Tara’s Thoughts On: SB19’s Pagtatag Finale Concert


Dear Diary,

SB19 finished their first day of the Pagtatag Finale concert today. They were soooooo cute! Sabi nila, A’Tin were so instrumental to their success, kaya lang, we’re OA. React much sa lahat ng bagay kasi eh!

Mula ngayon…

Goodbye—teka, ano’ng goodbye? *Maricel Soriano voice* WALANG MAGGU-GOODBYE!!!

We might have said our farewell to the Pagtatag era, but just like Pablo said, this is not the end. And honestly, for someone like me who’s just attended her FIRST SB19 concert, this is just the beginning.

I was one of those who lined up for tickets at SM Aura on April 14th. With the help of Doc Suzette and her yayas, we were able to secure a good spot in line (#30), and I was hopeful that we’d be able to get Patron tickets easy. Somewhere in Quezon City, Doc Angeli was on standby behind her keyboard, ready to purchase tickets as soon as official ticketing opened at 12:00 noon.

As luck would have it, Doc Angeli got Upper Box tickets juts minutes after they were released online. I was happy to get UB, but stayed in line, hoping we could still score Patron or Lower Box seats.

Alas, before I could get to the counter, the announcement was made: Only Upper Box and General Admission tickets were available. I was so shocked at how fast the ticket movement was, but I was fine. We secured UB tickets. I was gonna see SB19 performing live!!! Lucky me!

Left: The Pagtatag #RomanceClass contingency (Agay, Doc Suzette, Chi, Doc Angeli, myself, and my HS friend, TDR) | Right: The photocard souvenir given to us by A’Tin at the Red Gate

On concert day, with stomachs full (heh, nakapag-Mary Grace pa, as titas do) and bladders empty, we entered the venue about 40 minutes before the show started. Before that, a couple of A’Tin helped us take a group photo with the standee at the Red Gate, and some even gave us photo card souvenirs. Ang saya lang, hehe. I wanted to walk around the area where they were giving out souvenirs just to observe the goings-on but naunahan ako ng gutom, so ‘yun. I must say that I really love when A’Tin are kind and generous and work together to make each other feel safe. Sana ganun lang lagi.

As we found our seats, plenty of fans were already inside, participating in a GCash sponsored dance-off. I always love it when I see people having fun at concerts regardless of age and gender, so this was a nice treat. While waiting, I mentally braced myself for the show. I had a taste of SB19 and A’Tin’s energy at the 5th anniversary fanmeet last year, and I just knew this concert was going to be special.

And it was.

From the very beginning, when they played back the Pagtatag teaser, I was already feeling sentimental. I kind of couldn’t believe it was only a year since Gento came out. So many things have happened in the past year, it felt like we’ve been in this era forever. And it just made perfect sense that they’d begin with this lore they created; a post-apocalyptic world where survivors are desperately trying to nurture a dying seedling.

It felt appropriate to open the show with Gento, the song that undoubtedly propelled SB19 to new heights, setting the vibe of the night with the message “’di ka basta-basta makakakita nito.” Indeed, even if the two-and-a-half hour (ish) concert had a familiar setlist, the boys embellished each number with little surprises here and there. Gento for one had a badass new intro, an epic new arrangement, as well as a brand spanking new choreography to bookmark this moment in history. O, ‘diba? ‘Di ka basta-basta makakakita nito kung saan-saan lang!

From that point on, everything was pure gold as Josh, Justin, Ken, Pablo, and Stell took us on an amazing rollercoaster ride with their wonderful music and unbridled energy, each number punctuated with the screams of their adoring fans. I have many favorite moments from Day 1, but these are the highlights of my night:

