MANILA, Philippines – After over two years, K-pop events are back on Philippine shores! On Sunday, May 29 at the Araneta Colisuem, CDM Entertainment brought over K-pop groups Alice, WEi, NCT Dream, and Key of SHINee for Begin Again K-pop Edition, the first ever live K-pop concert in Manila since the pandemic began.
For most K-pop fans, it is a long-awaited comeback after years of streaming online content from their favorite groups. For some, it’s even their first time to attend a physical K-pop concert.
As early as Sunday morning, Araneta Coliseum was filled with tons of energy from all kinds of K-pop fans, who brought out fan-made banners, photocards, stickers, and other little freebies to give away to co-fans.
Then, by 5 pm, the lights went off for the first group to perform: Alice!
Alice is a seven-member girl group which debuted on June 1, 2017. Composed of members EJ, Do-A, Chaejeong, Yeonjae, Yukyung, Sohee, and Karin, the group surprised fans with a super energetic performance to kick off the event.
When Alice went onstage to perform “This is Me,” the crowd roared with so much energy that had been clearly pent up over the years.
Alice was welcomed warmly by the crowd, and they were clearly thrilled to see Filipino BLRIS (the group’s fandom name, coined after their former group name ELRIS + bliss) for the second time. They first performed in Manila at 2019 K-pop World Music Festival as ELRIS.
The girl group also performed “Summer Dream,” the title track from their third mini album from 2018. The girls then played the Pirates Game, where losers had to do punishments like random play dancing to BTS’ “Dynamite” and Red Velvet’s “Red Flavor.”
Alice’s Yeonjae had to do a punishment where she had to say “I love you” to Philippine fans three ways: cutely, innocently, and sexily – which drove the crowd wild. The girls also threw some signed balls for lucky fans in the crowd to catch.
The girl group next gave a heartwarming performance of “Power of Love,” a song which they released on the first week of May this year. They ended their time onstage with the song “No Big Deal” from their album Jackpot.
The next act that rocked the stage was WEi, a six-member boy group composed of Daehyeon, Donghan, Yongha, Yohan, Seokhwa, and Junseo. They surprised RUis with a performance of “Twilight,” their debut song.
Having debuted at the start of the pandemic, WEi expressed how excited they were to finally see Filipino RUis for the first time. After introducing themselves, the boys proceeded with a powerful performance of “All or Nothing.”
WEi also played the Alligator Game, where the boys had to take turns trying to avoid being bitten by a toy alligator.
As one of the game’s punishments, Junseo performed Monsta X’s “Love Killa,” only to have the rest of the boys join him, making the crowd scream in excitement. The group then danced along to “Dynamite” by BTS. Daehyeon also had to make an aegyo version of “I miss you” to Filipino fans, and also showed off different versions of heart signs to the crowd.
The boy group also performed their hit songs “Bye, Bye, Bye,” and “Super Bumpy,” and ended their time onstage with “Too Bad.”
The loudest screams from the crowd erupted when NCT Dream, the third sub-unit of Korean boy band NCT, entered the stage with their song from their first studio album Hot Sauce.
Members Renjun, Jeno, Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung were present for the night. While Haechan and Mark were not able to attend because of NCT 127’s activities, the five members still gave a spectacular performance.
In 2020, the boy group had previously visited the country for the NCT Dream Tour “The Dream Show” In Manila, just a month before the lockdown. The boys were so happy to finally be onstage again for Filipino NCTzens. They expressed how much they missed the Filipino crowd and even wowed fans as Chenle revealed that he was studying the violin and would love to show his skills to their fans one day.
They also performed their song “Dive Into You” for the first time outside Korea.
NCT Dream followed this with their song “Hello Future,” then ended their brief yet very energetic stage with a powerful performance of “Glitch Mode.”
NCT promised to visit Manila again and eventually see their Filipino NCTzens as a complete sub-unit. Who knows, we might even get the entire NCT in the Philippines soon, and not just as sub-units! Fingers crossed, NCTzens!
Saving the best for last, none other than Kim Kibum, also known as Key of the boy group SHINee, took the stage, performing his solo songs for Shawols in Manila for the first time ever.
Gathering all fans from all generations of K-pop, Kibum rocked the stage with “Saturday Night,” a song from his recent mini album. The talented artist also didn’t need a translator, amazing fans with Tagalog phrases like “mabuhay,” “salamat po,” and “kumusta?”
SHINee first visited the Philippines in 2009, sans their youngest member, Taemin, for the Korean Cultural Festival. In 2013, SHINee came back to the Philippines, missing member Minho this time, to perform in Kpop Republic along with groups Dal Shabet and EXO-K. Their last visit in the Philippines as a complete group was in 2015 for the One K Global Peace Concert in Manila, along with K-pop stars PSY, AOA, CNBlue, B.A.P., and BtoB.
Key shared how he would love to visit the Philippines again with all of his SHINee members, and how very envious the others were that he was able to visit Manila for the fourth time.
“Helium,” from the same mini album, was performed next, followed by “This Life,” making every single person in the stadium stand and jump along to the chorus.
For his second ment, Key decided to share a few TMI tidbits with the crowd: he had showered twice because of the very hot weather; he had a wonderful omelet for lunch; and his hotel was just two minutes away.
The singer also performed “Ring Ding Dong” and SHINee’s debut song “Replay,” as requested by fans, prompting him to ask how old the crowd was. Key showed Manila how SHINee’s timeless songs continued to transcend every single generation of K-pop fans, regardless of their age.
One proof of this was the attendance of one of the biggest SHINee fans, none other than Megastar Sharon Cuneta herself, who couldn’t help but cry from joy during Kim Kibum’s performance – as evidenced by daughter Kakie Pangilinan’s tweet!
For the night’s last performance, Kim Kibum performed his retro/synth wave pop title track “Bad Love.”
Judging from the success of Begin Again, 2022 is clearly a promising year not just for local idols but also for international artists to once again shine on the Manila stage. – Rappler.com