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FANS OF 1990s boy bands died a little inside when Boyzone finally said goodbye after more than 25 years of performing and touring. But the group was not about to go out without a bang and delivered what was arguably a fitting finale show where they sang all their greatest hits, leading the entire SM Mall of Asia Arena to reminisce on the period that was.
EVEN WITH the deluge of Korean boy bands holding concerts and fan meetings in Manila, there is a dearth of K-pop girl groups performing in some of the biggest venues in the country. The last all-ladies team to stage a concert at the SM MOA Arena was the now-defunct 2NE1, with Sandara Park, in May 2014. Early this year, Momoland had a fan meeting at the Smart Araneta Coliseum while six-member GFRIEND opted for the more intimate New Frontier Theater for its own concert in August 2018.
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.
FOR ITS past few concerts, the Manila Symphony Orchestra (MSO) has been focusing on very popular music: Rockestra 2018 mixed classical and rock music, playing “orchestra-fied” works of Metallica and AC/DC, while Silver Screen Symphonies featured music from beloved movies like Star Wars and The Lion King.
WE WERE ON EDSA some time in the 1990s when dad played the album Fra Lippo Lippi’s The Virgin Years: Greatest Hits (1997) on the car’s stereo system, the New Wave music filling the space as we made our way home. That is how I was introduced to the unique sound of the Norwegian duo whose group name I did not know then — not until I found the old album hidden deep in a shelf in my early teens.
AS THE dispute with Beijing over the deployment of a US anti-missile system in South Korea is still unresolved, the Korean music industry is constantly looking to expand its market to countries outside China. The two-year security-related spat has resulted not only in the dwindling of Chinese tourists going to Seoul but also in China effectively banning Korean artists and producers of Korean dramas and films from its territory. To fill the void, K-pop producers have trained their sights on Southeast Asian countries to sell their talents.
SOME KOREAN pop groups — no matter how popular — have performed in the Philippines only once and without an insistent demand, they never managed to return. Not so in the case of the 13-member group, Seventeen, which can now boast of a three-sold-out-concert streak in Manila, a feat that only equally phenomenal bands such as BTS, EXO, and Super Junior have managed.
IT WAS a weekend morning in the late 1990s when a familiar piano introduction (in C major) blared into the room and woke this writer (who was then probably in kindergarten) from her sleep. “I know this song. I’ve heard it before,” I thought. I got up and hurried to the shelf beside the stereo system (where Dad would usually place his newly purchased CDs) and saw an album cover with a woman wearing a white shirt and denim pants, her hair in a pixie cut. The singer’s voice was captivating. From then on, I continued to listen to her songs — playing them loud and singing along as if it were a live concert.
THE PECULIARITY with male Korean pop groups is that at some point in their career, the band will go on hiatus. By force of circumstances — or more aptly, due to the mandatory military service required of able-bodied adult male Koreans — groups either go on an involuntary 24-month respite or perform as an incomplete unit or members pursue solo careers while waiting for their band to regroup.