  • The magical, mesmerizing tree! Pretty sure no one’s missed this, because it’s right in the middle of the stage. I couldn’t stop admiring how it looked equal parts beautiful, haunting, and whimsical through most of the numbers, helping the boys tell their story from beginning to end. I love an evolving symbol and I LOVE good storytelling, and this tree symbolizing growth (Pagsibol), strength and change through the seasons (Pagtatag), and evolution by bearing fruit (a new SB19 era—Simula at Wakas?) was just a great way to give us a full circle moment. Justin, was this your idea? This was so, so cool.
  • Stell’s solo! Girl when I tell you I was too stunned to speak the entire time Stell was singing his song (entitled Anino, composed by none other than Pablo), and with Louie Ocampo on the piano too! Like…GIRL. I’m just in awe of this man’s talent, and I am hungry for more. I now have an entire wishlist of songs I want to hear Stell perform, but ultimately I just really want him to explore the theatre scene because I really think it’s a place where he could shine so, so brightly.
  • SB19 documentary! Who else thought that that video was just a transition video while the boys changed costumes? I did. I think a bunch of us did, too. Because the screaming that followed after “In cinemas, August 2024” flashed on screen pretty much obliterated my eardrums. But OH MY GOD! We are finally getting a documentary film about the boys! It’s ABOUT DAMN TIME! I’m very excited about this I might actually take my sister (who not a fan FAN yet but likes their music enough to enjoy them) to see it! Thank you 1Z Entertainment! I hope you make this available to international fans as well!
  • APL.DE.AP collab! As someone who’s enjoyed the music of the Black Eyed Peas when I was younger, seeing SB19 with APL.DE.AP was such a delight! It’s even more exciting to know that they’re releasing a collaboration song soon! Oh, and the best part of that segment? When Pablo started singing “Pilipino! Pilipino!” from Bebot and APL started rapping AND SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE AUDIENCE KNEW THE LYRICS!!! Indeed SB19’s audience demographic is truly impressive, and it shows in the way they try their best to connect OPM fans from past till present.
  • Elesbis changing colors! Ang babaw, but it was so satisfying to see the sea of blues become seas of reds, yellows, greens, purples, and whites throughout the show. I kinda wish it could be remote-controlled next time cos I kept accidentally pressing the button and changing colors in the middle of the songs, but that’s a note for a later time. Also, HAHAHA finally, nabinyagan ko rin ang elesbi kooooo!!!
Some pre-show photos with our little group at Section 423, my and Chi’s light sticks, a rare still of the Bazinga performance, and Doc Suzette’s hotdog headband because CUTIE!

Honorable mentions for 1) every time Justin appears on the LED screens looking very much into the sexy choreography (embrace it, Jah!), 2) Ssob knowing who Song Joongki is, even though I feel like Terry Zhong resembles Hyun Bin more because of his dimples), and; 3) Pablo appearing on stage on a motorcycle!

But of course, no matter how much I enjoyed the concert, I also couldn’t help but take note of things that can be improved on, such as—

  • Lighting – I understand that there was already an advisory regarding the use of strobe lights during the show, and I didn’t mind that so much. After all we can just cover our eyes when it hits our faces. My main gripe with the lighting was that some performances weren’t lit well enough for us to enjoy what was happening on stage. For example, I was looking forward to the MANA dance break but the main lights were suddenly turned off during that part and I couldn’t really enjoy the full performance. Same goes for Ken’s Foes performance when he went down to the extended stage. It was too dark, and even with the projection on the LED screens, I wasn’t really sure what was going on. I’m all for playing with lighting to achieve certain effects (it was used very well in other performances like Nyebe, Surreal, and Bazinga), but when it impedes the audience’s view of the artists’ hard work, maybe the lighting director should reconsider.
  • Sounds – At different points during the show, we noticed that the reverb was too much, to the point that we were hearing two voices when only one person was singing. Perhaps a mistake in the mixing? Mic levels? I don’t know exactly, but it was there. We heard it on the Upper Box. It was as if the stage was farther away than it actually is, and the sound was funneling through a tunnel or cave. The mic levels were also off during the MAPA performance, which made listening a little confusing at first. Too bad, because the arrangement was really promising. Additionally, SB19’s speaking voices sounded higher? I’m not sure why it sounded like that inside the coliseum, because when I saw some clips from the stream, their speaking voices were normal. Weird.
  • Transitions and Projections – There was a lot of dead air in between solos, and I thought it could have been handled better with a transition clip or two. Maybe a short video introducing the next member. Or even just some interesting projection involving the tree that can distract the audience from what’s being set up on stage. During Stell’s solo, the lyrics were not appearing properly on screen as well, becoming more of a distraction than a guide.
My score: 4.5 out of 5 popcorn buckets! Almost perfect!

Overall, I could say that the Pagtatag Finale concert offered such an enjoyable time that was worth. my every. hard-earned. centavo. From the group performances to the solos, I truly felt that SB19 and 1Z team planned this special event with utmost thought and care. They have come into their own as storytellers, musicians, and artists who have so much heart and passion for their chosen craft. This concert was not only a grand celebration of what was, but also of what will be.

Pagtatag is a Tagalog word that means “to establish,” but its root word, tatag, means “stability,” “endurance,” and “poise.” Ever the gifted wordsmith, of course Pablo knew what he was doing using Pagtatag as the official name of this era. And perhaps this was a self-fulfilling prophecy, because this is when SB19 truly established their OPM legacy AND showed their strength and resilience as a group and as individuals.

Josh, Justin, Ken, Pablo, and Stell—the world is yours for the taking, and we are right behind you, cheering you on (nonchalantly and OA-ly) every step of the way.

Thank you for being one of the reasons I am proud to be a Filipino.

P.S. You’ve worked so hard. Please get some well-deserved rest!

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