MANILA, Philippines—They have unique names, far surreal than any rock band in the ‘70s or the ‘90s but Korean Pop, or Kpop, is here to stay in our country and steal our youth to form their own republic.
And one of this year’s highly anticipated concerts is indeed the Kpop Republic, a show composed of three popular groups from South Korea: SHINee, Exo-K and Dal Shabet.
Brought to us by All Access Productions and JU Entertainment, what took place on Saturday, September 7, proved to be this year’s much-awaited concert for many Kpop fans. We can go as far as saying that if the jam-packed Smart Araneta Coliseum were a cup of our favourite Korean spicy noodles, it’s steaming hot and the soup seemed to overflow as we stirred it with our very own bamboo chopsticks.
Fans won’t forget SHINee, the cute and cuddly R&B boy group under SM Entertainment. They paid a visit here in 2009 for the 60th Philippine-Korean friendship event.
But that was just a short appearance for a cultural event and now, fans were just but delighted to see SHINee in a concert.
Like them, it’s Exo-K’s second visit to our country. The six-member boy group participated in January this year at the Dream Kpop Fantasy Concert with Girls Generation, Infinite and others.
Meanwhile, Kpop Republic served as Dal Shabet’s debut concert in the Philippines.
Combine the number of fans of each group and what we got was a dancing pandemonium at the Big Dome.
The show started a little past 7:30 p.m. Short intros were made by the night’s guest-hosts—singer-host Christian Bautista and Korean model-DJ-FHM columnist Jinri Park.
For an ice breaker, Bautista said he too likes Kpop. No one doubted that because way back, he was a guest in 2ne1’s “The Party” concert. But when asked by fans for a sampler, he shied away.
Before the first group performed, fans were picked to dance to PSY’s “Gangnam Style!” Top three winners of the mini parlor game were judged through audience impact. The louder the applause…you get the drift.
Then the long wait was over as Crispi Crunch, a Korean hip-hop duo, and Soomin of April Kiss went up the stage. Nothing could stop the contagious energy of Crispi Crunch—both CSP and Cheesy—as they bounced like cute colorful stress balls on stage but still jiving to the beat of their songs. Soomin was an absolute stunner while performing with the duo.
The whole coliseum turned into a humongous dance club as the crowd went wild. Crispi Crunch’s songs were energetic and fun at the same time. Heartfelt, it was touching to hear them perform a song dedicated to fathers in the audience. The Filipino fans felt special when Soomin sang an OPM ballad, her version of Nina’s “If I Should Love Again.”
The trio ended their segment by performing, forchrissakes, “Gangnam Style!” which naturally brought back the pandemonium.
And it was just an appetizer.
In a few seconds there was the first main act, Dal Shabet, a Korean girl group created by E-Tribe.
Composed of Serri, Ah Young, Jiyul, Woohee, GaEun and Subin, Dal Shabet was the only girl group for the night, fuelling the excitement of boys in the audience with their swaying adorable skirts as they performed the hit, “Be Ambitious.”
They performed their bubbly, cutesy songs by swaying their hips and flaunting their long legs, which produced loud cheers and screams that could have brought down the walls of the Big Dome. They treated the audience with their hits “Mr. Bang Bang,” “Disco,” “Bling Bling” and “Supa Dupa Diva.”
Before their exit, the pretty ladies pulled a pink sack full of dolls and throw them at the audience. Indeed, the lucky fans were all “dolled up” for the night.
After Dal Shabet’s exit, there were the indescribable stomping and screaming at the coliseum. Of course, it’s the cute and cuddly living dolls of Kpop Republic that will perform next, EXO-K.
And it’s OK
EXO-K fans seemed delighted upon hearing the first song, “Wolf,” the title song of the group’s recent “XOXO” album. The awesome choreography of each number and the harmonious dance moves by these handsome, charismatic young men—namely Suho, Kai, BaekHyun, D.O, Chanyeol and Sehun—were already enough to fill the whole coliseum with glee, exhilaration and heart pumping action.
The second song was from their debut days, “History”, which also sent the crowd crazier. For their next song, “XOXO”, the boys went closer the audience for the much-awaited fan-idol interaction.
While singing “365,” they tossed around wolf-like dolls and caps to lucky audience at the SVIP and VIP Diamond section.
“I’m so happy!” said Suho, EXO-K’s leader, to the large, enthusiastic crowd.
Chanyeol, EXO-K’s main rapper who was wearing geeky glasses that night seconded the motion, saying, “Me too!”
Two words that again made the crowd wild.
Reminiscent of their Dream Kpop Fantasy Concert act in January 2013, Baekhyun of EXO-K sang Yeng Constantino’s “Hawak Kamay.” And the hearts of many, especially the girls, seemed to melt for the second time around.
EXO-K’s last piece was “Growl,” the title of their repackaged album.
Fans held their hearts tight as the biggest act of the night came at last. SHINee’s segment started with an AVP of their songs, while a white curtain was draped over the stage to increase the anticipation of the fans. There was also a countdown for their grand appearance. After number 10, the white curtain dropped and they started their act with “Dream Girl.”
“Dream Girl” was the title track of SHINee’s “Chapter 1. Dream Girl – The Misconceptions of You” album. The song has a unique choreography since it utilizes the microphone stand as a main prop for dancing. The steps further highlighted SHINee’s powerful dancing.
After the first song, Key acted as SHINee’s spokesperson since he can speak English well. Unfortunately for Shawol PH, he was relaying the sad news about Minho not being able to attend the concert, but as it seems, Key’s adorable English buried the thought of Minho’s absence.
Spearheaded by Key, SHINee had a very short-talking segment which gave fans a chance to ogle on the four dazzling idols, Onew, Taemin, Jonghyun and Key, a little bit more.
Later on, they performed other hits from their previous mini albums like “Lucifer,” “Stranger,” “Beautiful” and finally “Why So Serious” that served as their parting song.
Among the highlights of SHINee’s performance was Taemin and Jonghyun removing their jackets to show a bit of their flesh. There’s also Key’s dark black hair and flawless English and Onew’s one million dollar smile.
Surprise in November
SHINee’s last song “Why So Serious” wrapped up the night.
Some eager fans chose to stay and waited for an encore while the SVIP and Diamond ticket holders were called to gather at the SVIP area to claim their signed KPOP Republic posters.
Just about time to leave the venue, lucky fans had the opportunity to see INFINITE’s music video playing on screen.
Before we went out of the Big Dome, the organizer made a surprising announcement confirming INFINITE’s One Great Step world tour in the Philippines on November 3 this year.
For sure, we’ll be there for another unforgettable Kpop experience.