A good fan meet should showcase the skills of the celebrity. A great one should reflect his or her personality. For Lee Seung-gi, stamping his brand on every minute of his recent Manila fan meet came naturally.
He opened the event with his debut song, “Because You’re My Woman.” The ballad composed by Hallyu star Psy became an instant hit in 2004 and launched the career of the then 17-year-old singer.
Fifteen years later, it still had the power to make his fans swoon, especially the Filipinos who were hearing him perform live for the first time.
Host Sam Oh joined Lee on the stage of the New Frontier Theater last Oct. 12. The audience was encouraged to take photos of the actor while he hammed it up for their camera phones. Then the audience was asked to put away their phones for the rest of the fan meet. Security was very strict and vigilant about this.
This was what made “Vagabond Voyage in Manila” different from other fan meets. It forced the audience to let go of their gadgets, to live in the present and just enjoy the two and a half hours they had with Lee.
Lee is known as a triple threat entertainer—he can sing, act and host. He has starred in dramas such as “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho” and “Korean Odyssey.” His ongoing drama, “Vagabond,” streams on Netflix.
He has also received multiple awards and has sold thousands of albums.
Lee said his favorite moment during fan meets is when he sings for his fans.
During the interview with Super K, he said that his Shiba Inu, Ppero, attends a training school whenever his master is overseas. His pet needs to be outdoors because he becomes restless, Lee said.
Asked onstage what he doesn’t like about his Ppero—a trick question given that Lee had admitted his day off (from the TV program “All The Butlers”) was Ppero-centric— he shared instead what his pet doesn’t like about him.
“If I don’t have food, he doesn’t like me very much,” Lee said.
He also talked with Super K about receiving awards.
“I don’t put too much sentiment on awards,” he said. “I am grateful for them. But as an entertainer and celebrity, success isn’t really in the awards. Success is being able to choose a project that I can fall in love with.”
During the fan meet, he said that the award he would like to receive is one that recognizes him for being the most diligent and hardworking.
Lee is known among fans as a hardworking entertainer. He does multiple projects at the same time. He has done four variety shows—“All the Butlers,” “Little Forest,” “Twogether” and “Busted 2”—since he got discharged from the military in 2017.
Super K asked where he gets the energy.
“It’s 100-percent willpower,” he said. “I get tired and exhausted, but I’m the type who wants to put everything I have in a project. So it’s willpower and the desire to give my best that pushes me forward.”
When a video greeting of the kids from the drama “Little Forest” was flashed on screen, cheering on their samchon (uncle) Seung-gi, Lee said “the kids looked like they were forced to do the greeting.”
The audience laughed, recognizing Lee’s brand of dry wit. He continued to talk about the kids in a deadpan manner. He described working with them as very tiring and that he does not think he can work with them again. He sounded like a typically weary but doting parent.
Lee said he wanted to have three kids of his own.
When the actor asked who in the audience watches “Vagabond” and everybody raised his/her hands, he shrugged and said, “I shouldn’t have asked that.”
Since “Vagabond” is an action drama, Lee said it’s normal to get hurt, though there was never any serious injury on the set. (He had a Band-Aid on a cut near his eye.) He also encouraged his fans to rewatch the judo scene with costar Suz Bae on episode 7.
When Lee returned onstage after a break, he had changed into a black fitted polo shirt, which earned praise from Oh.
“I like this look. What is the concept for this look?” she asked him.
“This concept is called the sexy concept,” he said in English, and let out a laugh.
In the next segment, Lee, who likes to cook, was asked to make a lunchbox for one of his fans. He said his specialty is tteokbokki, pasta and, a fan screamed, “steak!” Looking very pleased, Lee asked the fan, “How did you know that?”
When he saw the ingredients on the table, he was critical. He laughed at the small peeled carrot.
“This is for rabbits, not people,” he said.
He also complained about the hotdog and the bread. The segment quickly became a cooking variety show.
Fans started chanting, “Gwaenchanha! Gwaenchanha! (It’s fine, it’s fine).” He looked at the crowd with mock incredulity.
“You haven’t seen the ingredients that’s why you say it’s fine,” he said. “Even Gordon Ramsay cannot do anything with them.”
He decided to make the traditional Korean rolled seaweed rice called gimbap. As he was putting his plastic gloves on, the fans started screaming, “No!”
He shook his head but removed the gloves, rolled his sleeves up and started working on his gimbap.
“Only the Philippine fans have asked this (removal of gloves) of me. You guys have good stomach, right?” he said, before showing his knife skills.
He arranged the finished product inside the lunchbox. On the remaining space, he jokingly placed the carrot.
His fixation with the carrot would become a trending topic among fans for days.
“I am sorry to give you this. This is very safe,” he told the lucky fan chosen to receive the lunchbox. The fan said that she went to Singapore fan meets twice to see him. She also said she waited for him in North Chungcheong Province when he was discharged from the army.
Lee was so grateful for her story that he gave her another hug, this time a little longer. Then he offered her the lunchbox again.
“Do you want the special or original?”
“Special!” she answered.
“I recommend the original,” he said and put a piece on her mouth. She exclaimed, “Masarap (delicious)!”
“Masarap? Masarap?” Lee repeated. It was the only Filipino word he said the entire night. When she nodded, he said, “You liar!”
This made the night memorable: Lee acting like the Lee fans know and love from television.
The fans club, Lee Seung-gi Philippines, sang the chorus of “Count on Me” by Whitney Houston and CeCe Winans, which made the actor teary
In another segment, he played a relay game of sipa, jumping rope, charades with fans. The prizes were clothes he wore on “Vagabond” and a group photo with him.
Asked what he thought about the night, Lee said, “The first memory is the perfect memory.”