SEVENTEEN World Tour “Ode to You” in Manila

It’s been a month since I went to my first ever SEVENTEEN concert! I’ve been trying to make sense of it all, but the whole experience still feels lowkey unreal–even if I have a gallery of pictures and the muscle pain to prove that I was there.

So here I am, trying to cement the experience into my memories by writing them down.

Getting concert tickets has always been a battle in the Philippine world of slow internet connections, ridiculously high entertainment taxes, and fierce competition. Never thought I’d brave the standing section of a KPop concert again, but… here we are! Was really happy that the rest of the Noisy GC got tickets as well, and that we’ll be watching our first SEVENTEEN concert together ;u; there may be actual tears involved when we finally settled the tickets. Also managed to get a lightstick that I could bring to the concert ;u;

The PH concert organizer for this year’s concert tour offered royalty packages with extra perks that you can choose from, along with the regular tiers that I’ve come to expect from going to KPop concerts. I was really just planning to get the closest seat I can get, but ultimately decided to avail of the special perks! Part of the reason I was also at the standing section was that the tickets offered with the royalty packages only included tickets for the VIP standing areas. I chose the Soundcheck option, which meant that I can watch the pre-concert rehearsals! The other option was Send-off, which meant that the members can interact with the audience before leaving the venue.

Additional security and safety measures were also implemented before getting into the venue, in response to the concerns raised due to COVID-19. We had to submit a form stating our medical history for the past two weeks, got our temperature checked at the door, our hands sanitized, and were made sure to wear face masks before entering the venue. I really have to commend the organizers’ efforts to keep everyone’s health and safety in check.

Royalty package holders get fabric bracelets that indicated our assigned areas and the perks that we got, as well as an exclusive poster of the concert tour’s main promotional image! At the table, we were also instructed to draw from a box and get a chance to win a signed postcard. I had to deal with being alone while lining up, which was fine at the beginning. There was a lot of excited yelling (understandable), especially when we could all hear the members start rehearsing inside. I had to slip on earphones and watch the same video for an hour to calm down because I was feeling overwhelmed from all the noise, but we pulled through! After about a couple of hours of waiting, the people with Soundcheck perks were finally allowed into the concert venue!

No pictures or videos were allowed during Soundcheck, but they gave us permission to take pictures of the stage before the members went out. Honestly, I didn’t know what I was feeling when the house lights closed and the silhouette of 12 guys walked out onto the stage. Like… it finally felt real? The whole week was spent just trying not to think about the concert to help manage my emotions and expectations. When they waved at the crowd, bowed, and I finally got to hear “Say the name!” and introduce themselves? I may have teared up for real.

Most of them were wearing masks, and Mingyu was wearing the same sweater he had on at the VLive he did after the concert. They performed three songs! The Clap remix, the Oh My! remix, and Hit! Clap and Oh My! were both performed at the main stage, then they moved to the extended stage for Hit. It was fun seeing them in rehearsal clothes (I was more familiar with their choreography videos) and hearing them perform like that. They were clearly preserving their energy but somehow they were still giving it their all? Their stage presence made every second feel like an out-of-body experience.

Also there was a moment where Jeonghan was using his arm to shield his eyes from the stage lights and smiled as he looked at the crowd. Beautiful. I wish I could take pictures with my eyes. Detective Conan’s fancy high-tech glasses would have been handy at that moment.

Also, I now understand why fans bring slogans to KPop concerts. Seeing how their expressions light up as they wave to a slogan or a picket with their names really is something, huh. Thank you for letting me borrow this 김민규 slogan, Kang!

After Soundcheck, we were asked to line up in the same area. Finally met up with Kang, and got to expel some nervous energy by talking. A lot. Shoutout to the filming crew who passed by our area and probably caught us on film being… ourselves. I also consumed two iced matcha lattes that day, and I was running on tea-induced caffeine and sheer, nerve-fueled willpower.

Realized it after the concert but I accidentally snuck in a doughnut into the concert venue, I am so sorry.

I thought I’d feel less anxious after watching them during Soundcheck, but the pre-concert jitters never really seem to go away, huh?

This was my actual first SEVENTEEN concert, meaning that I didn’t have a chance to… I don’t know, prepare myself? Confession time: they’ve been my top Spotify artist for two years now, but I only… memorized their names and faces around late 2019. I did watch all their choreography practice videos and relay dances before, but I only got around to watching their music videos last December. I haven’t even gotten around to watching their performances and concert DVDs. Admittedly, I was feeling a little out-of-depth.

Like, was it okay to be able to see them this fast? I was literally learning the fan chants before the show as people were doing them in time with the music videos playing at the venue, about a good hour before the concert started.

All coherent thought flew out the proverbial window when the lights went out. Here are some of my favorite moments, caught in images:

Seeing Hoshi’s little smile live and watching him wag his finger at the crowd before singing his line when we miss the timing for that one part in Clap was a life-changing experience.

