Sunday, April 12, 2015

Recap and Videos of BEST OF BEST in the PHILIPPINES: K-POP x 4 at the Philippine Arena!

April 13, 2015




I went to watch this concert only as a companion to my daughter who likes Korean telenovelas and pop songs. I, on the other hand, do not know anything about K-Pop except those two big hits by Psy and the Wonder Girls (both of which I am sure you also know very well). Of the four acts, I only know Super Junior because of the fervid publicity of their past concerts in Manila. But honestly I could not name any one of the members nor recognize any of their songs. This concert is my first actual introduction to Super Junior as well as KPop itself as a musical genre.



Adding another point of interest to this concert is that it will be held at the new Philippine Arena (of the Iglesia ni Cristo) in Bocaue, Bulacan. Because I was apprehensive about the traffic situation, I decided for us to try taking the shuttle buses the organizers have provided to get to and from the venue. The shuttle bus was only P50 for a round trip, and came from various points like Trinoma in QC, Makati and Alabang. In Trinoma, the shuttle left from the bus terminal outside the supermarket area at 3:30 pm. We reached Philippine Arena by 4 pm. The bus parking area was quite a distance away, so people had to line up to ride another shuttle bus provided by the INC to get to the arena proper. They need to organize this service as some people would still cut in the queue.




There was a fiesta atmosphere outside the venue as there were already so many people there. We first took time taking pictures with the grand Arena. Organizers have set up a stage where local KPop cover acts performed. The fans were already very excitedly screaming their hearts out. They knew all the lyrics. They were also taking pictures with the emcees, who were also dressed in KPop style. My daughter was giving me various information and trivia on the side as we were watching the sideshow as I was completely clueless. We ate an early dinner at the area provided, then we realized we should already be lining up to enter. 




The queues were already very long, almost up the complex entrance. There were two main lines, one for those who bought from Ticketworld and another for those who bought from SM Tickets. It was an arduous wait, much longer than our queue for the OneD concert. As the sky turned dark on us while lining up, we saw the multicolored Philippine Arena lights turned on. It was a relief when we finally saw the audience gates after maybe an hour or more in line. Again, they should improve this system of letting people in as it got a bit confusing near the gates. You really need to protect your position in line as some people can take advantage of the merging lines and cut in. The line took time because they were quite strict in checking those people with bags. Those without bags got in much less time.




Once we got inside, we can really feel the excitement of the fans as they were running up the stairs. I am not sure if there are escalators or elevators to the higher floors as we went along with those in the stairwell. When we reached the doors of our designated level, there was suddenly a big shout heard, and we saw fans were rushing out of the auditorium and started running down the stairs! Apparently, organizers have allowed fans to transfer to the next lower level. So Gen Ad people were running down to Upper Box, and Upper Box people were running down to Lower Box. We just went with the flow of the fans and settled into our new, and better seats. We can see why the venue did not get filled up even with the huge turnout of fans. The audience area was so enormous indeed with seats in the INC colors -- red, white and green. It may not have been a full house last night, but the energy level of the audience was really pulsating.

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When the house lights turned dimmed down and the introductory video played on the big screens, multicolored lightsticks up the darkness as fans were screaming like crazy. 

The first act to take the stage was the five-girl group called RED VELVET who opened the show with their new hit song, "Ice Cream Cake". They were dancing in front of a massive video wall that exploded into different colors and cool designs. This would be the presentation style for the subsequent performers as well.  After a couple of songs, they spoke with their fans -- well, at least they tried to with their limited English. Fortunately, someone provided the English translation from offstage (probably by emcee Sam Oh). The RV girls were very cute in their swag hiphop tops, short denim shorts and blond hair. They only sang four songs, including the sweet ballad "Candy" (VIDEO), and their finale "Happiness" (VIDEO) which made their fans very happy indeed.




