FILIPINO fans waited four long years to see British boy group One Direction live or in the flesh via its two-part concert that opens tonight at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds.
But dismay overcame excitement one day before the much-awaited event when a member announced his withdrawal from the last two Asian legs of the group’s On the Road Again 2015 Tour. Manila and Jakarta felt shortchanged.
“1D statement: Zayn has been signed off with stress and is flying back to the UK to recuperate. The band wish[es]him well and will continue with their performances in Manila and Jakarta,” tweeted Simon Jones, a publicist for the band and part of public relations firm Hackford Jones.
As soon as the Malik news came out, Filipino “One Directioners” as well as some personalities took to Twitter with hashtags #HaveAGoodRestZayn and “We Love You Zayn Malik” that virtually became trends.
Zayn Malik PH (@ZaynMalik1DPHIL), the fanbase account of the British in the Philippines tweeted, “Zayn has been signed off w/ stress & is flying home to recuperate. The band wish him well & will continue with their performance in Manila.”
“#PhilippinesWantsZayn One direction is not complete without zany,” posted Chicser member, Clarence Adrian (@Cavillafuertee).
Actor and host Luis Manzano (@luckymanzano) responded to fans with a humorous tweet that said, “Guys, wag naman kayo mag petition na ako kumanta ng parts ni Zayn Malik sa 1D concert, di na talaga kaya ng sched ko. Sorry to disappoint ha.”
Even Malik’s bandmates were affected. Liam Payne tweeted, “What a day.” Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Harry Styles complete the international boy group sensation.
According to news sources, however, stress is not the only reason for Malik’s departure. Rumors had it that his relationship with fiancée Perrie Edwards had been rocky as pictures of Malik, holding hands and hugging another woman, were shared online through Twitter and other social networks.
Malik denied these rumors via a cryptic message on March 18 at One Direction’s Hong Kong tour: “I’m 22 years old… I love a girl named Perrie Edwards. And there’s a lot of jealous fucks in this world I’m sorry for what it looks like x.”
The band on bond
But Malik’s absence is not the only anti-climactic news to hit One Direction’s concerts this weekend.
The band was made to pay a cash bond to the Philippines on Thursday, according to the immigration bureau.
The bond, P200,000 ($4,500) each for Malik and Tomlinson, will be forfeited should the two get caught using or promoting illegal drugs, Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Elaine Tan told AFP.
The bond requirement was in response to an anti-drug watchdog group’s request for “strict scrutiny” of Malik and Tomlinson before they were issued work permits, she said.
“The condition is intended to protect the public interest should the band members commit any violation during their stay in the Philippines,” she added.
A video of Malik, 22 and Tomlinson, 23, apparently smoking marijuana in a car while on tour in Peru went viral last year and shocked the tattooed but baby-faced quintet’s hordes of female fans.
Tickets for the first night are sold out and the second date is expected to sell out as well, Gina Santiago, an executive assistant of the group’s Philippine promoter, Ovation Productions, told AFP.