k-pop

In ‘FOLLOW’ to Bulacan, SEVENTEEN treats Filipino CARATs to their grandest festival yet

Ysa Abad

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In ‘FOLLOW’ to Bulacan, SEVENTEEN treats Filipino CARATs to their grandest festival yet

Courtesy of PLEDIS Entertainment

'You're perfect,' Hoshi tells the Filipino crowd, as the rest of SEVENTEEN's members promise that they would return soon

“This is Manila,” member Hoshi declared.

K-pop boy group SEVENTEEN praised the crowd’s energy at their FOLLOW concert tour at the Philippine Sports Stadium on January 13 and 14. 

For their historic two-night residency, around 32,000 fans flocked to the venue each day to witness SEVENTEEN became the first K-pop act to headline a stadium show in the Philippines. 

“Every time we come here, your energy is amazing. We always have a great time with you guys,” member Joshua added. 

Even before the members graced the stage, the anticipation for the show was palpable as the attendees already sang along to each song prior to the concert. But the energy went over the roof when SEVENTEEN officially kicked off their three-hour show. 

Stage, Concert, Crowd
Courtesy of PLEDIS Entertainment

Opening their concert with their 2023 hit “Super” was fitting as it set a promising start for an electrifying show. Screams turned deafening as producer Woozi appeared on air through an elevated rig. From the get-go, the show’s scale and production value was commendable with its massive stage, abundance of props, VCRs, and special effects — which ranged from laser beams to confetti and pyrotechnics. 

The group, sans S.coups and Jeonghan, gave fans barely a moment’s rest as they continued with hard-hitting performances of dynamic tracks “Don Quixote” and “Clap.” For their opening set, SEVENTEEN also delighted the attendees with their classic hits “Don’t Wanna Cry” and “Thanks,” which further put a spotlight on the group’s signature sharp choreography. 

There’s strength in numbers and SEVENTEEN’s synergy is proof of that, but the act also knows how to make each stage memorable even as units. 

First was the vocal unit, which serenaded the crowd with emotional tracks “Dusk” and “Pinwheel.” Next was the performance unit, which showcased their sultry moves in “Highlight” and “I Don’t Understand But I Luv U.” Wrapping up the team stages was the hip-hop unit’s fiery set featuring “Back It Up” and “Fire.” 

Person, Group Performance, Leisure Activities
Courtesy of PLEDIS Entertainment
Stage, Group Performance, Person
Courtesy of PLEDIS Entertainment
Stage, Concert, Crowd
Courtesy of PLEDIS Entertainment
‘Philippines, you are crazy’

Reconvened as a full group, SEVENTEEN, who are fondly called the “Theater Kids of K-pop,” then launched into their next set with huge colorful carnival floats and a string of more upbeat, vibrant songs. 

“Welcome to the FOLLOW festival,” member DK said. “It’s a show that you’ve never seen before.” 

Here, they treated attendees with new arrangements of their fan-favorite fresh-teen songs “Home; Run,” “Left & Right,” and “Beautiful.” The crowd was also in awe of the group’s showmanship, as seen in the members’ ad-libs and dance breaks. It was apparent how the members and the fans were just volleying energy off each other – especially when the crowd chanted the iconic “kung chi pak chi” lines in the group’s “God of Music” performance and sang the theme song of their variety show Going Seventeen.

Concert, Crowd, Person
Courtesy of PLEDIS Entertainment

However, the mood dampened a bit during the first night when member Seungkwan had to sit out the second half of the show due to health concerns. Since the group’s FOLLOW tour started in July 2023, the members haven’t been complete for a show because of health-related concerns. The Saturday show in Bulacan was actually the first time that the group was down by three members. 

Despite this, Filipino CARATs assured the group that it was okay and that the members’ health remains the utmost priority. As proof, the crowd did some of the loudest cheers for missing members S.coups, Jeonghan, and Seungkwan. 

Compared to S.coups and Jeonghan’s parts, which were either covered by the other members or were played as recorded backing vocals, Seungkwan’s sudden absence meant that his parts wouldn’t be covered. Luckily, fans were quick to fill in Seungkwan’s parts, with Wonwoo complimenting the crowd for being “professional singers.” Thankfully, Seungkwan was able to bounce back during the second night and successfully finished the second leg of the concert in good health. 

