Filipino concertgoers in the Philippines have long dreamt of experiencing a live music performance in a stadium setting—something that hasn’t happened in a very long time.
While stadium concerts have remained popular in other countries, most outdoor concerts here are usually held in makeshift “concert grounds,” which are usually vacant or parking lots transformed into events venues.
SEVENTEEN’s “Follow Tour” Asian leg lands a spot for the Philippines for two straight days. But what makes the event even more special is that it took place at the Philippine Sports Stadium, the country’s largest football stadium just beside the equally humongous Philippine Arena. This is also a first for the K-Pop superstars who have performed in the country numerous times in the past.
It was a serene afternoon for Day 2 of SEVENTEEN’s “Follow Tour.” As I arrived at the grounds of the nearby Philippine Sports Stadium, queues were still quite lengthy even though some attendees had been there early in the morning. Others have put up little mats over the grass to camp.
Seeing and immersing myself in the Carat (what SEVENTEEN’s fan is called) community is truly an experience. Fan-made photo cards, stickers, bracelets, etc., were handed out to everyone at the venue, a culture in the K-pop stan community that had exhibited utmost generosity.
The breeze had yet to draw colder, but the warm welcome of the fandom had kept everyone at peak energy. More than the excitement at the scene, you could hear a multitude of ear-splitting roars outside the stadium exuded by the so-called “Team Labas” or fans who lined up over the barricades to send their love for SEVENTEEN even though they were unable to be part of the show.
Upon entering the stadium, I gazed at the beautiful sunset that slowly turned into the night sky as the Carat Bongs (SEVENTEEN’s light sticks) were lit in sync with the music. An ocean of ecstatic fans filled up every seat one by one. The standing pit or the “Carat Zone” ticket holders had already prepared for the highly anticipated opening.
The show starts with a thrilling “SUPER” performance from their album FML. In an instant, the crowd grew wilder with chants and cheers. A hyped-up first set consisting of their performances of “DON QUIXOTE,” “Clap,” “Don’t Wanna Cry,” “F*ck My Life,” and a sentimental rendition of their song, “Thanks.”
The whole stadium was pumped up during the performances of their hit songs “Left & Right,” “Hot,” “HOME; RUN,” and the latest, “God of Music.”
A promise sealed
Approximately more than the 25,000-seating capacity of the Philippine Sports Stadium participated during the Follow Tour. The boys of SEVENTEEN have showcased a performance that made their mark on the Philippines’ history concert books as the first performers for a stadium concert.
The show also made a remarkable impression with mesmerizing performances of the group’s sub-units; the vocal unit with Seungkwan, DK, Joshua, and Woozi captured the fans’ hearts with “PinWheel” and “Dust.”
These were followed by their performance unit consisting of Hoshi, Dino, Jun, and Minghao with a sultry take on “HIGHLIGHT” and “I Don’t Understand, But I Love U.”
A jaw-dropping show from their hip-hop unit, Mingyu, Wonwoo, and Vernon delivered solid production in “Back It Up” and “Fire.”
SEVENTEEN’s success over the past years, bagging back-to-back daesangs (grand prizes) over Korean and international award shows, reflects how the group always gave back the love they received from Carats.
Their sub-unit BSS (BooSeokSoon), composed of Boo Seung-Kwan, Lee Seokmin or more popularly known as DK, and Kwon Soon-Young or Hoshi, was present during the Asian Artist Awards 2023 held at the Philippine Arena just last month.
Since S.Coups and Jeonghan could not participate in the show, the group promised to come back to visit the country with all of their members.
The group shared their sentiments for the two-day concert as the show came to a close. Thanking everyone for a memorable concert, DK and Wonwoo wished Filipino Carats to stay healthy until they meet again.
Seungkwan, who had to sit out on the tour’s first day, is treated to a surprise fan project for his birthday. The lightsticks in the stadium were illuminated with bright orange light as the crowd sang him happy birthday.
“I was not able to perform yesterday, but I am so happy I was able to finish today,” Seungkwan says.
“I think I could start 2024 in a happy energy…since I was sick yesterday, I think I won’t be sick for the rest of the year,” Seungkwan added.
Beyond a dream to be part of a crowd that had raised the standard of what we should expect to experience in an epic concert is the realization that SEVENTEEN’s “Follow Tour” is history itself.
The show’s finale is all the concert is summed up in two words, as the group’s encore song says—AJU NICE! All photos courtesy of Live Nation Philippines unless otherwise indicated.
Image credits: Live Nation Philippines