MANILA, Philippines – K-pop boy group Stray Kids might have just been in the Philippines in January, but for Filipino STAYs, the group’s MANIAC concert tour in Manila was a long time coming.
The eight-piece act’s last concert in the Philippines was in April 2019 for their Unveil Tour ‘I Am’. They were supposed to have a concert again in Manila in 2020, but as with most events, it got canceled due to the pandemic.
Stray Kids then returned to the Philippines in January for the said fan meeting, and while this event had charms of its own, the members and fans knew it would be a much different story once they were able to showcase the group’s discography.
And just two months later – on March 11 and 12 – thousands of Filipino STAYs flocked to the Mall of Asia Arena for the long-awaited performances. Way before the members took the stage, fans filled the venue with cheering and singing.
The screams turned thunderous when Bang Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N opened their three-hour show with “Maniac” and “Venom,” two of their dynamic tracks from the 2022 Oddinary album. The opening performance featured a grand stage design, including larger-than-life moving spider legs.
While member Han didn’t participate in the choreography during the first day of the two-night concert in Manila, he was still able to belt out his parts smoothly even while sitting. Earlier on Saturday, JYP Entertainment had announced that he and Seungmin were experiencing symptoms of enteritis. The agency assured fans, though, that the two had received treatment and prescriptions before flying to the Philippines.
Arguably one of the highlights of the show was when Stray Kids pulled off a sultry group performance of “Red Lights” – a track that was originally sung by Bang Chan and Hyunjin for the 2021 NOEASY album.
“We’ll give you one of the greatest nights you’ll ever experience,” leader Bang Chan said during their opening ment. And boy, did they not disappoint.
The energetic guys did not give fans any time to breathe as they transitioned swiftly to back-to-back performances of “Easy,” “All In,” “District 9,” and “Back Door.” They then showcased their smooth choreography with “Charmer” before asking the FIlipino STAYs to sing along to their track “Lonely St.”
The arena was filled with deafening screams when a live band emerged, making Stray Kids’ stages of “Thunderous,” “Domino,” and “God’s Menu” even more powerful. They continued hyping the crowd with a slew of electrifying tracks – “Cheese,” “Yayaya,” and “Rock.”
“Today, we feel like we’ve prepared a lot for you. And we still have a lot to show you. We’re just getting started,” member Felix said.
Stray Kids then wowed the crowd with riveting unit stages: members Seungmin, Lee Know, I.N, and Bang Chan serenading Filipino STAYs with “Waiting For Us,” and Felix, Han, and Hyunjin, Changbin bringing the house down with “Muddy Water.”
In between the unit stages, the members showed off their individual charms – Hyunjin danced to “Play with Fire,” Felix sang a cover of “Love Again,” Seungmin prepared an acoustic version of “OMG,” and Lee Know sang a rendition of “This City.”
Then there was pure adrenaline when Stray Kids performed crowd-favorites “Case 143,” “Hellevator,” “Top,” and “Victory Song.” Bang Chan told Filipino STAYs: “If you want to sing or dance along, go ahead, we don’t care. Go crazy, go wild, go mad. Have fun! Because tonight is a good night, right?”
The group then returned to the stage by starting their encore set with “FAM!” and “Miroh.” The “FAM” stage, especially, was made even more adorable when the boys started introducing each other based on the song’s lyrics.
When the group said it was time to wrap up the show, the crowd couldn’t help chanting, “Walang uuwi (No one’s going home).”
“I’m really happy that I get to spend this time with you guys,” member Lee Know said through a translator. “I don’t know when we can meet again, but please don’t be sad. When we come back, please welcome us again with such great joy. We’ll be the greatest artists in the world.”
Member I.N shared, “We really wanted to show the best of us to you guys. I hope that the stages we had today were better than the ones we had before. We’re always doing our best. I’ll make sure that we’ll come back here.”
“Today is truly the chance to meet STAYs that haven’t seen us in a long time,” Felix told the crowd. “Today is a great day. I could see that people here are very loving and cheerful in a way. You guys cheered us a lot today. This will be a very unforgettable memory, for sure. Magkikita tayo ulit (We’ll see each other again soon).”
Bang Chan said: “I’m just really relieved that we got to meet each other again…. The energy I feel from you guys is on a different level.”
Before saying his closing ment, member Hyunjin was surprised by Filipino STAYs with a birthday greeting. He said: “I’m thankful that I can meet you guys when it’s near my birthday…. I think out of all the MANIAC tours we had, this one was really unforgettable. That’s why I really want to come back again. Mami-miss ko kayo (I’ll miss you.)”
Seungmin admitted that he came to the Philippines “with a lot of expectations.” “But you guys never changed. You gave us another great memory today.” Changbin added that he enjoyed the Manila show “very much.” “We’ll make sure that we’ll come back soon,” he continued.
The crowd then chanted “Han Jisung,” and Han assured fans that his condition is okay. “I’m feeling great. Your energies make my condition better. Please don’t cry. I’m okay,” he said. He also confessed that he feels sad that he wasn’t able to participate in the choreography, but the Filipino STAYs cheered him on, saying that it’s okay. “Mahal ko kayo (I love you), STAYs,” he said.
Before the show came to a close, Stray Kids and Filipino STAYs were able to chant “Stray kids all around the world. You make stray kids stay!” – a moment that most fans had been waiting for. Fans also prepared a banner that read: “Narito kami, ang inyong tahanan (We are here, your home.)”
The group then ended the show with “Star Lost” and “Haven” – their love letter to fans. And as the crowd sang along to the lyrics “I wanna stay with you” and “it’s now or never,” they were already looking forward to feeling alive with Stray Kids once again. – Rappler.com
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