Jeffer's Odyssey

FF#9: Flyin’ High, Bangtan-style (BTS’ “The Wings Tour in Manila”)

When Namjoon and the boys promised to be “back very soon” during their “HwaYangYeonHwa On Stage: Epilogue in Manila“, I resolved right there and then to be there to welcome them yet again in Manila. Somehow, a part of me never doubted that they’d be back. For some reason, I have grown to trust these boys – their music, they dedication and, yes, even their marketing. So when word came out earlier this year that they made Manila as one of the last stops of their Wings World Tour ( and for two nights, at that), I knew I’d move heaven and earth to be there at least one of those nights.

Well, I did not do any heaven- or earth-shaking moves, but I managed to make it happen. Go, me. *pats self on the back*

Even if I wanted to go on both nights, a small part of my common sense still managed to put its foot down and remind me that (a) I have work on Monday morning and being sleepy or looking like a zombie on a Monday at work won’t be pretty, and (b) I can’t take a leave of absence because I’ve pretty much mapped out a ‘leave-of-absence plan’ for the rest of the year, and I refused to make amendments on it.

Pre-show excitement going up!
Just part of the sold-out crowd for Day 1.

To say that it was a struggle to get here is an understatement.

To cut the very long story short, let’s just say that getting my hands on a concert ticket – with the seat of my choice – was a battle.We’re talking here of A.R.M.Y.s (the fandom name of BTS, and yes, I count myself as one of them) not only from the Philippines, but practically from around the world with internet access and more than enough moolah for a plane ticket to fly clear to Manila in time for the May 6 and 7 cons.

So let me reword that. It was not a battle, it was a war. One that involved SM Cinema’s servers to crash the very minute the tickets were supposed to be sold. One where I spent all of 45 minutes literally alternating between constantly refreshing the page and following rants and rages on Twitter over this “mishap”.

By the time I got in (there was nothing wrong with my internet connection, darnit), many sections have already been sold out, and I grabbed the only available seat that I saw on the section that I was originally gunning for. (Because, you know, I don’t relish the idea of paying a lot of money and being on my feet for close to three hours and having my tiny self being pushed and squeezed.)

Ticket purchase successful, I and, for the first time in almost an hour, I was able to breathe. Finally.

I allowed myself a few more minutes of criticizing the ticketing system and anything else, just to let my frustrations out, then decided to bury it finally. After all, I got the tickets, and I am going to see Bangtan once again.

So, how was the concert? *insert happy grin here*

Indeed, they are the ‘boys that slay’.

If you are wondering why Rap MonsterJin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, VJungkook are so much loved, you’d best start by seeing them perform on a stage. (The dorky parade and content spammage can come later.)

The opening, NOT TODAY.

My second concert experience with Bangtan, and I have to say, they’re right on time as usual. Maybe part of it is a credit to the organizers, but ARMYs are aware of the work ethics of BTS and Big Hit, and I’m glad that they remain the same to this day, a successful world tour and Billboard nomination later.

Right on the dot, at 7:30pm, the curtains fell, and Bangtan began their slayage.

Just like other fans anticipating seeing them in concert live, I have also gone through the concert setlist from the previous legs of their tour, so although I did not commit them to memory, I had a vague idea how it’ll go.

But once they started performing, any order or chronology that shaped in my head disappeared. I was just there to enjoy the moment. Or the 2 and a half hour moment, to be exact.

The vocal line with “LOST”.

Bangtan performed like they were still rookies.

You know how rookies or new artists are practically hungry for recognition, so they’d be really really eager to please, and so they’d put 300% on their performance on stage?

Well, these 7 boys performed with the same level of passion and hunger that they had when they were still out to get their first Number 1 win.

Jamming to “SAVE ME”.

You can most definitely sense how much they love and enjoy what they are doing. There is never a dull moment. Not a still or motionless one, either, because they are constantly moving. They are such livewires on stage.

The “DOPE” hip thrusts.

Normally, members’ solo stages during a concert can be quite awkward, but I liked how the member’s solo performances were craftily interspersed into the general “story” of the concert, so it was not at all jarring.

Jimin’s solo “Lie” was everything the reviews said it was: mesmerizing and one of the sexiest things you’ve seen, which is a huge thing since it didn’t involve any shirtless display. Clearly, ChimChim was born to be on a stage.

Suga’s “First Love” was not a favorite song of mine from the album, but when he performed it, I realized how much I was missing. In fact, it was the solo stage that got me all shook. Major goosebumps, I tell ya.

Anyone going into a BTS concert basically have the same expectations: impressive and in-sync dancing and choreography, powerful live singing and even more powerful fire-spitting from the rap line, and just great music all around, delivered with passion, topped with fanservice that is distinctly Bangtan.

They did not disappoint.

Not a lot of love for the outfits, but BTS’ Cyphers kill me every time.
Cypher Pt. 4 was just a load of in-yer-face swag ILUVIT.

“Kayo ang aming pakpak. Lumilipad kami dahil sa inyo.”

During Epilogue, Namjoon did 90% of the talking, with Hobi probably taking up 5% and the rest of the 5 members splitting up the remaining 5%.

This time, they outdid themselves.

