Never underestimate a Dreamcatcher fan’s passion and yearslong wait for their favorite artist to return to their country. Sometimes, those are all that’s needed to fill a theater and turn it into a party and a mosh pit.
And that’s exactly what Insomnias (fandom name) of K-pop girl group Dreamcatcher did at the group’s “Under the Moonlight” concert last Aug. 28 at the New Frontier Theater (NFT).
They screamed fan chants, rocked their hearts out to the group’s signature pop-rock tunes and guitar riffs, prepared many surprises, and more, just to fill the septet’s hearts to the brim with the warmest welcome.
It’s a surreal and apt welcome. After all, it’s the group’s first show in the country since 2019—a four-year wait for Somnies (another nickname for the fans), both old and new.
“Under the Moonlight” is also the only show of its name—an appropriate interlude for JiU, SuA, Siyeon, Handong, Yoohyeon, Dami and Gahyeon before they gather round and head to the Unites States for a new edition of the “Apocalypse” tour.
“Gather ‘round” is also how they began, the first line of their 2022 hit “Vision” setting the mood for the crowd.
It was an electrifying performance from the get-go. It sent every Insomnia to their feet, screaming to their hearts’ content, finally having met the girls once again. It’s followed by “Maison” which the song that got them their first ever music show win. It came after a thousand days since their debut back in 2017. The girls’ vocals, especially main vocalist Siyeon’s, reverberated around the venue walls, harmonizing with passionate fan chants of “La maison, la la la maison.”
Introductions were already very interactive for their first ment (talking part), with most of the members asking the crowd their names after they say “Hello” and “Mabuhay.” Somnies, of course, enthusiastically responded with their names.
Main dancer SuA’s greeting didn’t miss out on the Filipino phrase she has learned from the media conference the day prior, greeting Insomnias with “Akin ka (you’re mine),” to which the crowd replied with equally deafening cheers.
Dreamcatcher’s versatility and wide-ranged discography got showcased soon after, with bright-vibe tracks like “Airplane” and “Fairytale” getting followed by the stand-up rock ballads “Break the Wall” and “Propose.” The stages for these songs varied, too: the girls just feeling themselves for the first two songs, sending hearts and waves to the audience, then bringing out mic stands for the emotional, mid-to-low-tempo tracks.
In the next ment (talking segment), maknae (youngest) Gahyeon asked if the audience liked their most recent album “Apocalypse: From us.” Of course, Filo Insomnias unanimously responded with a wholehearted affirmation, their obvious excitement resonating throughout. This crowd’s immeasurable and tremendous energy then go praised and called the best by SuA.
Somnies were in for a treat when the next track happened to be “Scream.” It’s their title track from 2020 first full-length album “Dystopia: Tree of Language” as a complete septet. It was notable that during the album recording and music show promotions, member Handong was absent due to her participation in a Chinese reality show.
Moombahton-infused track “Boca” got performed by Dreamcatcher, too. It highlights main rapper Dami’s iconic verse, “I’m a geek, the big paradox/ In other words, I’m the killer who protects you/ Everyone prays at the end of hell/ Shut your mouth, freeze up.”
When they went off stage for a quick costume change, a montage of various clips capturing the ups and downs of their career played on screen, followed by a VCR of the members’ personal video diaries, offering fans snippets and a glimpse into their lives. Appropriately named “Dreamcatcher’s Reason,” it makes Filo Insomnias reminisce and laugh, reflecting on the group’s evolution over the years. It was also during this time that a fandom ocean, one of the many planned fan projects, occurred, with the floor area lighting up in red, and the balcony in yellow.
When they returned, they donned black outfits as they performed “BEcause” and “Déjà vu.”
Cakes, moonlight and swimming
SuA was also greeted a (belated) birthday, with a cake being brought on stage by the staff and the fans singing her a birthday song (it turned funny because half the crowd sang in Korean while some did the usual English version). She was really grateful for the gesture, thanking Somnies in a full 90-degree bow.
In true Filipino fashion as well, she was teased “Iiyak na ‘yan!” (She’s/You’re gonna cry!) after, to which she responded by playfully crying like a child. It earned laughs from the audience, even moreso when she was asked for her birthday wish and she said she hoped for her and Insomnias to get rich.
They soon talked about what “moonlight” meant to them, a very fitting question posed by Handong given their concert name. Leader JiU said it reminded her a lot of Insomnias, as they were their light and strength. JiU also noted that Manila’s night sky had many stars, a reminder of Insomnias and their Mongmongies (lightsticks) for her.
The girls never failed to show their funny and unserious side, too. SuA, for instance, answered that the moonlight reminded her of comember Yoohyeon’s eyes, which led to Yoohyeon staring at SuA upclose.
They also shared a few TMI from their stay in their hotel, all related to them going swimming. “I didn’t know Siyeon couldn’t swim. I always assumed she could because she always brings her swimsuit [when we’re out],” Yoohyeon quipped.