SEVENTEEN: Don’t Wanna Cry

Ingrid: [bawls internally]

Hoshi best crowd hypeman!!

Rock version of Trauma? Chilli??? Hip Hop Unit is my favorite unit 🥺 Although I miss Seungcheol, I’m happy that he got to rest well and he’s now healthy enough to meet everyone soon! Can’t wait for the chance to get to see all of them perform live!

Performance Unit. Man. The way each member has distinct dancing styles but performs as one seamless, fluid unit? Lilili Yabbay has always been an overwhelming song for me, especially after watching the music video, so getting to see that live was… a lot.

Seokmin’s voice is my favorite in SEVENTEEN (it’s so sweet, like your favorite mug of hot chocolate at the end of a cold winter day), and seeing this set while they sang Hug? Before I noticed, I was already crying.

Many people have talked about Smile Flower, and how the members take their time to watch the crowd while singing. Even with the whole arena singing the chorus as the boys listened, it felt like a quiet moment settled into the space around my heart. If ever there was a warm hug made into a song, that’s what Smile Flower felt like.

SVT Museum featured several of my favorite upbeat SEVENTEEN songs! I was so happy when I found out that Oh My! was in the concert setlist! It was my 2018 KPop emotional support song, an almost automatic play-on-loop selection when things get overwhelming and I need a familiar beat that could help me ground myself.

All of SEVENTEEN performing BSS’s Just Do It was so fun!

Good to Me. That is all I have to say.

Almost at the finish line.

The way they commanded attention during the Fear stage was quietly unsettling, something that made me want to stare at a blank wall when it was over. The song has a dark undertone weaving through the powerful vocals, telling the story that SEVENTEEN is making for the whole world to see.

The Fear stage also marked the last song of the official setlist! Afterwards, the members came out wearing shirts that each of them designed, and took their time to individually convey their ending messages.

Jun talking about having crispy pata and recommending that we have it for dinner after the concert (Junhui it’s 10PM), me lowkey surprising myself when I realized I understood most of Minghao’s message before the translator got to him, Chan thanking us for the birthday slogans he saw in the crowd, Wonwoo sneaking into the frame when DK was talking and vice versa, and me mostly crying through Mingyu’s message, being myself.

The members said goodbye and the ending VTR started playing.

Then, it was time for the encore.

aka Aju NICE (never-ending) (seriously they played it like five times).

Man they weren’t kidding.

The guys were mainly on the extended stage at this point, so I got to take pictures of the members who were near the area I was at. By some stroke of luck, my favorite noticed the slogan I was holding with his name on it, which explains why I don’t have pictures of the actual moment. Knowing it happened is enough ;A;

These Vernon confetti pictures are my absolute favorite 😭

Jeonghan went out wearing sunglasses, bless his handsome face. My timeline was in shambles after this. The power he holds in his little smirk.

Lee Chan, Future of KPop! Glad we got to celebrate his birthday in advance at the concert! Look at him completing that heart sign❤️

Kwon Soonyoung, the man that you are!!! Yes you could be whatever you want to be. 🐯

Lee Jihoon! Wow, what a musical powerhouse. Thank you for everything you do. I don’t have enough words to thank you for helping create the music that has saved me multiple times for the past couple of years so. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Jeon Wonwoo looking better than any other daydream. His voice has always been one of my early favorites (even before knowing who he was in SEVENTEEN), so it felt like a full circle to finally watch him perform!

Also look at him smiling at the crowd, I’m smitten ;u;

in a sea of people / there was only you / i never knew what this song was about / but suddenly now i do

(thank you)

But then, even AJU NICE has to end at some point. The members wave their final goodbyes for the night, the house lights went back on, and suddenly my muscles decided to remind me they exist, all at once. Crouched down to pick fallen confetti and catch my breath, and let myself process that that just happened.

I know that the concept of space and time can make any human being slightly nonplussed. The rest of the universe soldiers on, even if we want to press pause at any given moment. But even so, I’m glad I get to live in a timeline where groups like SEVENTEEN make me want to remember what it’s like to treasure every second. Thank you for the beautiful memories, SEVENTEEN! Until we meet again! 🙂

If you’re still reading up to this point, congratulations! Here’s a quick shoutout to my favorite noisy people! Thank you for sharing all these feelings with me, and for letting me be noisy with all of you. People say you can’t choose family, but I like proving them wrong whenever I’m with all of you. Even if we end up yelling about multiple things at once.

Sometimes when I’m all up in my head, I close the doors and let the weight of my thoughts settle over me like a heavy blanket. These people have the keys to the door, but they never force their way into the room. They knock on the door, make sure I’m okay, and let me take my time to leave that room on my own. Then, they help me remove the blanket I’ve draped around my shoulders, and help me remember comfort. Steady arms replace suffocating blankets, and I remember what real warmth feels like once more.

Thank you for being a new meaning of comfort, and for always helping me find my way back home (home home home) 💕

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