Moreover, it was also noticeable how the remaining SEVENTEEN members stepped up to fill the others’ absence. Hoshi and Wonwoo, in particular, were chattier than usual, while the rest of the members often mentioned S.coups, Jeonghan, and Seungkwan in between sets. 

There was also a shift in atmosphere as the group showcased their vocal prowess with sentimental ballads “April Shower” and “Kidult.” SEVENTEEN then switched up the energy with their performances of “Anyone,” “Good to Me,” and “Hot.” 

Concert, Crowd, Person
Courtesy of PLEDIS Entertainment

While their FOLLOW concert has a nice mix of well-loved tracks from their early years to recent hit songs, SEVENTEEN knows that there’s still a wide berth of songs from their catalog that their fans would like to see live. This is why, during one of their breaks, the members granted song requests from the fans. 

During the first night, they sang snippets of “Darl+ing” and “Mansae,” and even taught a TikTok dance challenge for their song “SOS.” For the second night, they took on songs “Home,” “Ready to Love,” “Fear,” “Rock With You,” “Crush,” and “Snapshoot” — with fans singing Dino’s verse, to the surprise of the group.

Perhaps the main highlight for this set was when Dino’s fictional character Pi Cheolin made a surprise appearance to do his rap verse in BooSeokSoon’s track “Fighting.” On the second night, the group also surprised the crowd with their parody trot song “God of Light Music.” Fans already know how mischievous the members can be, but it’s still a delight witnessing the group’s variety chops and inside jokes.

Whether they were performing or not, SEVENTEEN members were met with loud cheers and chants from the attendees.

“Because of your screams, all I can say is ‘wow,’” member Mingyu said. Even when the group returned to South Korea after their Philippine stops, the rapper still complimented the crowd through his Weverse post, which said: “Manila CARATs, you guys were the best. It was fun. I love you.” 

Lighting, Concert, Crowd
Courtesy of PLEDIS Entertainment

The rest of the members also praised the crowd during the concerts, telling Filipino fans that they were “amazing,” “hot,” “sexy,” “beautiful,” and “wonderful.” Hoshi also said: “Manila, you’re perfect” after the attendees chanted his iconic “I’m so happy to meet you” spiel. Vernon added that the Philippines was “so crazy,” and Jun also kept on saying “salamat po” to the attendees. 

A SEVENTEEN show wouldn’t be complete without the neverending “Aju Nice” stage. And as testament to the Filipino crowd’s unmatched energy, the first night wrapped up with eight rounds of “Aju Nice” and the second night wrapped up with a whopping 12 rounds. In fact, even “Aju Nice” police Seungkwan was in disbelief when the crowd asked for another round, while the ever-energetic Mingyu had to ask for a 10-second reprieve before they continued with another round of “Aju Nice.” 

Dream come true

For their encore, the members circled the stadium through moving carts to get closer to the crowd. Even attendees in the seated sections had the chance to see the SEVENTEEN members up close as the group performed their songs “Run To You,” “Together,” and “To You.” 

As they returned to the main stage, the members expressed their shock over the massive turnout of attendees.

“Actually, we dreamed of performing here, in a bigger place, like this stadium. And because of CARATs, we achieved that dream,” member The8 said through a translator. 

Seungkwan also recalled the group’s first visit to the Philippines, saying that at the time they only had roughly a thousand attendees. But now, SEVENTEEN holds the record for being the first K-pop act to stage shows in the Philippine Arena and the Philippine Sports Stadium – two of the largest concert venues in the country. 

Since the group’s debut, SEVENTEEN has always included Philippines in their concert tours – 2016’s Shining Diamonds, 2017’s Diamond Edge, 2018’s Ideal Cut, 2020’s Ode To You, 2022’s Be The Sun, and 2024’s FOLLOW. And it looks like it won’t stop there as the group has promised to return soon. 

Lighting, Concert, Crowd
Courtesy of PLEDIS Entertainment

“Hopefully today is a really great memory for you, guys. We’’ll be back so don’t worry. Mahal ko kayo,” Joshua said. Woozi added “kitakits,” while Wonwoo promised: “Babalik kami para sa inyo.”  And since SEVENTEEN’s not the type to break a promise, Filipino CARATs are already looking forward to seeing them again. – Rappler.com

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