By Cecile Santillan-Visto

Concert Review
Invitation from Nightmare City in Manila
March 24
SM North EDSA Skydome

Insofar as weird concert titles go, Dreamcatcher’s Invitation from Nightmare City is one of the most unusual. A play of words inspired by the K-pop group’s debut album, Nightmare, and the resulting trilogy following the “dream” concept, the concert series was hardly horrific but was a pleasant showcase of the talent of the all-girl band.

Dreamcatcher members JiU, SuA, Siyeon, Handong, Yoohyeon, Dami, and Gahyeon made sure that the audience was wide awake during the entire two-hour show even as the recurring theme of their songs revolved around sleep, dreams, and everything in between.

It was the group’s first visit Manila and their fans, called Insomnias, were given the opportunity to meet them up close through a fan signing prior to the showcase and a high touch session right after.

The R&B-pop-metal band opened strong with “What,” from the Alone in the City album released in 2018, followed by “Sleep-Walking” from the 2017 Prequel, and “Chase Me,” from Nightmare of the same year. The three-song set somehow demonstrated how the group evolved from newbies (they were still known as MINX before their relaunch two years ago) to the experienced act that they are now.

Although it was not a full house, the fans accompanied Dreamcatcher with loud chants, to the visible delight of the group members. They were surprised that the fans knew the lyrics to their Korean songs.

In return, the girls performed “Wonderland,” “Daydream,” “Goodnight,” and “Lullaby” in their next set with much passion and gusto.

They also had unit performances, which allowed the girls to showcase their skills in smaller groups, starting off with SuA and Yoohyeon’s cover of Charlie Puth’s “Attention.”

Not to be outdone, Siyeon, Handong, and Gahyeon dished out Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me,” with JiU and Dami rounding up the sub-group presentation with their version of “I Don’t Like It, I Love It,” by Flo Rida.

Their English rendition was far from flawless and needs a lot of work, but they should be lauded for the effort put into the covers.

While sassy and all-attitude in most numbers, Dreamcatcher turned playful during the encore where they sang “And There Was No One Left” and “Wake Up.” They sang 18 songs in all.

Dreamcatcher’s Invitation from Nightmare City in Manila was, by far, the simplest K-pop concert staged in Manila. There were no costume changes — the ladies wore the same black-and-white outfits throughout the show. The stage was bare, save for the stage lights, which unfortunately were often too strong and unflattering. LED screens and even pyrotechnics — which are standard in most Korean concerts — were set aside but more likely due to the Skydome’s relatively small size.

To compensate, producer MyMusicTaste moved the stage closer to the audience so that the fans had a better look at the lovely ladies.

A comparison with the Blackpink, another Korean girl group that was in Manila recently, is also inevitable. Although Dreamcatcher does not have the same jaw-dropping effect as Blackpink yet, the band has its own, less jolting style of entertainment, which their fans loved.

Dreamcatcher came to Manila as there was sufficient clamor from Filipino fans to do so. However, at least for this concert, the crowdsourcing concept fell a bit short. Hundreds of fans who requested that the group come over ended up not going to the concert.

But thumbs-up to Dreamcatcher who nonetheless gave 101% for the supporters who managed to attend. As they have clearly demonstrated that they have the chops sufficient to sustain an Asian tour, their next Philippine stop should be able to draw a bigger crowd.