MANILA — Barely half an hour into his concert, pop star Troye Sivan finally acknowledged and gave a name to the peculiar kind of energy that enveloped the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on a sweltering Labor Day evening.
"This has been so much fun so far... Maybe it's the big queer energy in the room. I don't know what's going on," Sivan, 23, told his thousands of Pinoy fans gathered in the arena last Wednesday.
Sivan was in Manila as part of his "Bloom" tour, named after his critically-acclaimed sophomore album.
The Philippines was the fourth stop of the tour’s Asian leg which kicked off in Japan last week.
"Manila, you look so beautiful… Literally the only thing in my head right now is what took me so long [to perform here]," he said.
The Aussie crooner started the show with punchy bop songs "Seventeen" and "Bloom."
But things took an emotional turn when Sivan began singing "Heaven," a song that perfectly captures the anxiety of being different and trying to be at peace with it.
Colors of the LGBT flag illuminate the MOA Arena as Troye Sivan sings "Heaven" during the Manila leg of his "Bloom" tour. Video by Petersen Vargas
"Totoo pala 'yung sinasabi nilang representation, no? I even saw young gays in front of me hugging and crying during this song (Heaven)," fashion stylist Eldzs Mejia observed.
"So much love and feels. It just hit me what a powerful image Troye Sivan is to this generation and the future. How I wish I got to watch someone like him when I was younger. Super kendeng and kembot, effem na effem," he added.
And that's exactly what Sivan is to his fans: an artist who unapologetically sings songs about love and heartbreak as seen through the lens of a young gay man.
Sivan's songs have somehow achieved anthem status not only among the community he represents, but to a wider audience who went through similar struggles.
Troye Sivan sings "Fools" from his debut album Blue Neighbourhood. Video by Petersen Vargas
Throughout the almost two-hour show, Sivan seduced his audience with hit songs from his two albums.
"Seriously, this experience of an entire arena in the Philippines coming together to support an openly gay man [and proudly effem] pop star makes me so hopeful of the LGBTQ+ community in our country," photographer BJ Pascual said after the concert.
The "Bloom" tour was brought in Manila by MMI Live presented by Smart.