Sunday, August 31, 2008

There's a fruitcake for everybody.

The band made it obvious that they preferred to minimize the drama on this one. No media coverage of the rehearsals and soundchecks, no publicized accounts of their first meeting, who was first to arrive, who was first to agree, who said what first, what was the first song they played during the first rehearsal... none of the big brother type sentimental garb on TV. The members themselves gave updates in their 'other bands' mailing lists and that was it. Just the music. For the fans. Quoting Raymund Marasigan, "Drums, not drama."

I looked forward to this event ever since I found out about it in the Internet but I almost didn't get the chance to see them live. My mom was confined in the hospital, she's recovering and we weren't sure when she's going to be discharged. So when we were told that she can already go home late Saturday afternoon, I dragged my sister in my last minute efforts to get tickets (thought I'd have a hard time just like I always did for the UAAP but turned out, the ticket supply for this was bottomless), and drove fast and furious from our house to The Fort. Parking sucked, by the way. Super sucked. Took me at least 20 minutes of going around until I decided to just park on the curb at the right side of High Street. There was no sign that I couldn't park in the area, they had no reason to tow. And what the heck, I didn't want to miss the opening. Other cars followed, too, and soon, there were more than twenty on that strip.

I didn't know what to expect of them sound-wise knowing that they hadn't played together in years. I saw them play when I was younger and I always said that they sounded better on CD than live. It seemed that, individually since the break-up, all of them have grown into better musicians, their skills honed through the years but as a collective, there were moments of uncertainty, perhaps each of them were really overwhelmed. And then there were also moments when they played and sounded really good like never before. There were no traces of Pupil or Sandwich or even Cambio.
Occasionally, though, in between songs, there's the uncomfortable silence when we just wished they said something or talked to each other. After several of those uncomfortable gaps, it kind of became very clear that their wounds have not truly healed. It was as if they still felt awkward about this but you could tell, just by looking at them play their instruments, that they were every bit excited as the rest of us. In true Eheads fashion, they looked cool about it, making it look like it's no big deal. Sometimes, the aloof frontman just smiled and let the crowd do the singing. Towards the end of the first set, though, we already noticed that Ely Buendia kind of lost the energy. I didn't see clearly but I remember him sitting down with his head bowed, resting on his guitar. At one point after he stood up, the camera focused on his pale face to which my overreacting friend shouted... Ohmygod! umiyak sha! Haha ano ka ba.

I usually don't like watching concerts in open grounds. Arena rock sets (as in Araneta) are okay for foreign bands. For local bands, I like intimate venues better but of course this was an exception, meant to be enjoyed with tens of thousands.

The set-up was reminiscent of European rock festivals. Free-standing, no chairs. We chose to stay at the back where we can roam around freely and not worry about personal space, after all, we just wanted to be there. Sorry but the eheads aren't really eye-candy for us. haha again.

They allowed smoking but didn't sell alcohol, at least where we were. Safety measures, perhaps... they allowed beer in the Incubus concert but didn't allow it here. So we just settled for hotdogs, Sunkist Iced Tea and Gatorade during the break.

While walking around, I got to hang out with eraserfans Mario and Tricia during the break. This photo was taken just minutes before they called it off (the band, not the couple). Sad it had to end that way but at least, all's well now. To be honest, Ely Buendia had every right to ask for another date and postpone the show but he chose not to. He's very professional in doing that, too bad his body didn't agree.

It was the biggest reunion concert in the Philippines, with four of the biggest rockstars getting back together for just one night. They had intended a 20minute break and during the lull, no less than the frontman was whisked away in an ambulance, abruptly putting a halt to the greatest rock act in Manila. How's that for no drama.

They really played their hearts out last night and although it ended unexpectedly, we're truly, truly grateful that they listened to their fans, set aside their differences, and got back together to bring the music :-). It's Lurve.

"The Eraserheads Reunion: One More Time." Yey.