Have you tried going to a concert with your teens? For the first time, I did. And I’m glad it became a nice experience for the three of us.
If you are familiar with K-POP, you must know this young boy band EXO and recently, they had a concert here in Manila at The Araneta Center. My kids are avid fans of this group and they were just excited to see their “bias” (the term they use for their favorite band member or idol) in person. I knew it was coming, paying for concert tickets, because they had been fans of other boy bands in the past (One Direction, 5 SOS) and I saw on the news how some young teens even went overnight to the concert areas just to buy concert tickets in advance. But they were not that eager back then and were still very young. This time, it was different. Not a day had passed without them looking at EXO’s photos and all the music they listen to are K-POP. Their room is covered with buntings and posters of the boy band of course.
We have no problem with the “fan” thing (I don’t really prefer using the word idolizing because it’s too much for me). My husband and I became fans on our younger years, and the whole family is into music already. We always tell them that it will be okay with us for them to spend some time with this fanning thing as long as their studies are their priority. And so we see their grades were good and they are still happy, with their friends and with their school activities. They also don’t mind buying P20 posters rather than the expensive original posters. I thought we can let them watch the show, but once only, because the tickets were pricey.
Daddy bought the tickets online and we got general admission tickets.We pointed out to them that we don’t need to get pricier tickets because what was important was the experience. We told them that like some of the concerts we’ve seen in Araneta, there would surely be huge LCD TVs there. My teens had no problem with that. They told me they were excited. For the first time, they were going to see and hear their favorite celebrities in person. Their excitement was contagious so we all looked forward to the concert night.
The EXO’rDIUM – The EXO Concert
The EXO’rDIUM concert was actually part of a concert tour of the Korean boy band EXO. The Philippines was the 9th country they visited based on their schedule listed in Wikipedia. We went on a Sunday since I thought there would be a smaller crowd since it was the last day of the concert. I was wrong and using “small crowd” as a term was an understatement. But in fairness, the teens we saw that day were behaved. We didn’t hear any yelling or saw overcrowded lines, girls pushing each other etcetera. We could feel the excitement but we were not stressed at all considering it was a hot afternoon outside the venue.
The concert was scheduled to start 5:30PM but we were at the venue by 2PM. After going to early mass in the morning, we went straight to Cubao and had our lunch there at Razon’s beside Araneta Coliseum. It helped that we already have our tickets on hand. Purchasing from TicketNet was already easy these days because you can just print the ticket at home.
After lunch, we picked up some merchant items which my teens won from online contests. You won’t imagine how passionate these teens are. They have all these promotions and contests usually on Twitter where they give out different items, photos, stickers, food and albums to the winners. My daughters won some banners and an album for themselves.
Some girls also sold headbands (pretty expensive P80) with the photos of the EXO members stuck on it. I thought they were pretty creative and I think these girls were very wise to take advantage of the event. My kids looked cute with their headbands.
After some walking, we had some dessert and coffee at Mary Grace Cafe in Gateway Mall. There were some people there who made some small talk and we found out that they were parents also. Their kids were already inside the concert area and they would just be waiting outside. You see how parents can be truly supportive to their kids. My husband, who also waited outside, told me about one mom who had her daughter watch the concert twice in VIP and bought a light stick which I think cost around P5,000. The siblings paid for her tickets because the student had 1.0 grades in all her subjects in school. Well, the daughter deserved it naman pala.
By 4:30PM, we entered Araneta and when we got there, the whole general admission was almost full. We had to take the rightmost and uppermost bleacher seats from the stage. The seats were hard to sit on, of course, but my kids did not mind it. Almost everyone we saw there were girls, only a couple of boys, and they were holding banners and light sticks.
The stage was fully lit up and we saw the Upper Box seats and VIP areas starting to be filled up. I thought they won’t be filled up completely but I was wrong. It was jampacked the moment the concert started. I was really amazed at the support these fans give for EXO.
The concert started with a video clip on stage. In fairness, ang ganda ng set-up ng stage, the LCDs were very high def, and the sound system was loud and clear but not irritating. What was kind of unpleasant after some minutes was that the audience was stomping their feet I feared that the auditorium would collapse. The girls were singing and shouting the band members’ name nonstop and I thought my ears would pop out. I couldn’t even hear my own voice when I tried to call my kids for them to drink water. All of them were stuck to the program the moment it started.
Personal video clip I got from the concert. Look at how jampacked the venue was.
What I didn’t like in Araneta is that they don’t allow you to buy mineral waters with the cover of the bottle. So I had to hold two bottles of water for a long time just to make sure that my girls will be able to drink by the time they’ve spent all their saliva from singing and yelling the boy band’s names. I forgot their “no bottle cover” policy so next time, I’ll make sure to bring my own empty water bottle. One tip also, when chaperoning teens in concert is don’t bother buying food or popcorn, unless your kids won’t mind eating them cold after the concert.
In spite of everything, I enjoyed the concert myself. The songs were all Korean but they were good to listen to. I could even sing some of the lines in the chorus because I’ve already heard them at home a hundred times. The boys of EXO were also cute, especially Kai who looks like a girl. It was great seeing all those light sticks swayed in unity by all the fans. Parang people power ang dating. But most importantly, my kids enjoyed the concert together. They are like cats and dogs at home, but when it comes to K-POP, they are buddies. I also loved the fact that I was there with them on their first time to go to a concert. It was a milestone which I know they will keep in memory box forever. Although I was only in the background, a chaperone, I was still there.
My husband was equally supportive that day. He waited for us and he was there at the gate of Araneta, with dozens of other parents who were also waiting for their kids, by the time the concert ended. I was touched by all of them feeling how concerned they were for their kids. I felt nasa school ako then and yung mga sundo lahat nandun sa labas ng gate, haha.
When it comes to safety, I will say that The Araneta Coliseum was generally safe for concerts like these, but it will still depend on the audience, the kind of show, and the age of your child. My kids were still too young (for me) to let them go on their own. Plus, I will always be more willing to come with them, not only to have a peace of mind, but also because I want to watch younger shows also, from time to time. Makes me feel younger too.
What about you, will you let your kids go to a concert alone or will you go as a chaperone too?