Initial feels: Tired from an unfamiliar wave of stress from work. Worried that I am getting too old for this. But then again I felt the same way in the past 2 Super Shows. And again I was perplexed by the average age of the crowd. I know Super Junior‘s fan base is still mainly carried by the teens and pre-teens, which begs the question: how the heck are they able to afford the price of admission? (Think 8,000++ for Lower A and B seats.) My mother will surely never be generous enough to concede and feed a fan girl’s appetite.
Excited. The pure energy from the sea of sapphire blue lights was electrifying and contagious. Fans went wild for every shade that the lights were dimmed until the moment the Mall of Asia Arena went completely dark, save for the screen that came to new life. At 7:15, Super Show was running late, an unexpected and unprecedented glitch in a usually prompt-to-the-last-minute Korean event. But if the screams and cheers were any indication, no one was complaining.
Per usual, the show opened with a lengthy video that introduced each member. Noticeably absent were group leader Leeteuk who has been in the army since October 2012, as well as lead vocal Yesung who checked in for mandatory military service only this May. Kim Kibum (if anyone still counts him) is continuing his now four-year hiatus to “focus on his acting career.”
Back from the army and landing on Philippine soil for the first time was Kangin, who was apparently, surprisingly handsome now that he is way slimmer. Another recent army release is Heechul, and SS5 Manila marks his comeback to the Super Show tour. He was welcomed by a barrage of screams, and repeated loud renditions of his official cheer:
사랑해요 김희철 Saranghaeyo Kim Heechul (I love you Kim Heechul)
우유빛깔 김희철 Wooyutbigal Kim Heechul, (Milky skin Kim Heechul)
The usually charmingly impudent Heenim responded with sincere, grateful tears. Regular Super Show tag-alongs Henry (who seemed to not have aged a minute) and Zhoumi of the group’s Chinese sub-unit Super Junior M completed the roster.
The video intro only meant on thing: the boys are going to start popping out the stage at any moment, this time to the jumping rifts of Mr Simple. What followed was a long, energy-packed set list, delivering the group’s promise of “a great performance” they prepared for fans. The boys’ only break were in the video clip playbacks between sets, this time themed with the members as spies and assassins (probably picked up from their SPY MV, but I don’t really get why SM Entertainment is now making the usually wholesome Super Junior members tote guns. Is this to intentionally remind fans that the boys are now men? I think the newer dance routines and photo shoots suffice for that. )
Eunhyuk took over Leeteuk’s usual MC-ing duties, this time employing a Filipino translator, thus the responding screams to their fan service dialogue were a few seconds delayed. It was fun watching the boys stumble with their English, from Kyuhyun laughing at himself the entire time to Donghae, Eunhyuk and Sungmin just saying “yeahyeahyeah” repeatedly, to Siwon showing off that he has by far the best English-speaking skills. Why Siwon, even your grammar and diction are improving! Clapclapclap. That said, Canadian-born Henry’s turn on the mic was a welcome change, as he fluently delivered fan service in a language we all understood. At the end, Eunhyuk honestly quipped (as translated): I do not know English very well, so please study Korean for the next time we come back. Noted.
Super Junior Intro
- Mr Simple
- Super Girl (Korean ver.) – Super Junior-M with Yesung, Kangin and Shindong
First video interlude
- It’s You
Second video interlude
- Sexy, Free & Single (Rearranged)
- Boom Boom
- Club No.1
Third video interlude
- So Cold – Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Henry
- How Am I Supposed to Live Without You – Kyuhyun, Sungmin, Ryeowook, Zhoumi
- Dance Performance ft. Harlem Shake – Shindong, Eunhyuk, Donghae
- Cross dress performance: “Saturday Night” of Son Dam-bi – Siwon, “Loving you” of S.E.S. – Ryeowook, “Bloom” of Gain – Kangin, “Ice Cream” of HyunA – Sungmin, “Alone” of Sistar – Siwon, Ryeowook, Kangin, Sungmin
- Trap – Henry featuring Kyuhyun
- Close Your Mouth – Heechul’s solo
Fourth video interlude
- Break Down (Korean ver.) – Super Junior-M
- A-oh! (Korean ver.) – Super Junior-M
- Go (Korean ver.) – Super Junior-M
- Shake It Up!
