MANILA — In the hours before Twice took the stage at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday night, hundreds of their fans were already at the venue's lobby, lining up in booths to spend hefty sums for the South Korean girl group's merchandise.
The latest version of Twice's light stick, the Candy Bong Z, cost around P2,500. Resembling a candy lollipop, attached to the device's handle was a round bulb that lit up in the group's official colors — apricot and neon magenta.
For nearly 3 hours, the vibrant colors blanketed the arena as fans, collectively referred to as ONCE, raised their light sticks up and waved them to the beat of Twice's music.
"It's so nice to see a lot of Candy Bong Z tonight," the group's oldest member, Nayeon, said in Korean halfway through the show. Her words drew louder cheers from an already-zealous crowd.
More than a display of song and dance, the group's first-ever Philippine concert, part of their "Twicelights" tour, was an exchange between artists and fans, an opportunity for both parties to connect. The most memorable moments were the "ments" (in K-pop jargon, the time allotted for artists to speak to and interact with fans).
What made the members endearing to the crowd was their casualness. During a "ment" where the members were introducing themselves, for instance, Japanese member Sana was absent-minded, she was oblivious of her turn to introduce herself until the other members nudged her.
Video by Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News
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At one point in the show, Dahyun asked the crowd for their loudest cheer. In an attempt to praise Filipino ONCEs after, she said, "Anangling," but was quick to correct herself and said, "Ang galing! (That was great!)"
DIVERSE MUSIC, PERFORMANCES
Twice has always been known for its cute concept and bubblegum pop songs but in "Twicelights," the group proved they had a diverse sound and were able to pull off other concepts.
The group kicked off the show with "Stuck in My Head," a song from their recent extended play "Fancy You," followed by "Cheer Up," a signature song that was best-performing single on Korea's Gaon Digital Chart in 2016. They capped off their opening with "Touchdown," an energetic song driven by drumbeats and horns.
The "red" set of the show had the members in provocative outfits, performing "Strawberry" and a remix of their summer song "Dance the Night Away."
The girls were radiant at one point in the show where they were garbed in white gowns, singing their slow songs "After Moon" and "You In My Heart."
Sana, Tzuyu and Dahyun surprised the audience with a seductive performance of Beyoncé's "Dance for You," followed by Jihyo and Momo's powerful dance number to Taemin's "Goodnight." Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Mina and Chaeyoung ended the unit performances with a cover of Lady Gaga's "Born this Way."
The group also performed its singles "Like Ooh-Ahh," "TT," "Yes or Yes," "Knock Knock," "What is Love?" and a Korean version of the Japanese single "BDZ."
Near the end of the show, Filipino ONCEs sent their message of love to the girls through a fan project led by Twice Philippines.
Before the last set, Twice was made to watch a tribute video produced by the local fan club, set to "One in a Million," a slow-paced song dedicated to fans.
The fan-made video was cut towards the end of the song, which then turned into an instrumental. The audience finished the song, leaving the girls surprised and visibly moved.
"I think we were able to finish our concert well," Nayeon said as the show came to a close. "Because of that we are able to give you the promise that we will really come back. Babalik kami (We will come back)."