Oh, never mind that there was a prompter in front of them that they’re reading off of, but knowing Bangtan, they must’ve practiced quite a lot in delivering those lengthy Filipino lines. And Yoongi, oh, Yoongi. He didn’t even try all that much during On Stage. Now, in Wings, he made quite the effort, which totally did not go unappreciated.

I found myself somehow feeling conflicted when Namjoon asked ARMYs if they will stick with them to the end. Knowing the amount of hate that Bangtan gets from other fandoms, and from haters-of-hardworking-and-successful-people, in general, it saddened me that they’d feel the need to seek reassurance from those that believe in them.

Because, from where I am standing, they don’t need to do much more than they already are, which is to continue making good music, churning out great performances, delivering good content where they show their regular selves, and connect with their ARMYs,

“Capture it in your eyes and hearts…”

Video recording and photography were not allowed when we were inside, and there were guards and ushers and even police stationed at every section to ensure that rule is enforced.

But what can you do when they all whip out their phones? 🙂 At some point, towards the last third of the concert, I think the guards in our section just gave up stopping the fans from whipping out their phones and recording it.

As for me, I did not even make an effort to bring my camera. I’ve been to my share of concerts, and in the first few ones, I was diligently taking photos. One downside to that, is you are too busy getting a good shot or recording a good video, you fail to spot some good parts of the performance.

I did not want that to happen. Not this time. No, not tonight.

Besides, I remember that Seoul concert footage where Jungkook and Rap Monster low-key discouraged taking fancams by saying to just capture the moments in the concert using their eyes and hearts.

I did get a handful of shots, then pocketed my phone right back in because I had a show to watch and enjoy.

Wonhi Manhi Mani-la~!

I say this again, Filipino ARMYs are a force to reckon with. The crowd was primed to go wild throughout the concert. (Another reason why I didn’t take videos: it’s mostly going to be screaming anyway, haha!)

During their pre-encore break, I had a small chat with one of the cops on guard, since he was shaking his head at the “lung power” of some kids.

Cop: Grabe. (Wow.)

Me: Wala pa ‘yan, sir. Bukas, baka babalik pa sila. (That’s nothing, sir. Tomorrow, they’d probably be here as well.)

Cop: Hindi ba sila rin ang magco-concert bukas? (Aren’t they – BTS – the same ones who will have their concert tomorrow?)

Me: Opo, pero malamang 2 nights ang papanoorin nila. (Yes, but it’s probable that they’re watching the concert on both nights.)

Cop: *shakes head* Daming pera, a. (So much money.)

Yep, and so much passion.

From experience, the whole concert experience will also be affected by the person seated next to you and around you. I remember that CNBlue concert years before that I went to, and there was this girl who seemed like she was barely out of grade school  on my right, screeching like a banshee and waving her lightstick around that she actually hit me with it. Twice.

And she wasn’t even sorry. Not even if she also said the word. Twice.

This time, I was seated with a sweet girl on my right who proudly proclaims she’s a “Jimin stan but wow, Taehyung really looks unreal”.

No, there was no hitting incident, and she screamed at all the right places because she also wanted to hear the music. As I told her, she’s “one of the sensible ones”. 🙂

This is one winged adventure I’m glad I got on.

When the concert was over, I made the smart (not) decision to go towards the Mall via the back of the SM MOA Arena.

Big mistake.

You see, aside from other concertgoers making their exit that way, there were also other ARMYs (who were unable to watch the concert) that parked themselves at the back, hoping to get a glimpse of the boys once they go back to their hotel.

While scrunched in that slow-moving crowd, several young ladies standing by on the side introduced themselves as “Team Labas” (labas means “outside”, since they only remained outside, whereas we, who were able to watch “inside” were “Team Loob”) threw us lots of questions.

“Is it true that Taehyung cried?”

“Is Jimin tall in real life?”

Well, lemme see…..

Suga was so hyper it’s like seeing a rock constantly on the move. J-Hope was flawless in every aspect he looked like he was shining the whole time. Jimin was so extra and amazingly fluid on stage. Jungkook is SO GROWN UP I CAN’T. You can’t refute Jin’s self-praises because his visuals say it all. Rap Mon is such a commanding presence and boy his dancing has vastly improved! And V. Oh, V. So unreal. ‘Nuff said.

But more than that, let’s talk about the music.

As a fan of the music, I am so thankful they managed to put in the songs I wanted to see performed live, although if it were up to me, their concert would probably last for hours and hours, until all their songs are performed. Because that’s what I think: all their songs are very good. Walang patapon.

If you’re not a fan, and you can tune out the decibel-breaking screaming and just listen to the music and watch the performances, you’ll definitely enjoy yourself.

I could go on and on with answers to those questions, but I can wrap it up in this answer:

Those seven artists and young men that bravely share their music and unabashedly share their selves and personalities in the various media content, whether on their Twitter, YouTube channel, or V Live channels are the same ones that you’d see on the live stage. And that, I think, is their charm. They do not paint themselves to be larger than life, or to be these celebrities that will continue to climb up and up and up, until they are out of reach. They are simply these young men – boys, really – with hopes and dreams, and they are taking us with them on this incredible journey and adventure.

Well, I’m in for the ride. Thank you, Bangtan for the great show. Magkita tayo muli.

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