Baliktanaw: Itzy Concert 2023

January 14, 2023

If you’ve been following this blog for some time, then you know that I’ve been bitten by the K-pop bug since the quarantine started. I’ve made some posts about the Hallyu craze that has taken over my and most of the public’s consciousness. Finally, I’ve taken the next step in my K-pop journey by attending an actual concert. This is how it went.

I’ve been a fan of Itzy since March 2020 when Ryujin’s shoulder dance trended on TikTok. Their high-energy performances and stage presence won me over so quickly. I was thrilled to finally see her in person.

Over the years, they’ve released a lot of songs and though sometimes they can be a bit too loud for my ears, I’ve found that a majority of them are certified bops. This includes their B-sides and special releases as well.

This made them one of the top girl groups I wanted to see live. I’m not usually a fan of concerts. I’ve always believed that it’s better to save that money and just watch their performances on YouTube. But Itzy is one of those groups I’d make an exception for. The other groups are Blackpink (too expensive), Gfriend (disbanded), and Weeekly (missing. what are you doing, IST!?).

So when Itzy announced that they would be making Manila a stop on their Checkmate World Tour, it was a no-brainer. I set my alarm for the ticket buying and almost didn’t get any because of how quickly the seats sold out. But thanks to a stroke of luck (Thanks, Angela!), I was able to score a Day 1 Lower Box seat! The universe was thankfully on my side that time. Thus, being almost Php11k poorer but also an Itzy concert happier, I looked forward to the big day.

My brother and his girlfriend were also able to score their own seats, but on the Upper Box. Nonetheless, I was able to ride with them to the Mall of Asia Arena where the concert took place. We arrived early to get a good parking slot and walked around the mall to pass the time. We ate a filling lunch to keep us full until late into the night and finally entered the arena.

The queueing process was pretty smooth. The ushers were helpful and the people there were disciplined. The long lines were for the Starbucks and the Itzy merch shop which sold overpriced shirts and hoodies. I may be a big fan, but I’m also a kuripot fan. I’m not spending almost two thousand Pesos for a shirt.

I found my seat easily and just waited for the start. My seatmate was also another lone Midzy and we just exchanged some nods before setting up our light rings.

Once the concert started, it was just incredible performance after incredible performance. I won’t go into every little detail because it would take too long. My most powerful takeaway from that night is that the girls WORK HARD. They barely had any time to recover after each song.

If you know Itzy, when I say performance, I mean that these girls PERFORM. They’re notorious for their tiring choreography and to do it almost nonstop for two and half hours is an incredible feat. I was fully in awe of their team for making everything as entertaining as possible.

I was on my feet for most of the night, only sitting down on the moments where the girls would stop to rest a bit and talk to the audience. Here is where each of the girls’ charms would shine. I believe that everyone who attended the concert walked out of the arena loving each member even more.

Ryujin and Yeji were bigger than life. To see them live is truly one of the highlights of my mortal life. Their stage presence is already palpable from my computer screen. But to witness them performing right in front of me is an entirely different experience. It’s hard to put it to words, but whenever they were projected on the big screen, I just had the primal urge to cheer.

But even more valuable was my appreciation for the other ladies that I took for granted.

For example, I was blown away by Yuna. Out of all the members, she’s the one I didn’t really pay much attention to. She wasn’t someone who stood out for me. But seeing her live made my perception of her do a complete 180.

That night, I found out what it truly means to be a Kpop visual. Yuna is the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen. I was absolutely mesmerized by her beauty and whenever she appeared on screen, I was rendered speechless. Her aura and cuteness made me guilty for overlooking her all this time. And her solo performance was perfect for her. She knows how to play with the hearts of the audience and her humor is on point.

I could write paragraphs about Yuna all day, but I’ll stop here. I just have to say to all the Yuna-biased out there: I see it. I understand it. And I believe. Yuna is the definition of a bias-wrecker.

There’s no one in Itzy that I don’t like. I believe that they are one of the most complete girl groups in Kpop. There’s nothing else to add, and nothing to take away. They’re incredible together, but they can also stand alone.

In Charyeong’s solo, she sung and danced her way into our hearts. She is truly one of the best dancers in the industry. The way she danced impromptu when the audience chanted her name was one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. She was also the member who carried the most energy all night. Even right until their encore performance, she was all over the stage interacting with the crowd.

And finally, our Lia. She was just a ball of cuteness all night. It’s crazy how adorable she can get. When she smiles, the entire audience just melts. Since she’s the one fluent in English, she worked overtime talking to the crowd. Her solo stage of Taylor Swift’s Red was also very welcoming as a fellow Swiftie. But my favorite memory of hers would be her smiling face while dancing. It was clear that she was the one who enjoyed the most from the crowd’s energy.

All in all, what an night that was. Finally seeing the people that made my quarantine bearable was worth the ticket price indeed. Even now, a few days have passed, but remembering that night brings a smile to my face. It’s safe to say that I’ll be waiting for them to come back.

These girls will always have my heart, that point has only been strengthened because of this experience.

Some more thoughts:

  • When it comes to MoA Arena, it’s either VIP or Gen Ad. The place is intimate enough that even the farthest seats can provide a solid experience. Based on this concert, I think I would still have just as much fun in the nosebleeds.
  • Not Shy is such a good song. I underappreciated it during its initial release but wow, it’s so fun to hear during a concert. High energy from start to finish and paired with the girls’ charms and charisma, I didn’t want it to end.
  • Yeji is one of the hottest women alive.
  • MoA Arena’s entrance stamps with the blacklight stamps are cool af.
  • I should have watched the Day 2 concert as well, even just in the Gen Ad area. I would have loved to see the fanmade video that made the girls cry.
  • Barking = bad. Got it.
  • I can see the appeal of live concerts now. I might as well start listening to B-sides of other girl groups as well. Just in case they announce a concert in Manila, too.

Thank you, Itzy! You will be our queens forever.

Thanks for reading and stay safe.



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