It was a blazing hot Saturday on October 28. A typical mall-goer at Circuit Lane Makati would want nothing more but to stay in the mall and seek shelter in some air-conditioned restaurant.
The crowd at Circuit Grounds begged to differ, however. Fans scattered throughout the open area, and despite the umbrellas, one could see the smiles on their faces as they distributed fan merchandise or flailed with their fellow fans.
Needless to say, the energy was contagious. And that was four hours before the concert.
Bigger and better
The first K-Pop Republic concert was held four years ago, and All Access Production promised a bigger and better concert for K-Pop Republic 2.
The line-up of the first concert was no longer present, however. EXO has moved on to become one of the biggest groups in South Korea, SHINee is taking a break after their concert in Japan, while some Dal Shabet members are part of KBS’ idol rebooting project “The Unit.”
The artists present in the concert were Cosmic Girls, GFriend, N.Flying, and NCT 127. All groups have recently debuted (although N.Flying has been active as a band since 2013) but have already made a name for themselves in Korean pop music industry. Cosmic Girls were formed from a partnership between two major labels Starship Entertainment and Yuehua Entertainment; GFriend is known for their “knife-like” choreography, nabbing several awards in their rookie years; N.Flying is known for their fusion of pop, rock, and hip-hop; while NCT 127 is known for their experimental music and intense choreography.
All were fresh faces, and it most of their first times in the Philippines. (GFriend had been in the Philippines twice—the first time was for a variety show shooting, and then for their album showcase.) However, based on the groups’ reputations, expectations were high as the day of the concert approaches.
Hotter and hotter performances
Come concert night, expectations were not only met, but they were surpassed. Fans of the respective groups gather in Circuit Grounds, ignoring the heat that has continued even at nighttime.
And as NCT 127’s Mark said, it was hot, but the atmosphere in the concert just got hotter in the most awesome way possible.
GFriend opened the concert, impressing concert goers with their famous “knife-like” choreography to the tunes of Navillera, Rough, Love Whisper, Summer Rain, and Me Gustas Tu. In between songs, maknae Umji, in behalf of the group, expressed how happy they were to see Buddies in the Philippines once more. Sowon has hinted that they were already preparing for their comeback, though no date has been announced yet.
Watching N.Flying was certainly refreshing, the only band among the groups of dancing idols. They jammed to their debut song Awesome, took the audience on an emotional trip with Lonely and I’m Okay, then ended with their latest song The Real. The boys also stood out in the talk portion, where they did aegyo and poked fun at each other. We have reason to believe many in the audience were N.Flying-baited!
Despite being a 13-member group, Cosmic Girls displayed synchronization with their dance moves to Happy, I Wish, MoMoMo, Catch Me, and Secret. The audience was awed by the cuteness the girls showed in their performances and during the talk portion.
NCT 127 was the most anticipated group that night, and they did not disappoint. Their performance started with a dance break by leader Taeyong, then moved to their debut single Fire Truck. Performance after performance brought energy to the audience, even if the concert was drawing to a close. The audience was in awe of their level of performance, whether it was their song Limitless, their happier songs 0 Mile and Summer 127, or their intense finale song Cherry Bomb.
‘Til next time
When the artists gathered on the stage one last time for the finale, the audience thought the night was not enough. Five songs each and a talk portion were not enough for the fans to get to know the groups further and for them to show the artists their love.
Even the artists themselves thought K-Pop Republic wasn’t enough. GFriend’s maknae, Umji, said it was always an honor to perform for Filipino fans. Cosmic Girls’ Bona said that she was overwhelmed by the support of their fans in their first visit here. Meanwhile, N.Flying’s Hoon and NCT 127’s Johnny hope that their groups would come to the country more often.
And just like the fans, whether they be fans of GFriend, N.Flying, Cosmic Girls, or NCT 127, we can’t wait for next time. In a solo concert, hopefully.
Suffering from post-concert depression? Not to worry. We’ve made a playlist for you here to relive the feels. Also, check out more exclusive photos of during the press conference and concert here and in our official Facebook page.
Special thanks to All Access Production for inviting us to cover K-Pop Republic 2!
Written by Bea Mandac / Photos by Jahleel Micah Agramon