Throngs of people in red gathered at the Mall of Asia Arena last November 11, 2018 for the Philippine leg of iKON’s Continue Tour. Outside, fans took photos to document the hours before seeing the first live performance of the group in Manila. Inside, posters and photo cards were distributed by the fans to their fellow iKONICs as a sign of camaraderie and support.
Every seat had a banner with “iKON, you are worth waiting for!” written on the front, and an instruction on the back for “Project Iridescence”. A yellow cloth was handed with a direction: wave it when they sing BIRTHDAY. In the one-hour wait before the scheduled performance, the crowd was ready. Hyped by the group’s music videos shown on the screen on each side of the stage, iKONICs started thrusting their KONBATs into the air and singing along to DUMB & DUMBER. The fan-chant was a spectacle when the chorus of KILLING ME started playing. Heard mostly in the uploaded videos of their performances, the continuous bellowing of the group members’ names within the arena sent a rush of reality to everyone—iKON was truly coming. The moment was broken by another series of cheers, not with the arrival of the boys, but one of iKON’s managers and B.I’s parents and sister in their designated seats.
The red sea created by the luminous light sticks of the crowd brightened further when the arena darkened. iKON opened the concert with a fiery performance of BLING BLING, followed by their earlier tracks like SINOSIJAK and RHYTHM TA. Before introducing themselves, Bobby asked the crowd in the standing area to move further to the back. “You gotta be safe so we can both enjoy the show,” he said. Jay, who used to study in Davao, called the Philippines as his second home. Ju-ne mentioned his love for alcohol after Jay named a Philippine brand of beer. DK was surprisingly shy amidst his growing talent in speaking English. Yunhyeong’s effort to speak in Filipino proved to be the greatest fan service, considering the level of scream from the crowd when he said, “Sigaw!” Chanwoo emitted an innocent yet playful aura, true to his pet name “maknae on top”. B.I, with his parents and sister in the crowd, censored himself while singing ONE AND ONLY. The newer songs released during their three comebacks this year were performed in the latter part of the concert. LOVE SCENARIO, KILLING ME, and GOODBYE ROAD cemented the fact that 2018 is iKON’s year, and they have no intention of stopping yet with the two months left in the year.
Bobby asked, “What do we need?” The crowd answered, “Freedom!” It was clear, then, that the first half of the concert was a celebration of youth. The word “freedom” as defined in the most literal sense. The second half was an ode to the complexities that come with the years: a love gained and lost. It reflected the different phases of pain that eventually led to emancipation—the freedom from longing, the freedom from the heaviness, the freedom from the self that was once bound to the beloved.
Before the encore, Project Iridescence took flight. The flashlight on everyone’s phone shone in various colors, courtesy of the stickers given beforehand. In the end, when the arena appeared like a garden full of flowers shimmering in the moonlight, the moment became reminiscent of the time when B.I said, “Walk the flower road with us.” That night, the iKONICs did. And for sure, while carrying the memory of that night, they will in the following days to come.