One of the many Kpop groups that I got into last year was Seventeen, partly because a co-worker of mine kept on suggesting that I try listening to them. And sure enough, just a few seconds into watching “Don’t Wanna Cry”, I was hooked. Several music videos, “unhelpful guides” to Seventeen on YouTube, VLive Videos, and Weekly Idol videos later, I realized that this group had managed to worm their way into my ultimate Kpop group bias list, and is actually currently my top ultimate group that’s currently active right now (meaning, the members aren’t doing their mandatory military enlistment yet). So, despite me being a fairly new Carat (the fandom name of Seventeen), I decided that I was going to go to the next concert they had in Manila, and sure enough, last February 8, 2020, I was finally able to finally see them perform live at the Ode To You World Tour in Manila. And it was truly a wonderful and unforgettable experience, and made me excited to watch them again if they do come back to Manila again next year.
I knew that this was going to be a special concert for me, so I really prepared for it, in a way. I managed to get myself the second version of the Carat Bong, and I also bought Joshua’s (my first bias in the group!) version of the Ode To You Limited edition T-shirt, last year. I had the shirt altered to fit me though, as the sizing of the shirts were more for boys. (If you guys are wondering, my second bias is DK, and the third is Wonwoo). Aside from this, as that weekend was also my younger sister’s birthday weekend, we both decided to book a room at a hotel near the venue, the Mall of Asia Arena, so that it would be easier for me, and she would just have a nice staycation while waiting for me.
Due to world events, I was really anxious about a lot of things, but I am glad that the organizers, SM Tickets and Pulp Live Nation, amped up the security as everyone was checked with fever guns, we were required to wear face masks, and there were hand sanitizers everywhere in the venue. It was all really organized, and I was surprised at how smooth and fast the entire process was, and before I knew it, I was inside the venue already, excited, albeit around three or more hours early.
The Carats who had availed of the sound-check perk were already inside, and me, just like the others, waited outside for us to be told that we could enter the arena itself. They were really well-behaved, and many were singing and practicing fan chants whenever Seventeen’s songs were being played.
At 4PM, we were told to line up depending on what section we were seated at, and it also didn’t take that long for us to be ushered inside the arena. My seat was a lower box seat. It was a good seat that gave me a relatively good view of the extended stage, and half of the main stage, but that was alright with me as there were big screens that I could also refer to. I’m glad that I had a lower box seat, although it wasn’t my ideal one, as the seats that I wanted had been snapped up fairly quickly during ticketing day. It was close enough that I could see their faces whenever they would face my side, I waved at them like a crazy, yet happy Carat.My only regret as that I wasn’t able to see the main stage set design and experience the visuals from a better vantage point. (As a Theater major who did a lot of production work in college, seeing the entire set and the visuals is a big thing for me.)
What was surprising was that I ended up making friends with one of my seatmates, whose first bias in Seventeen also happened to be Joshua!
Before the concert, they showed several music videos, and us Carats screamed the loudest whenever leader S.Coups was shown on screen, mostly as we wanted to show our support for him, especially as he was not with them as he is currently on hiatus as he is dealing with anxiety issues. Actually, us Carats didn’t just do it then, but every time we knew his lines came up, we also cheered loudly. At a certain point, we were even chanting his name!
The concert officially kicked off with electrifying performances of “Getting Closer”, “Rock”, and “Clap”. As soon as they came on stage, I myself started cheering and singing along to the lyrics I knew, and I knew that this was going to be a night to remember.
Each of the members greeted us, with Hoshi absolutely milking it by strutting onto the extended stage, waiting for us to shout louder, doing his usual “What time is it? 10:10!” greeting, and getting us to chant “horanghae” to him as well. Later on, during the concert, we also chanted “wangjanim” (prince), a nickname that he loves, without even being prompted by him. They also mentioned that it has been quite a time since they’ve been here, and even greeted us with some Filipino words, such as DK going “Mahal Kita!”, accompanied by a finger heart. We were also taught a small chant with some simple hand choreography that they made up for the tour’s title.
They also showed some VCRs during the concert, but the one that left a lasting impression on me was the VCR where they passed around a piece of paper that said “written by SVT”, to each other, filmed in the style of a spy thriller.