Next up was BTOB, short for their full name "Born to Beat". This is a seven-man boy group also with a big following all over the world. Their set opened with a bang as they emerged rising up from beneath the stage, and they went on to sing their hit song "Thriller" (VIDEO). The boys were all dressed in black hiphop-style oversized shirts. Their next numbers would also be in signature energetic style, with fans screaming wildly for their personal favorite members as their porcelain faces were flashed on the screen as they were performing. Again, the spiels were a bit repetitive and awkward because of the limited English, but the fans certainly did not mind. The boys sang seven songs, including "Second Confession" (VIDEO) and their finale "Wow" (VIDEO). 




The next act was superstar girl group GIRLS' GENERATION. For their grand entrance, they seemed to pop out of a brightly-lit screen. They were dressed in delightful matching pink tutu-like mini-dresses that moved so well with their dancing. Their opening song number was the very eclectic "Mr. Taxi" (VIDEO), then followed by "Genie" (VIDEO). Their video backdrops were more elaborate and colorful, very feminine in slower songs. The eight girls had more distinct faces, each with a unique beauty about them. Too bad they did not get to change costumes at all, which would have been so nice. Their English spiels were limited like the others, but they were all so pretty to look at, so it was cute. Each of them also had their own group of fans screaming for them as their faces were given a close-up on the big screens. Of their seven songs, I liked their old hit "Gee" (VIDEO) and their finale number "Mr. Mr." (VIDEO).




The biggest and most famous act in the lineup was also the finale act -- SUPER JUNIOR. Out of the 13 members, there were only eight guys on the stage as their silhouettes first showed up on the stage in their spectacular opening number "Shirt" (VIDEO), immediately followed by "This is Love" (VIDEO). My daughter said some of them had to fulfil their mandatory military service for their country. The boys (men really, since these were the same guys ten years ago when they first exploded on the pop scene) were in smart black and white tailored suits with different patterns. Each of them had their own hordes of adoring fans who were really going wild with their blue lightsticks. Their slick high-energy style and showmanship were so evident in every number. It was clear why they have lasted this long in this business. Kyunhyun was given a solo spot for his soulful ballad "At Gwanghwamun"SJ saved their best songs for last -- "Mr. Simple" (VIDEO) and "Mamacita" (VIDEO). The concert ended suddenly though after the latter song, just when the crowd was getting more excited. I think they sang only seven songs -- a very short set for what was supposed to be the top act. People thought there would be more, but realized it was really the end when the house lights came back on. 

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As everyone was filing out of the Arena, our concern was how to get back to the parking area of the buses. There was already a very long line at the Sports Arena where the shuttles were supposed to pick passengers up. My daughter and I decided to just join the horde already making their way back to the buses on foot. Luckily, we encountered shuttles along the way whose drivers stopped to pick up walking patrons. We got on and reached the parking area in no time. We got on on the first bus bound for Trinoma which left in a few minutes after the bus was filled up. I think this post-concert aspect can still be improved for future concerts.

I had fun bonding time with my daughter in this concert.  I can see why they connect with various audiences the world over despite the language barrier. These K-Pop songs were all so relentlessly fun to groove to with very catchy and infectious beats. Watching the whole K-Pop phenomenon unfold in front of me (complete with the rabid and loyal fan love all around) made this one a memorable concert experience in its own right even if I did not know ANY of the songs performed at all. 


33 comments:

  1. Nicely put, Fred. My wife and daughter also went to see the concert last night. I happened to find your blog while trying to look for reviews and feedback about this particular show. Like what you said, my wife remarked that the organizers should do something about the distance the concert goers have to take upon alighting from the shuttle. The long walk and distance took its toll on my wife's nephew (also aged 8 yrs old like my daughter) who got fever from the whole experience. To add insult to injury, my daughter was forced to leave behind her tumbler along with her cousin's because the organisers carelessly dumped concert goers' valuables without any order or identification, so it was utter confusion after the show when the owners went back to claim their items. I just hope this snafu would not happen again next time.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm sure there's a better way to do that bus matter than what transpired last night. I didn't have to leave anything at the gate so we didn't experience the hassle your family had. If it were me, I would just pour out the contents of the tumbler so I can bring it in with me.

