Aftermath: SEVENTEEN ‘Ideal Cut’ in Manila
29 September 2018 – Mall of Asia Arena
Disclaimer: The blogger only used that as the title of this entry because it’s the title of one of Seventeen’s hit songs. It does not reflect the blogger’s real feelings toward the concert as a whole.
‘Very nice’ is not a very accurate description of Ideal Cut, nor of Seventeen. The fact is, the concert, and Seventeen, are freakin’ AWESOME.
Let’s get this out of the way: If you’re here to look at nice photos from the concert, you won’t find it. By ‘nice’, I mean high-res photos taken by a decent camera. Security was very strict when it comes to taking footage. Some did manage to sneak it in, but I got the unfortunate distinction of getting seated right smack at 2nd row center of Seated C with three burly security guys in front of me + the random roaming security who will just show up and tell you to put your camera/phone down. Truthfully, I was so frustrated that I spent the entire concert framing and taking photos in my head every time something camera-worthy crops up. I did not dare take out my trusty Ama, the magic camera, for fear that it might get confiscated or worse, I’ll be thrown out of the venue. The tickets (I also paid for my niece’s ticket) already cost me a lot, thank you very much. I alternately held on to two cellphones, Samsung S8 and Huawei P20Pro, and waited for the opportunity to sneak in a pic or two. Not an easy task for the law-abiding citizen, aka. me. I did manage to get some more-than-decent footage during the finale and encore, though.
Now that I think about it, it’s just fitting that I did not have a camera to distract me from enjoying Seventeen’s performance. Prior to the concert, I was wondering if I’ll be able to take many photos as I also wanted to concentrate on watching the boys create magic onstage. The universe thankfully solved that dilemma for me.
A bit of a boring backgrounder on how I made a K-pop comeback via Seventeen (SVT): It’s really more of a “I have no choice” sort of thing. My niece became a Carat (SVT’s fanbase) early this year. She plays SVT songs and videos every single day from sunrise to next day’s sunrise. I share a bedroom with her. Constant proximity with anything Seventeen led me to naturally absorb everything and eventually like them, as well. Not that it’s a difficult task. It’s their sharp and on-point choreography that first caught my attention, followed by their classic-K-pop-sounding tunes and the fact that they’re self-producing idols. Genius artistry is always a plus point for me. Moreover, I like the fact that they’re low-key famous, ie., they’re not as super-hyped and marketed as other idol groups but they have an extremely huge yet un-rabid fanbase. (Yep, the one talking is Agent P who’s sick and tired of dealing with rabid fanbases.) They let the numbers do the talking for them.
It’s no surprise that when news came out that SVT’s Ideal Cut tour will make a stop in Manila, I made sure that my niece and I will be part of it.
I just have to make a side note here because it’s been a while since my last K-pop event. I had goosebumps all over when we arrived at the venue and heard the fan chants from afar. I wasn’t sure, though, if the goosebumps are caused by excitement or fear for my life. The sing-along to Oh My! before and during the concert was an amazing experience, though. Filipino fans are really more into sing-alongs than fan chants – although through the years we eventually have learned to make fan chants a habit during K-pop concerts – and Seventeen themselves took note of this. They just loved the sound of PH Carats’ voices that they end up asking the audience to sing the bridge part of Oh My! once again (which we gleefully did). Such moment reminded me of Big Bang’s Alive in Manila concert where they spent a considerable amount of time praising Filipino VIPs for our on-point community singing of Haru Haru.
Since this is my first time to see Seventeen and I’m fairly new in the Carat fandom, I’d like to start with my individual impressions of each member upon seeing them in the flesh as compared to my first impressions of them. Side note 2: I don’t have a particular bias in the group. I simply like them all. I found out later from observing the fandom that having no particular bias is fairly common among Carats.
True confession: I always get this disoriented feeling towards certain SVT members. By disoriented, I meant their skills and actual personalities are far different from what I expected them to be based on my first impressions of them. To start with, let’s talk about my biggest disorientation:
1. DK aka. Dokyeom. First impression: His facial features are more fit for an actor (he can pass for Cho Seung Woo’s younger brother) than an idol. Traditionally, his looks are fit for the face of the group. ie., the handsome guy with just enough performance skills to become an idol. Surprise! He’s one of the two main vocalists with immaculate vocals to boot. My jaw dropped every time he hits those really high notes with no effort whatsoever.