Siyeon’s reply was that it makes her spend time with her members, earning awws from Somnies.
Chairs were brought out by staff as the ment was ending. It led to a relaxed performance of two slow ballads: “To. You” and “Jazz Bar.” Most of them were laughing after the slow songs ended, saying that while they wanted to present a chill stage for the two songs.
It looked like they really couldn’t get themselves to stay seated for long: many busting out sultry moves during “Jazz Bar,” thanks to SuA’s lead.
They returned to cranking up the energy in the theater when all the chairs were taken away, moving to “Bonvoyage,” the title track from their latest EP “Apocalypse: Follow Us.”
It was no surprise they had prepared “Demian” to be part of their set, after all, the black fits they were wearing were exactly the ones in the special performance video that came out three days prior.
With a release so close to the concert day, many Filo Insomnias had looked forward to the song and the choreography that was done by SuA, and it didn’t disappoint. Hearing Dami do her main rapper things (plus a glimpse of her toned torso) as well as witnessing SuA’s crazy intricate choreo for the hard-hitting song was enough to send the crowd into loud cheers again.
No one wanted the almost two-hour show to end.
So, no one was ever ready for Dami to tell the audience that it’s almost the end of the night. “We’re having such a great time with you all, but unfortunately, we only have a few songs left,” she said.
“This won’t be our last time [seeing each other], right? We’ll make sure to see you guys often,” Siyeon added. Knowing the fans didn’t want the night to come to a close.
Yoohyeon spoke, too, “I don’t want to say goodbye, but I promise to have more fun with you all when we return. Will you all wait for us?” Of course, The crowd answered, “Yes!”
“Mayday” and “Wake up” were two great songs to have at the end of their regular setlist. Everyone was bopping their heads along the beat that the standing section almost felt like a rock concert mosh pit. It fits. Rock jams have always been Dreamcatcher’s signature, even if it was rare and niche in K-pop. But they’re making it theirs, and they’re growing because of it, slowly but surely.
It’s emotion-filled when they return on stage for encore, after performing “New Days.” They brought along standees of their younger selves on stage, prepared by one of the local fanbases, and a barricade banner was unfolded for them.
A lyric from the song reading “Even when I grow tired, if your voice reaches me; A new day will come to me again.”
Those were enough to send Siyeon to tears and for Yoohyeon to actually lose her voice, which she said was a first in their years of touring.
While they were recovering, SuA took the chance to show her gratitude and love for their Filipino fans.
“Even if we lose our voice, we know our Insomnias will sing along with us,” she said. “You guys are the best, even with small events like this.”
Dami, too, thanked the audience, saying, “We were last here in 2019, and it has been four years since then. Thank you for patiently waiting for us, and it’s all thanks to you that we were able to come back and perform again. Please continue to wait for us, and we promise that we’ll see you again.”
“Yesterday, I looked at a photo that we took during our previous visit here in Manila, and I think we all grew up a lot [since then],” Handong told the crowd. “I put in a lot of effort to present a better performance for you all, and I promise that I’ll keep on improving for the next time we meet again.”
Leader JiU was the last to go. She shared that she was aware of a typhoon (Typhoon “Goring”) being in the country over the weekend.
She said, “I heard yesterday that there was a typhoon here. But thank you for coming today despite the bad weather. I love you!”
She added, “It’s time to say goodbye, but don’t be sad because with goodbyes, we get to say hello again. It’s been quite some time since we returned to the Philippines, and I know that you’ve been waiting for us for such a long time. It’s really nice to see you guys again.”
They were preparing to do the final song when Siyeon, still emotional, conveyed her thanks, regrets and love to the fans.
“I feel like I might cry again if I say too much, so I’ll keep it short,“ she began, earning chants of “uljima (do not cry)” from the crowd.
“We’re really sorry that we came late [to meet you guys again], but seeing you guys like us a lot and have so much fun makes it all worth it, ” she continued while trying to shield her tear-rimmed eyes.
The crowd and the translator couldn’t help but chuckle when she also apologized as crying would make singing impossible for her.
And just like that, every Filo Somnie’s best night so far came to an end, with “Reason” being the last song they would keep to heart, along with the smiles on the faces of the girls as they waved goodbye and headed backstage.
In an interview, Dreamcatcher fans Vy, Donna and Ace shared that the concert made them feel two things: happy and proud. Happy that the girls have finally returned, and proud because of how much they’ve grown since 2017.
“It feels surreal because they finally came to the Philippines again after so many concerts in other countries, and it’s very special because we had a unique concert name and setlist for tonight,” Ace said. “Above all, I’m super proud of their growth throughout the years.”
Monday’s moon may not have been perfectly full, but Dreamcatcher and Insomnia definitely left the arena with hearts filled with warmth, fun and many memories under the moonlight’s glow.
“Under the Moonlight” was produced and presented by Random Minds PH.