iKON Came to Town, Conquered, and Took Off with Manila for their 2023 World Tour

Arielle Elep
i-K-ON we run, run! And they ran, performed, rapped, sang, danced, and did so much more in their Manila stop for their Take Off World tour with another, yet familiar groundbreaking presence and charisma last August 5, 2023, at the Big Dome! Presented by Pulp Live World, the world tour named after the group’s 3rd Album, “Take Off.”

Bobby, JU-NE, Song, DK, and Chan (with the special presence of Jay, who is currently serving in the military) brought out a live band, a staple company of the well-rounded group in their concerts, and played a set list that was extended because of the passionate Philippine crowd that surely a huge impression on the group.

Matching iKON’s astounding energy, the Filipino crowd earned another win as the favorite crowd, for Filo iKONICs made sure they were heard and partied hard with their Konbats, furiously coloring Araneta Coliseum crimson.

At Ease!

Let’s go iKON! The group immediately started the show strong with their new single from the latest album, TANTARA, a nod to iKON’s signature energetic hip-hop sound that is bound to make you get up, while sporting metallic jackets, most likely symbolizing a space man’s suit, fitting the theme. They proceeded with SINOSIJAK, a blast from the group’s sophomore album, “RETURN.” Perhaps a highlight of the evening was when they performed AT EASE, a song they made for the show KINGDOM, and sounded incredibly well with a live band. The group introduced themselves, with June greeting the Filipino fans with a “Long time no see!” It has indeed been a minute since their last visit.

The group continued with an impressive line-up, with Killing Me, Rhythm Ta, Bling Bling, the crowd, and KPOP's favorite Love Scenario, and U before proceeding with the second set of the setlist. Boldly speaking, the live version of these songs sounds better than the studio version because not only do the songs have more life and substance than the studio version, but perhaps the hype of the crowd and the high of performing these songs on stage just gives the songs a little more life.

In between these incredible performances, the group talked to the fans in a ment session where they teased they are going to release two new songs by this month! What an honor that they announced it here in our country! They proceeded with spoiling some parts of the songs and we all know from the get-go, these will be good and will be on repeat. They also mentioned that the producer, singer-songwriter, and Show Me the Money Season 3 champ, Bobby will release his new album soon! Bobby’s last album “LUCKY MAN” was released last 2021 and did not leave the fans any room to breathe when each track had its own spice, even featured bandmates in some tracks! Another thing to look forward to for the iKONICs.

“Nothing much has changed. You guys are still on fire!” Bobby recalls endearingly, another proof that the Filo iKONICs have left an impression on the group. DK also added that they have been to many countries now for the tour but they are excited that they are finally in the Manila shores. Seeing how excited they are to be in the country, they shared some Filipino-related experiences like a Jollibee anecdote and how they love their spaghetti and chicken; Chan talked about learning a phrase from Jay, “sakit akong tiyan!” a cheeky excuse Jay used to make so he can be sent home from school if he’s bored from class! (Jay had a brief Filipino education pre-debut.) Speaking of Jay, the members mentioned that they spoke to him earlier that day and they relayed a message from him: “I’m sorry, the ‘Prince of Philippines’ was not able to come. I miss all of you so much. I almost want to hug each one of you.” We sure miss you Jinhwan and stay safe while serving!


After the playful ment, the solo performances started and it was led by DK, with a slow sexy rock track, KISS ME, that sure made the Dome a few temperatures higher, highlighting his main dance position role. This was followed by a completely opposite genre song by one of the group’s main vocalist, Ju-ne with his electric guitar and performed Want You Back. Of course, Bobby who had solo album materials performed, HeartBROKEN PlaYBoY, a song he dedicated to the fans in the crowd who are feeling down and asked to “Party, get down!” A beautiful duet by JunBob’s DEEP NIGHT followed, which still had Ju-ne’s electric guitar, with Ju-ne and Bobby perfectly blending their vocal and rap skills. Deviance from the other genres played that evening, a groovy, sparkly Song came out and performed the trot track from the “TAKE OFF” album, FIGHTING which garnered laughs and groovy dances from the crowd. Maybe Song ought to release a trot album as he looked incredibly dazzling performing the songs.

