By Cecille Santillan-Visto

Concert Review
GOT7 Keep Spinning 2019 World Tour
Oct. 26
Mall of Asia Arena, Parañaque

WHEN GOT7 visited Manila for the first time in December 2014, the group was still “newly minted,” having been launched only a few months earlier by JYP Entertainment.

They have since returned for two more fan meetings, both of which did relatively well in terms of attendance. Fast forward to five years, four studio albums, and two world tours later — GOT7 was far from the nervous and less-than-confident Korean pop singers who graced the SMX Convention Center to introduce themselves to Filipino fans at the Philippine K-Pop Convention 6.

With their infectious charm and charisma known to K-Pop fans around the world, JB, Jinyoung, Youngjae, Yugyeom, Mark, Bambam, and Jackson easily filled up the Mall of Asia Arena and definitely did not disappoint. They delivered a full-packed, three-hour concert that left their Philippine Ahgases (their local fandom) clamoring for more.

Walang uuwi, walang uuwi! (No one goes home!)” fans chanted, which prompted the boys to reciprocate the overwhelming reception.

Babalik kami. Mahal namin kayo (We will return. We love you),” said Jinyoung. To this, Youngjae added: “Maraming salamat sa pagpunta nyo ngayon. Magkita tayong muli sa susunod (Thank you for coming. We will see you again next time).”

GOT7 is among the first multinational K-idol groups to reap worldwide success. Jackson is from Hong Kong, Bambam is Thai, while Mark is of Taiwanese-American origins. With their confident English skills coupled with their endearing attempts to speak in Filipino, including the catchphrase “Sana all,” it was no wonder that 27-song repertoire, several VCRs, and numerous set fillers went by like a breeze.

Keep Spinning was their first full concert in Manila, which sold out within eight hours from the opening of the box office. The fans who managed to secure tickets definitely got their money’s worth as the set list was arranged to highlight the songs from their latest album, Spinning Top: Between Security & Insecurity, with a mix of some oldies but goodies. Weaved with new chart-toppers “Eclipse,” “1 Degree,” and “Page” were some fan favorites like “Girls Girls Girls,” “Hard Carry,” “Skyway,” “Just Right,” and “Stop Stop It.”

The unit stages were also well-applauded, including the trio of Bambam, Jackson, and Mark, who joined forces in “God Has Returned” and “Mañana.”

Not to be outdone, Jinyoung and Yugyeom had their own dance showdown, while JB sang “Solo” and Youngjae owned the stage with “Gravity.”

Pulp Live World went the extra mile in set and lightning design, not only extending the stage to get the artists closer to the audience, but adding a hydraulic-controlled elevated second stage. The LED screens enhanced the concert experience, particularly in “Thank You” where all seven members were stunningly projected on all five massive panels.

One of the highlights of the concert was when they sang “Miracle,” and the fans chanted along while waving their lit mobile phones and banners especially prepared for the show. GOT7’s followers also surprised the group with a well-made three-minute video that had the members impressed.

“We have never seen such a video prepared for us in a long time,” said Bambam.

A bit of a downside was the interpreter who may not have been able to accurately translate what the Korean-speaking members were saying. But this did not make the concert any less enjoyable although there may be room for improvement in future K-Pop events.

While many idol groups have been rocked by controversies, GOT7 remains solid.

The secret perhaps is the obvious camaraderie and the fun they have while performing. And, yes, let’s not forget the one-of-a-kind fan service. It was a lucky day for a male fan at the VIP standing area when Mark gave him his jacket. Jackson, meanwhile, teased the audience that “walang uuwi” will be their comeback song. In between, GOT7 doused the audience with bottles of mineral water and even threw some towels — soaked with their sweat — as souvenirs.

GOT7 just launched a new album yesterday, which they heavily promoted during the Manila concert. As they expect to spend considerable time to market the new release, the Philippine leg of Keep Spinning was their last concert for the year.

Many Filipino fans were mere disinterested onlookers when GOT7 first came here in 2014. When they shot to fame, K-Pop fans readily got into GOT7. They have not looked back since.