When Seventeen, the South Korean boy band that is famed for being one of the known “self-producing” K-pop groups, announced in August of last year that they will be coming to Manila this year for a concert as part of their latest world tour, Filipino K-Pop fans were only too happy to mark their calendars, preorder their tickets and wait for February 2020 to arrive. Unfortunately in the transition between years, Asia and eventually the world was gripped in the fear of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The great concern was that the security measures to prevent a further spread of nCoV might make Seventeen’s concert a bust with minimal attendance.
Nobody needed to worry after all. ABS-CBN News reports that the Manila leg of Seventeen’s “Ode to You” concert tour still saw a large, if hygienically-prepared crowd last Saturday, February 8 at the Mall of Asia Arena. It may have been understandable if Seventeen fans – nicknamed “Carats” – decided to stay at home to minimize chances of exposure to novel coronavirus which has been in the country since last month. But Seventeen is Seventeen, even if they have held concerts in the Philippines three times before.
Still, a quick look at the audience would reveal that many of them were on “better safe than sorry” mode, wearing facemasks and similar coverings even as they excitedly waved Seventeen-branded light sticks over their heads while the boy band performed onstage. Even the roster of Seventeen was less than the usual considering that their own leader S.Coups took a leave of absence from group engagements starting in November 2019. That left only twelve members divided into the boy band’s “sub-units” (vocal, hip-hop and “performance”), but they carried the day and made their fans forget the rainy weather outside and the current nCoV health emergency.
After dazzling the K-Pop crowd at MOA that weekend with their hit songs “Thanks,” “Don’t Wanna Cry,” and latest single “Fear,” the Seventeen gang gave a faux closing farewell where they remarked that they have always enjoyed performing in the Philippines. “I think after debuting, Manila is a place where we constantly came and every time we’re here, we’re always touched by you guys,” says member Seungkwan. “I think tonight was the biggest touching moment of all.” That was not quite the end however, since they still had some encore numbers to go through, and the fans also greeted another member of the crew Dino, whose birthday was fast approaching.
Image courtesy of Manila Bulletin