5PM there was less than 10 people on the line and we quickly grew bored and hot. Wicked bored and hot I must say. So we went to the building next door where they had a gift shop and a cafeteria to get a CD for my friend and cool off.

The first floor of that building was an open area with sofas and tables. No walls or doors on the front. As we got closer to the building, we could see the boys hanging around the sofa area. We thought about turn around and return to the line. I think we wanted to keep good distance from them because... oh I don't know, people can't get too close to the angels, right? Look what happened to Icarus when he got too close to the Sun! Anyway the thought of turning around got melted under the sun because it was just too hot outside and we had to cool off. So we marched forward. 

When we entered the gift shop, we saw JB and Kavana standing in the line for a checkout. I've never seen a Libera boy this close up before, so I kinda froze there. My friend wasn't a fan but she didn't know what to do either. Would it be polite to say hi? or would it be polite to leave them alone? Right, it would be polite not to stare at them first. We concluded that we didn't want to spoil their "being normal boys at a shop in America" moment. My friend picked out a Libera CD and we joined the checkout line.

Apparently we got there just a couple steps before this tiny boy called James Mordaunt. He was so tiny! I didn't want him to get lost (in a gift shop? come on) so I told him he can go first so he can queue behind Kavana who was also very little. Oh, a funny story about him- Kavana picked out a green pencil at the counter and seemed so genuinely happy that I had to bit my lips not to laugh. You might be a member of a world-class choir, but you're still just an incredibly normal kid! Ok, back to mini James after I told him to go ahead of us. He looked up, smiled sleeplessly and said "thank you very much" in his cute British accent. Omigosh. That probably was the cutest thing I've ever heard! I wanted to shout out, "you are very, VERY welcome!" but I just smiled instead. While we were mesmerized by mini James' out-of-this-world cuteness, Jakob and Liam stood behind us. 

I asked Liam how he liked California and his immediate response was, "it's hot, really hot," in their charming British accent. Then we saw someone towering over us -it was Big Ben- and yes, he was very, very tall. Anyhow, me and my friend got autographs from just Liam and Jakob and left the gift shop and to the cafeteria downstairs. When we came back to the line later it got a tad longer so we had more gains than losses! 

Some time after, the boys returned from the building as well and went in to the Cathedral. I think the sound check started around 6:30PM. Each boys came out and did a little vocal arrangement. They were only singing a bunch of ma's or counting one to eight in scale, but the sound was so heavenly! We were talking about how hot they must had been, all wrapped up in robes. The cathedral was made out of hundreds of transparent glass panels so the sun was also penetrating right though them. Some of the boys were lifting and flapping their robes to cool off. Personally, I absolutely hate when guys (and boys alike) wear socks above their ankles. I think they look so dorky and out of style. But, when I saw the long white socks under their robes, I changed my mind and thought it looked somewhat cute on them, in a very awkward way. hehe.

There was something wrong with Josh's microphone so a staff member came and adjusted it for him. Josh, totally unaware of the eyes of the fans glued to the glass wall, lifted his robe pretty high up to his waist. Then all dozen or two dozen of us outside could see just about everything: a pair of white socks awkwardly sticking above his ankles, skinny brown legs, and grey shorts coming down just above his knees. Oh, wow, my dear angel, you should be glad that I didn't take a picture. But it was priceless! 

Concert review to be continued in part two. Here's some pictures, all taken by my friend during the 11AM mass. Again, photo and video were allowed by the church. They were taken between songs and during the interview.  


Just ordinary boys from London.


Getting ready for a song.


They also sang a couple choral songs with the church choir.


Cheeky mini Ben! 


Flynn is adorable!


Interview time!


The priest told them a good joke I suppose :)


Meeting a fan from Florida. She was on a wheel chair.
If I remember correctly, her trip was sponsored by the Make A Wish foundation.


She was their fan and the boys extended handshakes to her. It was really nice.


Eyebrows!


I must have told my friend that Josh was my favorite. 
She took A LOT of pictures of him while I watching them.






!!!!! ANGEL ALERT !!!!!
This one is clearly my favorite. Thanks Ann! :D