Arts & Leisure

By Cecille Santillan-Visto

It’s 2PM: Manila time!

Posted on March 05, 2013

Concert Review
What Time Is It: 2PM Live in Manila
March 2, 2013, 8 p.m.
Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay

THEY PROMISED that their first concert in Manila would be explosive and 2PM: What Time Is It Live in Manila was just that -- breathtaking, entertaining and at some point -- unsurprisingly -- titillating. They are Korea’s “beastly idols” after all and the audience definitely came not only to see them sing and dance but paid good money to witness some muscle flexing and shirt ripping.

Complex choreography during the 2PM show; as expected, Hwang Chansung doffed his shirt during the show. -- Cecille Santillan-Visto
And judging by ear-piercing screams at the SM Arena last Saturday, boy band 2PM did not disappoint. The Hottest (that’s how 2PM fans are called, after the band’s 2008 debut single, “Hottest Time of the Day”) were treated to delicious eye candy plus most of the group’s hits to boot. It didn’t matter that most of the songs were in Korean and that four of the six members spoke hardly any English. The fans were in 2PM heaven for a little over two hours.

“I’ll Be Back” was the opening salvo, with the 2PM members Jun K., Nichkhun Buck Horveikul, Ok Taecyeon, Jang Woo Young, Lee Junho, and Hwang Chansung -- dressed in black leather suits with silver accents -- emerging from an elevating platform. The catchy song accompanied by the familiar running man shuffle set the tone for the K-pop extravaganza. It was suddenly interrupted by a brief sound glitch -- and so was the next song, “I Was Crazy About You” -- but the boys, although apparently worried for a second, did not miss a beat. It was a smooth ride from “I Hate You” onwards.

The next two songs, “Give It To Me” and “Even If You Leave Me,” had them playing with the audience. While they still capitalized on their sex appeal, their cheesy dance moves made them look like more like flower boys than beastly gods.

But Chansung turned up the heat once more by gyrating to “Love You Down” and tearing his shirt midway into the song. While his abs were pleasant the eyes, the same cannot be said about his vocals. In fact, the back-up singers were mostly carrying the chorus while Chansung was busy ripping, but the audience did not seem to mind. The other members each had their turn in the spotlight as well -- Junho and his “Just A Feeling,” Woo Young and his Michael Jackson-like moves and outfit in “Sexy Lady,” Taecyeon’s rapping and DJing in “It’s Time,” and Jun K.’s “Just One Night.” But the runaway winner for solo was Nichkhun who sang “Let It Rain” while playing the piano. The poignant, all-English ballad, which is Nichkhun’s own composition, had girls drooling from beginning to end.

The play at eroticism continued with “Back 2 You,” “Like A Movie,” and “10 Out of 10 Points.” Lady dancers in skimpy outfits and/or lace undergarments suggestively danced with 2PM. The band members also dished out some very powerful dance moves in “I’m Your Man,” even managing to use their ties as props.

2PM also sang their other hits “Heartbeat,” “Again and Again,” Without You” “Don’t Stop, Can’t Stop,” and “Hands Up.” But missing from their repertoire that evening were “Thank You” and “Masquerade” from the Legend of 2PM album.

Since there were no 2PM fan meets leading up to the concert, the show gave the group an opportunity to interact with the fans. There were the usual greetings in Filipino although Jun K. struggled by saying “Mahal na halo halo.” The fans were delighted with their cute rendition of “Pakitong Kitong” but Woo Young cheated by making the audience sing for the most part. For transitions, there were several videos where 2PM showed their love for and appreciation to their Hottest -- which led to more shrieking. By the time they segued to “I Can’t” and “Only You” and gave away teddy bears, they had the audience wrapped around their little fingers. For their encore, they sang the rock and remix versions of “I’ll Be Back” and “Hands Up.” They gamely took photos with fans at the VIP area and gratefully received the gifts thrown at them.

Vocally, the group was far from perfect. Even the lead singers, Jun K. and Junho, were at times off-key. And Pinoys would have ended up reading subtitles on the giant LED screens if not for Taecyeon and Nichkhun who spoke perfect English. But for its entertainment value, the concert was worth it. Another Manila show is something to look forward to.