Absent members notwithstanding, EXO delivers stellar show at MoA

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2019 05:06 PM | Updated as of Aug 24 2019 05:16 PM

EXO kicked off the first of its two-night shows at the Mall of Asia Arena Friday night. Photo by Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA—Despite missing members, South Korea’s EXO still sent Filipino fans swooning with awe-inspiring performances during the boy group’s concert at Mall of Asia (MoA) Arena on Friday.

The show was the first of 2 sold-out concerts at the venue, which are part of EXO’s fifth world tour, “EXO Planet #5 – The EXplOration.” The second show is on Saturday night.

For this tour, the supposedly 9-member group was trimmed to a sextet after Xiumin and D.O enlisted in the South Korean military for their mandatory service while Lay is busy with solo promotions in his homeland China. 

Still, fans were beyond satisfied with the performances delivered by Suho, Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, Kai and Sehun.

“EXO pa rin po sila kahit na may members na wala (They’re still EXO even though there are absent members),” said a 19-year-old fan Angela Pascual.

“Siyempre ‘pag loyal fan ka, kahit nasa military sila ng two years, ‘paglabas nila ganoon pa rin ‘yong love mo sa kanila (If you’re a loyal fan, even though they’re in the military for two years, when they get discharged, you still love them the same way,” she added.

“Kahit kulang sila, okay lang kasi siyempre, EXO ‘yon eh (Even though they’re incomplete, it’s okay because they’re EXO),” another fan, Janine Nisperos, remarked.

Photo by Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

The two-and-a-half hour show kicked off on a high note, literally from Chen, with the tempo-shifting “Tempo.” The song was the lead single off the group’s 2018 album “Don’t Mess Up My Tempo.”

Most of the performances were songs from that album and its repackaged version “Love Shot,” such as the titular single “Love Shot,” “Gravity,” “Sign,” “Ooh La La La,” and “Oasis,” among others.

As EXO members have begun their conscription, the remaining members have ventured into releasing music either as “units” (K-pop jargon for smaller groups within a group) or as soloists.

In “EXplOration,” Baekhyun performed “UN Village,” his solo song released in July. 

Chanyeol and Sehun also took the stage as EXO-SC, which debuted last month. They performed the songs “What A Life” and “Closer To You.”

Suho sent fans into a frenzy after going shirtless at the end of his solo performance.

Photo by Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

The group also performed its past hits “Monster,” “Call Me Baby,” "Overdose," and the 2013 breakthrough single “Growl.”

One of the most stunning moments of the night was during the performance of “Power,” where the main dancer Kai pirouetted across the stage, which lit up with spark fountains, as the throbbing EDM (electronic dance music) song built towards a drop.

EXO capped off the evening with the heartwarming slow song “A Smile on My Face.”

The members vowed to Filipino fans that they would come back, with Chanyeol even saying he wants a three-day concert when they return.