Photos by Andy Flores
That moment when 여보세요 (Hello) resonated inside the SMART Araneta Coliseum was surreal.
The song was a pivotal moment for NU’EST. Fans of the group since 2012 know that the song caused dissension among fans, who were captivated by the group’s charismatic debut image. Then one lousy company decision led to another, and the group’s future became uncertain.
In 2017, four of its members (JR, Baekho, Ren, and Minhyun) joined the second season of Produce 101, a survival reality show that offers aspiring trainees a chance to debut in a project group. Despite stiff competition, the boys gained recognition from the general public with all four members finishing in the Top 20. Minhyun, who finished ninth, was included in the project group, Wanna One.
And four years after its release, 여보세요 (Hello) topped the charts and was even nominated for first place in a music show.
This time, 여보세요 (Hello) marked NU’EST’s rebirth — a fitting beginning to open Segno in Manila and the first time for the boys to perform in the Philippines.
JR, Aron, Baekho, Minhyun, and Ren were visions in white as they performed the lead singles from their knights trilogy concept – Love Paint (every afternoon), Overcome, and BET BET. Based on the manhwa, “The Queen’s Knight,” NU’EST portrayed themselves as knights who are willing to protect their Queen a.k.a. their fans.
During the group and individual introductions, the members shared their feelings with some notable Filipino phrases, like “Na-miss namin kayo!” and “Masaya kami ngayon dahil kasama namin kayong lahat!”
Another set of songs followed, this time hinting to be a cycle of a day – Look (a starlight night), R.L.T.L. (Real Love True Love)(one morning), I’m Bad, and Minhyun and JR’s duet piece, Daybreak.
Each of their solo stages – with songs composed and written by them – perfectly reflected each of their personalities and abilities. Baekho’s beautifully showcased his raw and powerful vocals in Thanksful for You. Aron made us want to have a glass of wine, scotch, or whiskey with his jazz rendition of Good Love. Ren took us for a ride with his sensual Paradise. Minhyun, with his lovely falsetto, took us for an out-of-this-world experience with Universe. And JR set the roof on fire with his spiteful I Hate You.
I had to admit – it was difficult to “stay in your lane” as each member had their distinct charm. (And it certainly didn’t help much when they each did a cute version of R.L.T.L. (Real Love True Love)(one morning).) Contrary to his big built and fierce look, Baekho exuded this warm fuzzy feeling that makes you want to take care of him. Ren, who had traded his long locks from debut to a more boy-next-door image, was stunning and immaculate. Minhyun’s visuals were ethereal. Sleek and polished like an American gentleman, it no longer is a mystery to me why Aron is known for his “30K wives and counting”. JR, the leader that he is, commanded attention with his charisma.
For the second half of the concert, the boys changed into more casual clothing and serenaded their fans with A little bit more…, ONE KISS2, and a sentimental version of LOST & FOUND. The mellow atmosphere did not last long, as they immediately became playful boyfriends when they performed VVITH and Pretty.
As their name goes (New Establish Style Tempo), NU’EST has experimented with various musical genres and trends for the past seven years. From harmonious ballads and mid-tempo songs, they performed their most powerful set yet – FACE, Action, and Beautiful Ghost. Aron shared the set was his most favorite, and it definitely was mine too. (When they first performed FACE and Action, they were only an average age of 18.5 years old! So imagine performing these songs as dashing young men!)
And finally, the boys performed their final song, Segno.
Queens of Hearts
Instead of shouting for an encore, Philippine L.O.Λ.Es showed their appreciation to the boys with a cover of Thank You (evening by evening) from NU’EST’s fifth mini-album, Canvas.
A VCR of the boys’ handwritten letters to their fans were flashed on the screen. The boys returned on stage and expressed their heartfelt appreciation with A Song for You, a gift to fans in celebration of their seventh anniversary. (The audio track is beautiful in itself, but hearing it live was heavenly. The raw emotions were genuinely conveyed that it was difficult not to be a crying mess.) While the boys were singing, the project banners, which were specially prepared by L.O.Λ.E Union Philippines, were raised during the song. The banners contained the message “We are each other’s strengths. We will love you forever.”
During their ending ment, NU’EST couldn’t help but express their gratitude at the warm welcome and infectious energy of Filipino L.O.Λ.Es. Baekho, who has been very vocal about the group’s first time in the Philippines, delighted fans that the Philippines has left a good first impression to him. And much to the Filipino L.O.Λ.Es’ excitement, Ren shared that he would want to hold a concert in the Philippines every year.
Closing the show, NU’EST interacted with the fans while singing to Not Over You and Hey, Love.
During the group’s opening ment, Baekho shared the meaning behind the title of their concert, “Segno”. It means “to go back to the beginning”, as indicated by a symbol in a musical score. For Filipino L.O.Λ.Es last August 31, it was a fairy tale that ended happily ever after, and they will remember it over and over again.
NU’EST Segno in Manila was brought to you by Pledis Entertainment, Live Nation Korea, and PULP Live World. We would like to thank PULP Live World for inviting us to cover this event.