April 27 marked the first time Stray Kids, JYP Entertainment’s newest boy group, “stepped out” in Manila. The nine-member boy group debuted in 2018 through a reality show of the same name, garnering numerous breakout awards, including Rookie of the Year. The boys shook up the K-pop scene with fresh beats, hard-hitting lyrics and a lasting impression.
Staying true to the line, “Stray Kids everywhere, all around the world,” the multiawarded monster rookies came to the Philippines as part of their Unveil world tour. Manila is Stray Kids’ first stop after releasing their fifth album, “Clé 1: MIROH” in March.
Fresh off their first music show win, Philippine Stays were abuzz, not knowing what to expect. An electric atmosphere of excitement enveloped the big dome, where Stays (Stray Kids’ fandom name) from all around the country gathered to witness the significant moment.
Once the first few notes of “Hellevator” flooded Araneta, the crowd’s energy consumed the oliseum. Flashing lights of white and blue twinkled like stars in a small galaxy, as collective screams of happiness from Stays filled the air.
Stray Kids were glowing (literally!) with their neon getups. The boys’ dance moves were synchronized and perfectly sharp given their choice of outfits, and their unmistakable live singing and rapping were as intense. It matched the energy of the crowd.
After setting fire to Araneta’s stage with their first set, the nine members: leader Bang Chan; rappers Changbin and Han; vocalists Woojin, Seungmin and I.N.; and dancers Felix, Hyunjin and Minho introduced themselves to Philippine Stays for the first time. Philippine Stays giggled as the boys, in the most heart-fluttering way possible, spoke in Filipino for their self-introduction, hyping the crowd with a cheery “Mabuhay!”
Unveil tells the story of the young boys and their search for life’s meaning. The night featured songs from all their albums with the most sentimental stages from their “I Am” trilogy, which built their artistic identity and landed them in the Billboard charts. Banger “My Pace” amped up the energy as everyone sang together, and the amazing production and choreography for “Mirror” left everyone awestruck.
Through their impressive stages, the group shared their songs full of questioning, figuring out life, and trying to find the answers. It’s a compelling youthful message shared with their Stays, and a journey they will share forever because as the boys say, “You make Stray Kids stay.”
Stays and Strays
The night was a mix of fiery choreography, trippy VCRs and dynamic visuals, with fun stages that focused on the boys’ youth. “The connection between Stays and Stray Kids is music,” said Seungmin.
For Stays, seeing their favorite songs and stages come alive right before their very eyes was incomparable. For the fan project, Stray Kids Philippines recounted the boys’ journey—from debut to present, showing how the numerous rookie awards given to Stray Kids all came from years of hard work, and remembering the bittersweet moments from the reality show that started it all.
“We always get the energy from you guys. One year ago, we never imagined we would perform in a venue like this,” Han said, “This is a touching moment for all of us.”
The lyrics of the special song “Mixtape #2” hit hard for everyone, as Philippine Stays sang: One for the way, I’m gonna take / Wherever you are, sing this song. “Despite the language barrier, you guys sing along well,” Woojin remarked.
As the night came to a close, Leader Bang Chan assured the fans that they would be coming back. In a heartwarming ending message, the boys sent their regards to everyone affected by the recent earthquakes in the country.
It was a great finale to an amazing night, as the boys ended on a high note with encore songs “Yayaya” and “Get Cool,” which were made to be performed with a big crowd. The whole Araneta was dancing the night away, holding up fan project banners that promised one thing: Stays will stand by Stray Kids’s side.