This year, as readers of this blog can tell by now, has been the year in which I finally got back into K-pop full time. However, last August 25, I was able to fulfill a little bit of a dream that I’ve had ever since I got into the Asian pop music scene many years ago- I was finally able to see a group that I really like in concert. Yes, last August 25, 2019, my sister and I had the chance to watch Gfriend live at the KIA New Frontier Theater in Quezon City, as part of their Go Go Gfriend Asia Tour, marking this to be my first ever (and certainly not the last) K-pop concert, and Gfriend’s second concert here in Manila. It was definitely a night to remember, as I was surrounded by other Philippine Buddies who were very enthusiastic, and as the girls were a treat to see live on stage.
To be honest, before this year, I haven’t really been to any concerts, mostly because I didn’t really have anyone to go with me to these events, and due to lack of funds. However, this year, I had the good fortune of being invited to watch Josh Groban live in concert, and when I heard that Gfriend was coming, I decided that I just had to see them perform live. (I was also happy that the venue was mostly seated, as I really didn’t want to have to stand during the concert.) I also got balcony tickets, which was not that bad, as the KIA New Frontier Theater isn’t too big, so I was able to see them properly enough to make out who was who.
I didn’t really know what to expect for the concert as this was my first ever K-pop concert, but prepared by getting a hold of the latest version of their lightstick. I tried to look up the specific fanchants per song, but didn’t really have enough time to actually memorize them.
My sister and I arrived around two hours or so earlier than the concert time as we had an early dinner before entering the venue, which was right in front of it, and had an entry point connected to the mall we were at. However, as we entered the venue through the mall, we didn’t get to pass by any booths selling any kind of merch. I had previously decided not to get any of the official concert merch, as I didn’t find anything that I really liked, but now I wish that I had gotten a pin of some sort and a slogan to cheer with as well during the concert.
We entered the venue around thirty minutes before the actual concert started, and even before the concert, all the Buddies there were hyped up, especially as they were playing Gfriend’s music videos in chronological order. The audience, including myself, sang along with the songs, practiced the fanchancts at the same time, and one guy even stood up during the “Sunrise” MV and actually danced some parts of the song!
The actual concert started with an opening video, which then segued into them singing “Me Gustas Tu”. Later on, the girls told us that they actually changed some of the lyrics of some of the songs into Filipino, which was really cool and sweet of them to do for Filipino Buddies. For example, in “Me Gustas Tu”, they replaced “좋아해요” with “gusto kita”, which means the same thing (I like you). They also did this with some lyrics in “Time for the Moon Night” as well.
The other VCRs during the concert included one that was played before the Special Stage, and showed the sub-units Hug Hug and World Peace practicing before actually seeing them perform their respective songs on stage. Hug Hug, composed of Eunha, Umji and Yerin performed “Shy Boy”; while World Peace, composed of SinB, Sowon and Yuju performed “Monday Blues”.
The other VCR showed the members competing with each other in a funny way in their respective sport that they were a master of with Umji as the referee, while parodying “Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame” at the same time.
They performed a lot of songs from their “Time for Us” album and from the “Time for the Moon Night” mini album, which were absolute delights to see. They also performed some of their older hits, such as “Life is A Party”, “Me Gustas Tu”, “Vacation”, “Love Whisper”, “Windy Windy”, “Crush”, “Fingertip”, and “Navillera”. They also performed the Korean versions of “Flower” and “Memoria”, and they debuted a ballad version of “Rough”. “Rough” is in my list of favorite Gfriend songs, and this arrangement made it even more beautiful, and gave Yuju more chances to showcase her powerful and beautiful voice.
During the encore, they sang “Hope”, a song that they are very much proud of as they wrote the lyrics of this fan song themselves, and for the very last song, they performed “Compass”.
They didn’t perform “Glass Bead”, but that was okay as they did perform a lot of newer songs as well.
The girls did well, although at some points, you could tell that they were a bit tired, but that’s understandable as they did just have a comeback (plus promotions), and as they had just come from the Jakarta concert two days beforehand. However, they never let it show, and even had a few songs that were very choreo heavy one after the other during one segment of the concert. They also sang live, as you could hear their voices, especially Yuju’s, over their AR.
They were very engaging during the talk portions, and even though there was a translator on hand, the girls spoke some English, and to our delight, they also said some words in Filipino. There were also no major mishaps, with the only problem being Yerin’s microphone pack, which was easily fixed.
Although all the girls were engaging, the ones that I felt connected a lot with the audience were Yerin, Umji and Eunha. In fact, by the end of the concert, my sister’s favorites were Eunha and Umji.
SinB and Yerin also took to VLive when they were settled down in their hotel room eating late dinner after the concert, and talked about the yummy food they’ve had during their short stay here, and mentioned that they do love coming here to Manila.
During the concert, I was very hyped up, although I was much more tame compared to the others around me. I did have a great time, and I sang along when I could, and tried my best to follow the fanchants while waving my lightstick to the rhythm of the music. (My arm got very sore because of the lightstick!) The only negatives in my Gfriend concert experience was that even though it was explicitly stated that taking videos were not allowed, and the marshalls were strict, some people kept on taking videos; and the fact that at some moments, I felt that the sound system wasn’t that great as there were points when the music did not sound clear at all.
Ever since I got into Gfriend, I’ve heard that they are incredible live, and even if they were a bit tired (which is understandable), I can confidently say that they ARE definitely amazing live, and I am very very proud to be a Buddy.
In the end, my Go Go Gfriend in Manila 2019 experience was one that I will never forget, and this will definitely be the first of many other K-pop experiences in the future!
Image Source: New Frontier Theater Facebook