MANILA — While the crowd at the recent “K-Verse: The Ultimate Pop Universe” came from different fan groups, the event turned out to be an unforgettable one for all concertgoers, who relished in the experience of seeing their favorite K-pop stars in person, albeit briefly.
Filipino SONEs, The Bs and MYs trooped to the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on a weekday to witness performances from Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon, male act The Boyz, and girl group aespa.
Produced by MakeItLive, the joint K-pop concert ran for two hours, with each set consisting of six songs and interview segments hosted by Filipino singer-actress Denise Laurel and Philippine-based Korean host Kyung-min Kim.
And while each set felt fleeting for the fans — who kept cheering calls for solo concerts to all of the artists — the night still allowed the idols and their supporters to forge heartwarming memories with one another.
The loudest cheers of the evening were for Taeyeon, who returned to the local scene after almost five years.
Serving as the concert’s last performer, the 34-year-old K-pop diva opened her set with solo debut single “I,” a notable song for her Filipino fans since it was also the final number during her previous concert in the country in December 2018.
Taeyeon did away with back-up dancers and dance routines — all the more to spotlight her soulful singing. She filled her set with newer releases like the reggae-tinged midtempo “Four Seasons,” the relaxed break-up song “What Do I Call You” and tracks from her 2022 album “INVU.”
The audience could not help but sing along throughout Taeyeon’s set, visibly flattering the singer, who kept letting out wide smiles.
“Your reaction is so hot that it seems I really need to come back for a solo concert,” Taeyeon said.
“It’s been so long since I’ve experienced and felt the love and passionate cheers from you all,” she said.
Aespa opened the concert, marking the first time that Karina, Giselle, Winter and Ninging performed in the country since debuting in 2020.
The foursome, known for having a metaverse-set storyline weaved into its music releases, kicked off the show with debut single “Black Mamba” and the hypnotic “Illusion.”
In the middle of aespa’s set, the audience sang for Karina, who was celebrating her 23rd birthday on the concert day.
“Today is my birthday and you guys are my gift. I’m very thankful that you guys have given me a moment that’s such a precious gift for me,” Karina said.
“All of you… you guys are so passionate, we really love it. I really had a wonderful time here,” Ningning said.
“I think it’s such a shame that we’re having a short time here in the Philippines. When we come back for a performance, you guys are gonna come, right?” Winter asked the audience before the group wrapped up its set with the viral hit “Next Level.”
The Boyz, meanwhile, reunited with Filipino The Bs, four years after the 11-member band last went to Manila for a fan concert.
“It’s been four years since the last time we saw you guys and we missed you guys so much. We’re so happy to be back,” member Jacob said.
The audience also greeted Sunwoo, who celebrated his 23rd birthday a day after the concert.
“It’s definitely a very big present for me that we were able to celebrate my birthday together,” the rapper said.
The group showed off its duality, pulling off powerful performances through songs like “Roar,” “Maverick” and “The Stealer” while also stealing the crowd’s hearts with their boyish charms in tracks like “Dancing ‘Till We Drop” and “Thrill Ride.”
Before The Boyz wrapped up its set with “Thrill Ride,” member Kevin teased: “I feel like we might come back… No promises but we’ll see what we can do.”
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