After the greetings, they sang two of top favorite Seventeen songs- “Thanks” and “Don’t Wanna Cry”.
This was followed by the unit performances with the HipHop Unit first, followed by the Performance Unit, and was capped off by the Vocal Unit.
The HipHop Unit did a more rock version of “Trauma”, which I absolutely loved, as “Trauma” is one of my favorite HipHop Unit songs; and a chiller version of “Chili”. I was looking forward the most to Wonwoo’s performance for the HipHop Unit performance, and I was floored! Seeing him switch on performance mode while rapping during “Trauma” made me think that I chose the right bias for me.
The Performance Unit did “Lilli Yabbai”, which I was ecstatic about, and “Shhhh”. I really do love “Lilli Yabbai”, especially for its performance value, and I was not disappointed at all.
The Vocal Unit then performed wonderful renditions of “Hug” and “Don’t Listen in Secret”. Just seeing Seungkwan and DK belt out those high notes and doing ad libs were just awesome.
The mood then got a bit mellow as the Vocal Unit’s performance was followed by “Can’t See the End/Space”, followed by Seventeen’s song for the fans- “Smile Flower”. Aside from the fact that this song is very meaningful as it is us for us Carats, it was made even more special as there was a point when the boys were just listening to us Carats singing a part of the song, and our voices filled the entire arena.
Because of this, the boys told us how impressed they were at the fact that we would sing the lyrics of every song they sang out loud, without fail. And then, they decided to test us by giving one line and we would continue the song for them. They even tried to “trick us” by giving us harder songs, but we still got it in the end. This prompted them to say that “Manila Carats are the real Carats”, much to our happiness.
After this, the set changed, as there were cut-out frames on stage representing “Seventeen Museum”. This kicked off the most energetic part of the concert as they went back into their history and performed some of my favorite songs- their debut song, “Akkinda (Adore You)”; “Mansae”; one of my top favorite songs of theirs, “Pretty You”; “Oh My”; and a 12 member version of BooSeokSoon’s “Just Do It”, which had everyone jumping out of their seats and singing loudly.
They also sang “Good To Me”, and the Korean version of “Happy Ending”. After this, they began to do their closing spiels, in which they told us how happy they were to be performing in Manila again, and how amazing the energy of Philippine Carats were. Of course, we couldn’t let them leave without singing “Happy Birthday” to Dino, especially as he noticed that we had banners for that purpose as his birthday was only a few days after the concert. He thanked us not only in his native language, but spoke in Tagalog and said “Salamat po” to us.
After telling us to wait for the next time they come back here, and to wait for new music that will come our way this 2020. While they were waving at us and going backstage, the instrumental of “Snap Shoot” started playing, and of course, we sang along, as did they.
After waiting for some time, the boys came back on stage for an encore performance while wearing the T-shirts that they designed. At a certain point during the encore, they got Dino to give a little bit of a solo dance, and The 8 did some bboy moves for us as well. Seungkwan tried to do some cartwheels, but gave up right away, looking both cute and embarassed of himself. Aside from this, Hoshi also somehow fell down during one of the encore numbers, at which Dino laughed at whole-heartedly.
For the encore, they performed several songs including their latest one, “Fear”. They also sang “9-Teen”; sang and did the latter half of the choreography for “HIT”, a song that I was hoping they’d perform as I really did want to see it performed live: and they closed with “Aju Nice”, but came back on stage around ten times, and each time, we sang and cheered louder and louder.
It was also good to see the boys fooling around and having fun on stage during the encore portion, and I was so happy to see Jeonghan looking healthy and happy as he also got sick recently and couldn’t perform during some legs of the tour last year.
I absolutely LOVED every moment of the concert and it made me love Seventeen even more!
I am also glad that I got a hotel room nearby as I was completely exhausted after the concert. Next time though, I hope that I’ll really be able to do the fan chants, as it was just too fast for me this time around, and I lacked practice for it (trust me, it’s not easy saying thirteen names really fast!)
I’m so glad I got to see them perform live and I can’t wait to see them again next time they come here!
Image Source/s: (Poster) PULP Live World