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Kang Daniel’s sincerity shines in Manila

The fan service of South Korean Kang Daniel in Manila concert is taking the fans on a journey with him.

There’s no denying that people were enamored by Kang Daniel’s visuals when he first came out on television as one of the trainees in “Produce 101” Season 2. His pink hair, bedimpled cheeks and million-watt smile made him memorable and easy to spot in a sea of young hopefuls.


He would go on and win the most votes from viewers. It earned him the title “Nation’s Center” and an actual center position in Wanna One. The group became one of the fastest rising influential acts in South Korea, albeit short lived.


Five years after “Produce,” Kang made Manila the first stop of his first world tour as a solo artist. During “First Parade,” presented by Wilbros Live and held at New Frontier Theater on Oct. 22, he reminded everyone that he didn’t win that show with just his pretty face. He was chosen because he had multiple talents—he can sing, dance and rap and do all three well, too.


The production of the show was outstanding. A giant screen wrapped around the stage showing seamless transitions for different songs. Special effects were used throughout the two-hour concert.

But “First Parade” Manila’s biggest flex was when Kang started engaging his fans through honest conversation about his work and goals.

Glorious


Kang opened the concert with “Flash,” his B-side track from the 2020 “Magenta” album. Excited screams were heard as the LED screen split open, and Kang emerged wearing a heavily bejeweled matador jacket. The gold jewels sparkled brightly whenever the pulsating lights hit them. Kang looked glorious in it.


“Finally, I am able to meet all the Philippine Danitys (his fandom),” he said. “I am delighted to have a live concert with you guys. For a very long time, I could only contact my Danitys online. I feel very good that I hear your cheers and warm greetings.” Kang wiped his sweaty face with a towel and drank from his water bottle.


He talked about how he prepared for the concert, including how he chose the songs. Kang said that he went around Manila, even visiting the mall. He shared that he picked the songs that he thinks fans would enjoy the most.


The soloist said that the weather difference between Seoul and Manila gave him a sore throat and cold. Kang apologized in advance if his voice faltered at any point. It didn’t. He also requested that fans refrain from posting any photos of him with a runny nose. The fans laughed and swore they wouldn’t.

He performed the hauntingly beautiful “Parade” for his second song before transitioning to the Latin sounds of “Don’t Tell” featuring Jessi and “Waves.” Both songs came from his album “The Story,” which was launched this year. He continued with the EDM/rock song “Touchin” before leaving the stage.

Happy song


He came back in a green jersey, baggy jeans and green towel bracelet. A green handkerchief that hung from his back pocket completed his hip hop look. He performed “Jealous.”


“This song received a lot of love. I heard that you like to listen to this song when you want to feel your heart flutter. I also heard that when you listen to it, it makes you happier,” he said. “Actually ‘Cyan’ album itself had a very refreshing feeling. This is why my next song is another happy song from the same album.”

He body-rolled to the confession song “2U” before performing the fun “Upside Down.” Without any host helping him out, he played a balance game that allowed his fans to get to know him better.

He chose his computer to be fixed over his cell phone because he likes to play games on it. He chose sleeping all day over eating delicious food.
These answers came as no surprise to his die-hard fans because of his guest appearance in the variety show, “I Live Alone.” The introverted star was shown enjoying his own company, playing games on his computer, not even looking at his phone on his rest day.

Kang Daniel in Manila concert

READ: Kang Daniel will return to Manila

During the game, Danitys would sometimes scream, “Daniel pogi!” Kang would stop in his tracks and react, “Huh? Huh? Huh?” The crowd would laugh.

He ended the second stage with the catchy and uplifting song “How We Live” (featuring sokodomo). This is also part of his 2022 album, “The Story.” It is a great pleasure to hear Kang sing songs about never giving up and going on with life.

The last time he was in the country was in 2019 for a fanmeet. He did his best for his fans, but he looked tired back then. One of the things he said during that show was that he would return and come up with a better event.

Promise fulfilled

Kang Daniel fulfilled this promise in Manila and more. By returning in a joyous mood and looking healthier, he made his fans happier. They know that he has been through a difficult period in his career but he came out of it victorious with several albums to boot.


This is the significance of “How We Live.” To hear him cheerfully sing, “If you fall, you get up/ Confide in everything like this” means so much to fans who worry a lot about him.


His clothes were all white when he returned onstage to sing “Misunderstood.”


“I am doing my best to perform onstage. Are you guys enjoying it to the fullest?” he asked before going into the songs “Loser”, “Antidote” and then “Paranoia.”


Kang confessed that there were times when he thought he was the only one who appreciated his work. He said that he was grateful to the Danitys who made him feel that they appreciate what he does, too.

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Fan project


He left the stage to change into a more casual look. He sang “Save U,” promising the listeners that he will be there for them when they need him. His fans raised their banners as part of the fan project they prepared for him while he was singing “1000x” on his cyan-colored microphone.


“What’s this?” he asked in between singing lines, giving the fans a huge smile. He thanked them for the surprise they prepared for him. A shower of confetti fell on him. He said, “I will do my best to be deserving of your love. Thank you for coming here to see me. I will return as soon as I can.”

He chose “Moment” as his last song. Kang serenaded his fans with this heartfelt ballad. The lyrics went “Stay with me for the rest of your life/ Stay here/ Even if everything in the world changes/ Stay as you are /Stay with me Forever/ In this moment.”

Encore


He returned in a plain white shirt for his encore. Kang sang “Adulthood” which is a very meaningful song choice, obviously picked to uplift the emotions of the fans. The dancers also returned to the stage after he called them back.


They were all wearing the same white shirt. Kang introduced the boys and the girls by name, calling some his “brother”. He teased a few of them by acting like he forgot their names. This was all done good-naturedly.

From the seats, Kang and his dancers looked like equals onstage. Perhaps, this was his point. He was sending a message that he stands on the same platform as they are. This is Kang Daniel, CEO of Konnect Entertainment, taking the center role and the responsibility to look after the people in the company.

“First Parade” was a feel good concert, almost a healing one. Kang focused on his strengths and on what he wanted to do. He didn’t do the typical aegyo or cute factor you’ve come to expect from K-pop concerts. Instead, he chose to do his fan service by meticulously choosing the songs for them, allowing them to go through the journey with him.

Kang Daniel introduced his dancers to fans in Manila.


It started with Kang as the bright star of the night. As the show progressed, it evolved into showing him as a human being who experiences happiness, insecurities and doubts. Beautifully, he made his fans part of his story.

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