Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Eraserheads, The Reunion Concert: Til The Next One (We Hope!)


My siblings and I decided to watch The Eraserheads: The Reunion concert just this Saturday morning, August 30th, this momentous event in Philippine musical history lost to us no thanks to work and other obligations. Giving in to our silent/silenced desire to watch the concert (the tribute CDs to the E-heads regularly blast in my siblings’ car!), in no time at all my brother in law got tickets at the Glorietta Ticketworld outlet. By 6.20pm, we were off to The Fort Open Field near Bonifacio High Street. Thank God we live in Taguig City =]

After a little difficulty finding a parking slot, we trekked to BHS, walking along aside a madding throng eager to be inside the concert area- it was a past 8pm already. The sides of the concert area was filled with posses of teenagers in various curious garb and getup. The lines through to the patron section was semi-kilometric but we got into our designated area soon enough. It was literally standing room only, no seats were provided, not one single rattan or Monobloc seat in da haus. Well, we were expecting NOT to sit anyway, if the Christina Aguilera concert last year was any measure. We were on our feet 90% of the time, singing and dancing to Ms Aguilera’s hits. But I wander.

When we got in, the crowd was a good mix of 20- and 30-somethings, those who most swam in E-heads mania of the 90s. They seemed not to be the rowdy type which assuaged the typical concert-goer’s concerns in me. The crowd was so dense beyond belief that we found ourselves somewhere in the middle with a view of the stage- somehow.

And then, the concert flashed a 10-minute countdown that got the previously tame crowd really excited. It was the longest minutes in musical history but the people gamely shouted outloud the last ten second 10… 9… 8… 3… 2… 1… of every minute, punctuating each minute with loud cheer. When the countdown breached the 1:00 minute mark, we all lost it.

3…2…1… The large videowalls flashed a minute or so montage of Eraserheads of the 90s, album covers, gigs, etc capping the clip with SA WAKAS (Finally). And then the show started with a most apt ALAPAAP.

The fireworks and pyrotechnics that lit the stage after Alapaap was no match to the unmistakable sound of the Eraserheads. For the next dozen or so songs in their first set, they hardly deviated from the way they sang their songs in concerts or how they sounded in their tapes or over the radio. It was vintage E-heads that anybody and everybody in the audience can sing with. The band's wry, no nonsense humor was also very much evident in the tiny spiels they had.

The concert was worth the wait, the queue, the terrible heat and humidity. The area we were standing in contained a mixture of REAL E-heads fans who shrieked each word, observed each pause, wailed each second voice note, stopped at each sigh of each song with pinpoint accuracy. Then there was us, the ones who are very, very familiar with the songs but only the chorus and some verses. It was such a thrill to be amongst kindred spirits nonetheless who jumped, pumped their fists in the air, gamely swayed, and rocked and rolled with the E-head’s hits like Alapaap, Toyang, With A Smile, Huwag Mo Nang Itanong Sa Akin (?), and a host of other portkeys into the past.

I can’t help but remember my high school friends Kristine and Justine who’d go to Sunken Garden in UP Diliman straight from classes in Ma Sci to watch the E-heads’ concerts. There was a time when they earned the ire of our teachers because they started writing their “E”’the other way around, vertically flipped a la the number “3”- the trademark way the E-heads wrote their bandname in tapes and posters…

The concert goers were really something else, they cheered and applauded ALL numbers, even the songs that were familiar probably to the hardcore fans alone. The band would sometimes take 30-60-second breaks inbetween songs to exchange guitars or fix a mic. The videowalls didn’t always display what was happening onstage for the sake of those standing somewhere between Mars and Jupiter. But nary a jeer or boo or clap of impatience was heard. The fans were apparently soaking in each and every second of this concert, imperfections and all.

Including the supposed 20-minute break inbetween two supposed sets.

We felt something was not quite right when Ely Buendia, lead singer, suddenly sat immediately after the last song of the first set. Some guys walked over to him but he seemed okay. That was around 9.35pm. My brother in law is connected with the property management office of Bonifacio Global City and he was being badgered because of the terrible traffic situation around the concert venue. About 15 minutes into the break, my brother in law received a text message from the venue security team whom he was asking to about the traffic mess outside. The security personnel apologized that they were being called (the security team) to the backstage because Ely apparently had a health concern.

Oh no.

We didn’t share the info with those around us. We just waited, like everybody, patiently enduring the heat and humidity, still expecting, hoping for a second set. After all, Huling El Bimbo, Pare Ko, Magasin, and Overdrive have yet to be sung.

Twenty minutes passed. Then fifteen more minutes passed. My siblings decided that we ought to move closer to the exits so that we would be the first to get out of the venue should a mad rush for the exits ensue. While we were several meters away from the exit near Fully Booked, members of the band and members of the family of Ely came on stage to inform the crowd about Ely’s condition, that due to physical stress and excitement, his previous heart ailment seemed to be aggravated and he was taken to a health facility, signaling the abrupt end of the concert.

The people clapped, no boos or hisses emanated from the hopefully partially satiated crowd, none that we know of as we exited towards Serendra…

The concert was true to form: it contained all the wonderful ingredients that fans of Eraserheads missed and have come to expect. It ended the way the band did, rather unceremoniously, which left many, if not all of us yearning for more…

Until the next Eraserheads Reunion Concert! Best of health to everyone, especially Ely.

(Photos to follow. I forgot to borrow the memory card connector thingy from my sister's camera to my computer :( but i'm sure you get the picture of how massive this event is- I think it handily trumps Christina Aguilera's 30k crowd...)

6 comments:

  1. Hey guys!
    Some pictures of the event can be seen here:

    http://www.tabblo.com/studio/stories/shared/27556/3hc1rsq86z5yepm

    And a video of the intro here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPx1p952kKo

    ReplyDelete
  2. sirnicolay: thanks for sharing!

    nina: hopefully may next time pa! DON'T miss that one ha =]

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! looks like a fun and exciting time!

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  4. thanks for your story doc. i thought you'd say you approached the stage to check ely. :-) i've been blog-hopping on the Eraserheads. :-)

    ReplyDelete
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