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Seventeen’s promise to Pinoy fans: ‘We’ll come back with a better show’

SEVENTEEN

Seventeen had an exhausting schedule before they flew to the Philippines. They just finished their “Be The Sun” tour in three cities in Japan before heading to Los Angeles for a festival. They only had a couple of days of rest, but they managed to soldier on to fulfill a promise they made the last time they were in the country.

“We’ll come back really fast, you know. If I say it like this, you know there’s something, right?” said Seventeen leader S.Coups on Oct. 8-9.

Fans initially thought that he was teasing. They thought it was a promise to come back in 2023. But just a few days after they flew out, Live Nation Philippines’ announcement landed with a thud: the 13-member boy group would have their encore stage in Bulacan’s Philippine Arena a week before Christmas.

A delirious scramble ensued. Google searches for shuttle rentals and AirBNBs in Bulacan probably shot up in the next few weeks. In my case, I had to move my savings around (who cares about my tuition for my master’s degree!) and call up my buddies for a ticketing strategy (which mostly just involved looking for whoever had the fastest bandwidth and niftiest fingers).

Largest indoor arena

I imagine it was the same for many Carats, who knew how big of a deal this was. With this stop, Seventeen was to be the first K-pop act in history to solo the world’s largest indoor arena.

It’s hard to imagine that, just six years ago, they had their first fan meet in the Philippines as rookies, where “only a thousand fans came to see us, I think,” mused Seungkwan.

But on Dec. 17, a galaxy of 50,000 lights welcomed the boys back.

“It’s only been two months but we got here at such a bigger venue, so we are really thankful for that,” Joshua said. “You guys made another unforgettable memory for me.”

Read: ‘Kita tayo ulit!’: Seventeen make their Carats feel they’re at home in Manila

After all, moving from a 15,000-seater arena to a 55,000-capacity one within two months was, in many ways, a giant leap of faith. But Seventeen is nothing like the proverbial Icarus whose tragic myth inspired their tour title. Their rise to stardom was less of a flight than it was a surefooted climb, slowly building “a building from our basement unit” (from their hit song “Cheers”) as they become worldwide chart-topping artists.

Seven years since their debut, the boys still perform like rent is due. Almost immediately they opened the three-hour concert with fiery performances of their best dance tracks: first wooing the crowd with their synchronized body rolls in “Hot,” slowing down a bit to “March” and then dialing it back up to 11 to their fist-pumper “Hit.”

Philippine Superstar

The setlist was more or less the same as their first Manila stop, except this time they brought remixes and their trusty backup dancers (who, judging from the videos from the VIP area, led not a few Carats astray for a moment). They supported the boys nicely from behind, amping up the sensuality of the performance team led by Hoshi, Dino, The8, and Junand the intensity of the hip hop unit S.Coups, Wonwoo, Mingyu, and Vernon.

Meanwhile, the vocal team composed of Woozi, Seungkwan, DK, Jeonghan, and Joshua reveled in the sound of 50,000 voices singing back the chorus of “Imperfect Love” to them.

“Listening to the screams of the Carats, it feels really awesome,” said Jeonghan . “It’s even crazier than when we last visited you in Manila. So I hope you also had good memories of tonight.”

In all these, Carats needed no more prodding, ditching the fan chants and belting out all the songs instead. Sometimes they manage to egg the Seventeen boys to sing some deep cuts that weren’t on the setlist, like fan favorites “Don Quixote,” “Don’t Wanna Cry” and “Change Up” (it seemed bad audio feedback led S.COUPS to think the fans didn’t know the song).

What’s clear, however, is that Seventeen now knows Filipino Carats very well. They know, for example, that their maknae Dino was the “Philippine superstar,” or that the fans have memorized Hoshi’s English ment by heart (“I’m so happy to meet you and I realize once again that you guys mean a lot to me…”).

Fan project

After the leader line performed “Cheers” for the first time before Filipino fans, a stunned Joshua later said: “I was watching from the back, and wow, you guys really love that song, huh?”

This synergy is only possible because Pinoy fans are well-steeped in Sebong (their term of endearment for SEVENTEEN) lore. Why, for example, they immediately understood why Joshua and Seungkwan were flexing their arms nonstop before Mingyu, or why they can sing Dino’s entire verse in “Snapshoot.” Joshua, too, received an early birthday gift with the entire arena singing him a happy birthday.

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As the boys were wrapping up, fans surprised them with a serenade of “Campfire”: “Even after today / I hope you don’t forget / This song we made together / You were next to me, I was next to you / We made our campfire…”

A giddy DK and Hoshi later cutely protested: “What’s that?”

New promise

“It’s been a long time since we received this thing,” Hoshi, the resident tiger later explained. “Now that we’ve received your gift, we too, have a gift for you.”

This mutual love, it seems, has allowed Seventeen to chart more ambitious goals: to “begin their journey to become the SUN [and] become the brightest existence…we will not hold back anymore.”

“We will come back with a better show, much better than Be The Sun,” an emotional S.Coups later told the Carats.

“I was really shocked by your energy,” echoed Mingyu. “We will be coming back soon again.”

That’s another promise that the Carats will hold on to until they fulfill it.

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