Fifth video interlude
- Gray Paper – Super Junior-K.R.Y
- Bittersweet + Someday + Memories (medley)
- Dreaming Hero
Sixth video interlude (Superheroes)
Donghae as Iron Man, Kangin as Thor, Eunhyuk as Wolverine, Siwon as Captain America (obviously), Kyuhyun as Loki (!!!), Heechul as the Evil Bear.
- Wonder Boy
Seventh video interlude (Dance tutorial)
- Sunny with Zhoumi and Henry
- Marry U
- Sorry, Sorry
- Show Me Your Love with Zhoumi and Henry
- Sapphire Blue with Zhoumi and Henry
- So I with Zhoumi and Henry
Behind the scenes video
Overall feels: Tired but exhilirated. 3 hours of nonstop screaming, dancing and jumping can do that to you. I welcomed the video breaks and the ballads where I could take my P8k-seat and recharge for the next song that will get me on my feet again. I felt the show was worth the money, but I was also getting a very grounded familiarity of the entire Super Show machinery. I knew there will be videos, there will be high-octane dances, special stages and a looooot of stage roaming for the boys’ fan service activities (which frankly, accounted for more than half the price of admission). I expected the first dance (this time, Mr Simple) to be a warm up performance — not yet at par to the boys’ normally high energy dances, but they quickly get there. A few welcome surprises — the costumes have upgraded by miles, and their vocals are improving. I daresay all songs now relied less on MR and more on their ability to sing live while dancing. Kyuyhun and Ryeowook, per usual, sounded impeccable. An unexpected happening — an encore!! Confident of our SS2 and SS3 memories, my companions and I made for the exit immediately after the goodbyes, only to hear Sorry Sorry booming from the speakers a few minutes later. ENCORE!! Cue our frantic run up the escalator and around the corner back to our seats.
Do I still feel too old for this? Yes, but I care less now. Besides, a noona fan can afford the ticket more than an aegy fan. Will I buy an SS6 ticket? Sure, probably now aiming even harder for a closer seat. But I will do so with active hopes that SME will be creative enough to change up its tried and tested formula for a fresher Super Show viewing experience.
Moments to remember: Trap, Super Girl, Sorry Sorry, Harlem Shake, Marry U, Mr Simple, Boom Boom, Bonamana, Club No 1 (which was great but it showed the members grinding it with girl dancers so it was a bit of a “my eyes” moment), Wonder Boy, Sunny and the dance tutorial (okay so nearly all songs).
The fans singing Donghae a happy birthday song for his October 15 birthday. Henry saying that he remembered stating in Super Show 3 (because they skipped Manila in Super Show 4. Boo) that the Filipino fans were the loudest, and asking us to prove it again. Heechul and Eunhyuk’s tears of happiness. Donghae shouting “BE QUIET!” then quickly regretting it, bowing low and repeatedly in all directions. Siwon cross-dressing (something I never thought I’d live long enough to see). Kyuhyun the jumping waving maknae, very happy to be there. I think we even managed to get a wave from him (internal squeal). Siwon and Donghae, period. Siwon saying he “wants to make a baby with you too, but let’s start step-by-step…the first step is Super Show 6.”
Moments I wished happened: Solo stages. Donghae and Eunhyuk’s Oppa Oppa, Oops feat f(x), or anything featuring f(x), or anything featuring the Donghae and Eunhyuk duo. A-cha, Superman, For U, SPY, No Other performances. But as Siwon and Eunhyuk kept hinting, there will always be Super Show 6. Cross fingers, start saving.
Photo credits to pep.ph. Video credits to owners. Special thanks to @mariecristine for the encouragement to put the fan-girling down into words. For academic and archiving purposes, of course.