June 24, 2018 marked the very first live performance of Japan’s number 1 all-girl rock group, SCANDAL, in the Philippines. Held at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City, the concert was, in part, a celebration of the band’s eighth studio album release, HONEY, which kicked off the Asia Tour 2018 across five venues (Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou, Manila, and Taipei) spanning the whole month of June.

Fans camped outside the venue as early as 12 midnight to claim number stubs for the opportunity to secure spots nearest the stage. By 1:00PM, the lines for the Emperor, VIP, and Regular pass holders were organized at the top floor lobby of SMX. Due to an unforeseen delay, the attendees were ushered to the concert area by 6:30PM, while the concert itself commenced a few minutes past 7:00PM.

Instagram story by RINA (@urarina 821)

As the stage dimmed, members of the band slowly made their way up front, much to the welcoming cheers of the audience. Unflinching, the girls immediately began the concert with a gapless trio of punchy, lively songs: Platform SyndromeOVER, and Scandal Baby. The third song, in particular, was an unexpected addition to the set, being a classic song. Scandal Baby’s nostalgic riffs certainly doubled the energy of the audience from this point forward. TOMOMI and MAMI also teased HARUNA with scenes of sweet (and safe-for-work) fanservice by leaning their faces close to the vocalist’s cheeks short of kissing her!
TOMOMI and MAMI teasing HARUNA during Scandal Baby (via Instagram: @haru_na810)

“MABUHAY! Kami ang SCANDAL! Welcome to the SCANDAL Asia Tour 2018 HONEY!”  HARUNA introduced to the capacity crowd of screaming fans. After a cheerful welcome, HARUNA called out to the fans in the local vernacular “Kumusta kayo?” (“How are you?”). She followed suit by expressing how surprised and impressed she was at the insane energy the audience gave during that night. With an encouraging “Are you ready?!” battlecry, the girls began their next set of songs.

The fun continued with MAMI singing her solo song Oh No! followed by TOMOMI’s Kan Biiru, which, in part, began to showcase their versatility in songwriting and singing. Fans, then, clapped along the beat of the bittersweet song Short Short.

HARUNA during Mado wo Aketara (via Instagram @scandal_band_official)

The set went to a more somber approach as HARUNA put her guitar down to sing heartily to the lonely lyrics of Mado wo Aketara, followed by the melancholic Departure. Despite the mood (and lyrics), fans still reacted enthusiastically by the fact that the song was included in the set, much to the surprise of the performing ladies.

Taking a short break, HARUNA questioned, “Wait, aren’t you guys too energetic? Manila, are you doing good?!” The crowd screamed, still maintaining the same level of excitement as before. After thanking the crowd for an awesome reception, HARUNA bragged about learning the local lingo, and began chanting “Boom panes! Boom boom panes panes!” with the crowd chanting in unison. “I didn’t imagine the audience would unite like this even if it isn’t our song… So cool! Thank you!”

RINA (via Instagram @scandal_band_official)

HARUNA shifted to telling everyone their experience since their arrival the day before. “Yesterday, we arrived in Manila, and of course we ate a lot of food like Jollibee!” MAMI continued, “we also ate Jollibee today.” HARUNA also ate local sweet delicacy turon, while RINA quipped that her favorite food here was lumpiang shanghai. HARUNA then introduced the members of SCANDAL before returning to the next set of songs.

MAMI (via Instagram @scandal_band_official)

The next set began with Futari, a song about lovers braving an uncertain future, with a gapless follow-up of Midnight City, sung by Rina while simultaneously delivering intense drum beats. HARUNA called out everyone, “Manila! Do you want to sing BI-BI-BI?! Alright, make some noise! MANILA, are you ready?!” A clash of drums and sharp guitar effects opened up the song Electric Girl, paired with HARUNA’s electrically-charged vocals to keep the concert pumped. Further hyping up the crowd, HARUNA asked the crowd to shout “Yeah!” in Everybody Say YEAH!, with MAMI delivered a rockin’ smooth guitar solo at the center of the stage.

TOMOMI (via Instagram @scandal_band_official)

“You guys are extremely powerful! You guys are all so perfect! Are you guys having fun?!” exclaimed HARUNA. The crowd answered by showing off their unlimited supply of energy for the concert. “We’re also having fun! Make some noise!” The band immediately followed the encouragement with their first indie single, Space Ranger, with MAMI cutely strumming her guitar like the rock star she is. Keeping the beat and nostalgia at maximum levels, the girls gaplessly riffed the next song, Shunkan Sentimental, and having the audience sing a part of the chorus too.

SCANDAL rockin’ out (via Twitter @scandal_rina)

The final set began with Flashback No. 5, with the audience intently enjoying the set. “Manila, can you keep going?!” The audience responded by dancing and jumping to the beats of Take Me Out, and singing along “PA-PA-RA PA-PA-PA-RA~!” Topping off the final set is the band’s latest single, also from the album HONEY, Koisuru Universe. After the last song, HARUNA quickly thanked the audience, which cued the band’s exit as the stage dimmed.

The cheering audience never missed a beat, chanting “Encore! Encore!” after the band’s exit. The chanting eventually rolled into singing “Boom panes!” until the girls came back on stage, each wearing different designs of the official HONEY shirt. HARUNA took to the mic, “Are you enjoying? Due to the loud voices, it doesn’t feel like the audience does not understand what I say. We can feel your tremendous love for us. Thank you!”

Last crash of the finale (via Instagram @scandal_band_official)

“Like what I’ve said earlier, it’s the first time we came here in the Philippines and we’re glad we did! We’ll play a little more.” Fans loudly cheered for the band as they prepared for their encore set. “I wanna say thanks for the support. We’re really far away but we’re close to you. We love you all so much! This song is for you. Hope you enjoy it!” HARUNA dedicated the song Sisters to all the fans who came to see them during the weekend. Capping off the setlist is the lively Love Survive, matched with headbanging at the interlude, much to the delight of the fans.

Instagram story by SCANDAL (@scandal_band_official)

The concert ended with a photo of the band and everyone in the audience. With a final roll call of the members, HARUNA quipped “did you guys have fun? We will definitely come back next time!” Japan’s number 1 all-girl rock band gave one long, final bow at the audience as gratitude, waved their goodbyes, and finally ended the momentous night.

SCANDAL Asia Tour 2018: Live in Manila was brought to us by Primetrade Asia, Inc., and sponsored by Animax Asia, TRYP by Wyndham Hotels, All Nippon Airways, and Dohtonbori.


SETLIST
1. Platform Syndrome
2. OVER
3. Scandal Baby
4. Oh No!
5. Kan Biru
6. Short Short
7. Mado wo Aketara
8. Departure
9. Futari
10. Midnight City
11. Electric Girl
12. Everybody Say Yeah!
13. Space Ranger
14. Shunkan Sentimental
15. Flashback No.5
16. Take Me Out
17. Koisuru Universe

Encore:
18. Sisters
19. Love Survive

with translations by Yuri, and setlist by Mararaawr