Yes. I was lucky enough to get tickets for The Elyxion in Manila, world-famous Korean Pop Group EXO’s third solo concert in the Philippines. And Yes. I went to the concert.
Disclaimer: I was never really a huge K-pop fan, but as I was introduced to the genre (initially through artists and songs featured in K-dramas), I now have sufficient knowledge and appreciation to call myself a fan. I was surprisingly able to attend Day 2 of The EXO’rdium Concert early last year. Although the K-Pop world is not my forte, I have, however, always been a concert-goer, and ever since going to my first K-Pop concert (alone and on a whim, might I add), I can say I have big respect and appreciation for their performances and everyone who works to put such events together. These people know how to throw a party (not to mention gather a big crowd: see photo of the early line for non-seated and non-reserved tickets).
Anyways, to comfort my Post-ElyXiOn feels (if you go to concerts relatively often like I do, you know that when you have a good time, there’s always an after-concert high that can last between a few hours to a few days), I came up with the highlights of EXO’s biggest and most hyped up concert to date.
The Deadly First Song
You know how people say you should finish strong? Well, this concert started strong. Too Strong. The Eve, a song co-composed by [former] Super Junior member, Henry Lau, was the first song blasting on speakers after a very dramatic silhouette entrance and stride toward center stage.
You get a solo! You get a solo! And you get a solo!!!
A unique addition to performances in K-pop concerts (meaning you don’t get to see them in TV or music show performances) is a solo, usually for each member or subgroup. The Elyxion is a gift, as every bias was given a chance to shine individually, thus all these solos are included as a concert highlight.
Xiumin and Baekhyun’s Fight Scene
Both Xiumin and Baekhyun are underappreciated dancers of EXO. Being that Sehun, Kai, and Lay are all among the dance line (basically, members who “specialize in” or are particularly good in dancing), these two don’t usually get the chance to shine as dancers. However, thanks to their battle-themed joint dance solo in Elyxion, they get to have some time to perform as dancers.
If you’re reading this article, then you already probably know that Kai needs no introduction when it comes to dance solos. Of course, his solo stage for this concert was not a letdown. Although there was no water stage, there was so much projection and stage presence. Not to mention the outside of his solo, there were multiple servings of camera projection. I can’t even begin to explain how wild the Kia stans were going crazier with every wink, smile, and whatever else he did.
For Life Live and in English!
Ever since this song made its “English debut” at the first Elyxion concert in Singapore, fans, most especially those from English-speaking countries (yes, not just me) have been going crazy for this version. Not only is the song translated into English, this song is performed as a solo by D.O. or Kyungsoo with only a piano accompaniment by none other than the group’s rapper, Chanyeol. For Life greatly showcases D.O.’s vocals and is usually capable of silencing the excited and hyped up crowd.
Playboy: Suho’s Solo
Probably one of the most unexpected and underrated solos of the Elyxion concerts is group leader Suho or Junmyeon’s solo version of the 2015 song, Playboy. The song in itself has a slow and sexy beat to it, but for Suho’s performance, a lot of SPG (Filipino Movie and Television Review and Classification Board classification meaning Striktong Patnubay at Gabay which is basically the translation of Strict Parental Guidance) dance moves, not to mention that he was on a table.
Chanyeol has always been acknowledged by both fand and group members as a talented musician. Although he did start off as a black hole when it came to dancing, he has grown not only as an artist who performs but as a producer and composer as well. During the Exordium concerts, I’d say that Chanyeol’s performance that stood out the most was showcasing himself as a DJ. This time around, Chanyeol performed his solo rap entitles “Hands” which artistically portrays his emotions for being a member of the group, as well as his appreciation for his members. Not only does he get emotional performing this, but loads of fans too.
Chen, or Jongdae, was always known as probably the one with strongest vocal range and ability within EXO. This is also acknowledged by the members. Not much criticism can be said about Chen’s solo as he performs the song Heaven perfectly and without much effort.
The Maknae’s Solo
After the very scandalous (and I use this term in a good way) solo during the Elyxion kick-off concert in Korea where the group’s youngest member, Sehun, showed off the results of dieting and exercise, fans anticipate each time he performs “A go” as his solo. Although he did not perform his solo like how he did on Korea, it was dynamic nonetheless.
Power Concert Remix Version
Not known to everyone, EXO’s hit song Power actually comes in three other remix versions which were released as songs in the Power (Remixes) EP album. This bop is a great picker-upper and performing a concert version which is a remix of the original and the (R3HAB Remix) provided an unexpected change in choreography that served as a small but much-appreciated surprise.
No matter how weird or unique it may sound, believe it or not, the kiddie song Baby Shark was indeed a part of The Elyxion in Manila.
Another thing I love about concerts is the fact that even though most of the general concent (i.e. the setlist) is pretty much the same, the changing audience enables each concert to be unique in its own way.
In the case of Elyxion in Manila, even though I was physically present at the event, the reason as to why this was brought up is still pretty vague to me. Though Kyungsoo did ask what baby shark was which lead to everyone singing the song for him, not to mention Baekhyun, Chanyeol, and Kai dancing along during the last comments of the group before ending the concert.
Surprise Mini Performance of EXO-CBX’s Blooming Day
As you would expect a good leader to do, Suho also encouraged fans to support EXO-CBX’s comeback. At the time, Blooming Day had just come out. Jokingly, the subunit’s members got Suho to sing a part of it to prove he knows the song. Of course, fans expected nothing less that EXO-CBX giving a little preview of the choreography.
Another notable comment was how we all hoped, including the members, that there will come a day when EXO-CBX could also have a full concert in Manila.
Baekhyun’s Fan Gift Costume Change
Baekhyun and Kai are two members who probably enjoy the fan gifts thrown on stage, usually when the concert is nearing conclusion. This time around, however, Baekhyun practically changed costumes which the all the different stuff he played with and wore. He even left the stage wearing angel wings, very suitable, might I add.
As mentioned in the intro. attending a concert or any hyped up event will always leave you with a so-called hangover. Although the concert was a tad shorter than expected, it was definitely a memorable experience that left goers wanting for more.
Personally, I’m glad that concerts and fandoms have the ability to bring people closer. This is one of the concerts I’m happy to say I made new friends.
Elyxion is undoubtedly EXO’s biggest concert yet. Members did not lie when they said at the beginning of this year that they had many big plans in store. Although there are members whose military enlistment is fast approaching, if this concert is any indication of the momentum that this year is taking, I’m not sure how much more we can take with a comeback that’s right around the corner. After all, we all have our fingers crossed for the return of EXO’s only remaining Chinese member, Zhang Yixing or Lay.
In the meantime, let’s keep rooting for these boys who continue to boost the presence of Asian personalities in the global spotlight.
Don’t you think Elyxion in Manila went great? Let me know in the comments below!