Aftermath report: “What Time Is It?” 2PM Live in Manila
March 2, 2013 – Mall of Asia Arena
As I have mentioned in Part 2 of this aftermath report, Lou and I missed the first 10-15 minutes of the show. 2PM was already delivering their opening spiels when we arrived. Since we have no idea about the setlist, we’re not sure exactly how many songs did we miss. It didn’t matter, though, because we’re not exactly fans of 2PM. In fact, I personally know only five of their songs so don’t ask me about their repertoire because I really don’t know anything.
The great thing was, despite not knowing most of their songs, I actually enjoyed the concert. I really wasn’t expecting anything from them based on their previous work that I’ve seen so I was pleasantly surprised to find that 2PM are competent performers now. Sure, none of them are excellent singers nor super-excellent dancers, but they gave just enough to make an entertaining show even for non-fans. I personally thought that I got my money’s worth, and I think I’d still feel the same way even if my seat wasn’t upgraded from Gen Ad to Upper Box.
The biggest surprise for me here is none other than Nichkhun. I still remember him as that boy whose only ticket to be discovered by JYPE was his good looks. He openly admitted that he cannot sing nor dance, and was extremely shy. But in this concert, Khunnie has shown vast – and I mean VAST – improvement both in singing and dancing. He barely had any singing lines in the past; now, if I counted it correctly, he even has more singing lines than Wooyoung and Junho.
Nichkhun’s solo stage further cemented his musical talent. Not only was he able to sing and play the piano at the same time, he also revealed his songwriting talent. His song was actually quite good. Moreover, I am amazed at how he has the cleanest vocals among the members of 2PM, including the main vocalist (Junsu). His tone might not be the prettiest, but the guy can remain in tune even while dancing so we gotta give mad props to him for that.
Speaking of Junsu aka. Jun.K: he does deserve his place as the main vocalist of the group, but something tells me that his learned his techniques from JY Park himself. Junsu’s lower register is good, but once he hits the high notes, he loses the smooth tone and his voice becomes borderline nails on chalkboard. You know who else sings like that? JY Park. The thing is, being the main vocalist in the group, the high notes are always given to Junsu. The results can be grating to the ears sometimes.
The rest of the group did well with their respective solo stages. Junho’s short drum solo was so kick-ass, I felt bad that it was so short. Vocally, the weakest is Chansung. Oh wait, vocally, the weakest is Taecyeon for the simple reason that he really doesn’t sing, and in the few moments that he actually sang, most of the audience who knew this fact looked like this: . And to be fair, it’s not like Chansung is marketed as one of the singers in the group, neither. Although as singers, they’re not in the same league as, say, Big Bang’s Daesung or any of the four members of 2AM, but they’re not bad at all, neither. There were a few bum notes here and there but nothing so big that made me cringe. Also, who cares if Chansung has the weakest vocals when we can ogle at this?
I rest my case.
(Side note: I’m still pissed that Taecyeon’s abs were noticeably absent in this concert. )
(Side note 2: Despite the absence of Taecyeon’s abs, the man – notice the term that I used – is still downright sexy in my eyes. His speaking voice alone… )
I’m sorry, where was I?
Other observations about the concert itself:
1. The sound system was eons better than the one used by Big Bang. Although there were a few technical problems here and there, the sound quality was crisp and clear as opposed to Big Bang’s which was muffled and grating to the ears. I don’t know if the concert producers brought it in or The Arena decided to upgrade their equipment after the numerous bad reviews they got. If it’s the latter, then kudos to them.
2. I think one of the reasons why I didn’t get bored at this concert was because 2PM’s repertoire was infused with elements of rock music. It helps that they came with a live band. Based on my past observations with concerts of JYPE talents (namely, Rain and g.o.d.), they usually employ the best musicians so I’m really not surprised by this.
3. And speaking of Rain… the one thing that I really noted in this concert is this: it’s like watching six little Rains perform in one stage. (OK, maybe just five because Khunnie is too pretty to be Rain.) And I’m not talking about the stripping, gyrating and the fact that Junho can pass for Rain’s little brother, neither. (By the way, I think Junho looks more like Kim Jong Kook than Rain in person. And I can say this because I’ve seen all three of them in person.) I think 2PM’s choreographer (is it Park Nam-young?) should do a little upgrading because a lot of 2PM’s routines are very similar to Rain’s. I was laughing so hard at Chansung’s solo number which blatantly “adapted” Rain’s otter dance from Love Song.
4. And just to further bring home the point that 2PM’s concert took elements from Rain’s concert…
2PM’s “What Time Is It?” tour, 2013:
“Rain’s Coming” World Tour, 2006-2007:
Whadya know, JYPE is still environment-friendly. They still love recycling things. Now we know where Rain learned this trait.
5. I would like to whoever it was who thought of this bright idea of leaving the VIP area in front of the extended stage empty when they decided to ‘re-arrange’ the seats. The result was that whenever the artists are on the extended stage, they ended up performing in a seemingly empty venue because the only ones they can see in front of them are the sound booth, and those in the lower/upper boxes which were, like, 200 feet away from them.
It was evident that the artists were feeling uncomfortable with this set-up. Fortunately, they didn’t let it affect their performance.
6. As was mentioned in Part 2, the audience turn-out was downright disappointing in terms of numbers. However, the audience’s energy and enthusiasm greatly made up for whatever was lacking in numbers. For one thing, it was so LOUD, no one will believe that the venue was half-empty if they will just base it on the screams they heard. It’s a very appreciative crowd, too. There was no dead air; I am mentioning this because I distinctly remember the first Super Show in Manila which played to an almost full Araneta Coliseum but had several ‘dead air’ moments particularly in the latter half of the set.
I think that 2PM felt this positive energy from the crowd. We can see from their faces and their actions that they’re really happy with the Philippine leg of their tour despite the meager turnout. It could be just their innate fan-servicing ability, or the fact that Khunnie’s smile never falters no matter what, but I can feel the sincerity of their actions. Even Wooyoung who hardly ever smiled even at the presscon the day before changed his demeanor in the encore part. He was smiling, trading handshakes and selca-ing with the fans. Junho didn’t look friendly at first but when he wore that “i <3 Philippines" shirt given by a fan, my impression of him completely turned around.
By the way, may I just point out that despite the group’s very close proximity to the fans during the concert, I didn’t see any praying mantis moments. Mad props to Pinoy Hottests for their good behavior at the concert.
In hindsight, I therefore conclude that if 2PM ever comes back for a concert, fanmeet or whatever, I think I’ll be there again. Not just for blogging purposes like what I did now, but because I really want to see them again. See what a little fan service can do?
Here’s a mini-gallery of some of the photos I took from the concert. If you want to see all 500+ of them (whittled down from 820), please visit my 2PM Live in Manila Photo Gallery. Feel free to share them, as long as you don’t remove the tags and mention where you got the photos. Thank you!
For more of my recaps and reviews of K-pop events, please visit the K-pop Events Aftermath page.