Thursday, January 17, 2013

Still Alive: The BigBang Alive Galaxy Tour in Manila Experience

Title: Still Alive: The BigBang Alive Galaxy Tour in Manila Experience
Written by Ava Sharra Sumortin || Photos from BIGBANG official Facebook page
One of the most unforgettable and most anticipated concerts of 2012 was definitely this South Korean band’s one night only show in Manila last October 24. BigBang is one of the most celebrated groups that have continuously shot to fame not only in their homeland, South Korea, but also worldwide. The Philippines is not an exception in acknowledging that this band has something special to offer to music enthusiasts.
So when it was first officially announced that this first-rate five-member band included Manila as a part of their mmense Alive Galaxy Tour, the VIP (what BigBang fans are affectionately called) fandom was excited. The fans thoroughly prepared for this chance to finally see the band live.

October 24 came and we saw the Mall of Asia Arena surrounded by VIPs armed with their yellow crown lightsticks. The energy was high even though some fans stayed there overnight. VIPs were singing along to the songs playing outside the venue and you could already tell that this night was going to be unforgettable.
When they finally let the crowd inside the arena, the screams and the voices singing along to the videos were building up the anticipation. Then the lights dimmed and the screen showed the intro for the show. As a VIP myself, I cannot even start to describe the feeling of finally realizing that I was going to finally see them in person, singing the songs that I have been listening to everyday. It seems that the whole arena felt exactly the way I did because the shrieks intensified.

With “Still Alive” playing in the background, G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, Daesung, and Seungri greeted Manila’s yellow ocean inside their capsules. The group started off with their 2011 hit, “Tonight” and followed it up with uptempo songs “Hands Up”, crowd favorite “Fantastic Baby”, “How Gee”, and “Stupid Liar”. Seungri tried to teach the crowd the “Fantastic Baby” dance too. They also expressed their appreciation for the warm reception that the Filipinos gave them. Most probably thanks to Sandara Park, the boys knew some expressions that can make the crowd wild. They used “Mahal ko kayo” and “Salamat” often.
Dynamic performances? Check. Pyrotechnics? Check. Stunning stage and lights? Check. Fashion eye candy? Check. It was a feast for the senses… and this was just the start.

The concert also showcased the sub-units and solo acts of the band. The GD&TOP duo then proved why they are considered one of Korea’s best rappers with “Knock Out”. They owned the stage and played with their songs. This is just a peek at how playful the members actually are. They also performed the highly-infectious song “High High”.

BigBang’s maknae (youngest member) shouldn’t get left behind. Seungri came out with laser lights and attested that he too can be a “Strong Baby”. He also performed “What Can I Do”.
Since the band already had a handful of hits to their name, a part of their set list also included some old songs like “Gara Gara Go” and “Number 1”, which immediately made the crowd dance to the beat of their music.
One of the things that make this band different from other groups is their ability to produce songs that are diverse. They can create hip-hop and R&B beats, uptempo songs, bubblegum pop songs, and of course, ballads. “CafĂ©”, “Bad Boy”, Blue”, “Love Song”, and “Monster” are just some of the hits that are under this genre. I especially love the arrangement that they had for “Love Song”. The live band really added to the experience because you could hear the songs that you’ve always loved in a different light. I also consider “Feeling” as one of the songs that sound different live.

The soulful voice of Taeyang then filled the arena with his hits “Only Look at Me” and “Wedding Dress”. He also showed in prowess in dancing when he had his stage.
The last member to have a solo performance was Daesung. His song “Wings” touches a soft spot in the heart of all VIPs. The smile he gave to the crowd was one of the most memorable things that I have seen that night.

“Day By Day”, “Lies”, and “Last Farewell” are the last three songs that they performed before their encore. These three songs are timeless fan favorites. The crowd has been singing along to most of the songs during the show, but VIPs also sounded amazing while the group asked them to sing “Day By Day”. Seungri even jokingly said that the crowd sounded better than him. I still get goose bumps just remembering how the whole arena just sang their hearts out. Isn’t it astounding that language is never a barrier when it comes to music?

The encore was also a way for the group to interact more with their fans. The members gave some pieces of their outfit away. They showed their playful side and the crowd also threw some toys for the band. They also used more Tagalog phrases which fans really appreciate. Who could forget G-Dragon’s accent while saying “Magandang gabi”? More songs were also performed. “My Heaven”, “Bad Boy”, “Fantastic Baby”, and “Feeling” completed the set list for the Manila leg of their Galaxy Alive Tour.

I came home from that show half-deaf and my throat felt like it was about to give up. Now, almost three months after that night, the concert was something that I, without question, would want to experience again.

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