Big Bang: Beyond Alive
As early as the afternoon, VIPs, how Big Bang fans are called, were already beginning to flock the surroundings of the Mall of Asia Arena. The booths outside, which featured the band’s official merchandise and some of their advertised brands, were raided by fans. Their life-sized cardboard representations alone proved to be quite an attraction to the frantic audience that was just waiting to storm the arena to see their much loved Korean boy band.
Even with the overflow of foreign acts that passed Manila, Big Bang’s Alive tour remained to be one of the highly anticipated events of the year as the band makes their way around unchartered territories for their first ever world tour. K-pop, which has spread its influence over people like wildfire, definitely burned its influence in the Philippines, as the genre infectiously catches more and more Filipino fans who ardently and painstakingly make the effort to learn their language just to sing along to their songs and understand their raw interviews.
Since their debut in 2006, T.O.P., G-Dragon, Daesung, Seungri and Taeyang have always stood out among others not just because of their undeniable good looks, but also with their trendsetting fashion sensibilities and their ability to compose their own songs. Over the years, they have proved to be capable as both musicians and performers by creating their own brand of hiphop. The band is now one of the most well known Korean acts across the world, inspiring a cult-like following from most of its fan base.
The 24th of October was marked as their first stop in Manila. Surely enough, no rain, no distance, no threat of bankruptcy was going to keep their fans from seeing the show. Outside, long queues of people were frantically waiting for the gates to open. The VIPs, proudly wearing crown headbands and strutting in outlandish fashion, eagerly waited to get in among thousands of others. On their hands were meticulously designed banners that express their appreciation for the five boys and the official Big Bang crown light sticks. Their imagination, running wild. Their anticipation, just so obviously soaring.
The sold-out concert started only a few minutes after 8:00pm. Even as the show started inside, some people were still trying to get inside. In the arena, the frenzy was amplified a thousand times more compared to the situation outside. With a colossal stage, a stunningly huge backdrop of LCD screens, an extensive runway and a set of lifts spread out all over, the stage made for one visually astounding show that surprised even the diehard fans. The theatrics were perfect – the lighting, the images projected, the outfit changes, the flow of the songs –every moment was indeed a blast in every sense of the word. The show was indisputably explosive, fun and yes, alive, very much alive.
They performed a set list that covered most of their hits “Fantastic Baby”, “Gara Gara Go”, “Bad Boy”, “Haru Haru” and “Monster”. The concert also featured a solo part for each member, giving the crowd the perfect opportunity to show their love for their favorite member. Amazingly enough, almost every person on the arena knew the lyrics perfectly despite them being mostly in Korean.
The encore, in particular, contained a whole load of surprises for the audience as the boys performed five more songs, which is highly unusual in any concert. The encore also featured a more laidback side of the boys as they spontaneously moved around the stage and addressed the audience in a more personal manner. During the performance, Seungri got a panda plushie from a fan and played with it on stage. He also took a video of the other members which was later uploaded in their official Youtube account. Taeyang took his shirt off to show off his well-toned torso. As the most proficient speaker in the group, he was the one who kept the encore going by repeatedly saying “We can’t leave you like this.” G-Dragon threw his hoodie to the audience, which a few fans shortly fought over. Daesung kept the connection with the crowd with his cheery smile, always looking directly at parts of the crowd and waving his hand to extend his appreciation. T.O.P., the most taciturn member, even tried to speak in Filipino by saying “Mahal ko kayo”, a remark that drove majority of the crowd wilder. The five of them enjoyed the crowd’s roars and shrieks of appreciation.
The crowd’s passionate response was unbelievably intense. From the beginning to the end, the VIPs were just so hyped up, cheering, shrieking and singing along to every song and every little thing that the band members did. Another thing worth mentioning was the concert’s unique ocean of yellow lights that was created by the crown light sticks that most of the audience purchased from the official merch booth. The glow emanated by the audience’s light sticks was quite a sight to behold, completing the overall experience of being part of a Big Bang concert.
Without doubt, the VIPs would remember Big Bang’s stop in Manila. For most of them, it was a dream-come-true. Some even had the best time of their lives. All five of the boys obviously enjoyed themselves a lot. G-Dragon even said that this is the best country they’ve been to so far and they would definitely come back here. We can only speculate when, but this much is sure, Manila will surely be waiting for them.
Written by Sandra Laureano