Exo Planet #3: Exo'rdium in Manila

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Love is sweeter the second time around.

My sister and I used to joke around about EXO. As KPOP fans who got attached to the music of the second-generation idols (i.e. TVXQ, Super Junior, Big Bang), there was a stage in our fangirling life that we didn't like the newer and younger groups that overtook the thrones of popularity of our favorite groups. We felt that way towards EXO. I've asked myself the question - if ever I see EXO live, will I get to like them? I have this tendency to get to admire every artist I see perform live. One specific example is Epik High. I never thought I'd enjoy listening to them, but after their concert, I found myself nodding my head to the beat of their songs.

Well true enough, after seeing EXO live last year (big thanks to Kit Kat!), I have gotten to love the group. It was a rare opportunity to get invited to their concert for free. It's even rarer to experience it twice! Last time it was for a product promotion, this time it's for media coverage (Universe, thank You for these... You rock!).



Pre-Concert Media Duties  
This is the first day of the two-night concert. This is my first time to cover an event with Minsei, a staff from KPOPChannelTV wherein I'm a global correspondent. It's not my first time to do media coverage though, as I've did it a couple of times for Konda Korea in the past. This was one level-up from what I used to do though. We had to shoot footages of the fans outside the coliseum, interview them, and host Facebook lives while waiting for the show to start.

[I'll upload videos of our interviews soon!]

Since we were attending the concert officially as part of media, we had our own queue outside the coliseum. There were also other media people waiting there. I saw two guys with gigantic DSLRs (like guns!) mounted on tripods. I recognized one face within that crowd - I finally saw Jonathan Hicap from Manila Bulletin!

(left) Minsei, Jonathan, and me - while waiting outside the coliseum entrance
(right) the media ID we received during the event
Back in 2013, Jonathan's articles and tweets were my sources of information for the latest updates on JYJ's supposed visit to Boracay. Since then, I always get the freshest KPOP news from him, so I was really starstruck when I finally met him that day. 😁


Inside the Venue: Time to work!
Media people had a designated place in the coliseum within the lower box area - that spot has the perfect angle of the stage - perfect for media photos!

I spotted Happee Sy near the control booth. For those who don't know her, she's the heart and brain of Pulp Live World, the producer of tonight's concert. KPOP fans are very fond of her because she closely connects with them through SNS.

Happee Sy full work mode before the start of the concert
(excuse me for the potato quality photo 😅)
It was my first time to use my 50mm lens to shoot a concert. I risked using it because I know it works best on low-light sceneries.



Well the lens did deliver. However I had one huge problem - the stage was too far from where we were. Good thing Minsei had another lens with her. I was not familiar with that lens (it was a huge one also, like this one). I was not confident to use it actually (I was not able to practice beforehand). So my plan then was to use the 50mm lens first for the wide-angle shots, then switch to that lens after I've taken enough photos of the stage as a whole.

Because we had media pass, we are allowed to take photos using professional cameras for the first three songs only. Apparently SM Entertainment is very strict on this policy. There were bouncers in every section of the venue waving large placards with signs that taking photos and videos using  professional cameras is not allowed. Only phone cameras are allowed to be used.

See them bouncers? They're all over the place!

And the show finally starts!

The intro video has Filipino subs again. 😂


The fans screamed loudly when their bias' face flashed on screen. The crowd roared even louder when the EXO members finally went on stage! They started the show with the song MAMA.



I was right, the 50mm lens did well even when the stage was low-lighted. However, I was fixed on shooting that same frame only. Half-way through the song, I decided to switch lenses. The process was a bit stressful, as I had to do it in the dark (ehem sorry, still an amateur) and I'm switching to a lens that was unfamiliar to me. I was really put on the spot.😂 Feeling time-pressured and while crouched down in a very uncomfortable position (and damn, my injured knee was slowly getting in the way), I aimed and started to shoot away.

Here are results of my hard work.








There were lots of blurry and underexposed ones, but I was thankful I still managed to capture photos of them wherein they're still recognizable. 😂 Seeing their faces clearer because of the lens' zoom, I eventually noticed Chanyeol and his.... uhm hair? What happened dear?

Chanyeol's bed-hair style
Chanyeol became my bias after seeing him in concert last year (he looked so swag dj-ing inside that sparkly spaceship or whatever that's called). He just looked different during this concert, but he's still very jolly! He's so energetic as always - he was all over the stage that night!

This time I finally saw Kai and Xiumin dancing! I remember last time they were injured so they just seated for the whole duration of the concert. I saw how Kai is such a dance machine! And the way he looks seductively towards the crowd, it can really take anyone's breath away (well he did for me 😍). Unfortunately, Lay was not able to come to the country again for this concert, due to schedule conflicts.




During the ment part, I noticed that the members conversed more in English compared to last time. They told the fans that they really missed the Philippines. They even sang some lines from Hawak Kamay again, a Filipino song that they performed during their first concert here.


Cute Chanyeol x Kyungsoo moment 💗

The stage layout during the concert allowed the members to be near to their fans. I clearly saw their faces from where I stood.

Oh hello there Suho!
Xiumin miming piano playing during a song.

Exo Planet #3: Exo'rdium in Manila Setlist
MAMA
Monster
Wolf
White Noise
Thunder
Playboy
Artificial Love
Unfair
[Acoustic] My Lady, My Turn to Cry, Moonlight, Call Me Baby, Love Love Love, Lady Luck
What If
Tender Love
Love Me Right
One and Only
Stronger
Heaven
Girl X Friend
3.6.5
Overdose
Transformer
Lightsaber
Full Moon
Drop That
Let Out The Beast
Lucky
Run

Encore
Growl
Lucky One
Angel

source: Philippine Concerts



I really admired the setup of their stage - all the lighting effects are such superb. This got me really frustrated honestly because I cannot shoot the stage using a good camera.

my phone camera shots don't give justice on how awesome EXO's stage was that night
During their closing speech, Kai mentioned he actually has a stomach ache that night and teased the fans that they didn't notice it. I knew there was something wrong with him, as a staff at one side of the stage was concernedly eyeing him while he passed water to him. There was also one part where Kai stepped out to the back of the stage. But still, he was able to make it til the end of the show. These kids are such professionals!


Well what a show! Thanks EXO for coming back for your fans here in Manila, not just for one, but for two concert nights!

See below the video report of KPOPChannelTV for that night's concert! I also contributed an article for their website on this coverage!




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