But the fact that disorients me the most about DK is his extreme goofiness. He has this serious face whenever he sings but he also just randomly cracks a silly joke at any time, without provocation. He has leading man looks but gagman humor.
2. Vernon. The most easily recognizable member because of his mestizo looks. Again, another one whom you might dismiss to be a mere ‘face’ in the group but Surprise! His inclusion in the Hip Hop unit is actually because he’s a very capable rapper. Surprise! 2: Mr. Tisoy, with his soft features, got oodles of swag. One of the highlights of my Ideal Cut experience is how I stared at just Vernon and Woozi when they performed No F.U.N. Their sophisticated looks as they strut their stuff stood out in that number.
Speaking of whom…
3. Woozi. The second member that I was able to match the name with the face after Vernon, and it’s for a funny reason. One of the first SVT appearances that I saw was their Weekly Idol guesting where Woozi had blonde hair and was wearing a canary yellow shirt that’s too big for his small frame. Thus, I gave him the nickname, ‘Tweety Bird’. Then my niece more than gladly informed me that Woozi is the chief songwriter and producer of the group with more than 60 copyrights at age 23. Inside that über-cute package is a musical genius.
Here’s the Woozi surprise: I’ve always labeled him and Hoshi as the two Ratatoskrs of Seventeen. They’re like little stuffed animals that I want to grab and stuff in my pocket. I saw Woozi at the concert and I’m like… yeah, I’d grab him to stuff in my pocket, but I have a feeling that he’ll put up a good fight first. And he’ll win. ‘Cute’ or ‘adorable’ does not accurately describe Woozi. He may look tiny, but his sex appeal is 4x bigger than the tallest SVT member.
While I admit that I got extreme G-Dragon vibes from Woozi as the similarities are so evident even with the way they dominate the stage, I won’t say that he’s the next G-Dragon. I’d rather call him the first Woozi.
4. Hoshi. The one mainly responsible for SVT’s sharp choreography. The other Ratatoskr in SVT. Yes, he’s adorably cute especially when he flashes his eye-disappearing smiles. But once he starts dancing, he transforms into a completely different person. Dude’s got tons of swag, too.
5. Seungkwan. The other main vocalist. DK’s vocals are cleaner but this guy is not called Diva Boo for nothing. He nailed his three high notes on Pretty U with so much precision, I just found myself howling in approval. Seungkwan is basically the same as we see him on TV except that he’s cuter in person.
But what I love most about Seungkwan is his fan service. People who knew me from way back would know that I have a thing with fan service when it comes to celebrities in general, and Koreans in particular. If the artist is nice to fans, I automatically become a fan. I have utmost respect for Seungkwan because he gave my niece the best moment in her life (so far) as a Carat at Ideal Cut in Manila.
My niece is one of those Carats who doesn’t have a particular bias in SVT. She made several mini-banners for the concert which eventually disintegrated as the show progressed. The last surviving one was this one of Seungkwan. Come encore time during Very Nice, I was busy taking footage when she suddenly grabbed me and asked if I caught Seungkwan giving her the ‘saranghae’ gesture when he saw her holding that banner. I was like, no I didn’t. I didn’t see him do that, as well, but she swears that he did.
Come Send Off time, she once again held up that banner. When Seungkwan passed by, he was already three steps past us when he suddenly looked back, waved and gave a ‘saranghae’ gesture to the person beside me before moving on. That person beside me? Was my niece. And I definitely saw that happen. I told my niece, “WTH is going on between you and Boo Seungkwan???” My niece was so happy, she was shaking so much even long after that moment.
The thing is, as I was sorting and tagging the photos I was able to take during the concert, I found out that I was able to catch Seungkwan’s ‘saranghae’ moment, after all. To say that my niece was ecstatic is an understatement.
6. Wonwoo. He’s one of the last four members whom I had a hard time matching the names with the faces, the other three being Dino, Mingyu and Jeonghan. I only know him as the guy with that distinct low voice from the song Don’t Wanna Cry. Which means that for me to know which one is Wonwoo, I’d have to hear him sing first.