“Thank you for staying with iKON.

I hope you guys always stay with us as you do now.”

- iKON 2023

The VCR emitted mixed emotions from the iKONICs as the group members were interviewed by an AI bot about personal questions and what they thought about the members and fans. Perhaps the sentimental part of the VCR was to set the mood of the set list that ensued next as the songs that followed slowed down. Why Why Why, GOODBYE ROAD, and Like a Movie gave somber lyrics about heartbreaks and goodbyes but nonetheless showcased that the group isn’t just about energetic music and also showed that they have potential for ballads and more emotional tracks.

“It’s really amazing how you guys can sing the Korean lyrics of all our songs!” DK noted during another ment. “Manila is the best!” Give a brush off your shoulders iKONICs; THAT spelled “LEGENDARY” in other terms as the Filipinos prove yet again that no language is a barrier when the music is too good.

In the same ment, Bobby commented that “...KISS ME (performance) was crazy! I almost went to the stage and kissed DK! I think DK is the sexiest man in Asia… and I am the sexiest in the world! (Yep. We definitely agree!) This part blossomed into an impromptu performance of each member dancing to DK’s KISS ME song, making it funnier and funnier per member who teased the fans with the sexy rock track. They also teased Chan and asked him that he should also release a song soon, in which he mysteriously noted, “Maybe, who knows!”

As if the night just started, the hardcore party began when iKON made the Dome jump with DUMB & DUMBER, B-DAY, and FREEDOM, with iKONIC’s fan project, just plain party like there was nothing else that mattered.

Love Scenario (Filo iKONICs Version)

After a quick break, iKON started the encore with Driving Slowly, a perfect summer drive track that transports you to a fun sunny trip.

Now, every world tour has set lists expected and the fans know this by heart. But when we say iKON say “Manila is the best”, they meant it, because iKON DECIDED to perform MORE SONGS for the encore as they doted the Filo iKONICs with, “We have traveled all around the world… but there’s no crowd who partied hard like Manila!”

I'm afraid no one else does it as we do. There's something about music and Filipinos that just clicks, and the Filipino iKONICs were no exception. With this, Ju-ne promised that they will be back in the country with all 6 members in the future, and the group has never broken a promise before. Another successful fan project reached the boys as Bobby draped himself with a banner that was signed by the fans, bearing the Filipino flag. The group wanted to commemorate the event with a picture but of course, it was also the right momentum to show another successful fan project, a fan-made video that made Bobby jump in excitement saying, “I knew you guys made a video!” The video showed clips of fans, from all across the country, all shapes and forms, showing that an iKONIC can come from anywhere and proving that iKON’s music really knows no barrier. The boys watched intently as they can and told the crowd how much they love them and thanked them for staying all throughout the years.

The boys thanked the crowd for the pleasant surprise, touched by the effort and never-ending support, and commemorated the feat with a picture with the crowd.

As captioned in the picture iKON uploaded with the crowd that night.

They reciprocated the love as promised with a longer encore set with B-DAY, FREEDOM, LOVE SCENARIO, and RHYTHM TA (noting that DK literally got off the stage and roamed the whole VIP floor to be closer to the fans) and TANTARA.

Of all the concerts that I have personally experienced, this is one of the most memorable and one of the most enjoyable I’ve been to as it’s not really about just production, but also how the fans and the artists interacted. You can fake a lot of things on TV and social media but witnessing iKON and iKONICs that night was something you can’t fabricate. There were genuine playful exchanges and enthusiasm from both sides and a familiarity that they all settled in the whole night with ease.

“We are not the ones who make this show 100%. You guys are like the most important structure of this world tour,” said Bobby. There is no truer statement than this and the self-awareness of an artist that they know they owe the fans everything is not only humbling but also pride, knowing that the idol that you look up to also looks up to you.

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