An Ideal Cut above the rest

Con­cert Re­view 2018 Seven­teen Con­cert: Ideal Cut in Manila Sept. 29 SM Mall of Asia Arena

Business World - - Arts & Leisure - By Ce­cille San­til­lan-Visto Text and pho­tos

SOME KOREAN pop groups — no mat­ter how pop­u­lar — have per­formed in the Philip­pines only once and with­out an in­sis­tent de­mand, they never man­aged to re­turn. Not so in the case of the 13-mem­ber group, Seven­teen, which can now boast of a three-sold-out-con­cert streak in Manila, a feat that only equally phe­nom­e­nal bands such as BTS, EXO, and Su­per Ju­nior have man­aged.

Seven­teen had its bap­tism of fire in Manila in 2016 at The Theater of So­laire Re­sorts and Casino for the lo­cal leg of the Shin­ing Di­a­monds world tour. They came at a time when there was a high-pro­file dis­pute be­tween the coun­try and China, forc­ing Chi­nese mem­bers Jun and The8 to skip the show. ( http://www.bworl­don­­tent.php?sec­tion=Arts&Leisure&ti­tle=sweet-seven­teen&id=132148). But they were com­plete last year for the Di­a­mond

Edge con­cert, fill­ing up the SM Mall of Asia Arena. With the clamor from their fan­dom, called the Carats, Seven­teen re­turned to Manila less than a year later.

Leader S. Coups, Woozi, Won­woo, Mingyu, Hoshi, DK, Jeong­han, Dino, Se­ungk­wan, and Ver­non and Joshua, who are from the US, plus the two Chi­nese mem­bers siz­zled on stage and made sure that Ideal Cut in Manila was as, if not more, mem­o­rable as the first two con­certs in the coun­try.

They kicked off with “High­light,” from the group’s Go­ing Seven­teen al­bum. The open­ing salvo was, to say the least, ex­plo­sive. The en­ergy at the MOA Arena be­fore the con­cert was al­ready deliri­ous. Thus, when the boys emerged from back­stage wear­ing match­ing black suits and gy­rat­ing to “High­light” and later, to fan-fa­vorite “Thanks,” the shriek­ing reached the max­i­mum deci­bel pos­si­ble.

The dis­tinct ad­van­tage of Seven­teen, which has been ac­tive since 2015, is the group’s sheer num­ber of mem­bers. The MOA Arena may not be as big as other sta­di­ums but its stage is rel­a­tively huge. With more mem­bers per­form­ing in sync, the stage some­how felt fuller and more dy­namic than if there were only six or seven per­form­ers on the plat­form at any one point. More­over, Seven­teen has three dis­tinct sub-units, each with a dif­fer­ent spe­cial­iza­tion. It has a vo­cal unit, a hip-hop unit, and a “per­for­mance” unit. As such, there is al­ways va­ri­ety in ev­ery show. As some mem­bers were given a short breather when they were not all re­quired to be on stage, the boys were able to deliver 26 songs with no prob­lems.

In the three years since its de­but, Seven­teen has re­leased two stu­dio al­bums and five ex­tended plays.

Al­though Ideal Cut in Manila was a largely mix of sta­ple Seven­teen dance hits such as “Chuck,” “Pretty U,” “Oh My!” “Beau­ti­ful,” and “Thinkin’ About You,” there were a num­ber of nice in­serts in­clud­ing the per­for­mance of the un­re­leased song of the hip-hop team, and “Campfire” and “Heal­ing” which formed part of the en­core. They re­turned to the stage thrice dur­ing their last song, “Aju (Very) Nice,” which could be taken as an in­di­ca­tion that they so en­joyed the show that they did not want it to end.

Per­for­mance-wise, all mem­bers contributed but spe­cial men­tion should be given to diminu­tive Woozi whose wide vo­cal range is the envy of other K-pop groups. It was also de­light­ful to see that their dance chore­og­ra­phy is the same live as seen in their mu­sic videos. The crisp dance moves make the group a joy to watch.

In be­tween sets, Seven­teen mem­bers took the op­por­tu­nity to in­ter­act with the au­di­ence. They tried to outdo each other with the lit­tle Filipino that they have learned. The mid­dle seg­ment even be­came a mini-tal­ent show of sorts, with mem­bers danc­ing to Twice’s “TT,” com­pet­ing in a rap show­down, and gen­er­ally just tit­il­lat­ing fans.

Pro­ducer Pulp was spot on with the lights, sounds, and stage ef­fects, con­tribut­ing to height­en­ing the ex­cite­ment and the drama ex­actly when nec­es­sary.

A down­side to the show, if at all, was the strict no pho­tog­ra­phy, no videog­ra­phy pol­icy en­forced by the pro­ducer. Bounc­ers were all over the venue to re­mind the au­di­ence that all forms of record­ing were pro­hib­ited. Some fans were not too happy that they were un­able to record even snip­pets of the show. On the bright side, it gave them the op­por­tu­nity to en­joy the show with­out hav­ing to won­der whether they took the photo or the video at the per­fect an­gle.

Ideal Cut in Manila was def­i­nitely a con­cert that could be listed as among the most en­joy­able K-pop shows in re­cent mem­ory. It was ob­vi­ous that per­form­ing is se­cond na­ture to the mem­bers who def­i­nitely knew how to make sure the au­di­ence have a great time.

Now, that re­ally makes Seven­teen an ideal cut above the rest.

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