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  2. It's 'Ice Cream Cake' by Red Velvet. :)

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    1. Thanks so much. I already corrected the error you caught.

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  3. Hello ^^ Can I ask what seat did you bought? esp. the section and the row? Thanks in advance ^^

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    1. Or more like the seat you were transferred in?

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    2. We ended up seated in the white seats area of the Upper Box.

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  4. Do you know the whole set list of Girls' Generation?

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    1. Red Velvet
      1 Ice Cream Cake
      2 Something Crazy
      3 Candy
      4 Happiness

      BtoB
      1 Thriller
      2 Irresistible Lips
      3 I Only Know Love
      4 2nd Confession
      5 Winter's Tale
      6 Beep Beep
      7 Wow

      Girl's Generation
      1 Mr. Taxi
      2 Genie
      3 Hoot
      4 Gee
      5 Kissing You
      6 Complete
      7 Mr. Mr.

      Super Junior
      1 Shirt
      2 This is Love
      3 Evanesce
      4 At Gwanghwamun
      5 Oppa Oppa
      6 Mr. Simple
      7 Mamacita

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    2. Thank you very much for this complete setlist! As I mentioned, I really did not know any of the songs performed, and the titles I have cited in the recap were only those my daughter knew. :-)

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  5. wow..this sounds like fun :).

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  6. Looks like you had an amazing time. We love talent shows like this x

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  7. I noted K-POP is quite popular nowadays.... I haven't really gotten into the K-POP mania but I would love to witness at least one Korean concert

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  8. I don't know K-Pop too, so I feel for you. Maybe my 10 year old knows? Haha. Actually more interested in what the Philippine Arena looks up close. I've only seen it while passing NLEX to Pampanga a handful of times. It looks great!

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  9. My nieces are fond of these stars :) It's nice that they are reaching their fans in PH however they should improve how to handle huge number of fans and accomodate them properly.

    Arena looks so nice! I wanna visit it too once my fave stars will have a concert :)
    Thanks for sharing!

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  10. woww...this looks amazing. this part of the world is in my bucket list. hope to see you soon. thanks for sharing.

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  11. so sweet of you to accompany your daughter! i'm a little better than you, i know GG and SJ out of the 5 acts. hahaha!

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  12. I love pop music. When we are listening pop songs we can stop ourselves to stay on sofa or chair......isnt it......enjoy..

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  13. Good to hear that father daughter bonding on the same music too.. Most precious time !

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  14. I really admire you as a father, you accompanied your daughter to watch the said event....that's great! Bravo!

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  15. This is a welcome shift to your usual shows and it was a great bonding time with your daughter. Kpop music is now super hot especially with the younger generation.

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  16. I've heard of how the locals and teenagers in Philippines love chasing idols, and this totally show it to me! gosh!

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  17. Wow... awesome! I love K Pop too..

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  18. I'm sure everyone enjoyed every show. Such an amazing talents and inspiring people performed.

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  19. Not my type but good to hear you enjoy the show.

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  20. Hi May I ask what camera did you use here? The zoom is so awesome.
    Thanks for your reply. Nice blog here. :)

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  21. OMG, you saw all the famous Korean Idol. I love Girls generation. they all look beautiful. How much did you pay for all of that?

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  22. I have never listened to north Asian music. It seems you had a lot of fun watching your favorite celebrities.

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  23. Sounds like a great concert with the usual delights and snafus. You did an awesome job and I plan to watch the videos you shared.

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  24. Sounds like a great concert with the usual delights and snafus. You did an awesome job and I plan to watch the videos you shared.

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  25. Most of my nieces and nephews are into this! I'd probably chaperone them if I was in Manila during the concert. It's always a problem with major concerts. Your experience was similar to what I felt during Michael Jackson's concert in the 90s in Manila!

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  26. Sounds like it was a great event and how cool to get better seats so you could enjoy it even more. That would have been the highlight for me.

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  27. Nice Review :D Btw, what camera did you use for the filming? (:

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