This picky concert-goer records the experience of a lifetime—shaky videos, screams and all
Originally published in TheDiarist.ph
I have always been picky when it comes to concerts. Concerts aren’t something I can simply go to on a whim, like a movie. That, and given the rise of K-pop, going to K-pop concerts has become a huge fight in the arena that is the ticketing website. To someone who doesn’t do well in crowds or in long queues under the beating sun, the work that it takes to attend one just didn’t feel like something I could stomach.
However, I told myself that if there was one group I’d be willing to suffer all that for, it would be TWICE. I’ve been a casual listener of theirs since their debut, and I’ve learned pretty much every dance in every title track of theirs. Then I started listening to their B-sides (songs that aren’t title tracks), from their Eyes Wide Open era onwards.
It was a shame that I couldn’t snag tickets for their 4th world tour in 2019; I’ve regretted it ever since. But you live and you learn, really.
One of the reasons I planned and pushed to see TWICE now, after all these years is because, for me, the girls have proved themselves to be solid performers through the years, constantly improving. You really can’t stop them from wanting to grow and become better performers onstage. Seeing them sing and dance after eight years of idol experience and being a fan through all that meant that I needed to see them live. Beyond just being a ONCE, I feel that concerts are something worth experiencing. They give a new dimension to the songs I’ve been listening to on repeat for years. And TWICE seemed like the kind of group that could meet that concert criteria.
To me, TWICE has always been a group that worked hard for their fans, and their concert experiences have only gotten better and better through the years. Their professionalism and work ethic have always amazed me, and the fact that the girls always seemed so happy onstage to see their fans every time. I just wanted to experience that at least once in my life.
Post-pandemic, there were rumors that TWICE would do another world tour (this is their 5th), and that the Philippines would be one of the stops. This was way back in April. By then, their growth as performers and into their more mature concepts had me excited, and I just couldn’t wait to see what they had planned for us ONCEs (their fandom name).
But right before the announcement of their concert date, the now infamous convention CONQuest announced their convention guests and instead of spending five-digit sum on TWICE tickets, I opted for CONQuest instead. Line-Con really did “live up” to its name, and definitely wasn’t worth the five-digit money I spent. Shortly after, their concert date was announced, tickets sold out, and I was relegated to “Team Bahay” for one more TWICE concert…
Yet somehow the universe works in mysterious ways.
The week of last week’s concert I came upon the funds for tickets (my biggest hurdle as to why I couldn’t attend), and with the frenzy of a fan of eight years, I ran around to grab the ticket (Lower Box Premium, baby!)—and my lightstick.
A few days later, on September 30, 2023, I would be in Bulacan at the Philippine Arena to finally see the girls! Funny enough, in the venue itself, I got lucky enough to move a few rows down from where I was originally supposed to be. This was where I got to watch the entire TWICE concert, with mimiyuuuh, and even got to dance and take a picture with them as backdrop! How lucky could I be?
There’s something magical about seeing—in the flesh and up close—the girls that I saw only on the video-on-repeat on the absurdly large screen and in fancams. Where I was seated, the view was even more all-encompassing, and I was only maybe a hundred feet away from the farthest end of the stage. It didn’t hit me that, after eight long years, I was finally seeing them live—and up close.
Another reason I pushed to see the girls live was because, five months ago, I happened upon a fancam that pretty much changed my brain chemistry (if you can say that): the girls are performing their first song of the concert, Set Me Free, and right after the rap and into the bridge, the screen erupts in light and each of the girls has a half-body shot beamed to the audience. The production kid in me knew right there and then that I was seeing something so genius and life-changing. It was something I just had to see live!
So when it finally happened for myself, it felt as close to a spiritual experience as I thought I would ever get. A truly unforgettable moment.
I did my best to position my hand so I could record it while absorbing the whole scene—take it all in with my own eyes. The video was shaky, overexposed, and had my screaming and shouting. Most of my videos are the same. They’re not perfect and by no means something that most people would want to listen to or watch. But I’m no fan site (people who follow a specific member to take candid photos/fancams of the idols during performances, using professional camera), or a professional videographer. People talk about concert-goers who just focus on recording the moment in their phones, and thus missing out on “experiencing” a concert. I totally see where those people are coming from! Why pay so much money to just watch from your phone?
But I wanted to record this moment for myself, and have a piece of that night to look back on. I still made it a point to put the phone down, however, just so I could scream and shout my heart out, without having to worry if the video was overexposed or the stage perfectly framed.
Now that I look at that video of me (very badly) screaming out the Korean lyrics (they sang it in English too btw) and my screams of excitement, and the shaky video especially of that pivotal moment when I felt the girls were saying, “You’re finally here to watch us,” I still find myself tearing up. (I’m even tearing up just thinking about it now.)
TWICE’s concert, despite all the issues that happened, was truly an experience that I would never forget. Two hours and 40 minutes of magic. I was lucky enough to listen to Jihyo re-do her Feel Special a capella, and to see her being an absolute professional, to see that Set Me Free moment with my own eyes after months of watching it just on my screen, to scream and shout the lyrics of songs I’ve been listening to for years, then getting to dance the songs with TWICE…