Come concert time, they took the stage and I saw Wonwoo in the flesh for the first time from the other end of the extended stage. My reaction: I therefore bestow Wonwoo the Piolo Pascual Award for the Most Handsome Even From A Distance. When they did that routine from Flower where they all lied down and Wonwoo got up, I blurted out, “OMG shet, t***ina ang kapogian ni Wonwoo, nananapak!” and I hardly ever say stuff like that on a regular basis. It’s the eyes and that sharp side profile.
I looked forward to seeing him closer during Send Off. Up close without the stage lights and all that make-up, Wonwoo is even more gorgeous. I love him na.
I really wish that I was able to take more photos of Wonwoo, but the camera restrictions are just . This is the only decent one that I was able to capture of him.
7. S.Coups. Here’s a true confession: I used to think that S.Coups is the least good-looking member of SVT. I’ve always wondered why he has so many fans. Seeing him in person made me realize why. S.Coups is handsome in person. Cameras don’t do justice to his actual facial features. In fact, I’d rank him 2nd after Wonwoo when it comes to handsomeness. His “no chill” rapping adds more to his sex appeal.
8. Mingyu. Another one of the final four whom I had a hard time recognizing at first, but I’ve memorized his face now as he’s the one who spent the most time near our side during the concert. Mingyu with that distinct jawline of his is actually more cute than handsome. He’s like the exact opposite of Woozi; he’s the tallest in the group but I found him to be the most adorable in a big-bear kind of way.
9. Jun. and also,
10. Jeonghan. The two beautiful men in SVT. There’s no other way to describe them. They’re just too beautiful, but in a strangely manly way.
11. The8/Minghao. I also got disoriented on The8. On cam, he’s this astig B-boy who’s got lots of swag. In person, he’s super-cute. As in anime-level cute. He’s the one whom I want to grab and use as a keychain.
12. Joshua. He is essentially the same on cam and in person. I just think he’s too gentle for an idol, but I guess that’s his appeal. It would be weird if he suddenly goes Diva Boo or S.Coups ballistic, but it would be interesting to see him try.
Last but definitely not the least, 13. Dino. Dino reminds me so much of Seungri. He’s nice to look at when he’s just standing there being pogi and all, but you go WTH once he starts talking. Seeing him getting emotional with all the love he got in Manila was a touching sight.
The one thing that all of them got in common? They all look good in person. Walang tapon. We can just categorize them into handsome, cute or gorgeous. Or a combination of all three.
Also, they’re all competent performers. The stage set-up did not have much special effects; just LED screens, lighting, some lifts and pyros. SVT’s amazing routines were more than enough to bring in the awesomeness. The singing was simply on-point, and I enjoyed even the songs that I didn’t know. I even enjoyed the Hip Hop unit even if I’m not particularly fond of hip-hop. The energy they brought onstage made it one of the best parts of the show, in my opinion.
All SVT members have their individual strong suits which were highlighted during the show, but at the same time they work together as a solid unit. I was looking forward to seeing their sharp and precise choreography and the ‘magic’ that they do onstage, particularly on my favorite SVT numbers Pretty U and Clap. It did not disappoint. I’m just pretty bummed that the stage was too high and my section prohibits standing up during the concert so I barely saw the floor routines and the stuff they did at the main stage. Fortunately, my absolute favorite number Don’t Wanna Cry, which was the main reason why I got into SVT, was not included in the setlist. Otherwise, I’d cry in frustration.
To sum up, I think it’s safe to say that I’m now officially a Carat? I’d definitely watch them again – and again and again – if I get the chance. But maybe I’ll take a Lower Box seat next time for a better view of the stage (and hopefully, where camera restrictions are more lax ).
I was able to take a few photos at the concert and uploaded them on my Facebook. Please do check them out.
PS: Despite all the various issues that hounded Pulp Live towards the staging of this concert, I’d still like to commend them for hiring the most inadvertently hilarious Kor-Eng spot translator. Her, “we’re all excited to see (Mingyu’s) TT” will remain to be the most classic line uttered at Ideal Cut in Manila.
To all my non-Pinoy readers who didn’t understand that line, feel free to ask at the Comments section. Or in private.
For more of my Aftermath Reports related to Korean entertainment, please check out my K-pop Events Aftermath page.