By Cecille Santillan-Visto

NCT Dream Tour: The Dream Show In Manila
New Frontier Theater, Quezon City
Feb. 29

THE concept of NCT Dream is not really new. One of the sub-units of the bigger group, NCT Dream follows an admission-graduation system where a member automatically leaves the mini-group upon turning 19 years old. Launched by SM Entertainment in August 2016, NCT Dream is currently comprised of Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung but following the membership rules, they will either soon return to the main NCT (which stands for Neo Culture Technology) fold, or possibly join some other sub-units such as NCT U, NCT 127, or WayV, the newest grouping.

Given their limited stay with NCT Dream, it is understandable for members to savor their stint and to give 100% in each show, knowing there many not be another opportunity to perform in the same country.

For instance, save for Chenle and Jisung, the four other members who recently staged a concert at Quezon City’s New Frontier Theater are expected to soon be on their way out. It may well be their last Manila performance and so they made sure that for their fans, the NCTzens, the show was well worth attending even with the prevailing health risks.

The Dream Show in Manila is the last K-pop event in the country scheduled in the first quarter of 2020. Some events originally set for April have already been moved to June amid COVID-19 concerns.

Pulp Live World took the necessary precautions to manage the corona virus threat by having all ticketholders go through a temperature check prior to entrance to the venue. Everyone was also required to wear masks.

The scare did not douse the audience’s enthusiasm and their resolve to enjoy the concert, despite the discouragement against mass gatherings. There was still no declaration of a public health emergency then.

The boys were quite amused when fans requested them to continue with the concert and said that no one should go home.

“We have to go home sometime,” they said, through an interpreter.

NCT Dream, which was also part of the 2019 Korean Kpop Friendship Concert in Manila in March last year, performed 23 songs, including some of their biggest hits such as “Go,” “We Go Up,” “Fireflies,” and “Chewing Gum.” They treated the spectators to a powerful dance routine mid-way through the show. There was also an impromptu birthday celebration for Jisung. They likewise distributed signed plastic balls while singing “Dream Run,” to the delight of the fans.

Youth was definitely on the teeners’ side, with the members dishing out one song after another, taking only brief breathers after every three numbers to converse with the fans. The audience reciprocated the boundless energy by chanting at top of their voices, so much so that it was difficult to hear the boys as they sang — whether some of their sweetest ballads or infectious dance tunes.

“Bestfriend,” where Chenle accompanied his team on the piano, was definitely one of the show’s highlights. The blending was just right and not overpowering. While it was apparent that NCT Dream requires a bit more polishing, the NCT Dream Tour was a suitable vehicle for them to gain more confidence as they progress in their respective K-pop careers.

Due to the limitations of the venue, Pulp made full use of the stage available, setting up LED screens to allow even the fans at the farthest portion of the balcony to see the members clearly. The displays also projected images and videos to give each performance an MTV feel.

Not all K-pop aspirants are accorded the chance to debut. Stardom takes a lot of hard work and determination. Privileged and lucky, the sextet is literally living their NCT Dream. For them, the dream has become their reality.