“Walang uuwi! Walang uuwi!”
The crowd chanted at Mall of Asia Arena on Aug. 24 after the last stage of the three-hour concert of K-pop superstar EXO. The members of the group laughed after the chant was translated for them.
Sehun chanted it back to the fans. His co-members delayed his exit from the stage, too. The memorable banter between EXO and EXO-Ls (fandom name) perfectly encapsulates the two-day Manila stop of EXO for their EXplOration concert tour.
Only six members of the nine-member group were present but Suho, Chanyeol, Kai, Sehun, Chen and Baekhyun were able to maintain stage presence. Xiumin and D.O. enlisted in the Korean military early this year while Lay was holding his own solo tour simultaneously.
EXO have been staging solo concerts in the Philippines every year since 2015. It was initially announced that there will only be one day for the Manila stop. But another day was added after tickets sold out in a matter of hours. The energy of the fans for both days was extremely overwhelming.
Most of the concert’s setlist were songs from their latest album, “Don’t Mess Up My Tempo,” and the repackaged “Love Shot.” The two albums were both released at the end of 2018.
A personal favorite from the setlist was the medley of EXO’s earlier title tracks including “Growl,” “Overdose” and “Call Me Baby.” It was nostalgic for fans who have loved EXO for a long time and an opportunity for new fans to watch the older title songs being performed live.
EXO also prepared special solo or duo stages for this tour, showcasing their varying talents and music capabilities.
Baekhyun sang his title song “UN Village.” Suho gave a breathtaking performance of EXO’s “Been Through.” Chen did his own rendition of EXO’s “Lights Out.” Chanyeol and Sehun performed their title songs “What A Life” and “Closer To You” from their debut album released in July. Last to perform his solo was Kai, who performed an unreleased hip-hop song called “Confession.”
Chanyeol, Kai and Sehun, who often took vacations in the Philippines, talked about how special the country is for them. For their encore, EXO surprisingly sang two songs from their Christmas albums, “Unfair” and “On the Snow.” They ended the night with their ballad “Smile On My Face.”
It was definitely a concert to remember. The kind that you wish doesn’t end. But the promise of seeing EXO again keeps the love of Filipino EXO-Ls burning.